Sunday, February 28, 2010

District 9

We spent a few idle hours last night watching (and squirming along to) District 9. The DVD has been innocently lying on the shelf for a few days, really it should have been in a bucket of iced water such is its incendiary (small screen for us) cinematic power. I was expecting some Sci-fi fun, action and the opportunity to make some judgements on set design and special effects. What I got was a shocking, disturbing, bombastic, stylish and emotionally charged epic that took me back to the styles of early (?) Sci-fi films such as Alien or Bladerunner or in terms of rough detail and shaky camera work, Blair Witch. It's a good feeling when you see something that is fresh and redefines a few of the normal film boundaries you've become a little bored with. Well worth £9.99 from wherever you manage to jiffy bag it from.

Meanwhile in a slightly less alien environment my bird feeding followers are steadily growing. Whilst basting some beef sausages and toasting the buns this morning I (well Ali) counted 8 Pheasants, 1 Jay, 2 Wood Pigeons and numerous Tits and Blackbirds squabbling and sharing in mixed measures our bounty of scattered seed products, those that hang from feeders and those that ricochet across the path and into the grassy wilderness. A deep sense of well being follows and rapidly after that the taste of brown sauce and late breakfast munchies.

Right now a documentary is playing on Channel 4 exploring the historical world of St Paul. I'm not really paying attention other than to glean that it's the usual C4 slightly topical, slightly controversial mix of skewed opinion and wishful speculation. Amazing how the various parts of Paul's writings have become interpreted and misunderstood over time. As for me, in part I blame Paul and his rigid scribbles for many of the things wrong in my little world and the modern world, the attitudes, contradictions, intolerance and all...but then he did write that bit in First Corinthians 13. He couldn't quite have scripted District 9 however.

Now that the Winter Olympics is over and I did watch odd sporting bits, I remain disappointed that as of yet snowball fighting and snowman building are not official sports, how long must we wait?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boots cured

Cat studies laptop ports in an unrelated incident.

In order to test the boot squeak mentioned previously I went to a local Tesco branch; similar conditions to those on Thursday evening were simulated, the result being no discernible squeak from my footwear. The facilities management regime at Sainsburys clearly tolerates those squeak creating floor cleaners and treatments that encourage inadvertent shoe related sounds. I know where I will take my business in future.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Squeaky boots

Front elevation

Squeaky boots: If I'd wanted squeaky boots I'd have asked for them. I didn't ask for them but that's what I got from the good people at M&S in Craigleith. I discovered this phenomenon in the chiller aisle in Sainsburys as I browsed the Scotch egg selection. I also found that the more groceries I put in the basket the squeakier the brown boots got. I beat a hasty, noisy retreat, the sound of a thousand stampeding mice ringing in my ears and the ears of various shop assistants and customers. WD40 action required, urgently or my money back.

Rear elevation

Thursday, February 25, 2010

David Bowie haircut

Yesterday's leap into the archives of oblivion reminded me of the time when all the girls were getting David Bowie style haircuts. It worked on some, up to a point, for others it was a complete disaster, best forgotten. Time. Then there was Grace Jones. Fashion, following it or keeping up with it - not really worth the effort at all. Stick to what suits you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I used to listen to the John Peel radio sessions, week nights from ten o'clock then maybe some "in concert" event Sunday at seven. Using a primitive cassette recorder and a dumb plastic microphone propped up on a coffee mug I'd record the faint and buzzing music. After a while some spilled motorcycle battery acid ruined my collection of C60s and my lyrics notebooks so I moved onto proper vinyl, I also moved away from motorcycles. It was 1971.

Meanwhile in another century whilst exploring Spotify I came across a Peel session version of "Ride a white swan" by Mr Rockin' Rollin' Bolan in 1970: a sharp and magical little recording with minimum effects and extras and a great live guitar sound, recorded some time before the world went crazy. Peter Pan never died and Neverland never closes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My thin smile...

...exists, survives and leads a life of it's own in the horizontal plane. Interestingly enough it has generated enough speed and vector quantity to remain in orbit, indefinitely.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Great remotes of our time

The Sky+ basic models - flying in close formation.

