Thursday, April 18, 2019

God's country

Panorama: the location. Some say it's God's country, some say it's nothing to do with him, some say there is no God, some say it's everybody's country, but as the field has three bulls in it and they call it home I'd defer to the view of the bulls.

When the loch was created some of  the ancient graves were flooded and lost. Not sure how the occupants reacted. Nobody new or newly dead has been buried here for many years. Now they're underwater. No religious objections, a bit like a burial at sea. It's all a creationist myth anyway. There's a sense of peaceful ruin in the strangely warm spring sunshine. Moss and lichen only grow on one side of the grave stones, usually the side you're trying to read. That's all part of nature's strangle-hold on death and it's conspiracy of silence and the with-holding of relevant  information. We know nothing.

Bare trees and shadows in a graveyard.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Danger: Home made sign

This place is dangerous, if you don't believe me then check the sign.

The old castle (or whatever it's technical, historical name is) is also reasonably picturesque, even on a dull Spring day when the daffs are out. It's also, like most ruins, a bit sinister. I always wonder, regards castles, how the inhabitants managed to get their furniture in, particularly with a front entrance 20 feet above the ground. Remember these were the days before flat packs. Might have been the days before furniture now that I think about it. Lot's of unwilling serfs to bully into action I suppose.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

All those who are thirsty

All those who are thirsty, abandon hope and drink from here. Your trials and tribulations are temporary, your physical ailments and imperfections might just last a little longer, we don't care much for your health. You may require a stronger and more robust constitution if you are brave or thirsty enough to drink from this eternal spring. I am not your savior, I am not the answer. I do know a few facts about e.coli. It's brutal. Perhaps I am a poison, a simple, hidden poison like the Christian church, a veiled death threat seen as an angel of light. However if you choose to drink from this source you'll be in good company; Queen Victoria and Albert to name but two. One died young, the other lived on for quite some time. In the end it's all up to you. Choose wisely.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Guinea fowl

These birds are stupid, crazy and like to wander around in a crowd, scratching and clawing at the ground. They are not chickens, they don't socialize easily with chickens but they probably taste like chicken. I'm not too worried about finding out whether or not they do right now, that revelation can wait. Their antics are amusing however and they are apparently pretty noisy, but that's not something I've experienced. Anyway they are our near neighbours at the moment so I'm granting them space to be, simply to be. Unmolested (?) they'll live for eighteen years.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Into the wild

Our house is a very very very fine house etc.

Beneath the rusting corrugated iron roof the reflected battered head of a worn out pilgrim steps forth from the trees and shelters in the peace of timber and stone...for the time being.

I am currently writing this through the vague and shaky medium of low speed, low resolution broadband. Every type stroke requires super human effort, every photo groans at the compression and pain of the upload process. Each mega-mite of data is squeezed and slowed down to the pace of a turkey crossing a field of indifferent bulls munching shattered turnips. Strangely eBay still works but the satellite signal is grainy, appearing in the guise of 1960's 625 lines rather than digital HD quality. We're out in the wilds. Living in the woods, parked up on mud, wild birds and rodents strike Disney poses and silence is everywhere. From the window mountains are visible in desolate magnificence. Perhaps we're working on a new album or experimenting with cooking techniques, perhaps we'll be eaten alive by ants or found frozen dead in our log cabin bed, perhaps we'll just do a little light reading. Nothing matters as it's all further figments of my imagination (apart from the nearest shop/pub/civilization being 16 miles away, effectively over the hills and far away) and I'm relaxing into the happy warmth of the unreal fate and surprises that holidays provide.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Sympathy for the bees

I've never been stung by a bee, just wasps, many wasps, many times. I forgive them. Bees seems more peaceful and generally have a good, wholesome image. Focused, busy, industrious,  loyal and of course they make honey, eventually. So these bees that have newly moved into this nearby field are a bit like tiny, grazing flying farm animals though they will not produce meat, milk or wool. Nobody eats bees or wears their fur (?). I wonder how quickly they will settle down. Will they be disorientated, homesick or upset? Will they explore and come over to our garden(s) and try out the tulips and daffs that are popping open? Will they just invade the field, there before them like a great golden Asda that they can shoplift from at will, strip the shelves, lay waste, bring it all back home, gorge themselves and get fat with no adverse consequences? Get shouting drunk on nectar? Some days it must be good to be a bee.

