Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ferry Fringe

impossible songs

Poster by Tommy Mackay of course.

impossible songs

Ferry Fringe

Only a week or so away the Ferry Fringe is coming together. Norman Lamont will could doubt gain a lucrative book deal and possibly film rights if he ever chose to write about the many unplanned and unscripted events that surround running an arts festival in a small Scottish town. Anyway we are nearly there, the programme may have few holes in it but overall a great many worthwhile events are up and ready to run. The opening night is in the Priory Arts Centre on 7th June at 7.30 – you can get more info from the weblink on the right or from any shop, pub or bus stop in the area (and we hope a few of the weekend newspapers also).

Short Poem

Always pissing in the same sink.
Always drinking from the same bottle.
Always switching between the same TV channels.
Always waking up with the same headache.
Always scratching at the same spot.
Always repeating the same mistake.
Always running out of cash at the same time.
Always not quite in control and not sure who is.

Monday, May 28, 2007


impossible songs

impossible songs

Saturday – Dunfermline’s date with destiny.

The final o’ the cup aka enduring a series of traffic jams eventually leading to a grim part of Glasgow where our (almost) beloved team met with an expected bitter end, but it was all fun and the banter was good - so my favourite things of this lost weekend were:

The kid’s trialling the PS2 bound for the holiday rental.
A chaotic breakfast followed by a brief return to Fife to pick up my No2 son.
Standing outside of Scotmid with a bag of soft drinks and a lottery ticket like Johnny no pals.
Watching those stretched Hummers heading along the M8 filled with partying Celtic fans.
Radio Scotland’s predicable but often funny pre-match coverage.
A brief but confused conversation with the Chinese fast food sellers at Hampden who seem to have no clue whatsoever as to what they were doing. Particularly when confronted by 17000 Fifers all wanting a Stephen’s bridie.
Everything about the game up until about 84 minutes.
Watching the distant pyrotechnics as Celtic lifted the trophy while we were heading away from the stadium.
Coming to the rescue of a bleeding Celtic fan whose van was bottled by some Rangers fans in Cathcart Road – welcome to the real world.
Reading the programme in another traffic jam while someone else drove.
A pint of 80/- in the Glen Tavern on the way home.
A marvellous platter of curry, rice, cold meats, salads, breads and rhubarb crumble prepared by Des and Ali for us all on out return to West Lothian.
The feeling that all of this is over, at least for a few years – surely.


More football, this time with the grandkids in tow and the 3 – 0 victory for Joe’s team.
Small children all over the place.
Getting rid of the fish tank, thanks to Erin, Guy and Tim for the heavy haulage.
A McDonald’s chicken wrap – oddly tasty and satisfying.
Watching Kiki’s Big Adventure with Olivia.
The cat returning and turning out to be in a more domesticated state of mind.
Hopetoun House horse events running along nicely in our backyard in between the showers.
More late night curry, wine, conversation and a deep and exhausted sleep.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


impossible songs and the dancing buildings of Prague

impossible songs

Dancing to the sweet music of chance.


The trials and tribulations of another day. After a particularly trying but exhilarating day at work I spent the evening in another world altogether. Perhaps I should have focused on the Champions League final but to be honest I couldn’t be bothered and the poor Scousers missed the boat anyway. So the music of chance was calling via a new 100w active monitor, a wah wah pedal and the digital delay circuit on our PA amp. I rigged the kit up in the dining room, a mess of cables and black speakers and blurred my way through a selection of our songs and the Beatles “I want to hold your hand”. Everything this time was at a slow speed, the delay and reverb kicking in and the wah adding an odd spectral quality, I even sat down while playing .When you’ve not played guitar in a while it all seemed like running a 10k in 40 minutes.

Ali came in fresh from a shopping spree and we settled down with a glass of wine to watch Alan Sugar stumble through his own grammatical mine-fields for an episode of that business-soap “the Apprentice”. You’re left wondering just how well you’d do under these circumstances, hawking bizarre items around London and hoping to make a fast buck by any means. There are no strategies or plans apparent, it’s a dash and a flash and for some poor soul a crash, but then it’s fifteen minutes of absurd fame before the credits roll.

