Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Actually I don't really care

We're burning peat, brown and green chunks of ancient earth that burns and glows and quickly turns to ash and smells good. Warmth from the cold bogs and marshes and pastures, drilled out of the ground and packaged for popular consumption.

Today there were strikes and disputes, rallies and arguments against a broken, headstrong and corrupt government that's not interested in listening. They have their own way and they will have their way and by the time their life is over we'll all have been robbed of rights, pensions, savings, investments and health care. So that's it but the tall trees are marked up, ready for the chop, you'll see the signs, you can distinguish the marks, as you walk past, take a good look, stop and reflect. The tall trees will be cut down, just wait and see. The good thing is there's a lot of material in there for songwriting.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Can we get a dog to match this cat food?

Probably not, we could get dog to eat it if it had some spare time. Would it be a totally unrealistic vanity project to have a dog that matched a cat? A fur coat that matched a fur car? A tin of pale rice pudding that matched a cream enameled achette? A cheap whisky that matched a cut glass? An orange air hostess that matched an orange aircraft? A mathematical formula that matched a blackboard? A mathematical formula that matched neighbouring graffiti but meant less? That's far enough.

Where did the eternal blue sky and your long hair go?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Caveman Artwork

Walking in the woods I came across these primitive artworks mostly consisting of painted frames with little or no detail other than blurred images. It proves that frames predate pictures. I'd never thought of that. The textures in the bare and ancient walls are nicely featured. Who knows when or by whom these early works were undertaken? I guess that many long years must have passed, unpredictable Scottish weather systems have faded them but these strong artistic statements remain, undiscovered by those in the know, hidden in the wilds like an ancient treasure.

Who were the mysterious woodsmen who crafted these fine and sensitive works?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giant Profiteroles

Amongst the items that are available at South Queensferry's Hawes Inn restaurant are, as you might or might not expect, "giant profiteroles". The term giant is of course quite enticing to a certain class of diner; the curious, the skeptical, the idealist, the dreamer and the greedy. I appear to me all of those things, as well as pretty gullible. Much as they were enjoyable, the term "giant" when applied to any food and to these profiteroles in particular brings with it a certain amount of word debasement and inevitable disappointment. I was full and satisfied by this point anyway. If 4 inches is giant then there is hope for us all.

This weekend we've been burning peat from Peterhead, bought at a geriatric friendly cafe on the A90 near Brechin. The mild highland aroma hasn't quite altered my consciousness but it masks the earthy smells of November leaving behind a rich trace of familiar but far away wild lands and their histories in the blue smoke and fierce heat. The Picts and Vikings knew a thing or two. I wonder if it's edible if prepared properly?

Our house is turning into a vacuum cleaner graveyard. Nothing that's mechanical lasts long here, they burn brightly, make a bit of a foul smell as they fail and then die quietly. They await Valhalla in the cupboard under the stairs beside assorted boxes. Pet hairs, fluff on steroids and general user abuse get equal amounts of blame for their untimely demise. Pushed to my limit and fed up with snapped Vax drive belts I tried some necromancy on them today using a mix of thrusting broom handles, twisted coat hanger gropers and high pressure water spays. Large plugs of both wet and dry colourful gunge emerged from pipes, tubes and nozzles, it was immensely satisfying as an exercise but has probably not made any real difference. This place is the Hoover Bermuda Triangle, they come here, suck up for a while and then disappear leaving no trace of their brief spiralling orbits.

Friday, November 25, 2011

3 things fixed, 2 things not

It's not free for download yet but it will be once we get bored with rolling in the money - pay for it while you still can.

I've already carried out running repairs to two hoovers, one telescope and some microwave porridge and it's only 16:00. The common broken belt and blocked filter problem. I'm strangely gifted as an appliance victim and also as an appliance doctor albeit unqualified. I have less good fortune when it comes to filling station air pumps, today saw two serious fails at both Tesco and Shell in the pouring rain. You put your money in the slot but no air comes out and what does the poorly paid customer representative say? "If you want to get your money back then you'll have to call customer services in Aldershot or somewhere". That's a fine attitude, they can't even give you a lousy 50p from the till when their machine breaks. I just smiled and took my usual Karma points instead and tried the low tech but working pump along at Murco.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Your fish is on fire

