Thursday, October 31, 2013

Two candles etc.

Two candles and a milk bomb flying in close formation.
The ceiling of the King's Theatre Edinburgh by John Byrne.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hear my train a comin'

I watched the Jimi Hendrix documentary this evening (Hear my train etc.), it failed in a number of key areas but it's here on iPlayer at least until next Tuesday or whenever.  Hendrix bad is, as John Peel said, always better than most people good. It's funny how so many rock documentaries still fall flat in their retelling of the tale after all these years. Tired out survivors recount familiar stories in a repetitive cut and paste jumble that only just captures the bare story, so you quickly realise a whole lot of depth in everything else is missing and the fact that everybody involved is pretty much dead means this pale version of history is as good as it ever gets.

The cardinal sin for me are the live clips with the wrong soundtrack added in, time and time again we see musicians playing along to a badly cut and edited erroneous sound clip. Jimi's guitar is screaming like a banshee but his fingers are on the second fret, FFS! The only saving grace was a short segment where Eddy Kramer wound up the mixing desk to reveal Hendrix's many layered guitar parts; I'd happily watch 12 hours of that as track pieces are deconstructed and explained by a man who was there at the time. The three brilliant and contrasting rhythm guitar parts in "Little Wing" set out from the mix brought tears to my eyes, this is magnificent material... but it was gone in a few moments...there's a seam of gold in there somewhere but nobody at the BBC has the brains or courage to just dig it out.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gravity Hammers

Apropos nothing. Today I learned that Jerry Lewis was due to play Holden Caulfield in a big screen version of The Catcher in the Rye. It never happened for many good reasons and thankfully never will.  "Gravity Hammers" - again to do with nothing at all, would be a good band/blog/paperback novel name.

Dobbies Daily Photo

Walking into Dobbies is always a slightly disconcerting experience and a vivid assault on the senses. Today at lunchtime it appeared that Christmas had collided with Halloween in some Tim Burton type of nightmare where great whiffs of mulled wine and pine cones filled the artificial air as cane basketwork Bambis dined on mistletoe from shiny witch's cauldrons. Fake plastic trees, Santa in all his divine forms, pumpkins and the Baby Jesus also inhabit this tacky lifestyle themed world, sound tracked by Band-Aid, some out of time shopping muzak and the clink of nervous teaspoons. Of course despite all that I like Dobbies because I'm usually the youngest person there and (apart from my daughter) today was no exception. I quite enjoyed my sandwich and tasty soup whist surrounded by a great grey mass of creeping, sipping and staring old people grazing like slow motion wildebeests. The shape of things to come for me you may well say.

Two things stuck out for me in this car crash of a shop; the cat on the mag that looks like our cat Mr Clint (never mind the bizarre magazine itself) and a wholly distasteful aquarium model - a downed and drowned Huey helicopter. I can't imagine anybody who works off shore in the North Sea having that one in their lounge along with their silver guppies and 62" flat screen. Maybe it's just for armchair fish loving fans of LOST or Apocalypse Now. There's also a nice human skull you can let your goldfish play in, perhaps it's better than having a real one in the back of the fridge.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Abdabs Daily Photo

A blustery but very pleasant day spent in the windswept but picturesque village of Aberdour somewhere on the ever changing and variable Fife coastline. Here is my part-formed/sub-surreal photo diary. Sadly I forgot to get a shot of the coffee, the cake and the inner sanctum of the Witch Emporium.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Back to guitar stuff

JP's rig in July 1977 (just one black Tele in there).
The legendary Page Dragon Tele blank body (a copy of course). 
Latest headstock idea.
After bungling around in the world of burning wood and fiery timber products for a while, I think I may have the beginnings of a headstock design/logo that I can develop. For the neck of the Smaug Guitar I've done a small dragon tail motif that sits nicely (in my humble view) with the patented Fender round head end. The question is can it be repeated and reused consistently across a range of different guitars using my own wobbly and finger burning pyrography?

The James Page "Dragon" Tele remains a mysterious and untouchable rock curio. Not really a very good piece of design or execution but for all that it seems to have achieved unwarranted mythological status as a Holy Grail type of guitar. It might therefore be worth trying to capitalise on this with some pyrographically challenged custom version of this pretty but odd looking guitar. Who in there right mind would build such a thing and who would by it? I don't know but  I just happen to have a blank Tele body hanging up all towel slapped, teak oiled and lubricated in the garage.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What difference does it make?

"Today Dunfermline has sent a message to Bute House and Alex Salmond: it's time for you to focus on the real priorities of Scots, not your constitutional obsession." Cara Hilton. 

