Monday, September 29, 2008
As I drove over the bridge to Fife I was haunted by the thought of the trout and the opportunity I had missed to re-fill the freezer. I was also haunted by a large green singing and dancing Frankenstein that we had been given as a Halloween Engagement present. The perfect combination of crazy gifts and events you may think and you'd be right. The reason for this of course is that Ali and I are now planning to marry (later in the ?) and it's almost October 31, in 31 days or so. My daughter had the idea and the £10 necessary to carry it out, all to celebrate the up and coming happy event.
When it happens it'll be a small and intimate family affair.Using some wax crayons I quickly sketched a likely layout design for first stage of the reception, as below.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Things we are eating this week:
Pasta and sauce mixed with smoked sausage.
Toffee Yum Yums.
Scrambled eggs, beans, Aberdeen Angus sausage and toast.
Trifles, cookies and corner yogurts.
Irn Bru, coffee, tea and yogurt drinks.
Chicken in red wine sauce.
A lot of asparagus, either steamed or boiled.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I suppose that that as an extension of the house, towns are machines for living in, but a bit more widely, the problem being the relative width we all take up. Our social bottoms have all become a lot bigger in the last thirty years and staying at home to work or doing the shopping on line isn't yet having an impact on the width problem. In the mean time I'll continue to scuttle along the rat runs of the Lothians avoiding motorways at peak times and sneaking a glance over the hills and across the shining Forth to the apparently wider, greener shores of my home (Garden) State - Fife.
Another strike today and another shuffle to sort a kind of "single parent" problem as the schools closed, albeit appeared open to me. The key people (viewed no doubt as drones by their detached chiefs) deserve more and are making a valid point to their employers and the community and I'm using up my holiday quota and a bit more petrol in the process.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The weekend was spent for the most part in child friendly pursuits. With three small grandsons on a reckless sleepover and ready for fun it was never going to be dull. Mainly we travelled around the garden via wheelbarrow express, shopped for school shoes in Livingstone, watched and played various kinds of football and stumbled in and into the mud at the Hopetoun Game Fair. I had a great time.
Livingstone is a disturbing place, many people there are still habitually wearing white shell suits and unattractive scowls, they drink large amounts of fizzy liquid and walk with no apparent purpose from retail outlet to retail outlet, passing various building sites and baker's shops in the process. These building sites make the promise of eventually providing more spaces for this mindless wandering and sneering. It may be that in these vast halls of modern learning, the discussions and expressions of deep and profound thoughts will be shared with fellow scholars over the crowded mobile phone networks. Once the works are finished I'm sure it will be an excellent place to dawdle and ponder, as might have been said of parts of Spain at one time.
The people at the Game Fair are a different breed from the "townies" of Livingstone's wide open spaces, few daring to sport Chav fashion or Kappa joggers here. Green was the colour theme as people tried hard to blend into the undergrowth and control various kinds of ugly and excitable dog-creatures at the same time. The catering was not however up to par, £3.50 for a Frisbee style cheese burger complete with tomato sauce direct from the Hammer House of Horror surplus sell-off. The wasps remained in seasonally fine form and the birds of prey looked well groomed, smug and hungry, some peasant eye-pecking would have been nice but it's been banned since the Industrial Revolution.
Everything you need to survive out of doors is for sale here, most of it crap and overpriced but oddly "authentic" in some kind of non-Chinese way. It was strange to see two vendors leaning on huge 4x4s trying to sell hot-tubs the size of Cadillacs. These come complete with fins, shiny decks and seats, buttons and jets that can be aimed at every orifice. Just the thing to take back home and dump in the garden of your semi in Livingstone, as proof that bad taste gets everywhere quite easily these days.
The weekend footballing pilgrimage saw us visit the Fife town of Balingry where the local side were quickly destroyed in a 14 - 1 rout, with the Barclay family representative hitting a hat-trick. Many restless natives escorted us away from the pitch once the final whistle had sounded, their congratulatory messages ringing in our ears. I could be wrong but there is some evidence to suggest that Balingry and Inverkeithing are still at war with each other having never fully settled their differences after the great rape-seed flood and pig riot of 1557.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Radio is a good medium.
The Scots are confused about a number of issues.
