Saturday, December 31, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Back home from a brief sojourn to Madeira only to find that average weather prevails and that soot mostly travels downwards when trapped in a chimney. As I am typing this without the benefit of spectacles or a safety harness it could go in any direction and bouts of bad spelling and terminal malaise will follow. I could try to review 2011 in these odd moments I have captured for my own personal use and reflection but I wont, the past being the strange place it always was and one inevitably distorted by poor memory, creative imaginings and distorted perception. Anyway there still are a few more days to go, garlic pasta to eat, red wine to drink and outside, seasonal adjusted but nonetheless completely average weather to enjoy. I did have a climate graph I wanted to post here that showed the problems we face here in West Lothian but I gave up due to the amount of HTML distortion it created and what's the point in moaning about what you can't change. I'm off to buy an enormous ham joint thing and I've no idea quite what to do with it apart from painting it with honey and stuffing it into a hot oven. After that it'll be a long period of stretched improvisation in food preparation and home made music - life goes on.
Monday, December 26, 2011
In a few moments Boxing Day and Christmas and that sort of thing will be over for another year. Here's a Venn Diagram or perhaps a Zen Diagram that doesn't really help explain any of it. In truth it's all a bit of a puzzle really, why has it all turned out this way and is it all too late to do anything about it? Yes and no I suppose.
Friday, December 23, 2011
A wise child once said, "it's so close to Christmas that my feet won't stop jumping." That's almost exactly how I feel right now and even a vanilla milk shake, shaken, ordered and administered in a long unbreakable glass can't calm me down. My only option seems to be to give myself a good shower, a further shake, spin dry my shorts and share this fine Christmas tree picture I took only 57 hours ago, just around the corner. So Happy Christmas to everyone (except idiots, media types and fundamentalists who don't much care about what I think anyway).
Many readers will no doubt wonder over the photographic technical details that go with the vast array of images presented day in week out across these septic and hallowed pages. So as it's the time of year when it's that time of year again and families everywhere are on the verge of some major feud or other let me appraise you (dear reader) on my cameraesque exploits. Here we go:
Lens - full tilt boogie with optional optical symmetry and die hard glass baubles.
Exposure - 49 degrees of erectile tilt applied, removed and re-applied.
Back light - I use the horse radish manoeuvre with a well clipped pinkie.
Angle of descent - 65w (Imperial) and + or - the difference between 89/3.
Cream - Olympus long tipped applicator with a vanilla log.
Locations - I prefer those best described as wildly euphemistic or of Scandinavian origin. Natural is also a very useful word but means nothing really. If you can spot a stray cat you win an ice cream.
This particular photo was taken at an altitude of 1500m or so above the (visible) sea, ahead lies Valhalla and tributes to a number of key members of European Royal families who quite recklessly wrecked large parts of Europe because they really did not know any better. Thankfully these folks have failed to breed successfully almost everywhere apart from in England where they act as props and spokespersons for hopeless environmentally centred causes and organised religions.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Interesting but abandoned two storey town house, naked and forlorn except for a flag and strange Christmas picture of baby Jesus cavorting in a peculiar manner. Takes all kinds of religions I guess.
Completely unabandoned urban banana farm, that's what we lack back home, this kind of space saving, food growing, industry creating enterprise set in somebody else's backyard. All we can offer are our rusty Hillman Imp sheds, ex-Irn-Bru foundries and large retail parks persistently selling the same wonky couch over and over again.
In a bustling and vibrant part of town, near to good communication links, shops, parks and the Atlantic Ocean but nobody wants to stay here. Airline pilots, sea-captains and taxi drivers should check it out right away. A bargain at a mere half a million Euros.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I was looking out of the window today and what should sail past other than an exact replica of the Santa Maria. Apparently they are on a wild journey of exploration, seeking new worlds, dolphins, turtles and that kind of thing. I fully support this venture but sadly will not be joining in, in fact I sat back, drank in the sunshine, ate a very tasty burger, swallowed a gin and tonic and then had a warm relaxing bath. We noble but lazy Scots no longer have same strong urge that drove our forefathers to step across the distant horizon into the great blue unknown. Having said that I'm likely to get a strong urge tomorrow to rent some sharp vehicle or other and head off into the hills looking for the local version of the witch's house from Hansel and Gretel which we can plunder design ideas from and so start yet another cultural revolution.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
For some reason abandoned and neglected buildings currently appeal to me, particularly those that lie derelict and unloved close to main roads, busy businesses and nice hotels. They remain there in all their drab glory as a poignant reminder that not everything can work out all of the time and that selling tiny and elaborate cakes to tourists can be a cut throat profession.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Two strange things at Bewleys Hotel Manchester:
1. It isn't quite where it says it is on the map or in the micro chipped mind of the satnav world view we follow, we are her new disciples. It has moved, shifted, carried along by the entropy of the universe through traffic cones, roadworks and diversions to some other place. Like some mysterious floating island it appears and disappears, propelled though space and time by the moods of a frosty winter moon. You dive in when you can, when the spirits allow. Those others who disappoint them or fail in their quest wonder the broad lost roads forever or possibly enter a loop of eternal parking madness at the nearby Hilton where the barrier gives you a nasty bite.
