Thursday, October 29, 2009

The cult of Lego frees a man from fear

Bow down, genuflect, worship at the firm and snappy temple to the Lego god we have made from..err...Lego. A veritable archangel thunderbird of acute angles, round bits and colours the names of which none dare speak. We are absorbed, self absorbed and ridiculously faithfully calm within our humble Lego shrine.

And so, at age 54 or thereabouts I now find myself better fed and probably better off than at any time since I was 53. I ask myself "when will all this riotous and uncontrolled progress come to and end?" Or I might say "is it that my life is spinning forward and onwards to some unreachable vanishing point masquerading within the curved/linear perspective that I suspect drives the universe along." As far as the idle and in my case detached viewer is concerned that could be a correct assumption anyway.

It's the one hearty meal a day that is creating this unusual situation and like most things it is not sustainable, which as I reflect on the fish, chicken and pasta, the green, green salads and the luxurious fulfilment of my basic needs is indeed fair enough.

Mr Cougar is looking fine and sitting square on the road sporting new suspension things, most likely they are called bushes, branches or arms or some other adopted natural name. I'd love to say that I notice the difference and that all my motoring moments are like sliding along a silk road on a sunny day but the fact is I've still got the same two slow punctures in the back that I first noticed in June. It thankfully passed the MoT mind you and all I need is the odd 20p to spend on free air and the steely will to avoid doing 140 on the motorway. Easy enough really.

Mostly listening to chill out stuff.

Bits of Abbey Road and Frightened Rabbit.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Artist's impression of grandchild No5 or a very primitive scan.

Fish playing in Aberdeen.

A bush surrounded by other bushes and growing things in Dunfermline or thereabouts.

A sunny view of the bridges from the rather rundown and shabby beachfront at St David's Bay. More facilities management funding please.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

How not to cook

How not to cook cookbook.

By Aleksandra Mir for the Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2009.

While the typical cookbook format gives you a recipe for obvious success it does not take into account the many ways in which its execution can fail due to the cook's lack of experience. Based on Aleksandra's personal history of cooking disasters, the project invites 1000 people from all around the world to give their advice of how NOT to cook. With this volume, any reader will be more than well equipped to avoid making the same mistakes in their kitchen.

Aleksandra is interested in how we are taught or teach ourselves through trial and error. By making our guilty failures public we may even be creating an original and subversive form of art, rather than simply be aspiring to obvious and repetitive results.

Kate Gray, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh

Strangely enough I find that I'm in this nice book (my name is on the credits!), I just can't remember the bit I contributed.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

All roads lead...

The road and the miles to Glenrothes. A popular folk song round these parts.

Food: After resolving a brief misunderstanding with the trouser buttons on a new suit purchased for work I realised that an emergency diet was not now required. I celebrated with an apple, beer battered chips and some chicken nuggets and two episodes of the Simpsons.

Songwriting: Having a real piano in one room and a drum machine in the other both playing loudly may seem like an odd combination for instrumental locations but it seems to work. We tried it last night, the drums thundering at a stately 86 BPM in the dining room and the piano plunking away in the lounge, strange chords and melodies arose while I sat in the middle gently strumming on a dobro. In the end some good music was created and will be completed and recorded one fine day.

Priorities: These are things that tell you what you should be doing next but can never quite get round to, often people, time and cash dependant and subject to short notice changes and unplanned adjustment. It's nice when diet is less of a priority that piano plinking.

Dead pedals: Wasted two hours yesterday trying to figure a power failure in the pedal board - all it takes is one cable round the wrong way...blame in on the slow but steady expiring of various cherished brain cells.

Monday, October 05, 2009

South Queensferry daily photo

Business is booming as the good people of SQ flock to the local commercial sector.

The cultural and financial centre of the 'Ferry, part of the great Co-op Scotmid empire flanked by a Chinese restaurant, curry shop and peculiar clothing retailer. I always feel guilty about not using the apparently unloved Co-op, set in it's dreary car park and flanked by nothing in particular. It is compromised by being half a mile away from the larger Tesco that sells everything cheaper and is generally much busier, leaving the poor old Co-op forlorn and abandoned looking - but it does contain a proper post office. The trouble is you can never quite get the stuff you want in the Co-op, the TV ads portray nice green and ethical ranges but when you get in it's just miles of Irn-Bru promotions, stale looking cakes and very tired out and pale vegetables. I just have to learn to live with the guilt of regularly going elsewhere.

We watched "Burn after reading" last night, a fine portrayal of mid-life crisis, greed and paranoia with a lot of added laughs. Watch it and see numerous car crash situations come alive before your very eyes and then spontaneously combust. The names were no doubt changed to protect the innocent.

