Tuesday, June 30, 2009

i strim

Shakin' all over after an hours worth of garden strimming, good for all the joints and vital organs, causing loose fat to wobble, sinews to strain and the ears to retain a strange and slightly musical ringing tone. The process was stopped by a welcome downpour and regular sips of lager shandy. Looking out onto the rain soaked lawn and strimmed paths does provide an decent sense of self satisfaction which is helping to numb the pain.

No sign of a headless mouse today (from the feline delivery service), there was however a mouseless head staring blankly up from the path. It did rather remind me of the Flight of the Conchords skit about the man whose "body was cut off from his dick so that only his dick remained".

Despite it being Tuesday, Saturday's reheated pizza went down quite well if becoming a little extra oily and chewy from within the microwave. Breaking the rules of food hygiene, eating dark deserts containing raw eggs and rescuing drowning flies from an icy glass of beer is all in an evenings work around here, now I must retire. When there is no one around to cater for, impress or worry about our eating rules and regulations are relaxed and comfortably slack.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cat diary

Excerpts from a Cat's Daily Diary...Day 103 of my captivity...

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet.I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am. Bastards.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches.The dog next door receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell in the coal cellar , so he is safe. For now ..
(reproduced from Tom Morton's blog)


Not my car thankfully but a Sunday morning incident rather close to home, just outside of Newton (or the "New Town" as described by locals), just proves that you can't take your eyes away from the road to light a fag or suck a melted Mars Bar for too long. I suspect this guy was doing the right thing by avoiding a trick cyclist or perhaps a flock of seagulls feasting on burger bag leftovers and in so doing came a cropper.

So a busy weekend is passing: Footballing trophy night on Friday in Fife in the company of Stevie Crawford and the "Swifts" management team. A good time had by all but little reward for me in the raffles despite a significant financial outlay. Saturday was a big birthday for the twins, spent at Laser Quest in Edinburgh and various other respectable locations, a big family and friends turnout made it one of the best birthdays in recent years. Thanks to all participants for a day/evening to remember. Sunday was/is mostly wet and spent in the rain at Silverknowes Golf Club watching more football in the pouring rain and appreciating the ancient Chinese art of "patience is a bloody virtue" both as a spectator and a user and victim of temporary traffic lights. TV mostly consisted of looking for my No2 son amidst the Glastonbury highlights (not too many of them and no reported sightings of a young Barclay or his entourage).

Lesson's learned: always read the label, particularly if it says "dry clean only", it may then be necessary to stretch or re cut the item according to the original template. Best avoided if any alcohol has been consumed.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I'm with Tom Morton on this one, MJ's death really does leave you not quite sure what to feel, it is as if some cartoon character had died, some creature that never was quite here but never away has faded out into an even more mysterious state. This made up and acute celebrity persona and performing non person co-existing together but living and dying at the same time. I see photographs of him and I'm not sure still what he even looked (looks?) like. It's only a matter of time I suppose until he's spotted in Las Vegas or Dunfermline or seen travelling on a bus heading into Nepal. Whatever happens the vast fortune he made and lost was nothing to do with me, I never purchased a single song but I guess I still know them all because of the abstract common experience soundtrack that they remain a part of. A tough one for the true fans but count me out as a mourner.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

TV Wasteland

A quick glance over the TV schedules is enough to tell me that I’m now out of step with a large chunk of the rest of the British public. Unending programmes about food or fixing houses, meaningless and contrived sporting events, unfunny comedy and bleak soaps and reality shows that are increasingly unreal. I imagine other hard working people coming home, putting their feet up with a nice cuppa and then being comatosed by this peak viewing time pile of manufactured shite. Is this what we are here to do? Most TV now serve to only add more petrol to inner bonfire of unexpressed anger that any intelligent person must feel when presented with this amount of turgid and patronising material. The good news is that you don’t have to take it or watch it , you can go out and dig the garden, as soon as the rain stops. Then come back in and twiddle with the strange delights recorded on the digi box some time after the sun has set (or write a few songs, a novel or iron that pile of shirts that never gets smaller). Come back LOST and save the schedules..

