Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Interesting artworks

The piece at the top was done by Alec Galloway from Skelmorlie in Ayrshire, his website and some fine examples of his other works (by the magic of electricity) can be found by clicking through this mystical portal just here. Somehow or other his work is also being featured on Tom Morton's late night radio show as well as appearing on Facebook.

The other picture is a cake type representation of LZ1. No idea who actually was daft enough to try this.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Today is a new and as usual rather unsanitary and blustery day and it marks my (almost) umpteenth consecutive day at work. Who ever said that the Europeans never did anything for us?   However the weather has now finally stopped working in our favour and god and the great fissures and isobars of air pressure are set against us on this small and exposed outcrop. Meanwhile I’m taking a crash course in news-jacking, the new form of advertising that catching on and killing the story but then lifting the brand. It’s almost religious in it’s concept. I’m still not sure what current story I can news-jack in order to shift more of our paper thin mp3s and herald the great up and coming but yet to be properly named virtual guitar shop. In fact the more I think of it I’m not sure which part is virtual, the shop, the guitars or the proprietor, it must be one of the three or I’ll get soundly done over under trades description.

Now that the demise of popular blogging (if you’re thinking of starting then don’t bother, I watch the stats) and the death of western civilisation are both imminent I’m getting strangely drawn into the spiral of knowledge and depravity that is Reddit. Controversial, repetitive and quirky it’s somehow less Spammy than the irritating Facebook and more visual than the  constantly gabbing Twitter. It does from time to time shock as it totters between gross teen humour and world-wide or deeply personal tragedy, you need to approach it with care but it is somehow cleaner and more compulsive now than the other social (and now highly managed and targeted) shit hot media darling things. Of course that could just be an illusion created by the clever dick creators who create all the things that we ordinary people just seem to readily encounter and then eagerly adopt. We swim like a school of Icelandic herring into their devious traps. Then once millions of moolah are generated and all our lives are ruined we seek pastures new and then devour the next next big thing. That may well be an event that’s open for some great feat of news-jacking. I’ve now known the term for all of ten minutes and I’m soundly bored with it already. Next!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Virtual Guitar Shop

First of all you get an idea...

Postmodern Family

At times you can learn a lot from TV comedy. How to be yourself or someone else,  how to behave, what to avoid, when to do the right thing, what to do in a tricky situation and that there is no normal (and there never was). Trouble is I'm a slow learner but it seems after a few years I'm now getting the hang of the whole grandpa thing, maybe the whole parenting thing. So we had a good day today, birthdays in the sun with food and noise, cake and balloons. Modern life isn't rubbish.

Kinda sad really

For Betelgeuse, a star with 1000 times the diameter of our own sun, the end is nigh. A million years from now (which is hardly a blip on the scale of the universe), it will explode into a supernova. Recently, astronomers in England have recorded Betelgeuse emitting an arc of gas that is nearly the size of our entire solar system. I presume nobody other than me confused this star with the character in the film of the same (well similar) name...Beetlejuice.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In praise of mushroom soup

The thoughts of the people who build websites, write books, compose music, draw, work in science labs and classrooms, develop empirical organisations or just build houses out of used up motor car tyres. Your ideas and actions make you special. You have that ability to put things together, to juxtapose, to compose and create something. Do you ever stop to think what type of people do that? Is that a normal thing to do? Are you troubled? Perhaps its just  that the uncertainty of it all thats about you thatsjust getting to you. That feeling, that sure and resonant feeling that those who develop and cling onto high principles or absolute views, the seekers of truth and light are the most deluded of all human kind. Its sad really. For them everything needs an explanation, then it can be described, catalogued and packaged and then because of the process it can be believed in and, in worst cases shared and pursued. In the scheme of things all that is quite unnecessary and wasteful. Scribbles on paper, pixels on screens, sound and fury, whispers carried away by a toxic breeze.

Somehow we never quite learn from history. At an early age everybody should be made to read a series of biographies, look at them candidly, take in a wholerandom life laid out and described, what did it amount to? School kids should visit graveyards and attend funerals, listen to eulogies and read obituaries and then discuss the choices those folks did or didnt make and maybe learn something. Was the person happy and what did they achieve? How can we break this pointless cycle of repetition? Am I a passenger here or am I driving something? Of course if somebody happens to have invented or developed the wheel or the iPhone; carried out open heart surgery or built atomic weapons they may feel that their contribution was worthwhile  quite rightly. Theres a measure to be made and recorded. But what of a Sun journalist, a checkout assistant in Morrison’s, a Ryanair pilot, a vagrant, a soap star or a philosopher? In the end there is no value judgement to make, we do what we do and we are all equally fulfilled and unfulfilled. We just pass the time the best way we can.