"There is no victory for anybody over Grangemouth other than the big boys and the corporations. The unions and the politicians can only roll over and allow their tummies to be tickled - it's a humiliation for them as a puzzled workforce and the rest of the UK look on. The SNP, Unite and the UK government should hang there heads in shame right now." (In a more confrontational and self-honest parallel universe somewhere they'd all be hanging from lamp posts.)

Russell Brand doesn't have the answers or the proper vocabulary but he does have the right questions and speaks up (in his own eccentric way) for many people.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Smaug guitar

OK I know it's a bit hippy drippy but it's also...traditional in a Middle Earth kind of rock n' roll way. What's so wrong with a Smaug design on a Stratocaster? All I need to do now is screw all the bits together (about six times at least until I actually get it right).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Secret Worlds

Here on top of a well worn Fife based rubbish collection vehicle a whole new eco system is growing and evolving. A bit like the top most parts of the Rain Forest, bathed in light and soaked with the freshest of rain, new life not only prevails here, it thrives. The simple key components of life are all here; plastic food trays, cups, rotting vegetables, cables, tissues and wipes, beer cans and various fast food leftovers. Then there's the tin foil, the newspapers, the soiled training shoes and the sanitary products and detergents. All basking in the slowly baking heat of a benign October sun they rest and soak in their own garbage juices, primal soup and goodness.  Then they await the divine sparks of electricity, verbal abuse and indifference and prepare to be reborn and turn themselves into...

Recycled Materials that look like Keith Richards.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Saving this for later

E            B         A      F#m     G#m           C#m
She had that Camarillo Brillo flamin' out along her head.
E          B        A    F#m           G#m              C#m
I mean her Mendcino Bino by where some bugs had made it red
E             B                  A      F#m       G#m        C#m
She ruled the toads of the short forest and every newt in Idaho
E         B               A        F#m    G#m          C#m
And every cricket who had chorused by the bush in Buffalo
E            B           A    F#m           G#m            C#m
She said she was a magic mama and she could throw a mean Tarot
E           B            A     F#m          G#m              C#m
And carried on without a comma that she was someone I should know

D                     A          G  D
She had a snake for a pet and an amulet
D                      A              G           D
And she was breeding a dwarf, but she wasn't done yet
        E          B       F#m         C#m
She had gray-green skin, a doll with a pin
           B                      A
I told her she was alright, but I couldn't come in

And so she wandered through the doorway just like a shadow from a tomb
She said her stereo was four-way and I'd just love it in her room
Well, I was born to have adventure, so I just followed up the steps
Right past her fuming incense stencher to where she hung her castinettes
She stripped away her rancid poncho and laid out naked by the door
We did it 'til we were unconcho and it was useless anymore.

thanks Frank...

Feet don't fail me now

The relentless march of relentless marching.
I am bloody well angry at everyone today; INEOS, Unite, The Scottish Government, The UK Government, China and various big anonymous multinationals. These bastards either don't care who they screw, trample or exploit or (mainly the governments) are just plain stupid or inept and once again the breath of industrial death is blowing across the fragile economy of Central Scotland. The markets are the fickle kings and we cant even run a farmer's market never mind compete in a blood sucking global energy market. We are a speck on a dot on a pimple. Grangemouth no more, Linwood etc. etc. People prattle on about green and sustainable energy, give support to ugly and ineffective wind farms built in Spain and Korea, deny the value of coal and run scared of the big bad spectre of atomic power. But one day all the lights are going to go out, the cold, dull blue dawn will come upon us and the scientists, the technical experts and the skilled craftsmen will be dead and gone or flipping horse meat burgers in Paris. We get the government and leadership we deserve and unfortunately we currently have something almost worse than nothing. A sustainable Scotland without a properly engineered power strategy is a bad joke. Pointless windmills will flap and refuse to spark and tidal barriers will corrode and rust in the frozen sea. Cobwebs will grow on the power stations, stressed concrete walls and steel boilers they abandoned in favour or forty shades of sickly green - this is the start of the end, my beautiful friend. Who the feck then  is really worth voting for in the Dunfermline bi election tomorrow? Answers on a postcard please...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Daily Fungus

Nature in the raw: Out and about in the wild, wet world today I happened on this tree stump complete with fungus, that's about it. Maybe not the most memorable event of the dripping damp but unseasonably warm day but the only one I photographed. Elsewhere I'm now getting annoyed with the big bully boys across the water at INEOS and the daft statements and claims being made by puny governments, near and far. It's all out of control somewhere and irritating and damaging to the ordinary people now caught up; Scotland's just not the player it thinks it is here. Time for wine, toast and salad and the Champions League.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Unspectacular but honest images from my 58th birthday weekend. The empty bottles are a natural result of a busy and entertaining family gathering and the taking of copious amounts of good food and wine; all birthday essentials. The guitar picks are made up from a handy plectrum making tool gift, I need never purchase or steal another plectrum again. All I do is form them up from any discarded plastic item or bank card and away I go. After a few glasses of Monday evening wine I'm now reflecting on my many fine presents, my friends and family  and my general undeserved state of happiness and fifty eight years of chronic and ongoing wellbeing.  This'll and that'll do me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pyromania begins

By the light of the magical moon, hence the poor quality. You need a steady hand and the force needs to be with you...I'm learning fast.

