Sunday, July 29, 2007

Up the inflatable hammers

impossible songs

impossible songs

Aberdour Festival (the Strat and tambourine get a rare outing).

Things I learned today and at the Aberdour Festival:

Buffalo burgers are very good. Now I understand what Native Americans and the first settlers enjoyed in their diet, unfortunately taking it to extremes. These particular buffalo came from the village of Puddledub in Fife, naturally. Buffalo sausages are also pretty good I believe.

LED Lights on guitar effects pedals are unreadable in bright sunlight. This means you can’t set your tone or drum machine up at all.

When you’re a teenager feedback is fun and the essence of rock and roll, when you get order it’s just a nuisance.

No matter how many leads ad adaptors you have with you, you never have the one you really need.
Inflatable hammers can cause extreme pain when battering your head from a short distance away.

Some Asian dance and music is pretty funky indeed and in Fife a massive crowd pleaser as it turns out.

Not all CD players operate in an intuitive and easy way. Press and guess is not a good way to queue up music for dance groups.

Playing music in a tented village is pretty good fun and when it rains you are in a tent but the audience isn’t.

Portaloos have not improved significantly in thirty years but remain an essential part of outdoor life.

When you turn your well organised flight case up side down and then take it on a car journey it ceases to be well organised when you next open it again.

An acceptable form of Surf and Turf can be lasagne, pizza and salmon and cream cheese bagels. Add some salad and a couple of Magnum lollies and you’ve a fine, all round meal.

Playing guitar in your socks is ok and helps to operate small switches more easily.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Aberdour Festival

impossible songs

If you’re at a loose end on Sunday 29th allsorts of odd events are scheduled to take place at the Aberdour / Arts / Music / Running / Dancing / Beer drinking / Mind reading / Car-booting / Pigeon shooting / Outdoor cooking / Spooking and prevention of looting Festival. It’s not just the mad dogs and fine ladies of Edinburgh’s legendary OOTB, on no.

impossible songs

The musical experiment of the friends the environment who spent and sent their good intent with intentions of irreverence, in the end they made no difference but I must say in their defence, the exit and the extravagance made history and little sense so never mind and never end the end of all our innocence and of course God did give rock and roll to you personally so don’t abuse or waste this gift.

New religions in food

A temple of eggs. One large omelette topped with scrambled eggs. Four (sliced) boiled egg columns are then prepared and then a fried egg roof is placed upon this structure to complete the temple. Why not try one today? Are there any other food temples you could construct? Some ideas are:

A temple of Mars Bars – very solid and possibly angular. No cooking required.
A temple of beer – generally built while still within the holding container to preserve the quality of the product. There is scope to create a huge structure using this medium.
A temple of rocket and spinach – difficult material to work in, not for the beginner.
A temple of strawberries – seasonal and bright. Use cocktail sticks for strength.
A temple of pork chops – using the traditional BBQ preparation this hot temple normal rises from the smoke of a charcoal base, rests on a grill top and sizzles nicely in a finely balanced and blackened pile.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dreary but not sorry

impossible songs

impossible songs


Bought a new appliance lately? Some marvellous piece of white good, quite good engineering wonder with a funky name. A box of Chinese components assembled by Turks in a Polish factory and recommended by a middle aged ex-supermodel who insists all washing should be done at 30 degrees – to save the planet. If only it was all that simple. I suppose the good people of Tewksbury and Gloucester are currently kicking themselves over the amount of washing they’ve done in their life time at +40, that and the Easy jet flights to Spain and the Marks and Sparks deserts. Appliances should make life easier of course, tiny robots, unable to walk or talk but kind and benign and understanding of our so subtle human needs. A dish washed here, a sock dried there, some background music, a warm radiator, and a fiery pop-tart, a microwaved bag of Basmati rice or voyage into Facebook on your laptop. Well I’m not voting against appliances, perish the thought, it’s just the way they only ever last for five years or so in normal use and then give up the ghost like some mechanical lemming. If we’d made things that lasted then just maybe we’d actually consume less and somehow put a little more good stuff back into the environment instead of more fumes, landfill and junk.


It used to flood all the time and Bangladesh and register with us for about sixty seconds on the news then disappear up some laughing celebrities’ sleeve into the next TV programme, now the chickens are coming home to roost. Anyway nobody under thirty and on less that £100k a year can afford to buy a house in the UK these days, unless it’s on a used up American air-base. New Labour and the grasping estate agents and banks have put paid to that dream so let’s just keep building these unaffordable timber and breeze block temples to modern bad taste in their thousands across the flood plains of Britain and wait and see what happens next.