Blue or green milk - which is best?
Who listens to jazz for long periods and do they really listen or is it wallpaper?
Economics can be studied but can't be understood.
Spell checkers save careers.
The west is in fact the best.
A garden can be restful and stressful.
Irritations to the surface of the skin are just that.
I'm confused about the purpose of most insects.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Then it changed and it turned out that these banks are suddenly run by traders and salesmen thinly disguised as cartoon best friends to manage your life, insurances, money and investments. They look at products and market shares and shifting lumps of cash and credit as if they were airliners lost on a Pushing Tin radar screen or burgers sizzling on a hot plate and about to burn. They produce ugly, noisy and expensive advertisements and try to convince you that their meagre percentages and supposedly low charges are good lifestyle choices that will improve your lot and allow you to sleep soundly at night. You will be safe and happy in their greasy hands. Now the bottom has fallen out, the greed and the unsustainable hard sell have caught up and a black hole has opened up in front to end their progress. It's hard to feel sorry for the die-hard bankers, in my view they've squandered a privileged position and in a few short years turned something respectable and solid into a cheap poker game with no winners.
Things the cats killed today and brought to the back door: Two mice, one finch and a rather large white egg (now presumed dead) from an unknown source.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
For diversion at lunch time I did a piece of web research on Italian aircraft of the Second World War. They all had great names and numbers and all looked like they've inspired modern Japanese cartoons with their great cowls, fat under carriage set ups and fins and silly paint. None of them were any good either, each one or model a catalogue of aviation disaster, crash landings and losses in battle. All too slow, heavy or under developed for a task still being defined and led by British and American engineers who were too far ahead to be caught. A sad and brave time for the pilots and crew who flew to defend Fascist ideals that were as doomed as their aeroplane designs.
RIP Rick Wright who died on Monday aged 65. The quietest man of the quieter men that were the quiet monster Pink Floyd. I liked his plink plonk keyboard and soap sud synth additions to their material. I liked his nonchalant approach to the music amid the carry on, back-stabbing and fluff that passes for rock and roll and entertainment.
Monday, September 15, 2008
So was Della Street obsessive with the secretarial and office skills she provided for Perry Mason or did she just suffer from an unrealised, unrequited love for the detective bloke who was, in real life the son of Hedda Hopper who also may have been a relation of Dennis Hopper but no relation to the cartoon grasshopper "Hopper" in the film "Bugs Life"? The answer to this and many other questions is of course out there somewhere.
Recording sagas: The word "ambient" springs to mind as both a description and a damning criticism for my latest efforts. Why are structures so hard to find? Why are song constructions either so forced that they jar and irritate or so loose that they drone on in no particular direction? Creation comes from obsession and my obsession sessions are not running on long enough with enough sustained effort to get them over the critical hump. As somebody famous and in the recording know might have said, "a lot of "B" sides in there son". It's a start.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
After a month of not drinking I had a few glasses of wine over the weekend, watched a predictable (as ever) X Factor and steamed some vegetables and other assorted goodies for a late tea with various children and grandchildren - the drink produced no adverse effects. I slept well, breakfasted well and have just done a (sweaty) spot of gardening and will be asleep again in about five minutes.
Toad count: Last night two at the back door, one behind the cooker and a rather large one that I locked in the downstairs toilet, it's a seasonal thing.
Mouse count: Three dead in the garden and one dead under the back door mat (ugh!).
Bird Count: One dead under the garden table.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I've always wanted to do a similar thing to the (above) Ummagumma picture for Impossible Songs (Dr Drum would take up most of the foreground) with a couple of older sports cars bringing up the rear in place of the Commer van. There's not really enough flat land around here though and the hike to Cambridge is just not do-able.
Nice comment below (ta) from the one and only Glenn (two ns) Lampshade, alas I knew him not very well.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Songs about stuff: "Runnin' up that hill" by Kate Bush is about problems achieving a female sexual climax, "Four seasons in one day" by Crowded House is about PMS, "Rattlesnake shake" by Fleetwood Mac is about masturbation - I can't think of anymore.