A lost and over indulged but enjoyable weekend has passed. During this time no actual episodes of LOST were viewed, they were however thought about occasionally and then placed somewhere upon a back burner. The wedding we attended (which resulted in a significant amount of the over indulgence) was a good one. It was like attending some West Coast version of an F Scott Fitzgerald event, full of bright young things, revelling in the glitter and splendour whilst their violins sang. Then there were a selection of wannabe metro sexual artisans, comedians, writers and poets, all busy dancing, arguing and doing impersonations of Spotty Dog from the Woodentops (BBC 1955 onwards). Photos may well be out there on Feckbook or floating in the evening ether even as we speak.

Having two remotes for the one TV is not helpful, particularly when one set doesn't work quite so well. We are of course unsure which one is the duffer, despite extensive tests and trying to separate these Siamese zappers by carefully putting them in different, far away places.

A solo remote - could this one be the fully working model?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How to iron a kilt

Stage 1 - on the table (almost).

The first in what may well be a small series of helpful household and lifestyle hints for the man or woman about town or as in our case country. The Kilt ironing exercise:


A kilt - preferably a decent tartan one that you have good reason to need to wear.
Iron - not too clean.
Ironing table - with a soft cover.
Dish cloth (non greasy).
Copious amounts of clean water and a first-aid kit.

Kilts are notoriously difficult to iron with the feared Black Watch design being the worst of the genre. It takes courage, patience and at least the consumption two BLT bagels to even consider approaching the un-ironed kilt in it's naturally wild state. So by using a handy chair as a support (lion tamer style) I managed to get the kilt half way onto the rickety table, thereafter holding it in a Half-Nelson with a dish cloth and hot iron (in the right hand). A Full-Nelson would also work if ironing a larger size of kilt. The first hot thrusts (?) took much of the sting out of the beast and I knew a corner had been turned in the project. I also knew this because I was at this point standing in the dining room and not in the lobby. As the struggle wore on I was sweating profusely and one eye was twitching in a funny way but had the marker on the wrinkled kilt and was ironing the flat bits and those wretched pleats with gusto, like a man on fire in fact. Twenty minutes later it was all over, the finished product is shown below. I followed up this traumatic exercise with a well deserved flagon of Lucozade and a full rub down with a rusty wire brush. The next challenge will be a simple one - how to remove a festive rats nest from a damp garden shed.

Stage 6 (you have to imagine stages 2 to 5) - all over bar the shouting.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Primitive Machines

If I do what I have to do, no matter how difficult will I somehow be a better person? Or am I just going through the mechanics? There are more questions than there are letter combinations in the English language...and there are no clear answers.

Late lunch was a vintage curry from the icy depths of the freezer, possibly not from this decade, possibly not from this century, possibly poisoned or at least deeply harmful but delightfully tasty. This is the way we live.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I'm talking to this sad looking guy in a pub and he says; "My wife left me, she took my Bob Marley collection and the satellite dish, no woman, no sky."


Various things of varying degrees of quality:

What's new in country music.
The magical healing properties of Rocket WD40.
Toast, fried eggs and sausage.
Haulin' logs.
The terrific worlds of those underground people you see everyday.
Writing imaginary songs.
Heater on full blast.
Politics and the rise of the Occult Nazi Parties.
Carrying a book.
Non-scientific research.
The corruption of the media by degrees, over time and in your face.
Use of the word "splendid".
Pirate radio.
Staring into the tumble drier.
Holiday explorations and machine coffee.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good luck

These happy cats look down upon our kitchen space and administer the good luck necessary to lubricate all our cooking and rudimentary cleaning arrangements. Our real cats look up and admire these tin and china gods, lofty and distant rulers of the pussy and scullery worlds. Shiny icons, unknowable and staring, described in hollow books and spoken of in hushed and primitive tones, as good as any other popular god these days. Also able to stop the fish pie from burning and the pasta from boiling over with a single withering stare.

