Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cauliflower Wednesday

The hanging gardens of Abercorn.

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Cauliflower Wednesday.

No escaping the World Cup, even the National Geographic is in on the act.
Cauliflower and cheese, an odd but enjoyable combination of foods.
Broccoli fits in there also.
Some days the purpose of life seems completely beyond comprehension.
Hosing down the garden on a dry day waters the weeds as well as the plants.
The cat kills another rabbit so I give him more cat food.
Every night, every hour some old episode of Friends is airing.
Windows Media Player is not responding.
Lawyer’s letters are like a dripping tap.
The flipside of everything.
Lets hear it for the Angel Conversations,
The till in the local shop is broken today.
My eyes need retested after two years; can you get fined for going around with untested eyes?
The quiet at the end of the day.
She strikes a pose, without meaning to strike a pose.
Some work is done, some is undone.
The correct mood does not seem to be present.
Red-hot chilli Doritos.
Accidental car wash, three victims plus a friendly jogger.
Reading a book on the couch.
Toner is messy and expensive.
The last day of May left many people puzzled.
Before you know it along comes June 1st.
The postman leaves packages in the barbeque.
The jackdaws have three fluffy babies and are now being regarded quite differently. The crow wars are drifting in the warmer air at the moment.
They don’t seem to want to eat apples.
Paid the toll with five 20p pieces.
Early morning.
The clockwork sometimes runs down on you for no apparent reason.
If I ever find those lost jotters I’ll make a fortune.
A salad appears in the fridge, mysteriously.
An approaching holiday weekend makes me apprehensive; will the lawnmower start first time?
The idiots guide to HTML is not for idiots.
A batch of fresh ideas are on the horizon like barrage balloons.
When I was a child nobody I knew ever had hay fever.
Little cakes, each with a Mister Men character on them.
The video clip on my phone last twenty seconds.
What’s on the radio to love?
A banana and a jam and peanut butter sandwich.
Sleep comes like a drug, in God’s country, tired eyes and crooked crosses, in God’s country.
Today’s newspaper was remarkably like the day before’s.
Every thing you want is on line.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The film crew strike back

Film Crew up to something

The Confushian film crew use Upper Parkhead as a surprise location.

Fraser and Karen (the guerrilla Confushian film crew) took us by complete surprise and into mental hostage yesterday by carrying out some extra filming for parts of their “Conspiracy Theory” video (check the Confushian link on the right). Using a mixture of garden equipment, sports cars, trampolines and West Lothian’s ample sunshine the impromptu shoot seemed to go well, I marvelled at the couple’s enthusiasm and creativity while Ali donned her favourite sunglasses and quickly got into the act for a small cameo role. We eagerly await a full viewing of the finished product and of course the red carpet at Cannes next year.

The location shoots also uncovered all sorts of marvellous vegetation in our woods, a million swarming tadpoles, tiny wee fish, oak apples, numerous nettle stings and the added attraction of getting lost in your own backyard (for a few moments). I also got the chance to play the bouzouki badly for all of five minutes while Fraser grinned and stood by.

impossible songs

Crow Wars II (The return of the Jackdaw)

One upon a time in a garden far far away,
Strange alien beasts with black hearts ruled,
But an unlikely alliance of humans and tiewrap is fighting back,
The way of the lacewing, the peanut and the corn,
Shall prevail.
The feeders are stronger, the crows are darker,
The jackdaw cleverer, the food gorged more quickly,
The seeds spilled and upset, the sky torn,
The innocent victims scattered, an apple in the middle,
The crows are six, like black riders,
To curb their obsession, to silence their cackle,
The war returns, the fight continues…

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Nice Horsey

Three pigeons and Jake the jackdaw.

In the Crow Wars an uneasy truce has been declared. The crows have stopped coming over because we stopped putting out food. I decided today to put some out again, after a week of nothing. I deliberately put something out for the crows and strengthened the feeder for the small birds with cable ties. It seems to be working albeit that the Jackdaw (the real brains in the crow army) is still able to take food from almost anything at any angle. We’re also hoping that the higher insect count (the garden is buzzing) will aid the smaller birds, give them a new source of food and so still keep them coming around.

Nice Horsey

Hopetoun Horse trials are on this weekend. Numerous horses and buggies are clip clopping around at the end of the road as they work up their times for circling the estate. I pulled Ali from the bath in order to see Prince Philip canter by; alas she missed him by two minutes due to wet hair and no clothes. The twins and I stood on the wall high above a deep nettle bed and observed the royal visitor from a few feet driving four of the Queen’s best ponies as friendly helicopters buzzed over our heads.