Small cats.

I know little about cats. I have lived under the same roof with a big one now for five years or so but it hadn’t occurred to me he’d once been a kitten and what that might have been like. Now that we have two kittens in the house I am starting to grasp the complexity of cat ownership. Kittens are insane, almost suicidal bundles of unending energy that jump, climb and cavort in the most madcap of ways turning your home upside down in the process. Two young dinosaurs loose in the house would probably have less impact than these furry fellows as they rampage across everything, chasing each other, bits of fluff, their tails and anything that makes an unexpected move anywhere within their radar. God love the little darlings.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Feline shandy mayhem

impossible songs

impossible songs

Confessions of a shandy drinker

Yes it’s true I do quite like a pint of lager / lemonade shandy now and again. Ok I know it may be a little Charlie Drake or Ernie Wise, British as a fish supper wrapped up in the Sun and eaten on a Brighton beach bench but it’s ok. Shandy is cool and, apart from the experience of ordering it, is not at all scary or unmanly (I don’t think). Last night I had two pints of the stuff without breaking out or breaking down. What I don’t much like is the way you get charged £2.70 for a pint of the urine coloured fizz, I just don’t get that at all.

Harry Potter and the flight of the phoenix five.

A visit to Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal allowed us to view the latest HP adventure on the big screen. In contrast to the writers of some of the two and three star reviews I’d read I enjoyed the film. Nicely dark, stilted and jaggy in places, cut abruptly and too much plot for too little screen time but still pretty entertaining (I guess this means I didn’t fall asleep) and all at a crashing pace. The Irish mystic Luna with her continuity challenged hair extensions was my favourite character, brave, bullied and some where beyond the scale on the plain / pretty category. In cinema food terms Ben & Jerry’s strawberry cheese cake is good but doesn’t quite match Hagen Daas at the Odeon.

The owl arrives (late).

The Amazon owl delivery was 36 hours late but finally made it without crashing into any trees or slipping in the mud. I waved to the driver on a narrow piece of road and predicted the nature of his cargo. The avid reader devours the book in no time at all as the kittens look on in hungry, puzzled amusement. By six o’clock the Deathly Hallows was read from cover to cover and all the unanswered questions answered. I may trudge through the same 600+ pages during the next few weeks, you can never tell – It’ll take a few glasses of wine and some Fruit Clubs (Jacob’s) to do the trick for me.

Next Sunday...

...we pray the weather gods will let us of lightly as we participate in the 397th Aberdour arts, music, and donkey brae running festival in the picturesque Fife village of Aberdour. Our trusty PA and a tent as big as Billy Smart’s top hat will be on and in location from 1100 on Sunday the 29th at the Silvery Sands on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Fife’s No1 estuary, the Forth of Fifth. Playing along will be: IMPOSSIBLE SONGS, TOMMY MACKAY, CLOUDLAND BLUE QUARTET, UHERSkY BROD, JAMES WHYTE and BRIAN McGLOUGHLAN. A suitably harmonic racket should ensue in order to entertain all and sundry.

Cat mayhem.

Clint and Smudge have arrived to lodge with us until the end of time. At 8 weeks old these cheeky scamps are full of mischief and kitten biscuits and life will never be the same. A slight diplomatic incident did break out between Syrus and his new chums and the UN have sent in a special negotiator in the shape of “Coffee an-an Jaffa Cake”. Syrus tried to negotiate his own terms of endearment using the three blind (dead) mice as a bargaining tool (as he does most Sundays). Clint and Smudge were having none of that and continued playing with a feather on a stick and attempting back flips from the couch whilst ignoring Syrus – as if he really cared.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The illusion of deck shoes

impossible songs

impossible songs

The illusion

For some reason I felt today that despite the numerous warnings and statistics that support Global Warming theories (many of which I subscribe to), we have only ever scratched the surface of this world and in a relatively small way. We like to think of our Great Walls, Pyramids and skyscrapers as triumphs and long lasting symbols of our creativity and endeavour but would any survive the onslaught of Japanese Knotweed if left unchecked? Of course the heat build ups and the ice melts and holes in the ozone are worrying and demand action and intervention at some point pretty soon, but I still feel that once we are gone this planet will wipe it’s self clean and continue, regenerated into some other mildly changed form. Man needs to look out for man before anything else; the planet can take care of its own future. We are a tad delusional about our importance and significance on this earth and the impact we’ve made on it. We are dust and not really the crown of God’s or anyone else’s creation but we have no other idea than that on how to regard ourselves. We teem like mice or locusts and consume huge stretches of land and water as the planet sighs and ultimately knows best who will win out.