My electric bath

Working away from home on the west side for a couple of days but now home and clothed and in my right mind, temporarily. My hotel contained an almost sophisticated but wholly infuriating plumbing system. Labelled as "eco" in numerous places (and anything but), the taps worked by push button and the bath and shower had a large control panel. Of course pressing buttons simply results in a timed flow of water that then stops and so you press again and again, wasting water and becoming more annoyed at the same time. The bath just fills itself but only in a choice of three temperatures, the shower veered alarmingly from cold to hot for no apparent reason. It was a bit like getting washed within some Woody Allen script set in a push button future. By the comments made by some of the other guests I'm sure the management regret splashing out a futuristic set up that's already out of date. Nice duck and lentil salad though.

What do you get if you mix 6 pints of IPA, a gin and tonic, duck salad (as above) and maple syrup ice cream? A good nights sleep, waking bright eyed and bewildered in the morning and a misplaced mobile phone.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chasing cars

I was exploring the word squish , sadly a word without any synonyms. A cul-de-sac and a dead end, a word that takes you nowhere other into a graphic, fruity place were things have a slightly unpleasant consistence. Bluebottles fly around it, fluid oozes from it or seems to even before the squishing has taken place. It’s a shame for squish but then without it grapes could hardly be turned into wine or eggs scrambled and how would we survive on a basic diet that excluded these fine and civilised things?


Edinburgh has a new queer concept of itself
Flying like some ragged saltire
Peeking through potholes and road works
Into a mirror held by tourists
And lovers of art on a budget
Holding onto our grand dreams of parliaments and trams
Wide stone avenues and horseless carriages
People behaving in ways they never did
Before fawning over royals and burning witches
Our heartless ceremony and religious ignorance.
It makes for disillusion
And the crashing of the banks
Some chronic fatigue in the search for peace
As our acted out dream is a sepia coloured thing
Because we still behave as if the Empire never ended
Or struck back.

Odd question of the day “How’s everything in that sandwich?”, overheard in the chilled environs of Birmingham Airport the other day.

Life on the M40. There is no doubt that this motorway is cursed, particularly between junctions 9 and 11, something to do with the site of an ancient Anglo Saxon burial ground being driven over by half wits.

Friday, June 19, 2009

May the Parcel Force be with you

The green face of Wabi Sabi

Chronicles of wasted time: It should all be so simple, order an item on line, have it delivered, unwrap it and use it. Sadly the mighty Parcel Force gave me the not unfamiliar run around today as I tried in vain to locate a lost and lonely package, without the advantage of the vital postcard that the man in the van should leave. After two hours of fruitless web searching, phone calls and looking in all the nooks and bins in the area I located the parcel. Naturally it was in the place I'd first looked - the Post Office. " Human error" said the apologetic clerk and I believed him.

This unexpected success (I had all but given up on the lost package) spurred me on into more random path laying, mole hill removal, potato tending and trampoline maintenance work. All good for the soul but bad for the back, the trousers and the fingernails. Is there any activity that somehow retains the fine balance between the body and the strange, misty, cloudy bit that we imagine lives in the pink goo that we call the brain? "Somewhere in there between the soul and the soft machine" as a wise man once said.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We have all been here before

The yellow face of wabi sabi.

A pleasant enough day has passed with numerous hog roast references, the decline of East Germany and pasta preparation for some future meal being fired up and laid out. I can't recall a better or more striking post thunder pre-rain evening and what with my nursing constant thoughts of the need to bolster up the potatoes with banks of mole processed earth I'm quite exhausted and unusually bewildered. A spot of washing up or feeding cats may clear the boggled mind.