I uploaded three random tracks onto Amie Street last night, less than 24 hours later the money has already started rolling in, well almost. It's such fun being part of the modern, dynamic and completely unpredictable music industry.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Packaging and octaves

Some packaging we have been working on recently - no hazards here you would think.

Halfords White Spirit: Bought from this reputable store to clean paint brushes, easy enough to use you would think. It should all be so simple except for one basic problem. The two reasonably fit and sane adults in this household couldn't open the "safe and secure system" i.e. the bottle cap. I had no choice other than to breach numerous health and safety guidelines by attacking the bottle with a Swiss Army knife - it seemed like the easiest way to gain access to the precious contents, by now desperately needed to save the life of a quickly hardening paintbrush. Then the remaining spirit had to be decanted into a leftover Lenor bottle creating obvious comic possibilities and more potential for accidents. The list of things I can't easily open grows, these are the current Top 5 problem packs I'm struggling with:

1. (New at No1) Halfords White Spirit - you'll stink and the sink will be spattered.
2. Rice Crispies Breakfast Bars (all flavours) - finger gym workout needed before tackling these bad boys early in the morning.
3. Cellophane on CDs - want to hear a tune? You'll need a sharp knife first.
4. Tinned mackerel - try to get the lid open without spattering yourself with a fine selection of Omega 3 enriched oils.
5. Tesco Bread - sealed with a tiny bit of tape and a weird tab that the Incredible Hulk couldn't open.

P.S. Just noticed this on a Toilet Duck Brush pack, "If accidently swallowed, seek medical advice", once you've done that (swallowing a toilet brush) you can also sign up for a lucrative circus career I'd imagine.

50s style Les Paul bridge: Carefully adjust the Allen Key so that the string length allows clear fretting and that the octaves are accurate - maybe.

There is nothing more annoying than some twat tuning and fiddling with guitar strings, plinking and plonking around. This weekend it was my turn to re-tension the truss rod, file the frets, adjust the bridge and chase octaves up and down the neck. In the end I'd made no significant improvements but I hadn't broken anything either - something of a triumph I'd say.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

and the tramp

Jonathan Meades eating a crab and making people crabbit.
A She-Hulk picture that I like but is not relevant to tramp and lady themes.

I woke up this morning (as has been said many times) with "the lady is a tramp" running around in my head (the song, not wide-eyed cartoon dogs). I realised, as my version of the lyrics replayed within the great grey place of thinking, that I didn't understand quite what the song is/was about at all. That same deep lack of knowledge applies to a load of other songs, aka the big pile of misunderstood or not understood songs and lyrics, not even my friends at Wikiland can help out. I remain as ever an ignorant and useless lyrical correspondent.

Some people were upset, angry or possibly spitting out their pies over Jonathan Meades' "Football Pools Towns" docu-babble on BBC4. "Negative and ill-informed and unbalanced" some said. Not me however, it's tone was a kick in the footballs for Fifers like me (we become used to that) but in other bits, particularly on council house architecture, the decline of community and the aftermath of the Scottish industrial decline it hit the penalty spot. Truth is sometimes best served up by itinerant strangers and then left with us, like an unexpected present or time bomb. After an appropriate period of reflection it may all make sense...

"She gets too angry for Corrie at eight, she likes the bingo, puts the sugar on the slate, she never bothers to clean out the grate, that's why the lady is a tramp."

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Blog could do better

I'd forgotten what we'd left in the garage.

October at last with nineteen long days to unfold before one of my more regular birthdays occur, every year they come around, just like clockwork. Because of this and nothing else really I regard October with some more affection than any of the rest, it's my birthday month so it must be better than the other eleven sorry segments. I think my car needs MoT'd this month, a probe will be gingerly placed up it's exhaust pipe and the tyres kicked I'd imagine, but I'm staying in denial of this until I have to pick up the phone and book a test then hear the bad news that is due to break.

To celebrate the first day of my birthday month (after an irritating day at work, the kind where you realise you seldom ever get things right and your vocabulary is far too small for an adult) I bowled into the local Tesco in the vain hope of finding some tasty teatime bargain in the stacked and crowded shelves. As I joined the shuffling, shopping masses mortal indecision quickly set in robbing me of free will and the ability to choose. Ten minutes later the fruit of my labours was two bags full of nothing in particular and I'm £18.50 lighter only to realise that what I really wanted was an Indian take away. I came home to be presented with a useful free sample sachet of toothpaste in the mail and two dead mice curled up like Inca mummies on the door mat - I ate a pork pie and an overpriced Cumberland sausage and returned to the happy place near the back of my brain, happy MoT and birthday when it comes.