Sunday, December 30, 2012

Inflammatory and offensive... some but that's just the way things are. Everybody takes offense a little too easily these days and it just may well be that your taste in music / films / food, your political beliefs, your religious and philosophical ponderings and your appetites for this, that and the other are, if placed under close scrutiny just a little bit dodgy. Just remember the tiny speck that you are and that there are at least a billion people in China who don't give a Tinker's Cuss about what you or I think. So let's all have a better perspective for 2013 (The Hebridean Year of the Unlucky Pig and the Inarticulate Blogger) and may God, Communism, Capitalism and the Great Bloated Pumpkin King bless you all.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Psychedelic Pill

Yes I own a copy and to be honest I was confused by it. That awkward first listening when you fear the worst and revisit the sleeve notes for clues. No big grab effect, cosmic hook or be-jewelled ear-worms. Something that's a one play album, no depth or engagement possible and then filed back in oblivion as a musical relic despite the pretty packaging. If I were truly heartless then it'd be stuffed onto Ebay for £5 along with some stellar hope for the best and a fond farewell in a second hand jiffy bag. None of that came to be. I found something else that resides beyond any music or sound scape, that's a properly valuable experience if you can ever get yourself in there. So if all your life you've been looking for some narrative soundtrack to tell your story then maybe this is it. This Psychedelic Pill. This is what it all comes down to - distillation and focus and a drug called music. The different, slightly disappointing thing that marks you out as just another confused passenger mishearing some instructions and reacting badly at an inopportune moment. All quite normal really. So contrary to what you thought it would been the listing allows for none of the big hitting stuff, none of the classics, those pieces that you thought would define your three score and however many, all set up there in an ever changing imaginary list that's just too fluid to settle into any kind of permanent structure. Then, quite by surprise on the day you die it'll solidify like porridge and shrivel up into the three chosen songs that they play on a bad sound system at your funeral and all the while nobody is listening nor really caring what any of it might mean. That's because your long gone now and it's clearly too late. Anyway it's always about somebody more alive and more articulate than I ever was and they're livin' on trying to express a feeling for you, in a way that you never could. Then again it is completely possible that I just made this up and let my apparently arbitrary tastes fit the model so that you'd be more confused and that you'd never really know quite what was on that list o' mine. It's not that I tried to hide it or that I couldn't be bothered. It's more to do with the fact that it just doesn't matter now.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ultimate sandwich

One more turkey sandwich. This month's Heathen Winterfest has seen us dip into a rich vein of locally sourced produce, bought in damp and rainy farm shop barns and rickety butcher shops. No electronic tills, tags or reward points were used in the making of these communal meals but some animals and root vegetables were seriously damaged. They gave their lives for curry and the twin births of those seasonal cultural icons Jesus and Santa. It's as if we'd suddenly caught onto the old Fife Diet experiment and for a brief moment tried to take the non-global approach to life seriously. I suppose we run the risk of being picketed by irate Tesco shareholders, Zombie economists or active members of the Conservative Party. As if any of them gave an ounce of seasonal stuffing about our paltry consumption levels, intolerance to white sugar or the mud on our mock Wellingtons. So here we are, burning dried logs, living the outlaw life on the fringes of society and playing Scrabble, it's a kind of life I'd always dreamed off experiencing. Ignoring TV schedules, high street sales and shopping, reviews of whatever year it was and idiot news, listening to Psychedelic Pill and chasing strange cats from their squatter beds under Christmas trees, squishing through the chemical run off from some vast fields, fixing doors and being hypnotised by touchy feely colouring in schedules and warm alcohol. Time for another turkey sandwich and getting into things without having to explain.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Non-white Christmas

So the Christmas panic is over and some lucky places on earth experienced peace and that kind of thing, I hope you had some also. Here we had the full on Christmas party jigsaw experience coupled with that awkward nostalgia felt for sweets and confectionary from the past. Tastes, strange brands  and prices from that difficult decade that was the 70s. 1000 pieces, none of them easy.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Room full of mirrors

Ah, Christmas Eve. Too busy this weekend to be busy with anything other than all those details and bits of things and pieces that add up to Christmas - but right now I quite fancy something from the Chinese takeaway. That's just how I get sometimes, anyway Merry Christmas to you when it comes.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Went out

...came back. This fine fellow was siting on the windowsill in the spare room. Confident, nonchalant, looking me up and down, that sort of thing. The other cats seemed strangely indifferent to the new guy, well that's their problem. We tried out-staring each other but I blinked so I promptly chased him out of the house with a hair dryer.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Might just do this...

