Sunday, April 29, 2007

My stick pizza

impossible songs

impossible songs

Mystic Pizza

They do things differently in Aberdeen, well some things but I’m not going to list them. This weekend was spent at grandson number threes first birthday party. A bouncy castle had been deployed in the McDuff garden as a threat and opportunity for older folks like me to a) make fools of themselves and b) injure themselves on. Of course we all piled on a various times scattering small children, cakes and cats in our wake, nobody seemed to suffer any long term injury however. So the sun shone, the candle (he’s one) was blown out, the presents unwrapped and a few bottles of beer and some pakoras and spring rolls were consumed. It was a grand day out and we all had fun, sore limbs and mild sun burn to show for it. So it was back down to Aberdeen for Dr Who and tea and the magnificent pizza pictured above. It may have been called “the Beast” or the “Mister T” or the “Heartbreaker” or “Heartstopper” I don’t know, anyway it was 2 feet square, contained a selection of toppings (I had the chilies mostly) and could feed ten grown men, or five fat men, or fifteen men with a mild eating disorder, or fifty teenagers with anorexia. It was fun to eat and even more fun seeing it arrive at the door (after a struggle). For some strange reason we brought the box home as a souvenir.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Memories of Mr. Clay

impossible songs

impossible songs

I was never…

I was never in love with Sheena Easton or much of the Eighties,
Those times seem like other times, when other generations were at war,
Drinking cheap beer in Vietnam or Berlin.
Looking to the skies and listening to the crackle of a radio.

I was never caught up in hearing New Order or the Smiths,
Other things were on my lists, not this.
I didn’t really get arrested or molested; I sat smoking on the top deck of a bus,
Perhaps hoping you’d get on, or someone like you. You.

I didn’t have clear picture of fixtures and fittings, I just went out and did what I thought was best, like the rest were doing (or so I thought).
They were busy in their Cortinas and fiddled with eight tracks and Cadbury bars and talked incessantly but I seldom listened.
I was all so easy and different then.
If you were not for me.

I was never in love apart from once or twice maybe, brain freeze and ice cream effect. Different.
No emails or Google or text messages, just passing thoughts, to puzzle over.
I came home feeling wrecked not knowing how to connect or how,
I’d ever get what I wanted or what it really was. That piece of advice was somehow missing from my repertoire, like a torn out page.
And still is.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Poor & Needy? Welcome to our weekend!

impossible songs fly over New York in a virtual hot air balloon.

impossible songs


A long day in Birmingham is ended with a glass of wine, at home on the couch doing that strangest of things, watching TV with an appropriately blank mind. Whew!


A visit to the local sawmill yields a large chunk of tree timber that I’ve decided can be molded, transformed and fiddled with to accommodate the house name sign Ali has recently commissioned. It’ll weigh a ton a probably sit in the garden forever, or at least long after we’ve gone. Nice to make a small mark in this postage stamp spot on the globe. We also hung up a series of fine curtains and the Pars got 3 points against DDU at home. Saturday night saw us pay a visit to Crispycat Towers for a “very tasty” curry extravaganza provided by Mr. and Mrs. CBQ. Thankfully I was drinking and not driving (Ali in charge of this) and so enjoyed a fine evening of mellow conversation, eclectic music and gorgeous food and lounging on their large couch along with Meg, a beautiful black cat.


As ever dominated by kid’s football and alas a home defeat by the “Currie Boys” (nothing to do with last night, simply a quaintly named team from an Edinburgh suburb). The afternoon was spent at the other house trying out appliances and cutting grass in the Howe of Fife sunshine. Then an hours journey home via the customary tailbacks on the mighty Forth Bridge and its approaches (Fife and Mid Lothian that is).

SQAF gala night of rare funk.

The Stag was the venue; our PA was the instrument of torture as we blasted out an unwelcome welcome for the first of the Arts Festival gigs and what a stellar line-up there was. Jo Jo Sutherland took centre stage as compere and told filthy stories in between a smattering of high quality local acts. Everybody put a good hard shift in and we had a great night, of course we made no money whatsoever (or did we?). A good time had by all and none of us won any prizes, naturally. The line up? Elspeth Murray – pop poet priestess and flip-flop queen, Tommy Mackay – manic political animal and Alan Sugar impersonator, Norman Lamont – Goth-head visionary and CD salesman, a fine young local (cannibal) whose name escapes me, Scott Renton & Dylan – like Arthur Monford and Bill Tennant on speed and social commentary, Jo Jo Sutherland – rude and incisive comedy and general audience abuse and Impossible Songs – specialists in tension breaks and not switching on microphones. A nice wee arts display also figured and the Ferry Scary Troupe added a surreal dimension that was indescribable, thanks to the committee for putting it together and the Stags Head for putting it on.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The beach of broken dreams