It may be that all life is a bit part in some David Lynch film, walking on and off screen in the background, unnoticed by a daydreaming audience, disguised by our own indifference and anonymity; Mulholland Drive  “a load of moronic and incoherent rubbish according to one critic. If you find any of these things troublesome then try sitting still and  dosing yourself with a mug of mushroom soup.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Like Audrey

Few people know about Audrey Hepburn's unsuccessful audition for the role of Emperor (with a capital E) in the 1983 film, Return of the Jedi.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Fabulous Doodles

It brings a whole new depth of meaning to the word mediocre. Yes it's the boring routes a pen takes across  a page when disconnected from the brain during a long telephone call. If this is your experience then maybe it's time to leave this place and get a different job, apply here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

These are the days

Scottish Labour Day: I tried hard to read the articles about the Scottish Labour Party Conference. I saw the titles and gather that it was held in that scrubbed up working class haven and memorial to shipyards, mines and heavy industry that is ...Inverness (?). I was a little curious about the speakers, the policies; perhaps deep in the conference rhetoric there would be a lightning bolt of creative thought or inspiration. Perhaps a big firm NO to this and possibly a big YES to that. I tried hard to read the article but it was like painting in the rain. There they were; Johan Lamont with the lisp no one in the media dare mention, an anonymous train travelling man called Miliband, grey shadow puppets called Murphy, Alexander and Darling. Coughing and goggling, Tweeting but not trending, gossiping and thinking of shafting Margaret Thatcher - as if history ever taught us anything. In the margins some pints, spritzers and G&Ts, greasy steak pie and chips but alas no real substance. This is the best of Scottish Labour, trembling in the shop window in yesterday's underwear. My grandfathers are revolving in their graves, clenching their NHS dentures. Does anybody actual know a card carrying, subs paying Labour member these days? They are a dying breed, these political apologists and would be zombies. No angry young men here, they've all be shot or sent to the colonies. Just silly under employed graduates and union deniers embroiled in a deconstructed world of constant bickering and finger wagging. They are a doomed race but they don't know it. As somebody famous once said, “If any one of them was a real protagonist it wouldn't work at all.” So another conference has passed without significant insult or injury, just a few well stapled expense claims are outstanding and nearly ready for audit. Time has been truly killed and the enemy, and there is a real enemy out there, are having a damn fine smirk to themselves while they twiddle their fat fingertips above their laps .

Record Store Day: I was sitting thinking I'd like to go and support this in some way, maybe even make a purchase but a) I'm working b) I've no record player or deck or hi-fi system and c) Why Record Store? What happened to record shops? I never ever said anyone “I'm just popping down to the record store to browse the Dr Strangely Strange sleeves, be back in time for tea.” We seem to have absorbed a term here that has romanticised what never was all that pleasant a shopping experience. Being crushed in a smelly record shop thumbing through gritty sleeves hoping to find some blues or progressive bargain that...well I seldom found any. I'm sure it's all moved on, in fact FOPP and Avalanche are pleasant enough places to be but they are shops not stores. Still most of my grubby guitar based (and now long gone) collection was formed well away from the shops in the primitive Ebay primal soup that was school. Here in the this spotty, hairy and smoky setting records were swapped, stolen, bartered or sold for pre-decimal currency and then paraded like hard won trophies at lunch time. Carrying Blind Faith's first album (with the tits facing out) was the ultimate in ignorant rebel statements and shall aways be, eight years before the Sex Pistols...but Record Stores?

Inseminate a Panda Day: I'm kind of sad to hear that the exotic, sultry, doe eyed Tian Tain hasn't taken to the advances offered by her partner Yang Guang. Despite the obvious smoky eyes she's not showing signs “conducive to mating”. Perhaps somebody should nip out and get a Hoover, a bar of Galaxy, some stilettos and a bottle of Pino Grigio. It's clearly a tough and stressful life for male and female pandas in Central Scotland and now, despite Tian Tian's obvious lack of desire to breed (and in an infringement of her panda rights I suppose) they've got the dreaded turkey baster out. Nobody wins in panda sex wars. In what sounds like a somewhat elaborate operation “Edinburgh's Zoo specialist team and experts from around the world performed artificial insemination on Tian Tian in the early hours of the morning.” The statement also said that “both pandas and humans were sleeping today”. Oh well, they probably chatted for a wee while and then smoked a few fags whilst staring at the magnolia ceiling.