"The kids think that this is all vanity, but I really need the surgery...doc". Grey's Anatomy 22.25 17/02/10.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Nice to see the corporate presence of Mastercard dominate the BRIT awards so serenely as if to remind us all of evenings spent drunkenly ordering pap on itunes and The event is mostly an unpleasant endurance test for the disconnected and middle-aged viewer apart from the shared experience of marveling at Lady Ga Ga's drag show and Robbie's greatest hits medley. That's him ready for his pension and a few weeks worth of work in Las Vegas followed by a summer season at Butlins whilst being poked by the tabloids. We stretched the credibility of the whole evening by violently hoovering and dusting quite religiously before sitting down to a late great supper formed from leftover Shepherd's pie and miscellaneous vegetables gathered from the bottom of the fridge as Robbie avoided the inevitable Take That reunion. Typical Tuesday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

We mean something

Cat's bored with a pedestrian and dull diet of processed and dodgy cat food products? Neither are ours however I chose to funk up catty tea-time with a nice piece of post modern, novella cuisine kitty catering, the recipe is:

Fresh Tyne salmon boned and chipped, rabbit jelly baby, scrapings of grass, Walls pork sausage and a garnish smokescreen. Bind the ingredients in a deep microwave arrangement and allow to hover. Then upturn into canned receptacle. Blanche and pirouette (carefully), hands behind the back. Slowly stun for the rest of the afternoon and then leisurely plop. Garnish with an exhausted prawn arranged into the foetal position. Cats love it. (So they tell me.)

Sunday morning found us once again lost in Glenrothes, searching for the centre and reading aloud confusing place names, the sat nav conveniently in another car. As a child, when I heard of the "new town" in central Fife I imagined some kind of space-city full of glassy buildings, paved walkways and bright, shining things - the like of which were unknown to me. Sure enough that's how it has turned out and I actually have a soft spot for the place despite my lack of Glenrothes based navigation skills.

It is strange also how some parts have become oddly overgrown and unkempt, as if the town was slowly sinking back into the Fife jungle as part of a failed great green experiment now having passed the peaks of interest and investment. The future is here but it's not the future we were led to believe in. In those days (1969) we imagined one that would unroll out smoothly before before our dazzled and expectant eyes producing a promised land of urban perfection and industry. That's not quite what we got. Meanwhile we beat the locals 6 - 2 in a fairly uneventful football match on a cold, muddy and unforgiving pitch.

The best and most profound bit of graffiti ever.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love is a serious business

Tesco daily photo Valentine's display #2

...and a lucrative one but who can live without it?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

South Queensferry daily photo

Just noticing how local businesses are picking up and really doing quite well again these days, there are many small firms that remain recession proof in West and Mid Lothian. The service sector grows stronger by the hour. So pull up your socks and be of good cheer, it's not all doom and gloom out there or wherever you are. Don't believe the lies that the SNP and BNP peddle or piddle.

Real onions that come ready chopped in packets and all for 50p, just pop them in the pan and away you go. How do they do it? I'm learning to love capitalism and the spirit of free enterprise.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010



I heard the title track of this album on the radio tonight, first time in years. This record was one I played to death back in the 80s. Funny and poignant listening to it again, powerful, scary and strangely timeless, probably the best thing Roxy ever did despite their powerhouse 70s material. I'm no purist, I just like what I like.


Bishop Desmond Tutu on TV, what a complete grinning and laughing lunatic he is.


Everything Nicola Sturgeon says or does. Poor misguided woman, Wee Eck's right hand lady and ultimate fall-gal and political buffoon . "Save us from these crazy people Oh Great and Noble Pumpkin."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Hair today?

Good picture of potential, thoughtful world leader type. Take note.

So how has today been for you? Good hair day or bad hair day? For me it's been mostly a soup, hot cross bun and various bits of erratic nibbling day - my hair however remains pretty neutral and generally goes unnoticed in most respects. I am content with this.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Your mum eats straw

DAFC line up against a makeshift and under performing Celtic side in the cup, the eventual outcome was inevitable however.