impossible songs

The end of innocence

I’ve been reflecting over what has been a busy and draining week so far, I took a few minutes time out to watch the world and a few other worlds go by in order to try to collect my thoughts. The party of course dominated everything, it probably was the event of the year so far and has exhausted Ali and myself but in a worthwhile way. We’re both glad that the party went as well as it did and having opportunity to get family and friends together on a warm spring day and have a good time doing it was a complete blast. The Sunday after the party was also fun with children and grandchildren still bouncing around and adults moving slowly and chilling in a tired, sunny haze: we had survived. Of course I wish we’d done a few things differently, played more live music, invited more people, had fireworks etc. Sometimes I’m just never satisfied.

It was also Ali’s birthday this week and that in itself brings a time of reflection and thoughtfulness. Ali’s birthday revolved celebration around an early evening present opening bonanza, a makeshift curry with elaborate rice dishes that I concocted on the hoof and a liberal splashing of champagne. The twins were there as were Emma, Paul and Kevin so it constituted the week’s second party, albeit a lot smaller than the other. As the drink kicked in and Ali toyed with her prezzies and thumbed over philosophical works we discussed deep issues of morality, the right to vote, Scottish Nationalism and gun crime in the USA. As opinions were varied it was good night of debate and we all had honest fun and few laughs, it went on a little late however prior to busy working days for us all.

So where are we going? Impossible songs and our various projects are floating in a Sargasso Sea of foggy indirection at present. We’re pushing out internet sales steadily and we’re pod casting and broadcasting. We are not however breaking sweat and my own guitar playing and creative workings are few. The good news is that the onset of summer promises to push us into a few local festival ventures (starting this Sunday) and, once we get cracking on the garden and cross off a number of odd jobs on the list, we can get back to work, in parallel with a hundred other things. It's the end of innocence (again), parties are over and time to get back on and into it, till the next party that is. Beltane bonfire? July BBQ? E&G’s wedding? Autumn Wickerman? “Smoke follows the witch” September bash? New Year fireworks?

impossible songs

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

SQAF Fund Raising Gig

impossible songs

impossible songs

Can you beat this?

Another bonkers night in South Queensferry at the jolly old Stag in the High Street, Sunday April 22 at 7.30pm. Just look at the high quality line up...

Bring money and help the arts festival, have fun and win prizes and various other things.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The party is over...

impossible songs

impossible songs

The party’s over

Our house warming party on Saturday turned out to be a real success. Ali had been building a better beast of a party all week; I had been opening doors, putting stuff away and fiddling around in something of a haze. Thursday saw a piano arrive and a Tesco delivery, Friday saw a fog descend and various family members gather, Saturday saw the fog lift, the sun break through and a period of hyper activity start up. About 50 people came along and participated in a rolling programme of activities revolving around music and eating and drinking. The Grand National sweep was fun (but I didn’t win), then the pasta marathon that Ali had organized, then a BBQ with a range of exotic meats and marshmallows, all day trampolining (for the under fives and over twenties), football and fruit tree flattening and finally a shed-consuming bonfire.

The bonfire activities consisted of a series of impromptu home made experiments in physics and thermo dynamics, these were: hot air balloon flying, party popper pyrotechnics, melt the Stella bottle, photo through a flame and the old favorite “catch the burning flying debris”. All were conducted in a sane if slightly drunken manner and no (major) injuries were reported.

Once the fire had died down and the PA volume was lowered the clan gathering was treated to a variety of late night musical performances from: Tommy Mackay, Norman Lamont, Fi Thom, Lindsay Sugden, Nelson Wright and of course Impossible Songs themselves – all over by one in the morning and no complaints from the neighbours.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The West Lothian UFO question.

Scottish UFOs in action over West Lothian etc.
impossible songs

impossible songs

A life in a day

Yesterday we discussed the possibility of alien abductions and how to react should one occur; as we are close to a “thin area” where there are around 300 sightings a year it could happen, welcome to West Lothian. “Thin” in this context presumably means that something around here allows / affords easy entry for UFOs, time machines (future tourists), dimension hoppers or those on a day out from a parallel universe. I have no idea why this should be the case and I have not seen a UFO since 1971. It is interesting that we don’t seem to exist on Satnav and that our postcode covers about twenty square miles of sparsely populated countryside, equally few people know anything about his place or are aware of the history of the site. Maybe we are in a “thin” bubble – I’m watching the skies.

