Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Of course we are not screwed

There are 52 yummy varieties believe it or not...

De-clutter bulletin No1: I've worked out that if I fill a bag with rubbish every week and dispose of it in the correct manner then a year from now I will have removed 52 bags of rubbish (approx 1000kg) from the house and from my life. This epic exercise began tonight when I systematically de-cluttered our heaving freezer. Farewell to bargain pancakes, weird pizza things, loose chips, a loaf, a gateaux and various unrecognisable bags of icy substances. It felt good and I still have a few bags and kgs to go to meet my weekly target. What will be next? Dry provisions, socks and t-shirts, books, electrical items, worn out towels? I'm salivating at the thought and looking forward to walking tall, lean and mean, unburdened and stripped back, like some rally car or athlete...we'll see. My dear wife also has to have a significant say in this matter.

Nothing can be held sacred in the relentless pursuit of simplifying your life, imagine not very many superfluous possessions, easy if you try, no crap left in the freezer, not even Eskimo pie.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


There is no doubt about it we are screwed. The roof has fallen in and chickens have come home to roost and the Home Secretary isn't pulling any punches anyway. Pensions and savings are eroded to the point of pain, they've taken the chocolate out of chocolate and my brain has apparently turned into 55 year old vintage custard. Swimming pools are closing and England are out of the World Cup due to the criminal disposal of playing fields and the promotion of non-competitive sport. I've also stopped liking Dr Who, missed the last 5 episodes and I can't see any difference between HD and normal TV. The good news is that there are 18 sausages left over in the fridge that must be eaten soon.

Moody pop stars of the 60s

Bitch Boys

Surly Bassey

Petulant Clark

Huffy Springfield

Coy Orbison

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I nearly paid my SKY HD subscription.

Irrelevant quote of the day "John Terry has stormed into the penalty area".

Moon Cake

The Moon Cake or possibly a Moon Cake recipe:

16 oz of desiccated moon
1 (American) cup of weird superfluous wax
miscellaneous candles in various shape sand sizes
love & varnish
the fabric of the universe
pearls from the deepest ocean or maybe Majorca
Junk/Charity shop sourcing
IKEA bottomless coffee
a large shiny metal circle

(a) Gather the ingredients together and burn slowly, then turn out the contents. Remain horizontal for a few hours and allow to set whilst reading some appropriate literature

(b) Live your life for a while rotating 180 degrees whenever possible - install HD TV services

(c) Furnish

(d) Using simple screwdriver and brush technique apply the uncredited varnish in a liberal coalition manner of speaking

(e) Have good idea

(f) Go back to (a) and get married if you forgot

(g) Check that the matches have all gone out and make a 4" hole in the wall at height

(optional: add some punctuation but don't look back)

(h) Get safely down from the step ladder without entangling the entire area

(i) Stare at and serve / or vice versa

That completes the process almost safely and in the comfort of your own home or elsewhere, however you are advised to carry out your own risk assessment, one at a time. Beware the uninitiated, the Moon may taste surprisingly good and you cannot give it up.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Strawberry Hill Boys

They may seem to be clinging on for dear life but they are thriving.

When you are in a nice restaurant and enjoying cheesecake with wild strawberries, be aware this is where the red part came from. They are emerging on a seasonal basis from the stone on top of our dyke in fact. £7.50 a punnet, form an orderly queue please.
Alternative postal system utilising only natural ingredients but with occasional assistance from a high speed Vauxhall van.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Google Street View

Thank you Google for yet another surreal moment captured in Aberdeen. The ongoing bizarre and absurd nature of so many aspects of our existence never ceases to amaze me.

Retire at 66? As a confirmed pension dodger and one who does not fear the Reaper (yet) I'm determined not get bothered about any of this. I'll be 60 in 2015, I may get a bus pass then and I'll possibly get a diluted 40 year pension at 61. If I work on what have I got to lose? I can cash in my pension and draw a salary, well maybe. My kind of work is not a burden to me either, I'm hoping to remain on top and I'm realising that the older you get the more you appreciate that nobody really knows what they are talking about anyway and it's always going to be entertaining to see the young and enthusiastic crash and burn as their "original" schemes and ideas falter, in fact it's already happening. Continuous Improvement? You are having a laugh.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In England

I wouldn't normally bother but I did. I spent a chunk of the afternoon (but they may do an all day breakfast) in Wetherspoons Birmingham Airport watching a lacklustre England side struggle to beat Slovenia. Of course the assembled travelling masses seemed to disagree and cheered their heroes on through 94 minutes of stressful TV time. Meanwhile friendly Polish staff handed out plates of chips and salmon fish cakes, passing through the multitudes, those lost and confused nomadic multitudes. The same people that Jesus said he loved and that he believed wanted to listen to him. Trouble is that now all they want to listen to Gary Lineker's one liners, have a cheep pint and a side order of garlic bread and then get the hell out of Birmingham.