That's exactly what happens if you overdo the quick salmon grilling snack exercise. Best to stick to the more benign and neutral mac and cheese combo in my simple view. Soon of course we will celebrate Christmas, the seasonal habit and uncomfortable obsession that none of us can break. I like the nice passive aggressive take on decorations shown above, might try this later. If I was watching TV I'd watch Rev on Beeb 2 and not find it as funny as it should be, if I was eating a biscuit I'd eat an Naked Apple Pie and if I was having a drink it'd be an alcoholic surprise. If I was cleaning up I'd be searching for a dead mouse, by smell alone. Nothing is real apparently.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Watching the wall

Tired of watching those bizarre artifacts and still life pieces hanging on your parlour wall? So was I until I stumbled upon Sky 523 Discovery-Turbo. Now I can relax, iron shirts, poke the fire, make cheesy pasta, sip Nescafe 3 in 1 and lose myself in various regularly repeated petrolhead themed programmes (and it avoids the clamour, contact and confusion of Facebook and Twitter). Sorted for at least 3 hours or until my span of attention droops.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

92.25.203.# (Opal Telecom)

Of course there are many nice people out there in the world, possibly more than you think (99%?), enjoying what life brings, having a good day, perhaps using their right to free speech, just noodling, dancing on the beach maybe, doing whatever, then along comes somebody...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kayak to Kinnarodden

All the important locations in Europe in a single map. It's great to have a stupid, unrealistic, eccentric, irrational and expensive travel plan that can be slowly built up and then picked apart and undermined in every tiny detail. These are the kind of wild and woolly thinking processes that made this country everything that it is today. Roll on 2015ish.

Speaking of our great nation and it's possible role in a revamped Europe I was disappointed but hardly surprised to hear that a lottery winning Scottish couple have donated £1m of their vast unearned fortune to the SNP in order that it may be pissed up against random pub walls by some of our less visionary home grown politicians. We will probably have forgotten this mindless act of self indulgence come the revolution so they're safe enough. Anyone hoping to have their daft ideas financed need look no further, their mail box will be overwhelmed by an avalanche of ridiculous Caledonian proposals.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Porsche 911 called Dignity

The local cat police were out last night and apprehended this little fellow in a nearby field, not quite sure what was going on, all we know is that this prime suspect said very little. His ginger accomplice, just visible in the distance (with max zoom) was a lot more vocal, we interviewed him later in a controlled environment, all he would say was, "honest, we were not up to no good officer but you need to talk to the badger". So we have two strange cats on a mission and on patrol around our manor and a crimeless victim, tension is building and feelings are running high. Clearly we need more moon juice.

Changing animals for a moment I saw a man out walking a small dog, "that's not much of a dog" I thought. Then I thought, "what is much of a dog?" I'm now on the look out; this type of thinking can apply to numerous other aspects of modern life i.e. that's not much of a TV show, that's not much of a portion of potted meat, that's not much of a political party, that's not much of a pop single, that's not much of a plan for the rest of your life. Try it yourself and see where it gets you.

I'd also like to quickly sing the praises of the green lentil, it may seem heretical you Scottish Soup fundamentalists but hear me out. Whatever made you think that ancient, spurious writings based on Middle Eastern mythologies were ever in any way applicable to Scotland or Northern Europe? I'll never know the answer but they got themselves bolted onto our lifestyle and have caused significant damage for about 1500 years - all relatively unchecked or challenged. In that time the great green lentil was tortured, suppressed and crushed but now it's ready to make a comeback. Gird your metabolisms for green lentils, pulse revolution, a brave new Christmas or whatever you call it, freedom awaits.

Radio Scotland: Playing music only fit to act as a soundtrack to the Highland Clearances and doing so since Marconi was a boy. Tune in today and hear the full accordion and fiddle based horror for yourself. 94.3 FM.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The garden and modern divorce

The crisis that is global warming and in Scotland's case rampant global driechness has driven a wedge between me and our large and beautiful garden. We had neglected one another and were no longer on good speaking terms. I needed to reconnect, to get down, get dirty and once again appreciate my creaky and malformed horticultural relationships. After some intense counseling I was ready to venture out and (under close medical supervision) once again lie down, face down in the glistening morning dew. For me it was a vivid and character changing experience which moved me to my very soul. These photos reveal the results but the true life affirming effects are travelling onwards far away beyond the soft machine and over the bright and speckled clouds.