Cairneyhill Crunch

Cairneyhill Crunch is a local delicacy first made up in the 12th century by local monks from nearby St Margaret's Abbey and offered to pilgrims as a light  snack as they traveled across the Fife Path of Pestilence looking out for a good beating. It's now going through a mini revival at cafes and eateries in the small town and is seen as a type of "street food", very fashionable amongst the young these days. The traditional recipe still requires that only the best corn flakes and dessicated coconut are used in the complex baking process. There's also a mystery ingredient. No one knows quite what it is. It's also thought to be one of the earliest examples of an edible microwave dessert and it has inspired many quaint folk songs, dirty inky block prints, electric guitar tones and abstract arty poems over the years.

Numerous families of travelling gypsy bees have moved into the field next door. I presume that they intend to dine out on the large amounts of Rape-Seed pollen that is dustily powdering itself across the landscape these days like a fine shower of sweet cocaine. Always nice to have new neighbours, particularly hard working ones that may well survive to sting, irritate and drive away any fly-tippers or over enthusiastic courting couples. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nothing is satisfactory

Nothing is satisfactory. Even a super massive black hole, impressive as it is and impressive as it is to have actually been found and photographed, is a little hard to take in. Do I understand any of it? No. Can I actually comprehend the meaning and significance of it? No. Is it God's eye or arse hole? Blowed if I know. It's a big crazy thing up in space that I actually do not have any terms of reference to describe, (other than dumb ass Sci-Fi film and reading experiences). None of these are quite good enough to adequately tell to my feeble brain what is actually going on. "Careful not to step in that black hole son, no good will come of it". Perhaps the Chinese will arrange a trip there, maybe Donald Trump will fund an expedition to see if it's good place to sent refugees to, the Russians might just claim it for possible mineral rights. The greedy dreamers will continue to dream, hold on to their illusions of power as they are dwarfed and ridiculed by the sheer size and magnitude of what's out there.

I actually knew that it was there all the time, I just kept quiet about it. Seemed like the right thing to do. Glad it's all out in the open now.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Feeling discomfort

Sometimes I think, "that's the kind of thing that could only happen in China/the Far East (or to be fair some other far away place I've never visited)". I read the news today, oh boy. So four tiny bees living on human tears in the eye of a Taiwanese woman. The tiny sweat bees nest in the mountains or near to grave sites ... it's a strange horror story that writes itself albeit once the bees were found and removed the woman's sight was saved etc. etc. In a fantasy story the arc would've been far longer and even more horrendous. Graves, bees, tears, feeding, parasite, stinging, eyes, metaphors, horror, revenge, plague, blindness; just for starters. Maybe it never really happened.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

You can never put your foot in the same river twice

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

But it don't snow here
It stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money
Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
I wish I had a river I could skate away on
I made my baby cry

He tried hard to help me
You know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on

I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Oh, I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby say goodbye

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Joni M for Christine M. RIP.

Monday, April 08, 2019


Chips, just chips, nice crunchy ones, not too dry, not too moist, not too large a portion. Fish, battered again not greasy or chewy. Just about right really. Also avoiding the added salt, sauce and vinegar and just allowing the natural tastes to emerge. So that was an enjoyable tea in Aberdeen with some of my grandchildren on Saturday, grub from Oor Wullies fish and chip shop. Run by an Irish family in Aberdeen so no obvious cultural connection with the DDW comic strip hero but the food's good. Life's simple pleasures are the best.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Photos of ghosts

Modern art from recent history. Ghosts on print, Polaroid spirits. History: that thing we create every day but only recognize when other people tell us about their version of it. What they saw, felt, maybe even did and we nod and play along. It sounds kinda familiar so it must be right. Some people even take photographs, this creates history immediately but in order to become "proper" history those photographs need to be published or exhibited. Black and white renditions are most effective here, they evoke the past in all it's veiled mystery. This usually happens when the photographer is conveniently dead. This blurs any proper meaning and allows others to decide what might have been going on and what the picture is actually about. Ultimately history is about the dislocation of past and present and the dysfunction of memory and meaning so as to create a fictional past that serves the writer's best interests. It's much more convenient this way, also PhDs can be written, papers and diaries, books and documentaries, while the dead sleep a) in death or b) as images in photographs. That's just how it is and none of us will ever know the truth.