Eventually the final whistle blew and the magnificent horns and vuvuzelas ceased their free form idiotic blaring and I supped the last drops of a dark brown beery pint. Gradually the crowds parted and drifted from Wetherspoons, shifting over to Costa or Coffee Republic or towards the promise of a blinking departure gate light. The match is over and consigned to to some blurred red and white memory vault and the plates have been cleared away. Germany on Sunday as it turns out and more food will be prepared, consumed or abandoned as jaws drop.

It's easy to feel like a king in another man's country but it's not healthy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Longest day

gArDeN: iN DeTaiL oN tHe LoNgEsT dAy So FaR.

In a futile bid to shorten the longest day I fell asleep during the Spain v Honduras match, a few moments after the first goal, I awoke with a start and a strawberry Milk Tray. It doesn't seem to have worked though, however my usual Solstice rituals will now carry on into the wee small hours. This intricate and primal rite in celebrating the passage of the sun over the earth (and it peering through various standing stone arrangements) involves me sleeping soundly for about seven hours - mostly in a pagan style. ZZZ.

Some people are also skiing on the longest day. Why? Must be more unreliable evidence of global warming.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ex-Karma Police

For more information information click onto the point of this tiny invisible needle.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Willow: Born today at 3am, congratulations to Erin and Guy...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Art v Alcohol

Could be a White Russian, a Pimms, a Brandy or a nice relaxing G&T.

Some kind of grape based liquid, petrified, certified, quaffed and quaffed again and then subjected to microscopic double exponential smoothing, unless I'm mistaken.

Today it was 28 degrees in some places, I visited those many of those god forsaken places wearing a tie and a tight collar (because I have a neck that refuses to stop growing outwards) but I am not complaining (I am complaining about having an inflatable neck however). I clearly need to get some clarity on the true nature of my numerous complaints and focus on them a little more. Meanwhile the cats are lazy, confused and wandering: respectively. It's not even summer yet as far as my body clock is concerned, that's still weeks away. I relieve the pain of it all by burning pasta, staring at "image of the day" images wishing somebody would settle on one simple image and looking forward to football matches I probably wont watch because of my chronic attention span problem, the one I never speak about.

Whilst we bake slowly and simmer here, some 109 miles away (as the crow might fly if it could be bothered) a fifth grandchild is about to be born. Tonight's football may be the perfect distraction; most likely not. My mind is quite naturally - wandering.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

St Paul's Cathedral

If I was a human sized flea I could jump over St Paul's Cathedral. Alas (or thankfully) I am not.

Today I went to Southampton and now I'm back home, travel of this type however does not really broaden the mind, as I experience more of provincial airports and so called security measures I remain a complex, ranting, irritable bigot. In my head anyway.

Special thanks today go to Dr Pepper, Hertz, Ford, king prawns, comfy chairs, the Spanish football team (not really), nan bread, the number 665 and the letter Q.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Never was a fan of the Wild Bean Cafe and their petrol is always 2p a litre more expensive than anywhere else. Then there's that surly old woman behind the till...

They do have M&S stuff but it's a box shifting franchise, the car wash is OK and the shop is nice and clean. The only the other thing is that faraway oil spill...Beep Beep.

Monday, June 14, 2010

World class spuds

Even more vegetables than you'd find every other weekend at Ibrox (see the bit below).

World Cup fatigue has already set in.

Sports fans of South Africa and anywhere else: Why don’t you just shove your vuvuzelas up your arses and see what kind of other infuriating noise that act might produce?

I’m spending too much time at work these days. There are other things I should be concentrating on and the work/life balance needs to be more in balance. That of course has never really happened and probably never will, at least not until I get my bus pass, an event that I’m almost looking forward to. On reflection I doubt that the free bus pas will survive the current range of spending cuts and why should it? I’ll carry on working and driving. Speaking of driving my current affordable fantasy vehicle is a 1994 or thereabouts Lexus Soarer 4.0 in silver. Something of an unfortunate piece of naming (sounds like a malignant skin disease) and certainly an extravagant bit of engineering but it looks like something straight out of Thunderbirds.