Florida Podcast

More pod casting interest has been shown. Thanks to Ed in Florida for playing “Tokyo Skyline” on one of his shows (Ed’s mixed bag) . I have loads of pleasant Florida memories, my last (nearly last in the fullest sense) being of me standing up to my middle in sea water, drinking beer by the beach on Amelia Island near Jacksonville at about ten in the evening. A full tropical thunderstorm was also under way with spectacular lightning flashing across the sea. Unfortunately a large amount of beer and a degree of jet lag had robbed myself and my colleagues (it was a working trip) of any sense of danger – we survived and drove up to Charleston the next day in a red Chevy Impala with suitably appropriate headaches, rock and roll!

What the fizz bang have we been doing?

Working to survive.
Playing “Adventure Golf” in Aberdeen.
Sleeping on floors.
Watching “Borat”, “Extras”, “Film 4” and “Who shot down Douglas Bader”.
Getting the suspension fixed on the car – country life has its price.
Distributing Easter Eggs.
Building flat pack stuff, putting up curtains, painting and moving stuff about between here and Freuchie.
Recycling and unwrapping.
Setting up bonfires in the garden.
Mario V Donkey Kong.
Reading the Sunday papers the next day.
Eating hot cross buns and not being sure if I like them.
Taking pain killers after I jerked my neck.
Deciding to set up the home studio (but where and how and can I be bothered?).
Removing dead rabbits from the kitchen floor (cat at it again).
Avoiding running over nocturnal and suicidal frogs.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Failed frog trees

impossible songs

impossible songs

A home for failed Christmas trees.

The piece of woodland next door is full of failed Christmas trees, cursed by being unsuited to a fickle and frankly stupid marketplace. These poor creatures were planted with the Christmas sales rush in mind, sometime around 1998. Sadly the soil they were planted into was too good; they thrived and grew quickly and a little more vigorously than their planters had planned. They missed their window of opportunity and now border our garden with their long spindly trunks and inelegant branches, like a group of teenagers who have outgrown their latest trainers and tracksuits and can’t quite afford a taxi to JJB to buy the latest Nike or Kappa crap. Each one the wrong size, look and shape for your Persimmon semi, your Bett Brothers bungalow or your Wimpy footballer’s wife-style mansion. They have walked the green mile and survived and now reach for the sky in this forgotten corner of West-Lothian where, for us and them, everyday is Christmas, whatever that means. Nice be a little bit of a misfit sometimes – it might just save your life.

Close the frog gates.

The annual plague of frogs of Biblical proportions has descended upon the Hopetoun area. The drive from the main road to our house has been transformed into a perilous journey (for them) as by headlight and white stick you try to avoid these lost, dazed and confused amphibians. The asphalt surface is a foreign land to frogs and they get rather afraid and freeze in the presence of a speeding car. I counted about 18 last night and stopped/crawled as many times in order to avoid creating carnage on these country roads. I propose that frog gates are set up and diligently closed at dusk and opened at dawn to allow the frogs safe passage between the many ponds and streams around here that make up their breeding grounds and natural habitat. Some rabbit gates and some pheasant gates might be useful also as none of them have even the smallest amount of road sense. You’d think they’d learn by now, what do evolutionists make of this kind of behavior? (Roadkill I guess - they all taste like chicken.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stairway to Friedrichsafen

impossible songs

impossible songs

Stairway to Friedrichsafen

Martin Freitag complete with what appears to be a hand crafted hybrid Fender Precision bass and Fender Stratocaster. I suspect that Martin, an ingenious and clever engineer and a university professor designed and built this crazy looking beast himself. Martin’s band Mobil will no doubt feature this instrument in their next set of live gigs somewhere in deepest Germany. Martin is of course our regular producer, bass player and drum programmer as well as a host of other things – he’s helped keep impossible songs working smoothly over the last five years and also allowed Ali to indulge in her passion for flipcharts. I’m not sure about the specification of the instrument, I imagine that there will be some synthesizer bits installed in the body and that the electric guitar half will only ever come with four strings – they do things very differently in Germany.

The other thing with a double neck is the weight of the thing; you need a strap the width of the M6 to be comfortable at all, no wonder a wee guy like Jimmy Page could only ever do three live songs at a time with his Gibson 6 /12. I recall that the two guys from Hot Tuna (an off-shoot from Jefferson Airplane), Jack Cassidy and Jorma Kaukomen had problems with them. Jorma had a Les Paul/Strat double neck and Jack had a Gibson/Fender bass, a course of steroids, push ups and personal training in pumping iron is mandatory.

Any Dram will do.

Sadly I won’t be entering the “Dream” competition, I’m thinking about the dram one however.

Pooh Sticks

Had a great game of Pooh sticks today on a sunny road way down by Hopetoun sawmill. We found the perfect bridge, stream and height combination and loads of useful raw materials to turn into racing devices. Sticks, dried weed stems, pine cones, bits of wood – ok I know it’s juvenile don’t want to grow up this week.