...tomorrow, all we need is for the numbers and omens to add up. 2hrs 4 mins, 48 frames per second, 21st of December (longest night, shortest day and the possible end of the world), Black Friday, busiest day of the year for traffic, good choice of ice creams, floods, fire and pestilence and all that final wrapping and vegetable shopping not quite nearly done. Drone, drone, drone.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Edinburgh stuff

I was indeed in Scotland's capital city today but sadly failed to spot any of the elusive new trams they have there. On the Ten o'clock BBC news I did hear that one was seen carrying out speed trials in preparation for that far away day in 2014 when they run for real on metal rails from here to the far away middle of the town, oh yes! Apparently the mighty machine reached speeds of up to forty miles per hour with no red flagman in attendance. It is said that some local simple minded women who saw the machine speeding along fainted as if overcome by the vapours, cows couldn't give milk and hens stopped laying goose eggs. Angry farmers who watched it pass by shook their fists in the air and cursed God that such a thing should ever have come to cross their now barren and scorched fields. Christmas Cabbages and Brussels Sprouts were seen to shrivel and die and a donkey in Ratho suffered a massive heart attack at the Premier Inn. Meanwhile in nearby Gogar lightening struck the RBS HQ food court and the quiche dispensing machine jammed shut trapping some small children on a day out from Bathgate. In Sitehill all road traffic stopped thanks to the trams reputed sonic boom effect, it's believed that the windows in Arnold Clarke's were badly shaken as was the Hungry Drunk Burger van and a number of it's clientele. These trams have a lot to answer for but then again that's progress for you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Out Now!

In the heat of the non-existent battle and as ever conscious of our ability and appetite for serial time wasting we've taken yet another small step towards the deep end of musical obscurity. This celebration of all things mundane, mediocre and slightly delusional takes the form of a CD entitled:
which has currently been deposited in the eclectic musical data vaults of Bandcamp (it may well find it's way to other repositories in due course, that depends). From this mysterious location it can be listen to and downloaded apparently, if you're inclined towards that sort of thing. As it is the season to be more jolly than pragmatic we may also distribute a few copies to friends who are either hard of hearing or in need of a mid-winter jolt of some sort. At 10 Mid-Equator minutes the CD is fabulously short, almost sweet as a Malteser you might say and it plays quite well on all forms of modern sound reproduction equipment. Of course it's always wise to check with your local dealer or a trusted adult who understands the operation of such complex things. Anyway we think it's rather good, as for that red and itchy rash and the aroma of stale nutmeg, well the less said about those things the better.

Track 1 – Sea Cloud: Electric Guitar x 2, synth, drum loop and sea sounds.
Track 2 – Ibiza Zen Garden: Electric guitar x 2, bass, Dr Rhythm drums, Ali vocal sample and tiny bell.
Track 3 – Pimp my Dolphin: Synth x 2, drone and bubble samples.
Track 4 – Deep Blue Compression: Electric Guitar x 2, Bass, drum loop, Ali vocal x 2.
Track 5 – Barcelona Taxi: Dr Rhythm drums, Electric slide guitar, bass, applied echo.
Track 6 - Sea Cloud (Reprise): Electric Guitar x 2, synth, drum loop and sea sounds. Remixed.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stuffing the Christmas Volvo