Meanwhile in the world of music I’m discovering the pure and innocent pleasures of listening to the mature, developed yet strangely naive sounds of Teenage Fanclub. Relaxing and for a Scottish band oddly joyful and not bleak at all

So back to the World Cup, building nicely, TV coverage patchy with ITV being more irritating (despite Adrian Chiles almost unpalatable honesty) than the BBC. With ITV it’s really the commercial breaks with the same sponsors fighting for your attention and money that exhaust me, you don’t notice it quite so much with Sky or even the Champions League. It’s the sustained relentless push over long periods that erodes any sense of appreciation and ultimately dilutes the experience. None of that matters because the channels aren’t in conflict (yet) so if you want to watch you’ve no choice or you walk away. As far as the office sweep predictor and the family fantasy league are concerned I’m nowhere.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Perception Filter

Great when it works, not so good when it fails. Then of course there's the self-awareness filter, the existential filter, the just out of my field of vision filter, the invasion of personal space filter and the I never did say that filter. Whatever gets you through your life.

I am the potato king, I am king of the spuds, I am the regal, royal ruler of the tattie patch. The weeds and duds and daisies have been removed and huge vegetable crop has been exposed for all to see, looking good so far.

An open to all question: Has anybody ever seen a cat catch a fish? Cartoon cats do not count either.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cup of World

A few minutes into the World Cup I’m already dreading the next four weeks, its not the football, the media or the relentless advertising, it’s the vuvuzelas. This pointless plastic drone acts as an irritating background for matches it seems and that may be a mildly amusing diversion or somehow entertaining if you are in the stadium. Watching at home it’s akin to having either a wasps nest in your TV or a dead cow lying underneath your Hifi unit. Curb your enthusiasm please. Hopefully the host nation will be quickly put out of their misery by teams with less noisy fans and the spectacle may become less sonic and more enjoyable. On the other hand it might be interesting if the plastic horns met up with the Samba and Oompah squads or the occasional itinerant drummers that attend these affairs - they may all cancel one another out in an orgy of unmusical noise, then the singing could break out perhaps.

France v Uruguay = boredom and nil points in the office sweep.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


There's a big hole in the sea, somewhere.

Due to a day spent working, traveling and attending parents' night the power of the sandwich has had to prevail. Always a challenge to keeping metabolic rates steady, hopefully high, the great bread barrier has to be overcome but was not. So today I failed badly. It started with two poached eggs and some toast in a hotel by the M40, then a WH Smith chicken salad mix and finally an ASDA egg salad (from the out of date pile), very cold. Not a good 12 hours for the digestion, waistline or self respect. I need a sliced of chilled pineapple and a Greek yogurt.

Non-directors cut

After over coming some struggles with time, software and the usual age related span of attention problems I suffer from, our Marryoke video has finally been put together, at least this version has anyway. Another 56 minutes of unedited and unused material remains and will at some point be cobbled together to form a directors cut type special edition.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Derren Brown don't let us down

He's an enigma alright.

Enjoyed a mind boggling evening in the company of Derren Brown. I figured about three tricks out of about twenty. The final enigma trick took a while to get going but ended up in a total blitzkrieg of visual punchlines and slow burning pay-offs. Highly entertaining and bewildering but try as I might I can't seem to get myself hypnotised however.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Should be doing something else, not blogging.

Hammer of the gods.

For some inexplicable reason I stayed up to watch the Beeb’s “Greatest Rock Band” finale show last night, I never did see the other five episodes (phew!). Like most great rock stars hairstyles it had now shorn itself down to various three horse races to find the best (favourite) bands and players over the last forty odd years. That in itself is a strange fact as is hearing a wide age range of young and woefully inarticulate celebrity fans arguing about the merits of rockers their parents would know much better. And then there were the celebrity arguments, most of which were along the lines of “I really like him (no hers here) so you should vote for him”. Each time the name was mentioned a block of stock footage was shown just to add to the now indistinct and pallid world of hazily recalled greatness these guys live in. Page nursing the double neck, Slash with a top hat and fag, Hendrix on the Lulu Show, Freddy Mercury in drag and so on.

Of course this kind of for fun competition never works and really only displays the gulf between genres, the variety of style and the disparity of contribution between the exponents, particularly when you get into the “who invented the riff” or who first used the mike stand as a “phallic prop” arguments, as if they were discovering X-Rays or landing on the moon. Even the terminology is completely misunderstood, Slash’s (orgasmic (?) as it was described) intro to Sweet Child of Mine keeps being referred to as a riff, eh? whilst Flea’s bass playing is “orchestral” and nobody really understands what drummers do because its all just an “engine room”, a bit like going below on the Titanic and having to wear ear defenders then?