Cup final fever hasn’t quite happened yet but on Saturday we’ll wend our way to the temple of Scottish football dreams that is Hampden Park. We’ll chant and sing and summon up enthusiasm for a team (Dunfermline Athletic) that on paper has little hope of winning and then, perhaps, when the hot dogs and pies are eaten, the coffee spilled under the plastic seats and the final whistle sounds we’ll dance again to the sweet music of chance.


Where does the time go? I can’t recall what I’ve been doing (yes I can) and now a whole week has gone since my last IKEA hot dog and tepid cup of coffee

Friday, May 18, 2007


impossible songs - nice sofa

impossible songs

777 isn’t an album by Rush or Bush

Pray for the Lord’s return on 777!? (That’s 07 July 2007 to those of you living in a thicket). What complete and utter rubbish, as if Jesus or any other spirit being out there can be manipulated by the Bible belt’s frantic buckle flicking in some mad act of self gratification and flagellation.

Sofa so good

A brown sofa has come to live in our house. It trotted in the door and turned and parked itself in the spare room and has quite an odd but likeable attitude. You can sit on it, sleep on it and look at the garden from it. Its brownness is amplified by the bargain carpet upon which it artfully squats.

Songs of the week

These are “I want to hold your hand” by the Beatles (in G, or in C with a capo) and “Waterloo Sunset” by those strange Kinks brothers, Ray and David. We have been oohing and aahing along to them whilst admiring the tiny print upon our Cup Final tickets.

Hot dog tea but no rocket

Want Italian? Hungry for Chinese? Need and nice hot Indian meal? Pshaw! A hot dog c/w mustard does the trick every time particularly if bought from a vendor al fresco. Despite this example of an occasionally sampled high quality diet the craving for that legal drug, rocket (and spinach) never goes away – where did it spring from? I’ve added this green beast to the (growing) list of things you only begin to like once over fifty: Anchovies, olives, spinach, whisky, dark chocolate, soda bread, cress, cucumber, sweet potatoes, mackerel, roll-mop herring in brine, whole onions and rice-crispies. Mature taste buds and the inability to find things in the supermarket are the root cause of this I understand. There is no known cure.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jumping Frogs

impossible songs

impossible songs

A frog in the toilet

It’s not everyday you come home to find a live frog your downstairs toilet. The little grey green chap was motionless and probably dazed and confused having survived some bizarre and unthinkable journey to get in there. He was found sitting under the toilet bowl, looking as innocent as any lost frog. It’s at times like these that having children around is very useful. My son, a natural frog handler picked up the frog and put him in a nearby pudding bowl. For some reason I added water and for a moment had odd thoughts about frog recipes, these passed and the frog was duly transferred outside to the rain gauge science machine aka the empty fish tank. We added a few leaves and pebbles and the frog, along with a collection of beetles and water skimmers now seems happy enough in this private universe, a lesson for all of us. Now all I need to do is tread carefully on entering the loo for the mean time.


There is a school of religious thought that says in your final few seconds on earth, before shuffling out from this mortal coil, the last thing you hear is the opening synth riff to Van Halen’s 1984 track “Jump”. Having never ventured too far into the afterlife myself I’m not sure to what extent it is true, I’m guessing it’s unlikely but the idea has a certain appeal. Some of you may of course be unhappy about this preferring perhaps the ambient strains of Brian Eno, Phillip Glass or the pomp of ELO or Yes. Of course this soundtrack to stepping over would only apply to those who, not fearing the reaper passed away post 1984. All the others (and there are a few according to history) must have had to settle for something a tad less dramatic. It’s possible that post 69 it was the climactic wah wah start to Voodoo Chile by Jimi Hendrix followed by that huge power chord, prior to that I’d guess it may have been “In the mood” by Glen Miller (from the1940s onwards). Before that it’s anyone’s guess, I suppose in the dark ages or during the various inquisitions, in times when music was banned you had to make do with a silent brave slump or stagger towards the white light. God gave rock and roll to you.