Critical acclaim.

Shrek 3 is almost funny and almost worth watching. Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is long and sodden and formless but with great characters. Part of me enjoys this kind of film; part of me is saddened by the lack of fresh scripts and the stretching out of ideas for the great industrial marketing cycle that must be sustained. This weekend we’ll go and see the latest Harry Potter – I’m hoping for a dark, real and realised movie this time.

Bummer in the summer

Perhaps I’m extra tired this week (I have a decent, chugging head cold, as does Ali) so I can’t get into any kind of summer mood or imaginings as yet. The air is heavy and thundery every day, the clouds roll on to reveal brilliant sunny patches that dwindle into moist cloud and the grass is damp and sprouting. I’m taking a break in August so I hope things level out into an even pattern of weather and that my obsessive watching of the skies can be properly shielded with sunglasses and a blank mind for a few weeks.

Deck Shoes

I’ve washed my deck shoes in the red light, off, on, blinking and temperamental washing machine. What size will they be when they come out?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Normal life

My daughter's wedding invitation has arrived and takes pride of place on the mantlepiece, roll on September.

Art in the airport, you may say "what's the point?", you may walk past and ignore it, this guy is the first I've ever seen stop and take a look - it's not me by the way.
impossible songs

impossible songs
Back to black

Thursday evening, home again after an 18 hour day of travelling and discussing and sitting in traffic jams on the M40/42 and delayed Flybe flights. A chicken Cesar salad and a cool bottle of Peroni in Birmingham airport’s Frankie and Bennies’ did little to soothe or relax me but such is life. I am determined to remain an optimist and to be a positive influence in this cruel and negative world where the status and effect of traffic dominates our behaviours in a completely unreasonable way. I’m also going to get a flight case for my guitar pedals and a tent but not for the pedals.

The last day and frontier.

My final day in the office I’ve worked in for the past five years was today - Friday. There seemed to be endless job related things to do, today of all days and despite speeches and a very pleasant farewell presentation my head remained down as I worked right up to the bell. Strangely enough our song “I miss that boy” was playing on an office PC during the ceremony, which was a reasonable enough hoot. In fact everyone had just about gone home when I finally finished up but I felt I had nicely closed everything off and I was leaving a clean sheet. Relief, a bottle of wine, a bottle of whisky, eight Boosts and other nice gifts sealed the afternoon.


On the way home I bought some fishcakes with spicy tomato sauce for Ali’s tea. I duly got back and deposited them in the fridge along with a few other things then the cat decided to be sick twice on the kitchen floor while the rain poured down outside. We mused about the purpose freezers, often things are bought that for some reason you don’t quite fancy so you stick them in the freezer. This immediately renders them doubly unfanciable and even more inaccessible, buried within a block of ice never to be thawed out and eaten. The fishcakes turned out to be the exactly what Ali fancied and I struck up a relationship with some Old Speckled Hen. Friday.

Bed making marathon.

So having drunk an normal amount of Friday evening alcohol we naturally progressed onto remaking all of the beds in the house (two doubles and four singles), mercifully ignoring the downstairs futon. This confused and uncoordinated act took about an hour and involved unmaking numerous beds, trying to locate replacement sets of sheets etc. and washing and drying the used bed linen. Many piles were created and subsequently abandoned. At times comedic but generally more exhausting than anything I would not recommend this as a late evening activity. A further category of piles of things was created when we decided that some fatigued pillows and linen should be reserved for the kittens. Phew.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Julia's natchos

impossible songs

Thursday - Out of the Bedroom

Played at OOTB for the first time in ages on a hot, thundery airless night in the CG Cellar Bar. We played “In a garden of music” and “Not pretty”, we were both on the wrong side of relaxed and I couldn’t get my little drum machine set up in the short time we had so though there were no mistakes it wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for. I was also the reviewer so I recorded the proceedings as they ran, the result will appear on the OOTB website and in 100000 emails in a few days. My own concentration was low on the night also, a few hours before I’d found out that another grandchild was on the way, taking the current count up to four. Multiplication is a wonderful and mysterious thing and since I heard the new I’ve thought of little else than the new baby who’ll appear some time in 08. Has it been raining at all?