Some other reasons that may explain why I'm pissed off by the garden and in such tortured turmoil:

It's cold and miserable out there.
The fence keeps getting blown down.
The unmentionable tree chopping thing and the departure of the Ents.
A mouse ate its way through the HT lead on the strimmer.

Put a neutrino in your tank

The finer points of modern physics are lost on me, I can just about understand the basic concepts of a tin opener or at a stretch Post Office elastic band catapult design principles. Despite my cerebral handicaps I could be a big fan of the tiny neutrino and it's impressive ability to quickly cross large parts of central Europe by avoiding all the major routes and simply going in a straight line at great speed. Of course my next natural reaction (good physics eh?) is to become a new neutrino denier, my mantra being "they aren't here nor are they anywhere so they must be nowhere" and simply believe that a single Neutrino, placed in any hot beverage will sweeten it nicely without giving you any additional or unwanted calories.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Impassive aggressive

Spanish style chicken, peppers and chorizo washed down with a cheeky red, a technicolor blue and a fashionably pasteurised green. I think the colours of foodstuffs are very important. For a while (as my body worked hard and absorbed the rainbow of pure alcohol) I watched TV and laughed quite a few times at Modern Family, "I don't talk in my sleep, or walk in my sleep, I sleep clown". I like all of the cast, the script and the concept. Then there were the segments of the worthy but frankly dull Children in Need celeb stunt bits (all of which I support but...). The cause and the stories are brilliant but the "stars" let it down badly. I was hoping that some celebrity chefs would suffer a sponsored bull whipping whilst singing barbershop, a few gobby children's TV presenters would run the gauntlet with WW2 flamethrowers or that a coven of coalition MPs would offer to have their scrotums waxed Brazilian style, not tonight however. The donations I'm sure would have gone off the scale. That's the problem with mainstream TV, it knows it's limits and fails to even reach them by mostly avoiding to tackle them altogether. Maybe next year, I'm content to bide my time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Books & Demons

It was as if some occult hand had gone through every book, turned every page, checked every genre and then shaken the entire library violently. Some of the bright and randomly placed volumes were scattered in the process, some landed on the ground pages opened, others stayed upright like soldiers refusing to fall in battle. The sorting process continued in this way for some time. It was clear that a great mind was at work and that a higher, loftier purpose was being acted out. I was on the edge, a spectator, only hoping that by the end I'd be able to quickly put my finger on whatever publication I was looking for. “It's a big machine and it's working.”

During a lull in the maelstrom I was able to reflect on the act of reading itself, for me, an unfortunate cross between an illiterate, irreverent and a lazy being reading sometimes is unattractive. Bad eye sight and Poundland readers don't help either. I cannot imagine myself coming home thinking “I really must read some Robbie Burns” or “where is my copy of Ivanhoe?” or even “when can I find the time to browse a few more of Shakespeare’s sonnets?” Some people must think like that. I do like the odd biography, Sci-fi or even (the lighter) self help books, BBC news and the Sunday papers but that's not serious reading. When I was small I used to like reading the ingredients of tins or containers, I also liked knowing their volumes which for some reason I'd try to compare with car or motorcycle engine sizes, “so that's what 100cc looks like.”

So now we are organised and I feel a deep inner peace, the universe has moved and I have survived but this may not last, all feelings form up into some kind of circle. Once you know that life's not so bad: anticipation, expectancy, planning, delivery, pleasure, relaxation, guilt, remorse, self pity, inspiration, anticipation...etc. You're never much more than a few steps from a good bit and time and experience can make the negatives tolerable, at least for a short while.

All these smart books got to me, entering the grey matter and while I was sleeping I was visited by the demon Chorozon aka as “the demon of the abyss”. He seemed to know a thing or two about my internal psychological processes and offered a few bits of constructive advice as well as insights. Anyway he was telling me that as he is the last great obstacle between the adept and enlightenment, it would do me no harm to prepare to meet and challenge him so I can move beyond that great gulf and into the greater cosmos and so on to the fictitious universe of Douglas Adams or somewhere (I lost the thread as it was 3am, why don't demons come along when you're in a good mood and maybe just having lunch?), all useful stuff to know. His price seemed fair; £666 in twenties (rounded up) and a small amount of blood and reasonable but limited public humiliation, I'm considering my options.