“Popcorn” is not yet an Olympic sport but I’m sure will be one day. Simply sit in the middle of a trampoline, cross-legged and holding your toes. The other participant / opponent then jumps around you while you try to hold onto your toes. The idea being to last as long as you can without letting go of your ten little pigs. I am easily the best and the current undisputed Upper Parkhead champion. I am also exhausted by the effort.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The secrets of a decent sleep.

The secrets of a decent sleep in this world.

48 Hour experience.
Just the right amount of alcohol
A conscience as clear as a mountain stream
A day in the garden
A ten mile run
Stuck somewhere and home late due to flight delays
Watching a late film
Watching a late DVD
The 24 Hour experience
Building a shed and cutting your fingers in the process
A hot bath
New clean, comfy cosy sheets
Telling the truth about something
The 12 Hour experience
Cheesy toast with Worchester sauce
Mixing tracks and figuring things
Coming down after a weeks nightshift
Driving home from Bristol
Cleaning out the barbeque
Having friends round
A day in the saddle (cycling)
The 6 hour experience
The thought of a good breakfast, asleep in the fridge.
Two bottles red wine
A Day spent in the sun
A spot of DIY
Achieving something
Not doing anything special the next day.

Rare live snapshot

Ali & John lookalikes...

Rare review.

We don't play live very often so this was fun. Cannons’ Gait 13/05/06 Scott Renton: Impossible Songs are rarely heard live these days, but three songs were administered with the remembered vim and vigour. Nobody Jones got its all-time second airing tonight, a thoughtful rocker centred on an esteemed member of the Edinburgh acoustic community, and which casts the figure into a realm of doubt, uncertainty and darkness- "my fragile world is crumbling", sings Ali? What are you gonna do about it, Nobody?? Airy stuff on the second track, Apple Toast Awakening (??){the song is "Hunter", the correct lyrics are "eyes in the grass, appetites awakening"}, which reminds me of late-period Beatles b-sides, and they took it home with the distinctly personal I Miss That Boy ("No idea we had won first prize until half our lives were missed"). Nice to see them back onstage, what what?

Thanks to Scott R for fulfiling his reviewing duties so well.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The crow wars carry on

Saturday evening:

I made a mild curry last night(and can still smell it whisping around in the kitchen today).
Babysat one grandson also along with Guy and Erin and their pizza and Hagen Dass experiments, missed Dr Who; saw the awful but compelling Eurovision contest and a small segment of Big Brother, I found it absolutely nauseating particularly the feasting.
Sunday morning football cancelled, damn!
On the way home the dip on my car’s headlamps failed.
When I got home the phones (internet and normal) had packed in.
Ali and Paul were in deep conversation so I sat in on it and had a beer.
Sleep at 2am.

Sunday morning:

The phones are once again working.
A dead sleep has strangely revived us.
Coffee and some kind of brownie.
Thoughts on parental rights criss cross in the dark along with the super smug Lottery being visibly shaken.
A crow attack occurred. The feeder was knocked down and emptied, the seeds scattered everywhere. In the midst of the carnage the woodpecker returned. In a moment of blind optimism I though I’d put out a single bird fat ball as a test. We shall see. Ali put out some bacon scraps..hmmm.
Burning a batch of OOTB CD4 copies for the launch night at the end of the week.
Shed? (If the rain stays away).

Saturday, May 20, 2006

No shed assembly

The weather has put paid to the proposed shed assembly.
Lunch happened at about two thirty.
The cat was sitting in the pot of a bamboo plant in the rain.
The blog was given a slight makeover due to some odd piece of corruption.
Recorded a series of crow sounds to add to the (unfinished) crow wars.
Getting used to broadband again after a long period of disconnection.
Far away phone calls are faint and often hard to understand.
Tuna, cannelloni, champagne, wine, chocolate shortbread, bacon rolls.
The lost jotters ideas carry on even into Scott Renton’s OOTB review
My car needs cleaned out, as it smells like a shed due having had a shed in it.
I am babysitting my grandson tonight whilst in Greece the Eurovision song contest takes place.
No TV since the Champions League final.
Many growing things start to grow at this time of year.
A late night discussion on ethics and philosophy but I was really too tired.
Missed Green Wing (happens most Fridays)
A spot of hoovering and dusting followed by R & R.
Some more digital sales recorded.
World Cup predictions continue to be made with almost as many variations possible as lottery numbers.
Noisy dishwasher in the background.
Programming the new phone with a library of numbers.
In this weather people are climbing hills and walking over their tops and summits.
The spongy top from a microphone covered in fluff.
The Angel Conversations take their name from..