Lose the Lottery Day: Once in a while I purchase a lucky dip lottery ticket at the Co-op when I'm getting bread, milk and lentils, (I recall that the Co-op was known colloquially as the “Store”, now that title belongs to those remaining few records shops that are as rare as pandas, nearly). I lazily checked the numbers in today's SoS and sure enough I'd scored zero on the lucky numbers. I guess I'll work for another week and not dip my toes into the £1m+ property market just yet. The Maserati wont be getting ordered either. If only I could resist this guilty and impulsive pleasure, indeed had I not succumbed to the evil gambling gods all those years ago I'd probably have about £150 stuffed into some sock somewhere but I might have just blown it on cobwebby progressive rock Amazon CD purchases and Kindle downloads.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cognitive Dissonance

More things I made earlier: It's that awkward feeling when you suffer the inner conflict of hosting two opposing thoughts simultaneously there in the hallowed space between your hard grey matter and your elusive mortal soul i.e. Coke is bad for you but it tastes good. Smoking can kill you but you want to do it. Only a twat owns a Maserati  but you really need one. Pain is bad but the relief from pain is nice. Alcohol will  hurt you but the dull thud of the drunken moment is worth it. Relationships are tough but you need to stick with real people. Speed kills but you love speed and that right foot is itchy. Freedom is your goal but you need to be tied down. Loud music hurts the ears but...all that stuff makes me feel alive again.

Sometimes I think of this blog as an improvised, elongated  artwork, the materials of which are mostly sourced from random Chinese origins and approved by interpretations of cat behaviour: At other times it's all just a short holiday from my critical faculties, those irritating parts of conventional thought that somehow keep you awake into the wee small hours like re-runs of Mad Men or QI and never really come to anything or provide satisfaction. Perhaps we are of an age where we all need a little more sleep and a little less stimulation. Even the Devil himself could understand that and would grant us the grace just to be...for a short while. Fear will freeze you but the heat of the chase will burn you up.  A nice holiday from the critical faculties, do send a postcard if you ever get there.

The soothing cream label set against the tobacco sunburst comes straight back to us from that foreign factory.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wondering about the knobs

First aid repairs to a storm damaged door.
Here's another repair I did earlier (I'm wondering about those knobs, a touch of gold is needed I think).
Like a Hurricane: The west wind blew and beat upon the house and all that sort of thing and eventually and in awkward and potentially dangerous circumstances the garage door got broken. It clearly was a job for hammers and nails and well cut pieces of timber (basic guitar making skills really)  so I got right in about it without undue delay. Safety and security being the main goals in the project, a working door will be along in a later delivery. Now as is usual for around here some things are fixed whilst others are under repair and a small minority of other things are largely ignored.

Relax Western Europe: So you're wondering where all the old style bayonet  clip 100w light bulbs are these days? Fret no more, in a word that's possibly two words they can be found at Poundland.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Practice makes Pentatonic

Nice to get back to the basics and just practice runs on various pentatonic scale patterns with a little added distortion, delay and reverb and a screwed up guitar face applied to those deep extra blue notes. The pre-lawsuit tobacco sunburst is looking like a fast fret no buzzes agile bargain. Sore on the shoulder though after a sweaty hour's worth of practice.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Enormous photo montage

Claude Bawls the local tough cat. A cat from whom all other cats run in great fear and trembling.
Claude likes to roll around in any solid material in a bid to impress passers by.
Sky, sun and water at about 1900hrs somewhere in Central Scotland. 
These parts as viewed from the remains of the old pier. 
Wheelbarrow loaded with some flotsam but sadly no jetsam. 
About half a mile from home, into the wind and on a bike.
Stretching thin resources to their very limit: Due to my chronic lack of useful words to describe nothing in particular I've resorted to posting some of a busy weekend's images here upon this blessed and holy blog itself. Of course there is always other news but more on that later.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Freedom and censorship