It was with some relief I screwed down Mr Les Paul's silver machines to some mysterious D tuning and fiddled on said guitar using a Leslie effect and a small piece of reverb, if only I'd recorded the outcome but that tragic piece of musical denial is a vital part of the creative process we must go through as Wabi Sabi is slowly born. In the mean time I curse these long sentences and decide to get back to normal, now bored with the constant rerunning of these deja vu experiences.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Legislation v education

Today I have an angry face.

Thank you to the media and the medical profession for pointing out the mind numbingly obvious to us all, smoking in cars is bad for children and possibly any other passengers and of course the driver who gets a double dose of blue fug. The answer to solving the problem of irresponsible driving smokers is of course to make it illegal. Forget trying to simply engage with the great UK public and remind them of the plain facts and educate them, no, that would assume a certain level of maturity and responsibility existed. Just make it illegal like everything else and give the polis the problem of sorting it out and so they can add that to the long list of things you shouldn't do whilst driving:

Make a mobile phone call without using a hands free kit.
Drink a bottle of lager or anything else.
Sup a Costa Coffee latte that's been placed in one of your many handy cup holders.
Unwrap and eat a Mars bar or an Extra Strong Mint.
Offer Gillian Tailforth a lift home.
Fiddle with the radio or try to put on a CD.
Listen to an ipod.
Apply make up, deodorant or brush your hair.
Brush a passengers hair.
Argue with the Satnav.
Throw your shoes at a fox.
Play drum solos on the steering wheel.
Take your jumper or any other article of clothing off.
Wear stiletto heels.
Roll a 5 skin spliff on a CD cover.
Leer at girls and sound your horn in an aggressive manner.
Read a map or a copy of the Glasgow Herald.
Eat the roasting fish supper that is now sat in your lap.
Spit out of the window.
Get a sticky sweetie out of the glove box.
Put your arm around your adoring partner.
Admire your cool new sunglasses in the rear view mirror.
Attempt difficult crossword puzzles.
Use a she-wee.
Try to listen for the source of that annoying mystery sound.
Shout at the numerous fighting bairns in the back seat.
Try to figure out the wiper delay gadget.
Accelerate to the background music of "The Chain".
Listen to the patronising tosh that passes for news on Radio Scotland.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I accidently...

...googled myself only to find an exact replica of me sandwiched in between Count Spamborskie and Lord Davie Watson in 2006ish and can those boys play? Hell Yeah! This must have been back in the days when I oozed charisma, presence, wit and various natural oils. I have since taken the advice of counselors, many times and returned to being a wallflower and bar propper upper... I think Mr Scott Renton should be credited with the photo, albeit he was using some strange stage name or alternate alias at the time.

Sorry about the rather gloomy nature of yesterday's post but there were some compelling and unique factors and events that brought it about, we do what we do.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Every so often an experience comes along that is so acute and so poignant that it rocks you to the point where you fully remember how good and how precious it is to be alive and to be connected to family and friends. Today has been like that, tragic and precious and in the widest sense alive and responsible. We have to take responsibility, we have to speak and we have to act. It can be very difficult and it can be painful but ultimately it is rewarding. Many people make a career and lifestyle choice out of avoiding adult responsibility, they may see that as an easy route but ultimately they are the losers. Life is a wild and rough ride and you need to get on board and live it. Now if 6 turned out to be 9...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gathering clouds

The children and grandchildren have moved on once they'd eaten us quite pleasantly out of house, home and freezer. The day today began at 6.20 and we're still nicely stuck there. Things moved on and we were keeping busy path building, mole denying and plant planting then the rush of the wind that brings the storm passed across the garden, through the shrubs, across the nettles and weeds, in between the potatoes and the thistles and over the gravel. You can't fight the weather so you find better things to do involving lager and 7-Up. Then you fry some prawns in onions and exotic garlic mushrooms, add rice and salad tossed in balsamic vinegar and drink a bottle of wine, works for me. This is followed by (amongst other things) reading the Sunday Times and then Scotland on Sunday. By now I'm happy that it's been a pleasant but exhausting day, the Bones DVD is running somewhere outside my conscious mind bringing the term "tramp stamp" into my head. Time for more wine/chocolate/on-line shopping/Bones.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hardly one o'clock

After an unusually early start to the day I'm back from the annual sponsored walk for football team funds, feet on fire and about to do the same with the BBQ. Then again rain threatens but it always does, more cooling beer is required. It may be a long weekend, I'm on the chill out music channel and it's hardly one o'clock.