New OOTB cd has a marvellous cover.

Launch night is May 26th at the Pleasance Cabaret Bar, Edinburgh, 7.30/8ish.

Track list:

The Angel Conversations – October
Aaron Wright – Paperclip
POL – Welcome to winter
Indigo Rose – Melancholy Baby
Alex Payne – Autumn Rain
Coke and a Cake – Underachiever
Danny Dyer – Sweet Peace
Eagleowl – Buy my hands
Emily Scott – I lean
Peter Lewis – San Vero
Meursault – Rose
Lisa Paton – Land and sea
Davy Watson – Shoreline
Calum Haddow
Susanna Macdonald – The last song
The Victorians – Naked civil servants

Produced by David Reilly.

The speed of light v the speed of sound (handicap race)
Origami and the art of performance song writing.
Trivial things take up so much time.
What to make for the tea? A nice rhubarb crumble?
Failure? Not likely.
In a few weeks almost everybody will be on holiday.
She was reading the Economist and I was wondering what on earth the Scotland stuff was all about, perhaps a slow news month. Piper up to his waist in a Loch, piper at the gates of dawn, Piper Export (remember?).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Crow Wars

The crow wars

As of today (16/05/06) at 18:35 a state of war has been declared between me (me) and the three crows that live somewhere around here over in the trees. These pesky black bullies have for the last three days eaten all the fat balls and knocked down the feeder arm thus denying the little birds essential food. I was prepared to put up with this until this evening. Today (not sure of the exact time) in a final and brutal act of unprovoked hostility they knocked down and broke the wee bird’s feeder thingy.

I am currently trying to fix the damaged feeder.
I am seeking approval from the UN for further action. The use of “scarecrows” has been considered and rejected on the grounds that these crows are too clever. We call upon all peace loving starlings, tits, finches, woodpeckers, sparrows and blackbirds to join us, (not sure where the jackdaws stand on things at this point).

Impossible songs v American Idol Underground

Click to vote for us in this weird American on-line contest and we may win something and we will thank you. The song is “She’s a waitress” from Heartburst, features Ali on vocal and Siggi Richter on piano

Links that allow you to spend great wads of cash on our songs:

These fine looking stringy links promise to take you away to the noisy, strummy, drummy, hi-fi, lo-fi, singy songy world of iTunes and in particular to places where you can hear and buy our music.impossible songs: scapes

impossible songs: heartburst

impossible songs: (wip) sneakin' out

impossible songs: social enterprise

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sunshine Optimism

Check me out!

The phone man comes and finds no fault.

It’s not my fault.

Nobody’s fault.

A multiple of marvellous other faults exist out there in this imperfect world but they cannot be identified or listed or fixed, too bad. Trees come down on cables, lightning strikes, power failures and mismatched components, supply chain problems, conflicting specifications, white noise, grey noise, no noise, just too much trouble all round. No broadband when you live all of ten miles from Edinburgh, out here in the snowy wastes of West Lothian.

Sunshine brings optimism and complaints about the heat (?) and it’s the first few days of May. Only we Scots could think it could possibly uncomfortable at 16oC. Help.

OOTB CD number IV (Volume 4) has turned out rather nice, the usual mix of styles and deliveries and some kind of x factor make it a far more interesting listen than I’d expected (is this sunshine optimism?). If you want a copy it’ll be on sale from 26th May, launch night in the Pleasance Cabaret Bar, Edinburgh. Details at and it will be on sale each Thursday at OOTB, now in the Cannons’ Gate basement. Full production credits rest with Dave Reilly at Crispycat Productions, Oh yeah we’ve still to burn the first few hundred and label them up and so on.

Syrus the cats killing spree continues, so far its four rabbits and one bird in the last few days. I’m a bit worried we may be driven from our home by angry torch wielding locals, unless of course we turn the little killer in.

Impossible Songs’ new recordings are still firmly stuck in the packaging and finishing loop. As usual we’ve no shortage of ideas, which is a problem in itself, maybe something will emerge in a few weeks, (more of the sunshine optimism?). The working title remains “Border Crossing”, I think we are both happy with that and a basic cover concept based on material photographed driving through Switzerland in March.

Diet thoughts: weekends seem to be curry’s and stir fries. Weekdays are pasta, toasties (cheese still figuring highly in the content of whatever it is), bananas, crisps, apples, grapes, chocolate, cakes and bread rolls. Is this healthy? Do I really care?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Surprise easy access

Check me out!

Hidden soul

Finding the hidden soul
Beneath the places we could control
Perceiving some deeper soul
Between the spaces and mental folds

Seeing the bigger truth
Pictures painted of something new
Explore a language above the clouds
To realise and have no doubt.