One demon I'm not so keen on is Lilith, she's a Jewish or Hebrew demon. She looks like quite a nice woman with red hair but being a demon has no clothes on most of the time and has bird's feet for some reason. I thought she looked a bit creepy in an esoteric way but she did have a nice sounding voice. Not sure what her powers are but she got some bad press in the Bible it seems, that was about 5000BC. She also had a snake wrapped around her, writhing, flicking it's tongue and looking menacing. Not many blokes are going to go for that look. The birds feet were also a bit off putting, I can't imagine her in stilettos but at a pinch they might be ok in a nice stir fry; tasty as chicken?

Islam has a few demons as you might well imagine, they are called the jinn (they don't merit a capital letter of their own either, a bit mean). Apparently they roam about in the unseen or unknown bits of the world, they can see us but we can't see them, a bit like being on a bus I imagine. Anyway I don't think they are very happy, Islam isn't a religion known for tolerating outsiders so all the jinn are condemned as the “smokeless bits of fire” who presumably cant even get into a pub these days and soon wont be able to get in a car either. One thing to watch is that a jinn can enter into you (only the better ones do this) if Allah allows it. That fact does set up a number of questions about the nature of Allah but maybe it's best not to go there. Oh and they can also, when they are not being invisible smoke, take the form of black dogs and snakes (no particular snake colour noted there). Nobody really knows why they do this. Good to get your head round the finer points of the world's religions, where would we be without all this collected wisdom and useful advice?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Moon over flame

The early and unheralded arrival of the 2012 Olympic torch was recently celebrated round these parts. Sadly the usual high maintenance ViPs and hangers on missed this historic event as did the press and TV but we carried on and in our own slipshod Pagan way welcomed the eternal flame of outdoor sporting events and mass corruption to West Lothian. With no media frenzy to feed and as a result of my own rather absent minded behaviour I stupidly let it go out. In my defence it was quite a damp evening. If anyone is interested in taking this iconic piece of Greek history for a trot round the byways and more remote islands it's lying in the back garden. I've a box of Swan Vestas at the ready.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pimp my Billy

Some of the better things about random web browsing are the daft, practical and outrageous storage ideas that you find; as well as the nice old Alfa Romeos and Jaguars for sale. Much as I like this configuration (pictured) it might result in overheating and cable management issues - the usual home studio problems. I have however succeeded in sorting all of our CDs into handy piles in preparation for them being swallowed up in the vast vacant Billy expanse that stands before me. The piles are somewhat vague, based around shifting ownership, meaningless genres, dubious popularity and imagined world locations. Retrieving music from this morass will be tough so I'll just stick to playing Let it Bleed on Spotify.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Transcendental mediocrity

Far far away, near and as close as your nasal fluff, all across the world and in this case Fife, wind farms are standing stock still, looking up at the moon, wondering what their place and purpose in the universe might be and what kind of muscular exercise regime might suit them best. Then it became clear, in a flash, in an instant. There is a tunnel at the end of the light. DO NOTHING.

The daily windmill

We stayed a night or at least 16 hours in this lovely old hotel on the fringe of Aberdeen on Deeside, well known for the mis-ordering of words in English & Doric. Warm, comfy, with full health reviving spa facilities and long and winding corridors - also good for steak sandwiches and a solitary but near perfect poached egg on brown toast. In the baronial hall a modern wedding was taking place, the piper played the Star Wars theme as the happy couple checked out and drove off on their honeymoon in a Rover 213, that must count as a vintage car in these parts. We mingled with guests, photographers and would be crashers - I was tempted but I didn't take the bait. I was wearing grey M&S cords however.

Anyway after a few nicely coloured beers back in the city centre I slept like a West Lothian log/pig and awoke sane, relaxed and in my right mind for a change. Just to set the day on some kind of edge I pinched a carton of yogurt and a tea spoon from the breakfast tray. Some may wonder at this petty crime but I consider it fully justified on a) a time basis (it was 07:30 on a Sunday), b) there's some potential for a blockbuster film script there and c) sometimes I just feel like sticking it to the man (oh yeah!).