Queen of course featured strongly, they however inhabit a unique place in the land of the cartoon undead owing more to pantomime and camp cabaret than actual grimy, grungy rock. or the mean blues that it sprang from. A few great singles, six shite albums and an overblown stage show, really they were the UK’s Kiss but with a bit less make up and they have aged and died out rather badly.

So we had the usual suspects but no keyboards section, a glaring omission which may have been explained or simply didn’t work within the “power trio or front man” structure that the show seemed to be stuck with - the truth is that apart from the odd Hammond heavy chord, Rhodes fill or a few synth pieces I could live without rock keyboards quite nicely as could the rest of the world. They should’ve been in there however if only to maintain some proper balance.

So however irritating it may be to reduce thousands of albums and performances down to a ridiculous short list a winner eventually arrived, thanks to numerous drunk punters phoning from the pub, in Led Zep being the best band ever. The space between the 70s and the present day seems now oddly devoid of a brute force in music, that can’t be right, where have all the big bands gone wrong? We need to move on. Anyway the result is ok with me albeit it’s guitar players I rate and for the record my current list would, in no particular order be:

Jeff Beck - technically brilliant and innovative but always in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong combination of musicians and so criminally dodged the massive career he deserved. Not strong on personality or self awareness I fear.

Jimmy Page - did everything except sing which is probably just as well, stole riffs and developed them, wrote 20 killer originals, explored highs and lows, did the twin mike ambient recordings, used little amps, invented forward echo and played a Danelectro live. Just don’t describe his playing as “strident” please, we’re all fed up with that. He virtually make it impossible for any average player to pick up a double neck and look cool or comfortable.

Joe Walsh - in the James Gang used power chords brilliantly, did slide and echo better than anyone and had a perfect sense for build and dynamics, lost it eventually but a truly great early player. Three fine albums and then the smoker you drink etc. Not a bad career.

Jimi Hendrix - a gentle, spaced, fruitcake feedback genius who made the perfect 27, if only a wider range of his material was played and remembered rather than just Purple Haze or Hey Joe. The Experience were the ideal power trio.

Steve Howe - not sure why but he seems to get more tonal variation out of his guitars so has no distinct signature sound but still is unique, surprisingly melodic, not blues based and nicely unpopular and unfashionable, or so I’d imagine. Shame he didn’t like “Owner of a lonely heart” though.

The James Gang Rides Again - and in style.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Feels like summer

We spent most of today on another continuous improvement project, the garden. Today's sun baked and sweltering milestones were slightly more creative than the normal regular battle to keep down the weeds and control the great Serengeti like grasslands we look out upon. The new Zen Garden of Delights (as above) now has a compact and bijou water feature to soothe and calm our over active minds. It resides in a tranquil corner with numerous colourful blooms peeking over and anxiously developing their space and rooting out like some miniature version of Babylon's Hanging Gardens - well almost.

Then we painted various stationary artifacts but mostly the popular and practical Steampunk inspired chimney thing. Strange, curious and unknown flying insects visited the scene and stuck to the wet paint whilst I drank shandy and Ali supped long cool spritzers.

The once sad, faded and somewhat neglected wooden grey squirrel has now been painted red and that may result in us receiving a handsome support grant from the WWF or Blue Peter, you never can tell these days who'll latch onto a good piece of work. So that was that until the rains came down about 5:30.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Solar power

"Where the earth and sun meet, in the perfumed gardens of the busy mind there is forever the mystic promise of a sparkling, peaceful, neutral water feature to soothe away the cares and pressures of all of this world and possibly the next..."

Top tips for a long and pointless life.

I keep myself looking young and cheerful by regularly stretching my back and shoulder muscles whilst sitting upright in a wooden chair.

I eat a strict diet of blueberries, cream, corned beef and bananas.

I regularly listen to Radio Scotland but with the volume turned down.

I sleep with my head under the pillow and use a soothing alarm tone to wake up each day at 6.20 AM.

I regularly master complex mind puzzles such as Microsoft Movie Maker, cardboard box collapsing, frittering and the sorting out of odd socks.

I leave doors open (slightly).

I rotate shoes.

For relaxing travel, drive with the passenger window half down, the A/C off, stay in the outside lane and suck a strong mint.

Mimic things.