No newspaper, no TV, no lottery tickets, no rest for the wicked and no peace for the parent.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unfortunate event v nice event


It's the old story, sometimes you fall flat out on your back, other times you land flat on your face. Early this morning I devised what I considered to be a foolproof plan to prevent our cats from pestering the swifts that are currently nesting in the coal cellar. Normally the cellar door is left wide open allowing easy access to birds, cats and the occasional toad. I thought that if I partly closed the door and blocked the lower part with some timber the birds could fly into the gap left at the top and the cats would be unable to get in. I did this using bits of an old pallet and some luggage ties, the end result looked impregnable.

On coming home tonight I discovered a dead swift in the downstairs toilet (and an unrelated dead mouse on the rug), my plan had failed. Clearly the restricted door gap now gave the cats a much better advantage, as the bird now had a smaller gap to get through, how come I didn't see that one coming? Outwitted by a cat.


Short but sweet musical interlude last night at the Ark on Waterloo Place. Miss Fi did a spot in the sunlit upper room showcasing the mighty range of her song writing skills, guitar styles and voices most effectively. Mr Norman Lamont ably assisted on bass and backing vocals. We had to leave early so missed the rest of the package but it was nice to get out to (what I think was) the first OOTB thing I've been to in ages. Edinburgh chanteuse Rosie Bell shared our table and we'd a nice wee chat about things in general, politics, music and her blog: for Rosie Bell click here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What do you get?

What do you get for £80 million?

You can hear the relief in the voices of the newscasters as they declare that the Swine Flu Pandemic is now officially here. Following the panic in the streets of Mexico City, Dunoon and Greenock the media have got their wish and will be able spread misinformation and artificial hysteria. Keep the gullible public tense and afraid with some new plague, take the spotlight away from bungling politicians, social decay and the real health and lifestyle issues that kill thousands slowly and without dignity on a regular basis.

I had to laugh at an news segment on home education, when asked what he liked about being educated at home a bright eyed and grinning 10 year old said, "freedom, I can do maths if I like or maybe not at all". Congratulations smug parents, that's some great preparation for the outside world, I can't wait to see how he'll do in a MacDonald's drive-thru or in your local Kwik-Fit branch. Maybe he'll become an airline pilot, that attitude would go down very well with Flybe or Fly Maybe Not. Most likely he'll choose a career in politics.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More than this

Who could resist a new, tall and yellow 30cc 2-stroke petrol strimmer? Not me and it arrived today despite the courier being unable to find our house or the burger van or probably the Forth Bridge. It's still in the box but at any moment, when the rain stops I'll be firing it up and doing some serious damage firstly to the garden and then possibly myself. Never drink whilst operating power tools and always wear the correct protective clothing. I wonder if it'll work on the moles?

As we've bought a lot of eggs recently due some uncoordinated shopping trips eggs are very much on the menu. Boiled, scrambled and occasionally fried. It was interesting to hear the various family theories on egg boiling techniques and what the right method may be, if there is such a thing. I favour 3.30 minutes and boiled from a standstill, it is the habit of a life time and I cannot break it. The trick is to time the soldiers toasting (and their spreading and cutting) in that small amount of time and if the phone rings during the process don't answer it.

"More than this, there's got to be", Roxy Music, from the album Savalon.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Great Inventions

I've been commissioned by a major Polish and international accountancy firm (working in the retail sector)to write a short paper on the greatest inventions of the last 2000 years. What has man achieved in this time, what is the most worthy or influential or useful thing that has changed the lives and destinies of the people on this planet. Would it be nuclear fission, the computer, the internal combustion engine, vaccinations and health care, flight, concrete or television?