Beyond a joke: OK I've checked this Fife windmill 39 times and I've yet to see it move, perhaps I've misunderstood it's purpose, it may in fact be a simple Airfix life sized replica for training, aesthetic or research purposes. That sounds feasible to me. Research of all kinds is always welcome in Fife, I heard that from a respected health professional over a friendly beer the other day. It seems Fife has a worst health record than Glasgow for heart trouble, strokes, cancers and obesity, yes you can get it all here and it's worse than anywhere else in Europe. The media, the politicians and God don't want you slackers to know that, they like to hammer away on the masochistic West Side for some reason, maybe to keep them humble and afraid and in their place. The old Fife Diet (occasionally championed on these irrelevant pages) may need further development, I propose that we start by building a full scale model...

Please note: it takes two of those firelighters to light a fire, not just the one, meanie.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Let's not talk about testicular pain

As an avid supporter of the many abstract and absurd things around here I was of course happy and in no way resentful, spiteful or conflicted on hearing of and seeing for myself the wondrous white structure that is Dunfermline's new windmilly thingy. It stands proudly erect in the back garden of some factory or other resolutely refusing to move but just the same looking as if it might. Well I've never seen it move and I've driven past it 35 times in the past few days, maybe it needs a bit of WD40. Again perhaps that is it's purpose, to stand there stiff against the West Wind like a true Fifer and stubbornly refuse to budge at least until it gets a bridie and toffee donut fae Stephens. I'm sure it'll prove to be a shrewd investment for it's no doubt currently disappointed owners but you know what they say; he who laughs last laughs longer because there is nothing much else to laugh about as everyone else has left the building and you're on your Jack Jones. Of course what I'd really like to see is a Dunfermline factory with a handy Korean built nuclear reactor pumping away down amongst the yellow skips and splintered pallets, that would be a massive leap forward.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Before glory goes humility

I think that says it all. Aside from that this is a real life picture of one of Saturn's moons above Saturn's rings, way out there in space, in the distance. Probably a remarkable photo.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Bristol Daily Photo

I was travelling yesterday and unusually for me wearing my big cowboy shoplifting jacket, the weather has turned you know. I decided to check the depth of the cavernous pockets whilst loitering in the airport waiting on a flight to Cardiff and just look at what fell out. I'm sure I have receipts for this stuff somewhere. Cardiff turned out to be dull so I moved on quickly.

Eventually I made it to Bristol where large mirror balls are used as fire escapes. I'm not quite sure why, it may well help the emergency services in some way or it could be the architects were just having a laugh. They like to have their little jokes and you won't know about them or recognise them as you are not in their secret circle.

At night they switch on special lights that turn ugly buildings into ugly lighted up buildings. On the right is the IBIS hotel, the rooms reminded me of submarine (U Boat to be precise) accommodation, the shower is a large oil drum hollowed out and the tiny white beds are from a Romanian day care centre. You can pee anywhere in the bathroom area and not miss the drain (I can't really elaborate on that), quite an achievement in room planning and people management; nice to see many diverse needs being met in peculiar ways by facility layout. Breakfast was Actimel, Marmite, a large West Country sausage and really hot coffee, all for £67. Bristol I love you and I shall return and wake up in good time this time.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Logged off

And lo, I destroyed 6 IKEA Billys (well gave them away) and in three days (lo) I raised them up again, as if from the dead (and in a nice ash finish c/w doors) and then my dear wife stuffed the four wise IKEA Billys full of books, jungle drums, miscellaneous Chinese pamphlets and precious stones and (lo) peace and tranquility came upon our land. Now I'm thinking about another kind of woodwork project that I may well undertake.