The pros and cons of ready meals. Pro - they're ready in minutes, cons - they taste crap, pro - they're cheap or on BOGOF, con - they are full of crap, pro - you can fill your fridge with them and not cook for weeks, con - you can fill your fridge with them and not cook for weeks, pro - there are no dirty dishes, con - we have a dishwasher anyway, pro - there is no waste, con - you'll end up with a huge waist. There must be an answer hidden in the fine balances and tuning between convenience, diet and necessity.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Last night's episode of Smallville stretched a thin thread of plot to the limit and then allowed it to snap. Clearly the writers were having a bad day and so were the viewers. There is the germ of a great, epic sci-fi series in there somewhere but the network seems to be struggling to get it out. Perhaps this will be the last batch and the story will die on the vine naturally, starved of ideas before it teeters into something far worse.
At least we didn't all end up dead in a black hole today. Perhaps the next revolution will catch us unaware and sleeping, the best way to go I think.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
From the BBC:
Three decades after it was conceived, the world's most powerful physics experiment is ready to be powered up.
On Wednesday, engineers will attempt to circulate a beam of particles around the 27km-long underground tunnel which houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The £5bn machine is designed to smash particles together with cataclysmic force, revealing signs of new physics in the wreckage.This will re-create conditions in the Universe moments after the Big Bang.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The evening was concluded in an unusual and noisy manner by the sight and sound of a biplane buzzing our house like the Red Baron. At first I feared the worst that a) we were at war with some local landowner or b) a stray plane had escaped radar control and was about to crash into our newly vacuumed lounge. Neither proved to be the case, the plane we believe was performing stunts, complete with smoke trails, for the amusement of a wedding party at our neighbour's nearby stately home, the same one no known sat-nav can ever find. I did get a bit stressed as he dived and banked over the brick chimney pots and then disappeared behind trees, his plane's engine roaring a continual, rowdy complaint to way it was being treated. In the end he retreated to East Fortune or somewhere and we could both breathe again.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
This ugly little number (by Degas) was the painting that most folks wanted to see last night. Bought by a straight-laced Glasgow tailor for £180 in nineteen canteen it caused a "fair stooshie" at the time. The lady on the left may have been of easy virtue and rumour has it that she is a little down in the mouth as her pussy has just been run over by a passing trick cyclist. The poor bloke on the right appears to have been recently expelled from the Russian State Circus Clown School. Not a lot of laughs down the pub that night but at least the free flowing absinthe may have transported the couple to Timothy Leary's garden for a few quiet hours to reflect.
These Tudor guys were bonkers with power if you believe in TV history (which you might as well believe as anything else), drunk with mad passions and a self-belief that's the size of Europe because all was possible for the king and his cronies. Re-write the bible, reform the church, upset the Pope, hack a few skulls open, whack the peasants over the head and keep a harem of footballers wives on the go down in Slough. It's utter tosh but entertainingly shocking and good to unwind to after a busy working week.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
The good news is that Jimi Hendrix's burnt out Strat still plays ("I heard it on the radio" as Eric Burden said (also on the radio) a few hours after the great man died) and that some rich bastard is going to buy it for a stupid sum of money and no doubt stick it on his dining room wall in a glass case. Truly just the fate that Jimi intended for it the night he attacked it with his can of Ronson and Zippo.
The other news that I'm fairly indifferent about is that poor car dealers/makers have had their worse sales month since 1966. As I recall it was about the same time (1966) that they launched the Mark 1 Cortina and the Austin 1100, so not something you could easily blame on economic downturn then. Maybe the simple fact is that so many new cars today are complete crap in both looks and practicality and that nobody wants to buy them. The latest batch of prime time, TV car commercials, Nissan and Citroen's being the worst, certainly don't help.
A joke: The difference between a rock guitarist and a jazz guitarist? A rock guitarist plays three chords to thousands of fans...
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
"Cindy McCain, washed in the rain, no longer" (The Fleet Foxes).
Aspects of life I can enjoy:
The joy of cold ham on warm toast.
Waking up warm and snug in the morning.
Getting my car back from the repairers.
Losing track of time.
An almost complete pedal board in working order.
Practicing on a regular basis.
Drinking fruit juice.
Thinking a bit more about personal fitness.
Happy cats purring in the dark distance.
The freshness of the morning.
Searching for the right laptop but never buying one.
Wikipedia powering the imagination.