A posse of children arrived and the house has been buzzing. Early experiments with food mathematics were abandoned as curry and rice consumption and pizza and chips shovelling reached new heights. Fortunately a few bottles of house red were on hand to dilute various sundry poisons and the like.


The sun shone the grass grew and bbq was lit and more food formulas duly explored. Things went exponential when a driving test was passed and an unexpected engagement was announced (Not Ali & I!). Champagne was the order of the day and a van load of congratulations go to new driver Gillian and the happy couple Kate and Les (minders of a brace of cute kittens we are inheriting shortly), whatever you get in happiness you more than deserve. Out of the heat of the moment, why is itunes such a pain to work with?


More food, more sun and an impromptu visit to Edinburgh Zoo. In a kind of nostalgic way I enjoyed pushing a two child buggy up the 100% hill that forms the Zoo’s Alpine spine leading to wolf country, zebra land and a cute exhibition of mobile phone masts in their natural environment. From the top of the zoo-hill Edinburgh and those Pentlands never looked lovelier and in the Stripes Café hot dogs were never more expensive or tasteless. I also admired Fraser’s legacy of the wild exotic plants sprouting from all corners and the penguins on parade almost made me want to apply for a 6 month job in the Falklands. T in the Park brought the quote of the week from my son regards the antics of the Gossips’ Beth Ditto: “You can’t smoke a fag on the stage but you can act and look like that?!” The world’s gone Fratelli mad and quite rightly but at least I missed the Skids.


A pleasant blur of work, Nintendo Wii golf (3 birdies to me), various alcoholic drinks, massive amounts of pizza for the kids and grandkids and Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts in “My best friend's wedding” on Film 4. I also booked a chocolate fountain for my own daughter’s wedding, now only a few panic filled weeks away and my son-in-laws stag night/weekend in Newcastle beckons. I may have watched a lost episode of Father Ted later in the evening but who cares?


More mayhem with the garden, grandchildren and the Wii and other children of various ages. I made nachos but not in the form of a nacho hat a la Homer Simpson – conventional but with bigger beans and flavour. I slept soundly but a head cold is hovering and there is no known cure.


I leave my job of Friday (in Oxford tomorrow and starting afresh on Monday) so today I received a bottle of Benromach single malt and pirate copy of Shrek 3. I truly have the best colleagues in the world - sometimes. Tonight I am exhausted.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Miles of tiles

impossible songs escape to Freuchie

impossible songs

Scallops + Maths

Scallops are an underrated food. Firstly despite their slimy texture they taste good. Not sure what comes taste always overcomes texture in the mathematics of food consumption (a new science and means of expression I’ve just invented), though look, naming conventions and temperature are vital also. An ideal formula would be Ts/Tx + l (te x nc) = a good dinner. (Ts = taste, Tx = temperature, l = look, te = temperature and nc = naming conventions). To this formula you could add c=company, e = environment and aa = accompanying alcohol. A really good meal possibly leading onto a good night out and even more might look like:

Ts/Tx + l (te x nc) + (c/e+aa)+aa.

I think I’ll stop on this now otherwise I may go a little too far.

First Miniscule

I had my scallops in the Boathouse, South Queensferry looking over at the “Blood Red Bridge” as described by the Mayor of Lazytown, aka HRH Alex Salmond, First Minister of the new republic. Alex is never one to understate or avoid exaggerating anything, a great word mincer in the Tony Benn/Blair tradition. You imagine great tanks of saliva being prepared by SNP minions every day so that the great orator can be lubricated by pumps and pressure to navigate tongue, throat, vocal chords and breathing resources around the wonderful and wise things he has to say. He has to say them as they cannot be kept in, so deep and dynamic is his wit and his wisdom. Ali just had fish and chips, but oh, how we danced.

When funny noises come from your car.

One technique is to ignore the noises or imagine they are being produced by a trapped squirrel and nothing mechanical or important. Denial is a useful human resource. The noise may of course be from a foreign object stuck to the tyre and it will drop of as your drive faster. This never works however. Then you think it’s a loose item in the (empty) boot, or something under your seat or something to do with the road surface. After a while you become more irritated and you stop and get out and walk around the car, creaking your worn out old back to “see” the noise, as it were. Cars however tend to come covered in car bodies that cunningly hide all the hidden defects and the sources of all strange noises. Bugger. At this point you head for Tom Farmers or Kwik Fit in order to be ritually humiliated by a young fitter (not a mechanic) who will happily charge you £150 for a black piece of metal about 6” long: but looking on the bright side you get a free cup of coffee.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Now we see shadows...

impossible songs

impossible songs

Piper at the gates...