Well it could be any of those and a hundred others, some folks are really good at having ideas and turning them into reality, not many of them but they are out there. Anyway tonight my vote goes for the original, non-diet, non lemon, not modified Coca-Cola. It is the best thing at the right time, at the right place on the right couch with the right person. House and Smallville are on TV however (?).

Monday, June 08, 2009

Savlon and the death of Socialism

Blatant product placement.

A red sore bit on the big toe brought about by mysterious rubbing in the shoe and sock department demands simple and effective treatment with the application of a quick pinkies' worth of cooling Savlon lotion. A strange but at these times welcome product that no bathroom cabinet should be without. The other thing of course is the simple use of nature's sweet bounty and the greatest of all the world's healers, time and open toed sandals.

There isn't much difference between the BNP and the SNP, both are led by annoying, mouthy twats and both end in NP, and are biased and clueless, how sinister is that? Now they've both contrived along with the Home Counties hamsters that follow UKIP to destroy the socialist movement in Britain. Maybe I've got that wrong, maybe I'm simply blinded by the voters apathy finding some new and articulate expression in avoiding the polls and the fact that Labour politicians either look like Ron Weasley's mum, Biffo the Bear or Robert Peston and are a sad bunch of greedy, whinging, professional failures. We get what we deserve I suppose but I don't quite know what we did to let the S/BNP in, other than create a vacuum of smugness and self righteousness - all in the name of "doing the best we can because there is still much work to be done". Poor Gordon's never going to net a best seller with that line of rhetoric.

Lucky Font size? 22 down to 11 or 14 on a good day, I blame the bugs.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

More daily mole photos

"Finding the hidden mole"

Heading away into the distance but not quite out of the garden a scheme of molehills. Despite theinclement weather and the use of distorted guitars the mole wars are both hotting up and somehow cooling down. The damage is not insignificant but a useful consequence is that we now have a whole load of extra fine, clean and sifted soil with which we can bathe the young potatoes now bursting forth in the rabbit-proof compound. It may be, that for a short spell the sensible thing would be to declare some form of truce with the moles and take full advantage of the situation. Man and mole in partnership, the way that some religions see things happening in heaven I suppose with lions laying down with lambs and ferrets fiddling about with foxes and so on.

Some of the negative side of my attempts to copy the Beck bolero-ing thing.

For no good reason I'm coming around to appreciating Jeff Beck more than I ever did in the last thirty years. For ages I've dismissed him as some Spinal Tap ner' do well but recently I've changed my view and decided he really is a creeping genius. His peculiar tonal range, sporadic bursts, use of weird scales and inventive phrasing is wandering across my consciousness and creating in me a strange new and totally unrealistic set of ambitions. I want to play like Jeff but not with that haircut, it stops well before that. Of course the fact that my fingers are like a pack of Walls' best porkers and that my music brain is stuck firmly in the key of E and one big fat blues scale pattern isn't going to help much but any frog can dream (?).

Friday, June 05, 2009

Worst wish

I take no pleasure in watching the Labour party currently eating itself in a panicked and brain-dead fashion. These events mark some kind of end but not the finish, this unfortunate government will stumble on for another year because it hasn't the heart or the vision to do anything else. That's the trouble with power, once it's gained it cannot easily be let go of and so now the mediocre remnant left in place can't stomach the thought of facing up to reality and going back to the nation for refreshment and a new start.

The moles in our garden are a tough bunch, they are resisting our sonic bombardment and somewhat like the Labour Party are fighting on from their small corner. Their show of defiance is oddly admirable if irritating and I'm wondering if anyone has ever been driven from their home by moles or if there is some natural predator we should be calling upon. With the amount of wildlife that seems to thrive around here less than a few feet from where our sleepy heads lay there must be something. Unfortunately most of it is lower down the food chain than a mole. This morning we had an early start when the cat brought in a bird at 4.45am, this was followed by a mouse at 5.30am and as I ventured outside later I nearly stood on a toad. Then I looked over to see a jay perched on the now larger than ever third mole hill. Maybe the introduction of a snake would help...

