Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cat food omelette

I seem to have gone on for most of July and much of August, the long summer months in some sort of denial of writing or producing or creating anything other than those bad, half formed early morning ideas you get (or the drunken ones you get and quickly forget). Yes that is how it has been, unforgivable and reprehensible...but fun, followed by those three pretentious and hopefully meaningful full stops. You see I've been away, in France, in England, here and there. I've been lazy too and too lazy, obstinate, preoccupied and busy with things that are counter productive. The stats have all of course gone haywire, history has repeated and I've slept away the rain, fog and misty days in a haze of, well just about nothing. Excuse me please.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Anchovies and cheese

The assumption that is made (in my imagination) that eating and appearing to enjoy certain types of food makes you look sophisticated or assume the mantle of being  knowledgeable and cultured dogs me like some badly behaved and sociable dog that I’ve encouraged with pats, praise and tit-bits. I can’t shake it off, it has adopted me. Top of the list is the anchovy and/or white bait eating experience. Scoffing the whole, strong salty fish with it's oily texture and mouth stinging pickled flavours is more of a trial of strength than any kind of measure of social mobility and worldly wisdom, it’s pain. The culinary equivalent of swimming with jelly fish whilst urinating. Perversely it’s a pain I’ve come to enjoy. The challenge that lies beyond the bland, the easy or dare I say it the pleasant. The strange experimental pact that you may from time to time (when bored with modern life) make with yourself just to test your limits (and when you are of a certain age it’s not about American motorcycles, parachutes or bungee chords), it’s just about consumption, pain and pushing against some stubborn physical tolerance. It’s taking a risk, often a stupid one. I know where I am in this now in this universe of botulism and I am comfortable peering over the event horizon and into the black hole, even if the trip is powered by a tasty but fatal dose of scallops rather than a pristine bit of Cheddar.

It’s the same as voting yes in the referendum. A yes vote equals a revolutionary outlook; a no vote equals a reactionary view. The issues on both sides are totally irrelevant; there is no proper debate, no meaningful information, nothing found in those exhausting sound bites or repetitive tweets matters. There is no credible evidence for a certain future outcome either way. It’s just risky v risk averse; and there is nothing wrong with that. All people want is some validation for their cherished views and, when the majority look they always find what they want to find nothing changes the dark/sepia human heart easily, not even sea-food dislikes. Had both sides realised that a while ago they could’ve done away with the flyers, films and trumped up publicity and donated the money to worthwhile charities and noble causes and just left us all to vote from the heart. This is exactly what we will all do on the 18th, albeit most folks will completely deny it if asked. Put it to the test, think of the Yes and No people you now know – how do they measure up? Anchovies or cheese?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Water everywhere

A handy and informative sign discovered in a Shell Station portaloo.
The Lake District contains a lot of water, most of not in the lakes but in that awkward space between the sky and the earth, where people often walk. Wet for 24 hours is an interesting experience only made pleasant by food, large amounts of alcohol and good company - so I survived. I did wonder about life and common sense and things in general when I saw some gentleman swimming naked, in the rain in Lake Windermere early in the morning. I think it was the swimming in the cold rain part that puzzled me, it seemed crazy. Then I thought about all the water, everywhere, descending on us. It still seemed crazy. Naked? That's pretty crazy too.

A money tree (detail), found near one of the very many houses by Windermere where William Wordsworth apparently slept. I've come to the conclusion that he was either a burglar or that he had a thing for farmer's wives, apart from all the poem writing business that made him so famous.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Handful of time

only a handful of time
here today
here in mind
with our secret thoughts and whispers
running low across the dawn

maybe I saw you there
perhaps you were just moving on
or you were already gone

my hands are open
palms empty and up
pushing hard on the sky
my eyes see the horizon
passing by

my time in handfuls
drains all ways
these wasted hours
fill up my days

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Turns to toffee

They warned us that it would happen but we ignored them, what did they know? We carried on, we just piled the stuff in. All the junk, the selfies, the comments, the butt shots, the music uploads, pathetic games, the streams, dreams and things better unseen. News, views, screws and nothing to really lose. Now it's full, the Internet is full, like some cupboard under the stairs or those problem bedroom drawers or the garage. It's happening tonight, look around, all your things have just turned into slowly setting, congealing toffee. Yum. The world has finally stopped.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The spiral path

Following on from yesterday's despairing but low key rant I remain convinced that mankind is not progressing up some mystical spiral path to Valhalla and enlightenment but is in fact headed to Hell on a rotten and rusty handcart. We just do not learn from history or experience. Our Government commemorates 100 years since the War to end all Wars but by it's actions (or lack) proves we've learned nothing by either supporting, condoning or more likely being indifferent towards conflicts in Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine and god knows where else. We stand by and shake our heads but...