Friday, October 18, 2013

When you closed your eyes..

...tight when you were small you sometimes got this kind of thing popping up and onto the insides of your eyes. The dilemma  was always the same; do you keep your eyes closed and go with it, where ever it may take you, or do you open your eyes and concentrate again on that half read Enid Blyton book or go downstairs and watch Coronation Street on a 405 line, fuzzy black and white TV?  Those of us who stayed in the zone of the demon king, even for a short while were, as a result better placed for what our teenage years would lead us into. Satan rewards his own quite naturally. Those who went downstairs to watch the goggle box are...still watching it (in a fairly non-selective and disinterested way) and reading pulp fiction or glossy mags. So is it true or just another unfunded piece of blogging theory and pop culture muck spreading?  Of course it is neither thing. It's the product of an ambidextrous mind that's just had too much oily fish and milk bombs.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Accomplished Melancholia

"I'm so sorry but I've actually no clear idea what you might be talking about. Can you run that concept past me once again please?"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I vow to thee my chutney

Taking a food based perspective on today I suffered / enjoyed some odd things; Crunchie Nut Corn Flakes (ugh!), the mandatory "eat me I'm out of date" chocolates, a farm cafe haggis and cheese toastie with fresh coffee, pizza and two kinds of chutney (this really does work so don't try holding back), Halloween Eyeballs and a few glasses of red wine. Right now the red wine is easily the most powerful and significant influence on my day.

It could be New England in the Fall as the road goes ever on; after a morning spent idly observing animals on a Stirling farm we then retired to the home-base to warmly watch "The Hobbit" DVD and eat more random foods as the early winter rains descended. Now I'm tuckered out but terminally guilty over mistakenly locking a poor cat in the garage.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Safe as a Milk Bomb

A cute cat surveys his boudoir  domain and a blank canvas awaits the maniacal inspirational designs of a maniac; all portrayed in strangely sympathetic low tones.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The pain of repetition

Everything is a repeat of something else because as King Solomon famously said at least twice "there is nothing new under the sun", well not this current simple bi-polar solar system of ours anyway. So the tedious repetition of mistakes and recipes carries on beyond the vanishing point of lazy thoughts only to disappear over some familiar and grim horizon and onto the web. How many times must I mention the milk bomb before it gains the universal recognition it surely deserves? It's a moment of continual head banging agony against an unforgiving wall and without some tuneful heavy metal melody set in there to accompany the self deprecating pain. I'm left alone, vacant  and puzzled like some disappointed customer, indeed a quizzical customer of Build a Bear trying to offer up honest feedback about bear building onto their very teddy bearish website only to find that he can't quite  find the feedback page and so cannot every lay claim to the tantalising prospect of a $1000 reward and there's only five days left to make a claim before the valid claim period runs out. Time will crawl and then time will tell.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Random universal change

Hundreds of early morning geese suffering from navigation type issues. 

Today I spent most of the morning instigating a small programme of universal change. By that I mean rearranging stones on the beach; moving them from the beach to the water, or somewhere below the high water mark. Rearranging this universe, even in small ways, skimming stones, picking up driftwood or kicking sand should be encouraged and funded. Perhaps the Government or the Lottery or Arts Scotland will give us some money to support it, then we can start up a web-site, hold meetings and conferences, become a pressure group and have a full time adim officer  and shit like that. Anyway my grandchildren and I have already made a start and I'm sure there are a few others out there already hard at it. Change Scotland: not by politics, religion or cultural reform but by moving things randomly when nobody is looking. I also drove there and back again to Aberdeen sound tracked by the mighty Dweezil Zappa, it made me wonder if, following my untimely demise (?) any of my kids would form a band and tour mine and Ali's  music...hmm.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The way they were

From that now foreign, lost and alien Bizzaro Planet world known as the 1970s I give you Frank Zappa + cat + parents in a purple room and Grace Slick + baby China (upside down but unaffected) and her mum.  Be careful how you choose your heroes.

