Sunday, January 19, 2020

Book of Kells

For some reason a young time travelling Billy Connolly is portrayed on the cover of the ancient Book of Kells:

If you know nothing else about medieval European illuminated manuscripts (clearly I know nothing!), you surely know the Book of Kells. “One of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures” comments, “it is set apart from other manuscripts of the same period by the quality of its artwork and the sheer number of illustrations that run throughout the 680 pages of the book.” The work not only attracts scholars, but almost a million visitors to Dublin every year. “You simply can’t travel to the capital of Ireland,” writes Book Riot’s Erika Harlitz-Kern, “without the Book of Kells being mentioned. And rightfully so.”
The ancient masterpiece is a stunning example of Hiberno-Saxon style, thought to have been composed on the Scottish island of Iona in 806, then transferred to the monastery of Kells in County Meath after a Viking raid (a story told in the marvelous animated film The Secret of Kells). Consisting mainly of copies of the four gospels, as well as indexes called “canon tables,” the manuscript is believed to have been made primarily for display, not reading aloud, which is why “the images are elaborate and detailed while the text is carelessly copied with entire words missing or long passages being repeated.”

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Och Aye

A cauliflower subjected to seasonal X-Ray techniques.

Headlines and footlines:

Veganism is tearing our family apart.
All you need to know about female ejaculation.
Why do we find things scary?
Food prices will rise in 2020 industry warns.
Disgruntled painter graffitis side of pub.
How to make smokey courgettes.
Trump say s general was "saying bad things".
The language of war is always masculine.
Giant puppet takes Glasgow by storm.

...what a time to be alive.

Through a Scottish Prism

That's prism and not "through a Scottish Prison", a completely different thing. So how can I not view the world, the media, life experiences through a Scottish prism and how can I do this, taking a natural stance and avoiding distortion and see "straight"? Can a horse view the world anyway but through a horse prism, can an American view the world anyway but through an American prism, can a prisoner view the world anyway but through a prisoner prism? Hmm.

Maybe I'm black affronted, that used to be a thing, it means highly offended but also ashamed. A common Scottish lifetime paradox, guilt and shame in equal balance, enough of both to stall any major brain or emotional functions. It's how I feel about the Scottish version of the BBC's output, couthy, parochial, shallow and playing down the value of Scottish achievement. Weel kent faces with their views on a constant loop. Most major newspapers follow that line, the colonial one that keeps us "in oor place", quiet and servile. Then along comes a UK government that dismiss us as if we were a field of turnips, useful for soup, soaking up mud and not much more. A stupid, friendly race of comic characters and sporting failures, incompetent politicians, teachers and engineers who just can't quite cut it anymore. We need rescuing and only our betters, the Homo Superiors from Eton and Harrow can help. 

So how can I not see the world through this weird prism, this distorting crystal or whatever it is? Who out there actually has a clear view of how things are? Where's the balance and the clarity, why am I sitting here in a constant state of numb disbelief and loose alienation? I'm in space looking down, crazy people are in charge of things, nothing matters as long as their mass hypnosis continues to be effective. We're all just floating, prodding reluctant devices hoping to be entertained. Working class people talk about Boris as if he was their mate from the back-shift or a comedy act playing in the pub, they believe in shit turning to gold despite the laws of physics and Tomorrow's World. I'm not sure I can believe in my prism's output, there's a glitch, it's been got at. My view is subjective, biased, uninformed but it's mine, is that good enough?

Friday, January 17, 2020

High Hopes

2020 has been strangely busy so far and a little tiring, I'm writing less and musing more. It's a phase as are most things but ... progress is possible and actually happening. Many think that the world is just a huge shit show. Well it certainly is in some areas, that's undeniable. But there are many great and good things happening on the planet and, as far the bad things go, it doesn't have to be that way. Stay calm, play the long game, have high hopes. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

For the days

For the days when you feel a bit like a fly-tipped washing machine, broken and abandoned upside down in some forgotten piece of waste land. You are not alone.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Flag Days

Political Stagnation

And now a word or two from a purely fictional character by the name of Logan Roy, fae Dundee no less (as above). The sad truth is that nothing "official"can be done when we're up to our necks in political stagnation. It doesn't mean that we are a nation full of stags either, they've all either been culled, mounted on walls as trophies or been adopted by the kindly capitalist Spirits of Christmas. Maybe time for the souls of the anti-1707 zombies to rise and run free.