There's no doubt that stuffing a Christmas tree into a Volvo seems like the most natural thing in the world. I imagine that in the far away land known as Sweden it is some kind of national winter sport, along with it's own world records, specialists, woollie jumpers, thrash metal, icy beer and pigs heads on spikes.Today I had a go, it was the usual seasonal pantomime, the cold's now  departed and we're left with damp and dispiriting gales. You choose your 8 foot tree from a windswept B&Q bin, priced at £27.99 or thereabouts, you lug it to the robot till and in the space of 30 seconds it's jumped up in price to £47.99. You think "fuck it I need this tree" and blame your lack of glasses and curse rampant hedge fund managers and George Osborne. You certainly don't dare query the bar code and by this time you're covered in damp pine needles and have grown strangely attached to your dead wooden companion. Then the ritual of Volvo stuffing begins, the key components being: a) don't damage the precious tree, b) don't get any wetter than you are already and c) don't cover the car in pine needles (it's not a good look) and d) don't drop the tree into a puddle or under another car's wheels. In Sweden they do this in mere seconds. Here, the old Viking genes have worn off a bit and it can take a while and items a - d may well befall the intrepid tree buyer. Any way we're home safe now and the tree is outside in the rain. I know that seems kind of cruel but at some point it will enter the house and be tarted up like Lady Gaga for it's short lived festive fortnight. It's nearly Christmas, phew. Thanks to Wagonized for the Volvo drawing, I take no credit.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Deep cold

It's that deep and stiff December cold, everything  is dark and frozen. The ending of the world on the 21st now seems remotely possible in these conditions, the planet could just slow down and stop in a minus Centigrade mist of frozen air, a silent puff and we all just stand stiff, stuck in our tracks. The running down timing of the year, beating it's own internal clock around and slugging with the sun for the rights to the longest night and shortest day, all taking a perverse pleasure in a deep cold that touches the raw bone's root. There is of course no escape, it's heads down, hands tight in pockets, make a grimace and clutch on to some hot beverage, turn the car heating up, choke on the exhaust, lean on a warm radiator, pull up the duvet. Then there's the internal glow of a golden and supernatural heater that blurs the edges, tapers  away the sharp point of a frozen sting and calms your world down to that of the slowly tilting motion of the earth. Those few precious degrees that feed the seasons and take all the blame for climate and quirks. That'll be the  alcohol, whisky or some such, a winter antidote. Just don't tell the Scottish Government.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Goggle box

Just got around to watching this on the goggle box via the good offices of the British Broadcasting Corporation and Sky's jagged little yellow button. Big lines of Orange amps, some serial guitar face gurning and liberties taken with the tunes but it's all ancient history now. Good enough to do the ironing to, that's the acid test.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Whispered Revolution

Corporations avoiding tax is almost as shocking as celebs having bad / illegal sex or politicians lying or fiddling their expenses or Islamic Clerics being called "radical".  It's inevitable, predictable and come the whispered revolution there will be no more religion, crap cardboard coffee shops, on-line box shifters, bloated phone companies exploiting the exploited, clunky biased search engines, socially excluding networking sites and no Big Bad Blue. That'll be fine then and we'll just have a perfect world full of Nissan Leafs, green tea cafes, wind up laptops, wind turbines, Linda McC sausages, smooth free-jazz radio, rhubarb wine, equal rights for badgers and non competitive sports. Bollox.

Today we removed everything from the garage, checked it, mulled over it and then put it back exactly where was in the first place but in the process somehow forming a slighter bigger pile than before. We are settling in however. Meanwhile that cats experienced the outside world for the first time, it was touch and go for a moment and then they...went. We're now poised with the remote controls, torches and some cold cut chicken to try to entice them back out of the cold black void and into the warmth.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Batteries not really included

This morning's view from the window, we seem to have left the slide in the wrong place.
Funny how complicated it can be those buying tiny batteries you get for things like hearing aids, car key fobs and remote controlled cat locators. We spent most of today trying to track an obscure size down and in so doing visited the premises of Currys, Boots, Sainsburys, Homebase, Morrisons and Argos. We did get one battery in Boots at £3.25, that represented the total stock in Scotland apparently (but the assistant was very helpful) and I got a free pitcher of Rose wine. We despaired, who held these elusive and essential little batteries?

Then there came divine intervention in the form of honest advice: Poundshops! There and quite inexplicably you can purchase a card of about 18 tiny batteries in every conceivable size for...£1.  It was the high point of the day, well almost, we were also running about in a shiny new Subaru XV, how cool was that?

Friday, December 07, 2012

Queen of the Seas

Normally the seas don't take kindly to being ruled over by arrogant and thoughtless kings or even by proud and beautiful queens. These royal  relationships are strained, difficult and occasionally they can become dangerous. The good news is that every so often the seas make an exception and for a time they can be subjugated though never tamed. We were lucky to briefly experience such a time, but these moments are precious, they are rare and to be cherished, captured and as far as possible remembered.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Gods of yesterday

Not quite right either.