Benny the cat has returned after scaring his owners for the last few days and making us look under hedges and over walls. Curiously, despite Benny’s home being only about a mile away from here, up the country, we heard of his safe return thanks to an email from Sri Lanka. Bonkers or what?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Another soul adrift

impossible songs seek benny

impossible songs

Benny the lost cat.

He may be lost (as his owners suspect) or he may have of his own accord simply chosen to slip away and lead a new and completely different life. He may be living here, in what was his former home, with us, right under our noses in a constant state of feline hiding. Anyway Benny’s owners called the other day looking for him, he’s been AWOL for three days and naturally they are worried. Frankly in the two years and more we’ve lived in this area we’ve never seen a cat answering his description and because we have a cat we tend to notice other (rival) cats who may just be cuter or more clever than ours. Bennie has however slipped under our radar and not ever been seen and clearly that expert camouflage and concealment technique is one he is still using successfully today. Come out, come out wherever you are!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Young footballs of Europe

impossible songs

impossible songs

Young brain boxes of the future.

The cleverest kids in Fife are officially in my family. We triumphed at general knowledge and received two fine trophies in a school children’s quiz held in downtown Cupar, once capital and county town of the confused kingdom now only another traffic jam on the way to St Andrews. To make matters worse it was replaced and dwarfed by the urban design dung heap that is “new town” and Fife epicentre, Glenrothes. Anyway thanks to the organisers and the local schools who took part - it made my day.

The unkind real word of competitive football.

The doom of relegation has descended like a Biblical plague upon Dunfermline Athletic FC. After a series of Lazarus-like performances and various lucky league points collected, we settled for a mild cuffing yesterday at the hands of some northern team with a long and confusing name that should belong to a pint of dark beer. Groan! and I’ve just bought my cup-final tickets. Perhaps in the future there will be no defeats and no relegations, the morbid rules of political correctness will dominate and simply mean a heartfelt thanks are given to everybody for their participation in another meaningless team event and a certificate for all who played and attended. No more antagonism and joyful singing of that mesmerising refrain, “you’re shite and you’re goin’ down” either.

A snog for Europe.

The Eurovision Glam & Song contest is probably the best and worst TV night of the year. For one thing we all watched it sprawled on various couches (as I presume families did during the war and other major national events), we (the adults) drank pink Champagne, ate chocolate and curry, voted for some obscure, tuneless Eastern European song and like the last World Cup watched as not so Great Britain represented here by England's finest bombed out. At least we avoided the embarrassment of being last like the plain awful Irish entry, a major musical turnip clearly written by a committee of folk-club organisers and gala day planners, it was the worst effort I’ve heard in years. Laugh? I nearly did, and then the strong drink and the curry overcame me. I should be more careful at my delicate age.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


impossible songs

impossible songs

Almost Lost

You may break your teeth on this chocolate, it came straight from the fridge.
The cat has gone missing and not for the first time I may add.
If I don’t wake up with a headache tomorrow it’s not my fault.
Wearing stripped socks does not get you noticed.
It is so easy to make an arse of your myspace page.
The rise in interest rates has caused many to turn their faces to the wall.
Some folks are allergic to the fumes produced by gas fires.
An army of ticks has invaded Scotland according to a news snippet I heard.
I never was an Eighties sensation.
Why is there never anything on at the cinema when you fancy going?
The ingredients of a good curry vary from household to household.
I understand that there are both hard and soft drinks irrespective of their containers.
The World Wide Web appears at times a tad fickle to me.
I’m not really bothered about things that are light years away.
Tony Blair has called it a day in order to do other things.
A third crossing of the Forth will give us five counting Kincardine’s’ two but not the butcher’s shop.
Thursday night’s TV is not worth switching on for.
In Lost a new plane has crashed and the survivor told the (old) survivors of the other plane that their plane wreck has been found elsewhere and that there are no survivors.
I’m not expecting much sleep this weekend.
How can you dislocate your shoulder playing cricket in Aberdeen?
We’re on Virgin Music’s website.
At least I’ve done my bit of accounting.
Fish pie, pasta and smoked sausage and green salad featuring rocket, spinach and cress.
It’s good to be in the same room as fine food.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Words & Music

impossible songs v Willie Mason

impossible songs

Thank you Willie Mason, Rufus etc.