Friday, October 11, 2013

White Audi

After many thousands of miles of European motoring I've come to the conclusion that the most threatening and potentially dangerous car to come across grinning at you via the rear view mirror is the gleaming white Audi. The exact model seems to be of little significance, anything from an A1 to an A6 has to be considered as suspect and treated with caution. It does make me wonder if the buyers and drivers of white Audis are a "type", maybe crazy people you'd probably rather not know; psychopaths, lunatics, football players, members of the Illuminati, the Golden Dawn or UKIP, who knows. Just watch out on the road, there's a lot of them about.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Simpsons v Breaking Bad

Of course it had to happen, such is the grip of the maelstrom of the magnetism of the marvel of the drug induced evil power of the media, religion, art, drama, dharma, the web and sub-popular culture of whatever it is that the genre is. More here.

Another night@the Voodoo Rooms

A good if poignant time was had by all last night in Edinburgh's Voodoo Rooms raising cash for the Maggie's Charity and remembering the growling song-smith that was/is Fraser Drummond. Fraser's music and lifestyle of wisdom and banter lives on with his many friends and family and it was good just to celebrate this with music, songs and chatter - thing's Fraser loved. The music was mainly supplied by Lisa Rigby, Norman Lamont and the Invisible Helpers, Ms Fi and the Lost Head Band and Sam Barber and the Outcasts; all marvellous in their own way. The event was glued together by Jim Igoe and Scott Renton and cemented by the musical skills of John Farrell and the singing of Neil Drummond. Pics by Dave Reilly of course.

Anyone would think they'd never won a raffle prize before.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Cultural Reference Points

"And the winner of the best Someone Else's 60th Birthday Party Fancy Dress Party Costume is Ali Graham!"
So here we are, somewhere at sea, adrift in a blank ocean of grey, foamy and pounding waters, sailing and searching for some cultural reference points that we might discover, adopt and then use to make rough sense and give meaning of our lives. So what enthralling gifts are out there for us to use? Look no further than Game of Thrones, Modern Family, Breaking Bad, the Simpson's and the Borgias - there are all your answers. Their complex narratives, carved out characters, humour, shocking plot twists and the self imposed personification we gratuitously apply allows us to temporarily function and even thrive as we stumble blind and damp from one identity crisis to the next. Who needs a social life, designer drugs and their cruel psychedelic worlds and perceptual confusion when you have Sky+, a full Entertainment Package and hot batteries in your remote? A big comfy couch, a box of red wine, a log fire  and some tray bake also helps. Just make sure you're suitably comatosed when the first few power blackouts occur, the state of emergency is declared and the black start restart package stutters and fails altogether. You'll be fine until the logs and alcohol run out and the vigilantes start pounding on your front door.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Random Art

Welcome to the world of the absurd and the meaningless, the profound and the stripped down guitar body. Anyway I liked the word "GLASS" (in a John Lewis style font) applied to bleached driftwood set into the stones and the weeds. If anybody is remotely interested in what we've been doing over the weekend here's a link

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Interesting Images from Today

After some pre-breakfast tinkering it was time to visit Dobbies for a quick breakfast (two fried eggs formed the breakfast base) watching other oldish people eat breakfast amid the pre-Christmas hysteria. Then we put up the tent and the hanging baskets. The kitchen emporium was just closing and for a short time we queried the sanitary arrangements of the white caravan travellers in their secret location. Then the postman delivered a brace of letters from the SNP as they tried to put their message about their denial of Grangemouth's closure out there somewhere. Then the tale of the cat, the fox and the dog was told. This was followed by a huge Tesco drop of huge beer and soon everything just seemed to fit nicely into the multiple refrigerators - so we sliced up the pizza. Just about then Dunfermline were soundly beaten at least 4 - 0 so I commiserated with myself by peeling a pile of stray potatoes as the asparagus looked on. In no time at all I was watching a film about the blues and jamming along to those rock gods aka Chicken Shack, it's been that kind of day. So goodnight to you all.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Strange Fruit

So is it a Quince that has mutated into a mutant, a sort of XQuince or is it the exotic sounding Asian Pear? The fruit picking jury is out (mostly raking up leaves) on this one and the web, gardening experts and various text books have failed us in the forensic identification process. A fervent pickler could probably pickle them and in the dead of night smuggle them into Big Macs as act of food based terrorism and dietary subversion, that might be useful to the party and the cause. Anyway as surely as eggs are eggs I will go to my grave not knowing the answer to this, the thought of that doesn't really terrify me as I'm pretty sure I'll go to my grave via the good services of the Coop not knowing a shed load of other things. Anyway it's all mildly irritating and a little puzzling; if only they tasted like chicken (as do chickens) - but few fruits do.

This may well have tasted a bit like chicken at one time...