A nice sunny day saw the garden of Karen and Fraser Drummond opened up for charity. Fraser is gone now but the garden, slowly coming back from what seems like the longest winter sleep, is returning  to a green and flowering life. All those rare and peculiar plant species and specimens are pushing back through and faithfully continuing with their programmed cycle. Nature's eternal optimism and stubborn spiral back to life is a good to see and appreciate.  There were tea and scones, friends and family and strangers and people who just like gardens and good causes, chat and laughter and live music to echo Fraser's own wonderful accomplishments.  There was also a grim serenity about it all yesterday, the paths and pools, the shrubs and trees all there, just being. Like sleeping dogs waiting for their master, they blossom and sit where they were planned and planted enjoying the feeble touch of a gentle April sun while we, mere passers-by in the garden, passed on by.

I haven't bothered saying much about Margaret Thatcher's death and nor will I, however this piece in the Guardian does well to describe the BBC's schizophrenic and awkward position in current British life. There's a big problem lurking somewhere that nobody is tackling, I can just imagine what Fraser would have had to say about it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Coordinated in Nigeria

Serene driftwood in black and white.
Apparently weddings in Nigeria are all nicely colour coordinated, you learn something new every moment of every day and I'm sure that we can all learn a lot from Nigeria.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Head and neck removed

So this Japanese pre-law-suit old-timer came into the house via the Gumtree Motorcycle Diaries. It was found on a fascinating visit to an Alloa wheeler dealer, an interesting hour of greasy biker history, cash, antique banjos and guitars. I thought about it for a bit and as if by magic the pearl dot neck was miraculously replaced by a Gibson after some sweaty joinery and rigorous sanding. From this process a pretty decent shredder has emerged and strangely the old neck has improved the donor guitar. An unexpected double success from a £40 piece of surgery.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Searching for the stone

I stumbled upon the second marker stone which is in fact, as you see by the inscription the first stone. Almost in it's rightful place,  down there by the high water mark. I'm now thinking that despite my on/off eccentric love affair with maps I can't actually read them. A bit of a wake up call I suppose but it's near to  the truth. What I see and what I interpret from the map does not reflect the contents of the map or so it would appear. Now there are only two more stones to find and we can then defeat the evil Calif, free the children from their servitude, redeem the holy scriptures  and restore the water supply to the people of the village. It's all coming together nicely. I now need to apply some fresh Cherry Blossom to my bull whip.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Origami Condom

Good band name? So there I was just finding out that there is indeed such a thing as an origami condom when along came this unrelated Vine clip of an origami pig uploaded by JB Junior.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Temporal Displacement

“Not for me the comfort of knowing that I'll meet my parents and other loved ones in the afterlife. I'm a non-believer. I think that things just stop, but if I did believe I'd go to dyslexic heaven, which is Devon.” Eddie Izzard.

Recent deaths and temporal displacements: Some days I check the Recent Deaths in Wikipedia. An ever growing list of Pakistani politicians, Canadian screen writers, Naval officers, Israeli businessmen, oligarchs, sports coaches, churchmen and the occasional celebrity animal. They've all made a mark, they're all linked into the web of knowledge and there's either a brief entry or a long list of connected articles about the things they did, said or maybe thought. Some die of natural causes, some in accidents, some from cancer or heart attacks, most are pretty old, 70 onwards. In some ways it's like the world's testimonial bowel movement, churning the great and good through the final sphincter of non-eternal life and into the bottomless inventory of the Wiki-of-Dead where you never die because your entry (and departure) live on in the links and italics. So this is what life truly is because you'll be there, stuck immobilized and electronically chipped in that unremembered archive for much longer than you live. (If you really are a somebody it's the Daily Telegraph obituaries but I think they, assuming the right angle of decent and re-entry is properly calculated do at some point merge with the Wiki stuff, it just takes a little longer). So there we are, it's all just a digitised Monty Python bowel movement that has to run it's necessary course subject to a balanced diet, tight plumbing and a robust constitution framed in the illusion that is time passing.