I’m not sure at all where songs come from, how they get into your head or how the process works. Often I’ll think of something or get an idea and the timing is just bad; at a meeting, driving, or first thing in the morning when I’m not quite awake or worst of all just as I’m about to fall asleep. The ideas born at these times tend to have a very short life span and quickly die unless some higher part of my conscious mind kicks in and intervenes. You wouldn’t think it’d take much but just stopping or changing step to write a phrase or idea down seems to take a huge amount of effort, which for some reason I tend to resist.

Any way for no reason at all an idea came to me last night while I was driving and listening to a Rufus Wainwright song on the radio. The song was “The art teacher” and strangely it has no connection I can see with the lyric I wrote. Also playing in my head was that gorgeous garage band shuffle drum sound that Willie Mason gets on all his songs. I was driving, hearing that and Willie’s lyric “Signed myself out today” while Rufus crooned the art teacher thing. So out came...

(Verse 1)

All the things they say about me are true,
The words they throw, they think, just stick like super glue,
And it seems I’m something that you’d pick up on your shoe,
For all the things they say about me are true.

(Verse 2)

All the tales they tell about me are bona fide and accurate,
Every syllable, vowel and constonant is immaculate,
They write, they taunt, they think, then they regurgitate,
Yes all the tales they tell about me are so accurate.

(Verse 3)

All the gossip that you hear about me is factual,
It’s based on truth, it’s dirty proof, it’s truly actual,
That torrid talk’s not perjury or evidence circumstantial,
Yes all the gossip that you hear about me is factual.

(Chorus or middle eight or other messy bit)

All the things that they say about me are true,
But it just flies off, for god has made me bullet proof
I’m like some superman just standing on your roof,
You point and shoot and I don’t squeal or make a move,
I’ll take your best shot and I’ll let you follow through,
I’m a human target and a bull’s eye just for you,
I don’t make this up or glam it up, it just reflects the stuff I do,
For all the things they say about be must be true.

I may need to edit this a bit more to scan it and to make it singable in some way and I have not applied any guitar paste to this audio wall paper. Will it fly or will it drown? Will it join a few others in a one-way Word folder optimistically titled “songs”? Whatever it has survived the first difficult stage, it made it into my waking mind and onto this page.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Return of the Giant Hogweed

impossible songs

impossible songs

Non controversial weekend.

Saturday: I collected a huge fish tank thanks to fly-fishing on Freecycle and subjected it to extensive leak testing which it seemed to pass. It has loads of pumps and bubble things and accessories and is bound, eventually for Aberdeen where it will be populated by fish while two small boys will marvel at these Aquatic wonders and probably chuck toys at them.

In the afternoon I munched a rocket and fish salad in the sun with Kate and Ali and we had a deep discussion centred on yesterday’s election and the resultant chaos. Also we may or may not have Hogweed in the garden. Has the giant returned? In the evening number two grandson arrived for a stay over, together we composed “dinosaur” music on the piano, explored the woods (looking for dinosaurs, through the dinosaur window), and squirted water in the bath with a dinosaur and then Ali read him a bed time dinosaur story. Can you see any kind of theme here?

Sunday began with football in the wildest wind for some time, the boys from IHS putting in a hard shift and battling the elements to win 3 – 1. Grandson two and I struggled to stay put on the touchline while Joe tried hard to keep up with the game playing against the fierce wind, Kansas seemed a long way away. Then up to Freuchie for a spot of DIY, cakes and DVDs and finally back via the Forth Bridge road works, with J & O for a big Ali type supper with Emma and Kev.Emma is today (Monday) bound for Sri-Lanka for a three month stint of volunteer work and has undertaken to record the highs and lows on a new blog: .