Friday, January 10, 2020


Reflections on the lost cause of Scottish Independence: We're in an abusive partnership, where the rules and the parameters change all the time. The Unionists are clever, they're in it for the long game, they know they have the power and the fear. They control the facts, they have all the muscle. If you think you might challenge the UK establishment then you're in for a one sided fight. Look at how Harry and Megan are being treated. I'm no fan of the royals but the methodology for maintaining their "order" in things is clear. People who refuse to do their duty simply wont be tolerated, that's the first rule. Then they excommunicate you in a lather of self preservation, because you really don't matter. Don't expect fair play, kind words or understanding. Don't expect anything to change because I doubt it ever will, in the near future anyway and some day there will need to be a fight, a proper fight.

Here's a piece called "Reflections":

Looking out on, frozen waters,
I was bound to share the shame,
Here I stand now, cross the border,
Will my times there, just fade away?

Angry silence, grasses blowing,
See the clouds run, heading on,
All this landscape, seeking order,
Tell their stories, nevermore,

Years' oppression, takes the soldiers,
Voices silenced, losing song,
Words and promises, just growing older,
Broken down now, to bring it home. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2020


A back to basics day today, avoiding the codswallop of before. A brief history of the spectacular. A dustbin full of bees. The correct temperature for boiling custard. It was dark, my headlights were on but my vision was somehow hampered. A raindrop touched my nose, cheeky. Phone batteries are better than ever but can be easily forgotten about with tragic results. I did not drop my keys down the drain. An email from my third cousin in Colorado? The lights were on and somebody was at home. I lost my torch at the baker's shop. Laundry done without a quandary. You can visit the charity shop without an appointment, that's really anytime you like. Petrol has gone up in price at the forecourts. I did not watch any Jethro Tull videos. 

These are things that I did not speak, utter or say out loud today at anytime at all. I wonder what I'll not say out loud tomorrow?

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Land of Shadows

Brief encounters in the ever open, never closed, land of eternal shadows: Placing your mortal soul on the line is seldom easy, that is unless you have no actual soul. I'm ambivalent when it comes to the matter of souls and their existence, souls come and go, some troubled, some disagreeable, others are completely fine, probably the majority. Then again are they even there at all? 

The shadows are a different matter, they lurk, they distort, they hide and they cover. You see, people will talk, people will stare but few will bother to listen. They like to make it all about them, as if they had any substance. Well...

"Actually I feel quite at home here (or there) in that shadowy world. You see despite my best efforts to hide the fact, I really have no soul at all, not the tiniest bit, I'm all shadow." These are words I never did say. I wonder who did, but that's not an actual question. 

On reflection (tough to see in the shadows) perhaps there's just a bit of shadowy matter maybe, floating, with a tiny portion of diluted soul, disjointed. That's better.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Colours of January

I did some colouring in today, (that's the 2nd of January 2020 to be precise). Of course when I say "did" what I really mean is supervised and when I say "supervised" what I really mean is facilitated but when I say "facilitated" what I really mean is observed and when I say "observed" what I really mean is that I was, for a short period of time in the same room as where these various masterpieces were created. I can therefore claim no actual credit for these pieces and intend not to do so at any soon or into the distant future.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Bye bye 2019

Farewell 2019: Best TV of the year? Possibly Succession, maybe Chernobyl, not GoT but it was OK and I'm glad it's wrapped up now. Can't really remember much more. Funny how a TV series can grip you for a time then just evaporate away into the ether like it was never really there. Just don't give into the fear of missing out, you're probably not missing much. Cheap, digestible entertainment, plenty more to come in 2020 to keep us all from thinking too seriously about the real problems out there. As for the worst TV, I don't watch enough to really have a proper opinion but BBC News and election coverage must be in there somewhere. Night night.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

When Christmas isn't white

No white Christmas here, just foggy sunshine beaming down to create the crisp and bright weather that was the order of the day. I also found myself in an unfamiliar part of the Lothians and managed to capture the Queensferry Crossing from a spot I've not used before (nor have many others I suspect). As a result I got some fairly satisfying shots as the mist rolled out across the river and the bridge structure emerged into sunlight.

Boxing Day

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve

I present a lovely and colourful Christmas tree I digitally knitted myself. Happy Christmas Eve and here's to fewer wordy word based things in 2020 (which is only a few days away and I'd like to think a reason to be cheerful).