In other news a large asteroid is passing over our heads right now enroute to the Planet of Dinosaur Monkeys from the Future, watch out:
Ali Graham
Asteroid on course for close encounter with Earth via - but everything will be ok, they say.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The sun up close

This is what the sun's Facebook profile picture would look like assuming the sun was a person and was at all bothered about being on something as flip, vacuous and self indulgent (but useful for staying connected) as Facebook. I'd be friends with him/her inasmuch as I see him/her everyday and often get blinded by him/her when driving. Generally we don't converse all that much or exchange ideas though. Taking a slightly different view I owe the sun quite a bit; existence, life, sustenance and so on. I'd probably like his/her profile and most of things he/she does. I'd imagine that the sun would be a bit conflicted about the whole Facebook thing but would persevere with it anyway, just to see what happens, that's the dilemma of opting into any kind of social networking circuit. You can log off any time you like but you can never leave. Of course in some cultures the sun is seen as a god, that might cause a few problems in terms of friendships and passing idle or silly comments. Beware the wrath of the sun and other heavenly bodies.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Images with not much text

The crowds gather for the 2011 Hopetoun House fireworks extravaganza. The fireworks and the weather were very good indeed. Not so sure about the Real Radio disco - awful. After the show the traffic cleared surprisingly quickly, the dark skies and the November silence returned bringing a warm peace that enveloped the evening.

Earlier in the day; a busy morning.

Last night, 10 years of OOTB was celebrated at the Cabaret Voltaire. A super-group Confushion line up lines up for an epic performance.

Whyte & Mackay.

Some kind of elaborate finale with a cast of thousands, a fair bit of chaos, many laughs, a double bass and not a lot of the singing carried out exactly in tune, but that's the beauty of live and original music.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Incontinence: is it all in the mind?

You may have noticed that I often choose to use daft post titles, all in the hope of attracting odd google results, it's surprising how well it actually works. Indeed for every hit this blog gets I receive virtual credits towards the virtual Jaguar of my choosing and multiple bonus Karma points.

Far away in the distance we heard the sounds of throbbing machines and buzzing chain saws. Then in scenes reminiscent of Bambi's climax (?) and the first chapter of Watership Down, hundreds of tiny animals ran past chattering and squealing and recounting tales of horror and home wrecking. The (very) birds of the air took to the (very) sky and buggered off somewhere else as this thunderous forestry apocalypse took place before our (very) eyes. In a mere matter of days all the tall trees were cut, the ground was cleared and a scorched earth policy undertaken and enacted (not as good as a Scotch Egg Policy). Fair enough, now the twin cities of Cumbernauld, Cartagena and Cairo will receive fine gifts of real Christmas trees and bundles of pungent Yule logs thanks to the generosity of the people of Scotland and our top quality rain. As for us, we now get 9.5% more sunlight, 14% more infestation and a nice pine smell in the upstairs bathroom. Win, win, win.

Here some of those Invisible Helper folks playing guitars and stuff.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A difficult year

Clearly it has been a difficult year for some, but exceptionally not so for us; we've had a bumper crop of streams and downloads for impossible songs and we would like to thank all those good people who allowed us into their lives, hard drives and at great expense their ipods. We salute you and would like to remind that if you'd just taken the trouble to click somewhere else possibly to the right of where you are just now you'd have gotten the same stuff for free. That's rampant capitalism for you.

OOTB was celebrated at the Voodoo Rooms last night. Some good music played and displayed - Jill Hepburn shone on the voice and banjo and NL & the Invisible Helpers were superb. Thank you Jim Igoe, an MBE for services to music should be plummeting through your letterbox if this was a just and fair world.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

One more cup of coffee

This small cup of coffee is in fact actual size, one of those tiny, expensive ones that you get in places that serve such things. They go by some Italian name that is used to embarrass customers and encourage mispronunciation and bad attempts at European accents. At my age the challenge of getting my tongue around any complex word is a worthwhile exercise in brain stimulation and little drop of coffee seldom has the powerful diuretic effect of a large soup bowl type of mug.

Tonight marks another event in honour of OOTB's tenth birthday celebrations, but can it be ten long years? Well yes it can and I missed the first two years anyway but there is a lot to look back over and dare I say a lot to look forward to.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

In between furniture moment

We're in between furniture at the moment. No comfy couches or Billys, no shelving or TV stand. The overall effect is to make the house appear strangely more spacious and dare I say it cleaner looking, if a little less comfortable. It's good to get out of that comfort zone thing, well just for a few days. On Friday new stuff arrives and we'll lounge around and snooze in front of well housed TV once more - for the few hours a week we're home that is.