Ninja Cat Fight

During the night I believe the cat had a fight with the cat next door, on the roof in the moon light, like in some bad Ninja movie. Regrettably I missed it by being in my normal comatosed state. Ali however dealt with the bad boys and Syrus (the cat) having exhausted himself and digested a huge rabbit has been sleeping somewhat unnaturally and peacefully since.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Scottish erection

impossible songs

impossible songs

Did my vote make a difference?

The people of Scotland have spoken, almost, well some of them managed to successfully tick two boxes and put a number in another. What a struggle it turned out to be, who ever said independence would be easy? For many wee souls ticking the boxes was the toughest written trial they have faced since attempting Standard Grade Bingo, putting a line on at the bookies, failing the 11 Plus or counting their change at Aldi. Thankfully all that lottery mumbo jumbo and card-scratching training finally worked for the majority, modern society’s methods and the democratic system are indeed wonderful things.

So what of the poor one hundred thousand (many more than ever fought at Bannockburn I believe, unless you count the camp followers, weirdoes and Irish that joined the battle later ) who failed to register their precise voting desires? King Eck the First, our likely new ruler has promised a full and frank investigation in order to soak up some of the surplus cash from the Scottish Executive’s budget, so have no fear.

Next time there is a general election or we need to decide on bringing back hanging or witch burning I propose a good show of hands across the nation and then results can be checked using Google Earth – just take a pixel each to check. Who says that the Scots can’t make the most of modern technology?

Thursday, May 03, 2007


impossible songs and the scourge of the great weed.

impossible songs

A garden of nettles

Gardening is hard work. This week I’ve been battling nettles with a strimmer. In a way all a bit like Boromir hewing at Orcs or William Wallace poking sharp things at and into the English. Anyway we have a garden that is prey to nettles, thistles, spiky things like thistles that aren’t thistles, various sprouting weeds and more vigorous nettles. Thankfully we have three apple trees, some mysterious berry bushes and rhubarb to balance out this axis of evil. So far about 40m of strimmer chord had prevailed against the advancing nettle hordes; we are about even in the May Games – if a score was to be kept. Over the weekend however I plan to both strim and rake in a bid to finally gain the upper hand. My main aim being to clear the green festooning thorn birds from the structure we call the chicken coop, (it’s full of nettles, mud and a rabbit hole). Then on Sunday my number two grandson can have fun shutting himself in it without fear of being stung by the green enemy.

Joseph and I attacked the thorny beasts tonight briefly but the battery in the strimmer ran out and there was football on the telly, Lucozade to drink and school projects to do. I may also bring in my mighty WMD over the weekend, aka the lawnmower, it’s not fully happy on uneven ground but I do think that its well wired supercharged 50cc power could give us an edge against the nettle threat.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Staying Focused

impossible songs

impossible songs

Tuesday Afternoon.

Thankfully the weekend’s giant pizza has been digested, the Arts Festival meeting is over for the week and I’m now in Birmingham airport and at a loose end for short while. I did have some nice asparagus on Sunday which I believed would do me all sorts of good and would also make me pee green urine. Sadly this didn’t happen, perhaps I didn’t eat enough or maybe it was the wrong kind of asparagus…

So the queues are not too bad and I’m just hoping that my flight will be on time. Over a late lunch watching Sky news (whilst consuming coffee, tuna wrap and a maple and peanut Danish) I was wondering how many Ford Focus cars I’ve driven in the past five years (the poor quality of my thought processes is scary sometimes), generally with all of these cars have belonged to Mr. Hertz or Mr. Enterprise. Those fine tin cans have been ferrying me around the UK on a regular basis, almost in comfort and for so long that I can’t remember the previous model the rental guy's used. I can never have had the same one twice so I’m guessing the usage figure must be well over 100.

Longest journey? Birmingham to Plymouth to Bristol (I think), shortest (and most frequent), Birmingham to Sutton Coldfield. Of course I could just get a taxi or just not go but I always seem to land up in the cold driving seat of a Focus first thing in the morning in the grey Brummy air. Motoring anominity? It certainly is but if it picks up Radio 2 and the heater/air con works and it can sniff out the M42 I don’t really care.