The power of pantheon-ism: The older and more mystical I become I seem to hear the voices of the Gods of yesterday whisper and sing from all sorts of strange and unexpected places. I find a "warm Jeep seat" kind of comfort in this. Having denied myself spiritual experiences for some time these ethereal events stir my cold and alcohol starved heart. The door in my office has taken to sounding like Chewbacca. It makes mournful noises as if castigated by a manic Han Solo or upset at the loss of some Wookie stronghold or home planet. Then there is the cold water tap that, with the right adjustment, sounds like Draculus, the great green bird who advised and scolded the dim Noggin the Nog from time to time. How I miss his wise words, they came at 5.40 on the BBC just before the main news (that was when there was proper monochrome news, not the biased drivel we currently get). There is also the microwave that gives a stirring rendition of the first few bars of “Jump” by the Pointer Sisters. It makes heating up any tin of your favourite Heinz product fun and provides the opportunity for a quick disco dance around the kitchen. I also know of a fire exit that's producing ZZ Top crunch guitar noises but I can't quite remember where it is. That of course is another problem with getting on a bit. Did I mention the toilet flush that once pulled does the scary bit from “Echoes” by Pink Floyd? And I'll never forget the lathe in a dockyard engineering workshop that was a dead ringer for most of Tangerine Dream's back catalogue. What a drag it is getting old.

Fuck it! It's going to be a Marks & Spencer, Sadistic & Masochistic & Multiple Sclerosis based Christmas this year complete with hampers, frozen limbs, tiny cheese burgers and miscellaneous high street and web based vouchers from the company of your choice which will most likely be one that has failed to pay any kind of meaningful tax in the UK since Winston Churchill was a boy. Leave the greedy but clearly legally acting big boys with their milky coffee and warehouses alone I say, adding more tax money into the government coffers only encourages politicians to do stupid things with your cash. It's like talking to one of them on a doorstep, it only ever gets worse and feeds the flames. Good luck to them and smoke 'em if you've got 'em. Tomorrow will be my Black or possibly Bleak Friday, I'll source all the relevant Chrissy booty, squirrel it into the back pocket of my jeans and then sit in the car with a warm bucket of KFC leftovers and salmonella whilst listening to the Comedy Hour on Radio Scotland (the home of witty banter). I often find that on reflection, these things I muse over and daydream about seldom come to pass and if they do they are always a bit of a disappointment. In life it's the anticipation that counts for most of the enjoyment. Learn to make your latte last Young Master.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Teeth on edge

Needs more work...
My teeth have been on perpetual edge today, a likely product of the mustard mackerel and noodle diet combination mixed with pre-ice age temperatures, frozen Volvos and failing footwear. Anyway it's lucky for the entire world that even the almost bitter, bitter weather, the media frenzy over royal pregnancies and George Osborne's stream of curious measures and facial expressions doesn't stop me having a steady succession of ideas, some of which are better than the others and don't themselves require described in complete or well constructed sentences. They are out there.

So I'm feeling sorry for the cats. They are being driven mad by the intense cold, the itchy carpets and anything made of cane or rattan. These materials seem to provoke them into ripping the hell out of the poor, innocent stuff. It's full on claws and a kind of pent up feline aggression released that's desperate to rip the reeds to shreds. It makes a lot of unpleasant noise and it's not the best thing to wake up to. I may to take the edge of a blunt Black and Decker to them - that's either the cat's claws or the rattan.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Winter Post

The end of our single track street.
Winter Post? Where do you find it? Under a wheelbarrow, under a garden chair, on top of a wheelie bin, next door, at the Post Office, hidden behind a bush. The ingenuity of the delivery services knows no bounds. Today the snow brought a new dimension to our location, slithering up the single track road for the country mile that it takes to get to the main road and just timing that final turn at the uphill fishtail  so the traffic can be safely joined. I just made it so at least I now know what's possible in a elderly Volvo. Always good to get the first few key Winter experiences in.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


Willow water with photobomb.
Just back from a weekend spent some time on the M74, M6 and also in Widnes. Back on the couch now, worn out but happy. The party photos are on Facebook. Too tired to say much more.