Rainhead, raintown, raincountry, raincontinent, rainworld, rain universe. Well not exactly but it sometimes seems way when you've the snuffles, the sneezes and it's raining most of the day.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Medieval Music 2

So, in a bid to break my listening patterns (for the better) I spent the afternoon driving out to St Andrews listening to more medieval music (the tunes are all very short and kind of clipped). The theory being it's a purge for my listening system (ears) and habits that might remove the scars from the sycophantic afternoon pap on most talk radio and the dreary music elsewhere out on the daytime "music" spectrum. Well of course a lot of medieval music is dreary too, kind of tuneless, modal and simple but in it's day it delighted the crowned heads of Europe and provided a backdrop to courtly ceremony and gatherings. It's really strange to think about that and how it must have all been, scratchy and wooden. Like having bad buskers practicing in your house whilst complete strangers came and went, quaffing your ale and stealing your sheep. But there is something nice about it, something raw, clumsy and very human (as human as you can be whilst the royal court looks on). These guys were doing their level best to entertain and also avoid disapproval and who knows what as a punishment. You can sense that they'd like to add fun to the mix but at the same time not cause offence or an upset. It's strained and all a bit tense. At any moment the Spanish Inquisition might well burst in and fracture your lute, poke you with your flute and then cast you into a pit with irons around your ankles. All for a bum note or a burst string that can't be fixed until you kill a passing cat. Then there's the general disapproval of the mighty church and it's officials  to contend with. Tough gig.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019


Everything's gone medieval these days, or at least it's headed that way. Forget civilization and the renaissance, forget science and progress, forget listening and being reasonable. We're back to wooden heads and wooden music in a pre-enlightenment loop. "Burn down the ballot boxes and hang the reasonable people" say the disagreeable people. Well the wooden music's OK, the wooden headedness takes a bit more getting used to. I liked it better when there was a bit more tolerance and democracy, less arguments about vaccinations and indicative votes and sugar was a reasonable enough ingredient. It only seems like yesterday, now nobody can agree about anything (not sure when people actually agreed about stuff but it must've happened at one time in recent history). Yesterday everything also turned into April, didn't see that coming.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Here's why...

...there's more than a few problems in Scottish football. Firstly the guy that throws the punch doesn't get sent off there and then (or arrested) and the guy that took the punch is an infamous wind up merchant who goads the (stupidly dumb) opposition until they crack. He then plays the victim. Actually I take all that back, this is in fact a sophisticated populist drama, as written by William Shakespeare and illustrated by Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko back in the golden days of Marvel Comics. As you were; it's high art, we're all just watching it in the wrong venue and viewing through the wrong medium.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Big Issue: Killer Bunnies

In the case of this post the title is even more irrelevant than usual. Big Issue? Killer Bunnies? I just liked the way the words meshed, the usual story. Interesting titles don't make for interesting blog reading and, I'm pretty clear on this, this isn't all that interesting reading. Basically it's an experiment in art and drivel that began many years ago and has run, sporadically and inconsistently since. It's a strange compulsion, a cathartic exercise in the recording of the important and the absurd, in no particular order. The Big Issue cover is there because a) I just bought one and b) the artist himself congratulated me on my purchase.

This of course brings me on to the depiction of "killer bunnies" in medieval artwork, it was a thing then, nobody is quite sure why. They appear as doodles and pre-cartoon cartoons in the margins of manuscripts. Perhaps it was simply for comedic effect. For some reason the art world has chosen not to repeat it despite the many circles and cycles of creativity that have wormed their way around our universe. Maybe it's the next big thing. Patreons look out.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Daft bikes in gardens

Odd urban artworks: Why do people put home made "arty" bike things up in their gardens? Asking for a friend.

Remains of the day

The broken concrete and stone skeleton of the old tidal swimming pool at Pittenweem, Fife. Obviously abandoned for some time but strangely it probably wouldn't take much to get it back in order. Sea water swimming is popular here and there (not with me) and it could be done safely (?) in this pool, for kids mostly. Anyway it won't happen. I did like to imagine how it might have been with seats, boards and steps, an ice cream booth and some primitive changing areas, back in the day this was all a big deal around the coastal towns. Maybe Brexit stay-cations will bring some of these places back, but only for the brave.

A few minutes after wandering past this pool I bumped into local lad Phil Jupitus and had a brief chat, mostly reminding him of our glorious victory in the "Rip it up" Pop Quiz late last year. Funnily enough he was busy making up arty prints from card and seaweed. Who knew that this was a thing?