2. Even in December Bewleys don't switch the room heating on, they are committed to green things on account of their marketable Irish origins. It is controlled by the hidden switch above a panel in the ceiling near the door, easily found if you are a spy or a cast member of Mission Impossible, they always jump into these places to place bugs and secret cameras. The bus driver explained it all after the receptionist tipped him off about how best to fix it after she'd asked the head waiter. It pays to investigate all active areas.
By way of non-strange things the steak and chips is very nice and the broadband is neat.
Friday, December 16, 2011
"I have one consistency, which is [being] against the totalitarian - on the left and on the right. The totalitarian, to me, is the enemy - the one that's absolute, the one that wants control over the inside of your head, not just your actions and your taxes. And the origins of that are theocratic, obviously. The beginning of that is the idea that there is a supreme leader, or infallible pope, or a chief rabbi, or whatever, who can ventriloquise the divine and tell us what to do.
That has secular forms, with gurus and dictators, of course, but it's essentially the same. There have been some thinkers - Orwell is pre-eminent - who understood that, unfortunately, there is innate in humans a strong tendency to worship, to become abject. So we're not just fighting the dictators. We're criticising our fellow humans for trying to short-cut, to make their lives simpler, by surrendering and saying, "[If] you offer me bliss, of course I'm going to give up some of my mental freedom for that." We say it's a false bargain: you'll get nothing. You're a fool."
From the New Statesman, interview by Richard Dawkins
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
"Another of Fife's post industrial installation pieces returns back to nature with dignity." Say's Daily Mail reader Mr Preston Pans from Prestonpans.
I’ve nothing against Martin Boyce and it’s nice for a lowly Scot to win the Turnip Prize but it’s hard to look at his material and not have an overwhelming sense of Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome running riot once again. His MDF and plywood inspired installations look like bedside IKEA ideas gone wrong due to reading the assembly instructions in a darkened room, and then dumped into a skip. OK I’m a Philistine and a dullard but if a 2.2 degree from Glasgow School of Art gets you the Turnip award and the applause and respect of your peers fair enough. He must be the best of the bunch.
In the cold light of an old light I’m so bitter and twisted that installations based on piano carcasses seen as dead buffalos do nothing for me, I blame my education: A worthy B+ in progressive rock, a credible B in pretentious High School Art watercolour, a C+ in Bazooka Joe Comics, a D in joint rolling and 10 consecutive Navy Days visits, clearly it was never going to work out happily for me. Meanwhile peppered across recent history and Western Europe frustrated geniuses and other oily fingered artists must be either spinning in their graves or eating their worn out shoes in grey garrets somewhere above the Paris/Partick skylines. It's all so predictable, now if he'd burned the £25k prize in a sports bag on some remote beach, that would be art...
Monday, December 05, 2011
Sunday, December 04, 2011
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Friday, December 02, 2011
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Meanwhile, a view from the Guardian newspaper on yesterday's day of action:
"Pro-privatisation zealots will claim that allowing private corporations to provide services hitherto offered by the state will enhance "choice" and lead to a better deal for the consumer. But having seen what happened to our railways and to our gas, electricity and water companies when they were privatised - do we really want to see our health service, customs and immigration agencies and our state-schools go the same way? Of course not. Which is why private sector workers ought to be putting to one side their envy over public sector pensions, and supporting Wednesday's industrial action. It's not so much that the Government's changes are inherently bad, it's the motivation which lies behind them that makes them so objectionable." Well said young man.