Having said that I still can't figure what direction (on said spiral path) a Yes or No vote will take us here in the bosom of supposed civilisation. Pity help the poor media dazzled person caught in the crossfire of confusing rhetoric...then I heard someone say "what other country in the world would not vote for Independence if given the opportunity? The rest of the world must think we're all daft." Hmm.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The redistribution of wealth

What with holidays in France, rubbish pay rises, wine goggles and the collapse of modern politics I've been giving this subject (wealth and it's various forms, norms and problems) some deep and penetrating thought. It seems to me that the idealistic redistribution of wealth, as called for by various socialist and revolutionary voices cannot be made to work. All that happens is that the state tax the wealthy thereby destroying the aspirational model and so bankrupting the free market. This leads to further exploitation of the masses and various shit dinners and shortages. The poor stay poor (but are rewarded in the Christian Heaven eventually). Then the state, fat on tax it lacks the vision to spend wisely, squanders it all on vanity projects and ill considered public spending. Everything ends up in another black/brown hole like this one that opened up in Nairn today. I really need more of a cheese intake so I can dream better, more positive dreams and so save the NHS and the transport infrastructure.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chinese Crackers

Big score of International Karma points coming our way: Arriving back in Scotland late last night into a desolate and deconstructed Edinburgh Airport (no Festival Ticket pickup points or any signs of life open after 2200 it appears) we trudged up to Level 42 of the car park to start the final leg of the journey home. We were hailed by a bewildered young Chinese couple with a dead Audi A4. We tried a jump start but not only was the battery flat, the starter motor was also jammed and the disc brakes were seized - four weeks of sitting in a multi-storey does bad things to a car . A call to the AA was then made, costly but hopefully helpful after some frantic English/Chinese translation; I'd like to think they got back to Glasgow one way or another. Our reward for a futile jump start session and calling the AA for advice - a pack of Chinese Crackers handed over by the girl, "they're from China!" she said. That was sweet. I also felt my stubborn A4 envy slip away quite nicely, what they say just isn't true.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Some time in Paris

Here's some relentless photo-blogging from the city of Paris, France (as an American might say). A city full of glamour, rats running free, people sleeping rough, crazy cyclists and roller blade folks, thunder and rain, pavement cracks, good food, wine and graffiti. Funnily I missed most of the towers, arcs, artworks and palaces that normally are associated with the place; next time maybe.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Let the soil decide

Lessons in life: when lost in the vineyards of Burgundy, at a crossroads in life or unsure about anything in general then you plant something and see how it the earth decides for you. Whatever does grow you use, it may not be to your taste of course but I might just suit somebody else. I'm ok with this as one kind of way ahead.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Sunday Lunch

Bread, wine, loaves and fishes, served up as nature intended. Some minor details omitted for illustrative purposes by the stringent editorial processes currently running around here.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Nature Abhors

The wise men and monks  of Cambuskenneth Abbey often remarked that the good and benign force of nature, whoever, wherever she may be abhors a vacuum. That and cold Chicken Tikka leftovers, flat beer and Hollyoaks. In order to prove nothing in particular I spent most of this evening vacuum packing eleven shirts and two suits and squeezing them into tiny bags. After all I'm soon to be trekking in Patagonia or some such exotic and remote place and you can never tell when an uncreased and fresh lavender scented shirt might come to your rescue. The ancient technique was passed onto me by a old Chinese man living in a place known as YouTube. Sir, I salute you and all of your brave countrymen working in the tailoring and folding of garments industries. If you could only sort out some major human rights and environmental issues all could once again be well in our small, airless little worlds.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

10 things I quite like about you

Generally I find that I have little in common with mainstream Papal thinking, or any other religious twaddle that's pushed out to calm the hysterical masses and while this is all a bit cheesy there's none of it I could easily disagree with. Well that's my mood for today, it may change but here are Pope Francis’s 10 secrets to happiness. Not a big black book in sight either.

1. “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”

2. “Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

3. “Proceed calmly” in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life.

4. A healthy sense of leisure. The Pope said “consumerism has brought us anxiety”, and told parents to set aside time to play with their children and turn of the TV when they sit down to eat.

5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.

6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.

7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we're not asking ourselves is: 'Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'”

8. Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”

9. Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,” the Pope said.

10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.

The Pope and Jesus

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Aye, right!

Just back from Wickerman 2014, three days of music, peace, noise, drones, sinful behaviour, dancing, eating cheesy chips, fruit, nuts,  sun, cigars, rain, weather, pyrotechnics, wine, beer, sleep, cold showers, chat, wind ups, guitar boogie, rap, poetry, nonsense, log dancing, fog, pasties, hat decorating, hat wearing, sunburn, blethering, flags, singing at the top of your voice, removing litter, silly drunks, wandering around, punk and ska, T shirt engineering, slipping and sliding and eventually getting home via Biggar (which should be twinned with Smolla, someplace in a mythical Sweden). More thoughts later on...