Easy Access?

The pursuit of the elusive broadband connection goes on. Since we left Inchgarvie this holy grail of contact with outside world has been denied to us. Engineers, call centres, mild verbal abuse, strongly worded letters, paying bills (reluctantly), fiddling, twiddling and moving equipment from room to room, new leads, new filters and new contracts have been tried but still that blood green light on the modem wont light up. The fact is the big boys don’t care about a minority of customers who, like us sit at the end of a long line. Our telephone cable disappears mysteriously into the trees across the road never to be seen again. I imagine a family of squirrels hanging out their washing on it, jackdaws cavorting on it, branches rubbing through it’s insulation and rodents gnawing into it’s copper core. We are defeated it seems. Well that’s all I can think while I sit patiently waiting on a visit from yet another BT engineer who is late already (he didn’t turn up).


I wish for rain
The dark torrent from the sky
Sprouts weeds and wash the streets
Fill the pavements cracks and gutters
Drip from windowsills and under
Cars and traffic and splash the world
Clean the breath from my lungs
Taste the chill freshness on the tip of my tongue.

Last weekend...

Cats and rabbits can peaceful coexist under certain circumstances I imagine, but not around here. Syrus has been hunting and has been (as usual) pretty successful. Today at lunchtime he proudly produced a dead baby rabbit, which he proceeded to toss around, cuddle and wrestle with as we looked on, jaws dropping. He was clearly well pleased with himself and showing no remorse removed it from our back door out into some secret place to enjoy as a private feast. Who are we to judge the ways of the wild? Before he came to live with us he allegedly fended for himself for almost a year so finding and finishing off fresh prey is not out with his normal behaviour. At least he didn’t try to put it on the barbeque. (Later in the evening I found another dead rabbit over by the garage, this one was half eaten; clearly Syrus has had a busy day. Whilst neither Ali nor I are completely happy with his behaviour we both see that he is at the higher end of the Parkhead food chain and that what he kills and {mostly} leaves behind will feed a few families of scavengers over the next few days. There is no point in being judgemental towards your pet even when he is exhibiting worrying serial killer tendencies!)

Most of last weekend was been spent building garden furniture. The picnic table turned out to a half-day job, I’ve never seen so many different huts and bolts and combinations of bits. I could have built a decent dune buggy in the same time and with fewer parts. Any way it’s all over now: Goalposts, trampoline, picnic table c/w parasol, swinging bench, barbeque and an ordinary bench all ready for the onslaught of summer. Whatever we all had great fun yesterday in the unfamiliar sunshine messing around in the garden. The kids spent most of the day trampolining and brushing up on football skills while we cooked, read, joined in, watched wild birds and tried to relax, right up until Dr Who came on.

Ali has been experimenting with flavoured water products. Today, as a result of having made an apple crumble (apples, rhubarb, mixed (Christmas fruit), crumble and I’m not sure what) we enjoyed apple peel tea. Boil the apple peel, strain and sieve; add honey, serve and drink. I was quite tasty if a little mild and has potential. I get the feeling that following a series of “tea” experiments something rather good, substantial and hopefully successful will emerge. Ali’s already asking me questions about bottling and preserving – as if I would know.

Still trying to put together a cover concept for the next cd. One question has arisen, “do the lyrics need to be reproduced?” We’ve always kind of felt this was important but I’m not so sure, perhaps it’s better to say less, allow people to listen and draw their own meaning and conclusions from the songs, if they bother to at all. It is certainly true that a part of the cd experience is studying the cover and reading notes and lyrics and checking credits. We have ideas for the visuals but haven’t progressed beyond the early stages; I‘ve not even done a mock up or anything. We are also thinking of using tracks from a remix that Martin is working on so the end product is still a distance away.

Long Weekend (but not long enough)

To switch off for a weekend,
To lose the thoughts and motivations,
On which we seem to depend.
To end.
Some sort of struggle against time,
To give way, stay up, sleep in, relax, unwind.

Because I’m in the same room as you,
When you devour some clever book,
I gain vicarious pleasure and knowledge,
With hardly a second look.

But in my inner strange stillness,
Ideas keep on coming back, the list of things to do,
And think and say, plan and write, read and pack,
Pack more into each uncertain day.
To lead these thoughts astray
To take you far away.
To ride a white horse in this holy mission,
Jumping between straight scientific certainty,
Black arts and modern superstition,
Just a few sparks between, the visible and the unseen.
The things that fall between the cracks,
Covering some unavoidable tracks,
Another weekend left to relax.
Another few hours left to relax.