How do you know it's your time? I don't know. There's no great trumpet call from a gruff but loving Hebrew God either (done in a late 50's free jazz style of course because that would surely be the kind of thing that any self respecting God would prefer rather than some Middle Eastern ram's horn that just produces an annoying farty tone which only scares sparrows and children) because he's not outside of this universe controlling it all and somehow making sense of it all. No, he's passed that point, he's there in the deep sewage space himself, consigned to the corporate memory of Wiki-land in some virtual pigeon hole from which you can never return no matter how divine you considered your existence to have been. For further information see world religions, disappointed spectral spirits, books written by people but considered to be holy (?) and delusional deities. Having said that some of his best works will continue to be broadcast on U-Tube, iTunes or on some Kindle based media either for free or at a very reasonable price. Be warned there may well be loops of country or accordion music playing in the background as peasant girls perform an awkward folk-dance involving baskets, cudgels and waving black scarves.

P.S. After writing this badly written piece I ate an apple and considered how disrespectful it might seem towards those with firm beliefs either in religion, the after life or the Internet. Then I thought about reality TV shows, modern economics, social justice, people who write to newspapers, wild animals being squeezed out of their natural environments and those mysterious foods that lurk in the back of the middle drawer of the freezer. I thought about my mental health and my daily unscripted and undisciplined meditations, mostly spent looking across a body of water. Then I finished the apple, looked at the slowly discolouring fleshy core and threw it into the nearby bin. In that brief but profound moment the cycle of life was described and completed. That's it.

“The true test of imagination is being able to name a kitten.” Samuel Butler.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

When North Korea attacks

The end of everything according to the Ancients (for today).
Modern Sci-Fi: With all the dignity and serenity of Ian Duncan Smith or David Cameron on a non-patronising visit to Scotland the sun sinks slowly into Longannet Power Station thereby simulating the effect of an unprovoked North Korean missile attack on Fife and the resultant "Black Start" chaos that would follow. It seems I may have stumbled upon the beginnings of a science friction novel plot of some sort here. I'll probably add in a Zombies from Culross and sex starved refugees from Blairhall storyline also.  We'll all need to be equipped with bigger ray-guns and bicycles for that to work out as credible narrative. Now if only I could muster up the right levels of concentration, stop stirring the soup and find the correct size of paint brush.

Class - still top after two days: The class calculator on the BBC website is getting the beaver hammered out of it by anxious folks hoping to understand themselves better and so know for sure the niche into which their lives fit in order that they can then go out and behave accordingly. I suppose that everybody who wants to use this blunt instrument to compartmentalise themselves into modern British life is just like me, all you need to do is tell a few lies to yourself and tick the best boxes. It's as easy as voting for the Tories I suppose.

    Wednesday, April 03, 2013

    Reposted this pic

    Daenerys Targaryen: Ok she's a pretty girl, she's royal, she's on a mission to get her rightful inheritance, she's buying a slave army (so there are some ethical issues there) and at the moment she has three of the coolest dragons ever (she also happens to be their mum), so WTF is happening with her eyebrows? They badly need a fix...c'mon HBO make-up department, earn your cash with some action.

    Tuesday, April 02, 2013

    Recently added photos

    When flying solo I usually park my ailing Spitfire here for a mug of trucker's  tea and some kind of hot meat served on a bread roll. File under "authentic but rough and ready".
    Here's an upside down but right way up view  of a massive stone monument erected in memory of someone now sadly forgotten. File under "don't try too hard to become immortal". 
    In celebration of the annual forwards changing of the clocks ceremony I cooked up a fistful of streaky bacon and served it to the assembled masses. File under "breakfast but not at Tiffany's".
    The view from the extreme north of the back garden looking out over the Straights of Alaska into the former Soviet Union and Republic of West Lothianshire. File under "a day when the temperature almost got to 3 Degrees".

    Guide to the Throne(s)

    If you're like me and blessed/cursed with intermittent memory loss and suffering from a self inflicted chocolate headache then this simple guide to Game of Thrones may help you in the coming weeks.

    Monday, April 01, 2013

    What am I doing here?

    Claudia and a Welsh bloke.
    Drove up and back to Aberdeen today and I forgot to stock up on car CDs :-(. That made the choices for the driving soundtrack either Radios 4 or 2; so 4 started strongly but then became tedious at about 1030,  I then tried Radio 2. It was an infuriating themed day of  lists and plays of listeners favourite 100 albums. As you might expect there were loads of tedious and supportive texts and various sycophantic explanations offered by the unfortunate DJs. In the end it's clear that when it comes to music that  the public might think that they know what they like but actually they know very little. Come the revolution a few things will change around here and not just the housing benefit. Click here if you want to make yourself angry (just for the hell of it and so you can remind yourself you're alive) - Coldplay were top apparently.