Another frog/toad in the kitchen, so what do you do? Leave the door open and let him make his own mind up about where he goes and hope you don’t tread on the poor fellow during the night. I’m sure that good old Pan will look down and look after him come sunset. Hark! A distant flute...

Modern life is not really rubbish after all.

Lawnmowers are the modern beasts of burden today replacing donkeys, trolls, virgins, pheasants, peasants, village idiots and the like. A good lawnmower is one that’ll cut damp grass, is self propelled, doesn’t use up oil and runs for a year from the same tank of petrol. Incredibly this is just the one we’ve got, complete with the engine from and old Spitfire and the propeller from a Sopwith Camel, long may you run etc. The operator requires two bottles of beer per section of lawn and a good glass of red wine for the weedy bits and strimming the bloody nettles that are everywhere right now. Of course the operation of heavy machinery and the drinking of alcohol is not recommended by the management and particularly not during thunderstorms.

Kitten update.

Smudge Yoda Graham will be joined by Clint “Hawkeye” Barclay some time in August. Syrus (no odd middle name or surname allocated) will require a serious amount of counselling in order to cope with this change. To make matters worse another sibling (the creamy Irish Liquor named and coloured) Baillie will join us for a brief holiday in the country also. I can feel the sneezes building already.

Shredded Wheat.

52 years into this life I have discovered the magic and mystery that is shredded wheat. Generally it could be described as an eating experience like sucking milky string, anyway it has now become part of my morning ritual thanks to the usual end of aisle offer thing in Tesco; it may even have been only £1.00 a box. Anything that is £1.00 always attracts my attention even if it is only worth 50p or is complete crap. The shopping experience for me always produces the unexpected and my metabolism is now reacting to a daily dose of wheat that it does not particularly like, but do I care?


I miss France, I'll not be going there this year and I wish I hadn’t accidentally watched a programme about the history of Paris on BBC2. Now I want to go back, just to sit around outside some where and drink coffee with grainy particles in it while wearing sunglasses and day dreaming. This year I’ll have to settle for the High Street in South Queensferry, Aberdeen and Alton Towers. The day dreaming will however carry on.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


impossible songs

impossible songs


Here are the Kittens: Smudge, Baillie, Clint, Sleepy, Happy, Doc, Grumpy, Surly and Snow White (I may have made up and added a few of these names in error). We know that Smudge will be coming to live with us and enjoy the mouse, rabbit and bird Cornucopia of West Lothian as Syrus already does, the big question is will some other brother or sister accompany him on this journey from Fife?

Fraser and Karen’s party.

The rain didn’t dampen the music and good times at the annual Edinburgh pageant that is Fraser’s mid-summer party. A host of local musos turned out to eat, drink and jam together as is the custom. My favourite pieces of the night were: Man of Constant Sorrow, Copperhead Road, The Passenger, You never can tell (Cest las vie) and various Confushion classics. The Screaming Armadillos lent a hand as both lead and backing musicians and I plunked a nice 12 string guitar while Ali sang and Fingers Farrel played bass. We also saw a pineapple tree full on munching snails, were cooled by the Mandolin Wind and experimented with a 100 ways to open a beer bottle without a bottle opener. Fraser we salute you.

I.pod Nano.

A young person’s guide to good taste in music, so what could be better? Muse, Artic Monkeys, RHCP, Gorillaz, White Stripes, Right Said Fred and the Spice Girls, (eh?).

Saturday Afternoon.

Pitch shifter / chorus / acoustic sim No9 and a poppy drum machine – fun for all on a wet Saturday afternoon.


I’m bored with booze and LSD, with Frank Sinatra’s new LP, with all the things you’ve laid on me, with politics and philosophy, the endless enigmas of reality, your puerile aims at sanctity, more rock and roll insanity, your witless, bleak profanity.

So I resolve to stay undone, to breach the barricades to come, to bless the priests or curse the nun, to spend the cash I have not won, to read the riot act and run, to sleep and idle in the sun and when you say “what have you done?”, I’ll just stick out my big red tongue, I’m bored.