Thursday, June 04, 2009


The sunny weather is working over the vegetable patch and progress is being made. Things are growing and green is turning greener. Sometimes I feel like a French peasant shifting and sifting dry earth, pulling weeds and raking and glugging red wine but it's nice to see growth.

The molehill count is up to three and they are moving in a southerly direction, away from the house. just not quite quickly enough.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Not now

Some days I just feel like spray paining "bollocks" or some other irreverent term across a wall - but it will pass. Today has been the day of the queue: Firstly on the M40 following a tragic traffic accident - one and a half hours and a lengthy detour and then more annoyingly at Birmingham Airport. Here people are treated like idiots on a regular basis, herded and shepherded as if they lacked any human spirit or sense. Queues are stretched across vacant rooms, down stopped escalators and across the check in hall because systems and people clearly cannot cope and for what? The interception of some bottled water, after shave and bottles of perfume. Bollocks!

On the plus side I enjoyed watching the pale summer moon sit quietly under the wings of the homeward bound aircraft. Simple things in difficult times.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I know I'm small...

...but I've got my Boffered Gibson Les Paul. Now complete after some extensive renovation work, filing, fiddling, screwing up and screwing down and the custom paint job of the century (not sure which one), it plays quite well. Now I need some time alone with it and the opportunity and energy to crank it up a little. Welcome to the world.

Today we found we had two mole hills. No surprise there I'm afraid but a new deterrent is now in place. The real surprise was coming home to find the power off and that the cat(s) had some managed to bring down the dining room curtains without breaking any of the rings or eyes that support them. Supernatural stuff.

Monday, June 01, 2009

1st of June

I woke up this morning with a red and sunburnt neck and for some strange reason a notion that the time had come to shave my feet. I’ve no idea if this was based on a dream, deep hygiene issues of some sort or a need to be less of a Hobbit and more of an Elf. It did coincide with a strange plan for a pop video to accompany the track “Air Kisses”, the tune that was running on in parallel in my head. I needed to collect my thoughts but couldn’t so I collected a generous portion of rhubarb crumble and custard instead, popped them in a bag and headed of across the bridge to Fife, the plan being to put in a long, productive day at work.

During the unseasonal weather, which reminds us all of the unexpected passing of global warming before our eyes and into our homes, I’ve been sustained by two things (apart from the usual goodies delivered by families and friends): Iced Lucozade, fizzing on it’s ginger own and the refreshing long drink known as overage and chilled Tennants Lager in a 50/50 relationship with 7 Up. The effects on body chemistry are drastic but manageable, the effects of the brain, the central nervous system and middle-aged and over heated addled thought processes are less clear. A glass of red wine at the ceremonial sunset celebrations whilst observing the mating of the swifts on the telephone wires also helps create an unnatural sense of balance with nature and the cosmos. “Aurum Solis” as they say. The sad part is that we seldom have the opportunity to experiment with our fluid levels and internal coolant, the weather will change tomorrow and soon this bright blue and sunny, sparkly experience will be a distant memory. I like seeing those spots before my eyes, just for short periods of time like a Stuka pilot.

“It’s a gravy train” says the crowing and baying media over MPs excessive expenses claims. Not a pretty picture that , open trains full of Bisto chugging from constituency to constituency with their brown and lumpy cargo spilling over into garden centres, real estate agents, electrical suppliers and cleaning companies. Meanwhile Alistair Dali a man who flits four times in four years is the new surrealist chancellor, flitting steadily away from responsibility, reasonable behaviour and reality. The good thing is that we are all shocked and outraged by this, we somehow expected more from these dullards. If we lived some real dictatorship or under any other totalitarian rule it would all be considered normal behaviour from the blatantly corrupt leadership. Perhaps the thin illusion of democracy has clouded our own judgement for too long.
The molehill is bigger today.