There's nothing quite like a good blood and snotters football match to keep you connected with real life and real people. Not that I feel particularly disconnected at the moment but a Sabbath Day session on the H&S sanitised concrete terraces allows you to catch up with Central Scotland's best banter and most oblique opinions. So as I watched what turned out to be an entertaining game I re-learned the numerous sharp and ingenious terms used in current racial, religious, gender and political verbal abuse. The killer guilt punch in this experience being that mischievous and ruinous feeling of inner conflict enjoyed when quietly laughing along at the various chants and one-liners that floated across my head and into my brain. Our senior politicians, social commentators and moralists should sneak into our football stadiums now and again and mix with the underclass (the one that most of us belong to) in this boiling pot of magnificent verbal colour and general wanton incorrectness - just for the fun and hell of it.


Does this count as five pieces of fruit a day? 3 Bounty bars, 1 red berry muffin and a half glass of pineapple and banana smoothie - in my re-engineered, brave and surreal new world it certainly would.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I gave the birds a nice early breakfast: Seeds, bread, bacon rind and nuts bound together with lard and various frying pan bits of run off. After a complex scientific process it's bound together in a coconut shell and strung out on the bird feeding pole. Meanwhile we humans breakfasted on bacon bagels and real Bounty bars, leftovers from a failed experiment in amateur social services and educational advancement - it would have been mostly based in Fife but died from lack of interest. Ho hum.

No junior football tomorrow, instead we've an appointment with a Stephen's Bridie and the legions of DAFC faithful at East End Park round about 12:15. I hope they've got the under soil heating switched on for a change.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Toy Town Express

72 years of continuous improvement and what do you build? Cars with sticky accelerators, eight million of them or thereabouts. It confirms everything I've ever thought about ongoing business improvement, quality circles and the power of over designing. I'm staying with Fairytale Management Theory.

Shame really, they do make really nice little cars. I had a brown one once. It's nickname was Toy Town Express and the accelerator never did jam, however the cylinder head gasket didn't quite make it.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Becoming invisible

It's an eerie feeling, I used to get it now and again but I've not had it for a while as far as I can recall. Of course it's not quite the same as actually being invisible and then going out and about. I do that from time to time, mostly just driving around, kind of freaks people out a little.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Hyphen products

Before the snow came, the cat carried out a thorough roof inspection on behalf of the estate.

As I laze upon a cat scratched leather couch and sip my Irn-Bru and munch my light weight Kit-Kat, my mind naturally wanders onto, across and into other food and drink products with hyphens in the names. Then it goes a blank. After a few moments of this I fall into a deep sleep and dream I'm catching hamsters which are then sticking to my palms. Not so keen on that idea. Clearly it's the middle of the week and the last three days at work have taken their toll. Having said that my happiest memory remains the one centering on those olives that Ali purchased in Sainsburys, they were rather good, quite unexpectedly. Simple olivey things a thousand miles away from the news and the lies and babble of the political classes..

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


...and the bloke from Bones. It was so cold today we had no choice but to eat the last of the last fish pies, an Abercorn salad and copious amounts of the Vinest Vin rouge. Meanwhile a brightly coloured box in another part of the room was making a strange noise. It was either the coal fire or the television, from time to time we run down the lazy hours staring into one or the other. Oh, here comes an episode of 24 and a course of steamed pudding. All I need now is an ambient sausage roll and a hard rock rock cake.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Ambient sausage rolls

Improvised bird feeders

I am not worried about wasting time though nobody has ever accused me of doing it. It is just a deep feeling I get every so often and then deny. Then I heard, in an inspirational message about a labeling error that had resulted in the Coop selling ambient sausage rolls to innocent members of the public and miscellaneous passers by. Food fit for the gods by any standards.

I think it was the young but very wise Gary (Tank Commander- my brackets and those of no one else), who described a secret sausage roll recipe thus: a sausage wrapped up in pastry and baked. Bake that and eat that irritating, self important, TV school dinner cooks and twats Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Gary Rhodes etc. etc.