Monday, July 21, 2014

More flag

I couldn't be in more pain unless I'd urinated on a nettle. Well that wasn't what I did, nor was I stung by a wasp or a disguised bee or scratched by some jumping cat. I did pull a thorn from a drain and that did hurt a bit but then I completely failed to drop any of the sixteen breeze blocks and four bricks I moved across the garden onto my naked toes. I didn't for once bash my head on the low lintel on the garage door, on the boxed in plumbing nor on the awkward bit under the stairs where everything is at the wrong height. No thumbs were hit by claw hammers or finger tips removed by spinning electric machinery (drill, saw or lawn mower) and my wrist was not burned by the oven door nor scalded by a kettle spillage plus I cant remember the last time I cut myself shaving or (other than two weeks ago) had an irritable spot up my nose cavity. So what is this pain? No other words than...summer fatigue and the requirement for a holiday. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Still Life v DIY Flag

Still life with roses, wood and water.
Flag testing has been underway all day. Glad to say there have been no incidents or accidents so far other than unrelated head banging moments,  as per usual.
If for some reason you're lost, can't quite get your bearings, blundering about in the dark or generally overcome with a serious disorientation problem then the simple answer is, where ever you may be or think you may be...follow the flag.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Shorty McHumbucker

#lessnegativeposting Here's the unrecognised star of this year's Wickerman Festival; Shorty McHumbucker no less. Funny how as part of the comprehensive suite of presentational works and logistical planning the bathroom has to get a fresh lick of paint. Here's to better weather and the one size hats fitting all.

A fun place 2

When I said previously "a place not run by Tory slimers and snake bellied goons" I should have added "a place not run my these cheesy and untrustworthy examples of  a poor apology for the leadership of the Labour Party". In any kind of sane world they would actually be working for the people instead of living out their own warped fantasies of having a glorious political career, one devoid of any grasp of socialist ideals and the representation of our needs in ordinary daily life. Ugh! A clear out is required.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A fun place

Kirkcaldy: a divided place.

Voting for a brave new Scotland?

A place where rights and freedoms are supported and respected.
A place where voices are heard and listened to.
A place with good health care is coupled with the promotion of good health education.
A place where social services have a light but positive touch.
A place where politics is positive and not fearful and negative.
A place where housing is decent and affordable and is supported as being a basic right.
A place where we can get a proper education.
A place where people give back in proportion to what they take.
A place where we can make money ethically.
A place that makes things, sells things and, if it can, gives things away.
A place where we understand things are not perfect but we work, a bit at a time to make them better.
A place where we tolerate and support diversity, eccentricity and creativity in others.
A place where crime is dealt with quickly and effectively.
A place where superstores and retail parks don’t dominate our town and lives.
A place where nature is in it’s right place and respected.
A place that people will want to visit, holiday in and work in.
A place that knows its roots, its history and its traditions.
A place that has a respected voice in the world.
A place that doesn’t shout me, me, me all the time.
A place where fingers don’t point and tongues don’t wag.
A safe place we can call home.
A place not run by Tory slime balls.
A clean place.
A fun place.

This all becomes a bit too pious and predicable after a while, too worthy and possibly stupid. A box ticking exercise. It’s hard not to include indicative and desirable things like having clean public toilets, no potholes in the road, a four day week, nonstop erotic cabaret, banning religion, no snappy dogs, cheap petrol, no bingo and having a Yellow Brick Road we can all just skip along on whilst whistling a happy tune. Well maybe some day.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Seasonal Variations

Webs of extremism, the death of blogging and barefoot bowls. 

Rumour has it that summer's here and so are the sporting events and regular vapid weather speculation conversations. The World Cup being the most gripping and enjoyable bit so far. I took a lot of it in, avoided the pundits and the back stories and concentrated on the basics, the matches and the beer and cutting the grass. I wasn't disappointed but it was gone in a blur, like Alan Hansen. The tennis at Wimbledon passed me by as if it was some ghostly event populated by unrecognisable players and blonde clones – once Murray was bumped anyway. Now the spotlight is on the mean city of Glasgow, an unbridled opportunity for Scotland to look...seriously and determinedly Scottish. I already have a strong sense of trepidation over these over hyped games as they are duly hijacked by the clumsy efforts of the less subtle factions in both the Yes and No camps and the ever hysterical BBC. This will be a defining moment that, like most so called defining moments fails to define anything meaningful, yet everybody will be on the look out for one to cherish, grasping their own personal bit of belonging to whatever unpleasant nonsense the Commonwealth represents and what the UK and Scotia might mean. Scotland will most likely sink without a trace in the blue chip events and we'll, as usual assume the position of polite loser and genial but badly spoken host. In the heat of the moment our grammar, dress sense and  deodorant choices will let us down but eventually some bright young hero will arise and thanks to relentless over exposure inspire the masses only then to have his or her medals stolen by some dumb ass who thinks they really are gold. It'll be fun, I can hardly wait and I've already got all the tickets I need...for Wickerman.