Friday, February 28, 2014

Rock and Roll Over

For no particular reason  I really like guitars and everything about them, I've been around them, handling them and intrigued by them and their strangely shaped silent mystery and materials  (until wakened) for all of my life. A pathetic puzzle really and an affliction and attraction that's unlikely to go away any day soon. These two battle damaged examples are odd and provocative and not really a part of today's epic and glossy music scene at all, well not that I'm aware of what with money being tight and everything being collectible and sustainable (what an awful term we now to use to describe just about everything and so make it sound ok). But there once was a time...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Real Buzz

A real buzz is precisely what I didn't get when I heard about Standard Life's bit of contingency planning contingency plan. As a serial non-believer in the value of most contingency plans (and the effort that goes into building them, exercising them and then forgetting about them) I had to acknowledge that I could see the sense in this one...but it comes at a price and I fear it's not the only one that will be either exposed or confessed in the next few weeks. To fail to plan etc. etc. What also irritates me are the derisory scoffs and shoulder shaking giggles that the SNP indulge in when confronted with these real events. They need to toughen up a bit and stop the sniggering and face up to these difficult and potentially vote losing issues with some positive answers or at least a sober reflection on the possible consequences. The trouble is that just as we Scots love our country, whisky, lorne sausage and anything called Loch we also love our money, our pensions and the good feeling of dodging exorbitant bank and currency exchange charges and getting a bargain or a good deal. We also quite fond of The Co-op, Poundland and Gumtree. It's not about doom and gloom of course but there's a bleak financial future that's kind of hanging in the balance...even for the more visionary souls wandering free amongst us. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Running out of ideas

So it's that flat line fun time in the middle of the week when nothing seems to fit correctly either lyrically or in your head or in your life so you wait patiently plunking on a guitar until the washing machine has gone past it's loudest and most irritating cycle and then head down to the kitchen and stir fry some real red beef with mushrooms and rice whilst enjoying a glass of even redder wine and wondering when in the hell your Sky Sports package will rise up like Lazarus and start to work for you like they promised it would some 48 hours ago via email.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Death Row and Sky Sports

Green Mile: Always good to have a plan for your last meal, just in case you ever happen to end up on Death Row and you get that blank final menu card thrust into your sweaty palm. What to choose? Coming in strongly of course is the nicely cooked steak topped with mushrooms and  a fried egg or two, a classic burger and fries or a giant pastrami and salami sandwich oozing with all the trimmings and red wine with everything. Of course if it is truly your last meal on earth what about a real treat? Something that might via anaphylactic shock and allergic reaction actually kill you and you've had to avoid for all of your murdering adult life. Now you can choose your poison. Make mine a plate of scallops then; sorted.

Free Sky: Slow on the uptake as ever, BT Broadband customers get free Sky Sports apparently, how could I not know this? Well I did but couldn't be arsed to explore the options. Turns out it's relatively pain and call centre proof, no talking to robots works for me. Unadulterated streams of warm, pub free, bigoted and hopeless Scottish League One football beckons and the odd game of tartan tennis. See you later BBC Alba.
Still life with builder's rubble.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Close up and almost personal with sparrows and coal tits in the Scottish borders. That statement doesn't really sound right but it was made/done through double glazing and at a safe distance via digital technology and strong coffee. Also noted: the mighty River Tweed, the inspiration for salmon fishers, literature and jackets and flat caps is currently full of fast moving dirty water, maybe too much. Time will tell but to those settled peacefully on the banks I'd say "look out!"

Unfortunate attempts at things

"Time: Your life is like a room of a certain size that you fill with things. The room's measurements are in time. Based on the lives of others we can estimate and assume, all being well, how large that room might be. Of course it is only at a certain age you appreciate this and how little of the room you have left to fill but you still fill it anyway, you may even fill it with emptiness. The good thing is that there is no pressure on you, the room will wait for all things to find their way into the room only being time itself but held in the geometry of a box. The room has no doors but it does have windows, use them, there are many other time boxes out there worthy of observation." Verne Delorean.

"Poetry for the masses: It seems like a good thing until you start holding events and either a) the masses fail to turn up rendering the thing pointless or b) they do turn but just throw things and destroy the furniture." Jules Delorean.

"Economics: What this country needs is a good 5c cigar." Groucho Marx.

Unfortunate attempts at education No1.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

On the rooftops

Up on the roof/scaffold today so I took these pics and a few more.

To plan for the future you must understand the past (and be able to make some kind of sense of it), so my future; making soup, building guitars from found materials and understanding (if possible) the abstract patterns of sound and the geometry they might create so as to allow the building of some creative piece to act as both a pacifier and a stimulant. Currently I'm stuck at the soup creation level.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dundee Daily Photo.

I don't know what qualifies something as being art, I don't know what makes something street art or even just "street", a word that seemed to imply a gritty reality, or honesty and integrity to various odd ball things at onetime. Anyway I like this piece that I spotted in Dundee yesterday, next to the Globe pub, next to the university. I also liked the big fat black and blue burger and starter I had at Ketchup, also in Dundee. You might go there one day or maybe you will never go, that's about it then.

I also go my new internet specs today, that didn't end so well. They're currently dumped, dead and discarded in a bin at B&Q.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cat at 35'

Missie climbing up on the new and unfinished roof, proving that you can't keep a good cat down and that you can't take a decent photo through double glazing in the dark. "Like her forefathers before her she'll walk the girders of the Manhattan skyline."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Political reform and prawns

The girders have arrived*. 
Timber constructs in the rain*.
Politics are generally shit: I was listening to the SNP's John Swinney on the radio this morning, he was asked the same straight question four times. The question was "Alex Salmond said it would cost English business £500m a year to trade with Scotland if there is no shared currency, how much then will it cost Scottish business to trade with England?" He refused to answer and struggled and stammered around various related topics. He did not answer the question at all. He didn't try, he had no intention of providing a figure, he didn't even accept that there might be one. In those few moments he lost my respect and any credibility he should have had as a paid representative of the Scottish people. Of course regardless of the "party" any given politician will dodge an awkward subject any way possible and that's what's wrong. That's what they do unfortunately,  all the time and in every (so called) debate. 

If Scotland ever becomes independent then we should start again, we should have a change, the outworking of politics and political behaviour's should change. There should be truth and, if the situation allows it, collaboration and agreement if a solution is good. No more negative sniping, lies and blindly following the "lines to take" of party promptings. A brave new world of non-political and honest politics. Nice, naive and stupid perhaps but with the present set up and the greedy needy types and vested interests that still run riot in our party system I doubt it could freely happen. Maybe if Russell Brand's anarchists could find a voice, the great unheard masses, if not voting counted for something, if it was seen as a real expression of something then it just might make a difference but nobody in the "real" world of politics would ever acknowledge that idea.

Up all night to drink Buckie: I hear that the northern fishing village of Buckie will be amongst the first in the UK (?) to receive super fast broadband. How might they use this great gift and tool? The prawn industry? The porn industry? Facebook likes and cat videos?Super fast bingo and poker? Or will they just compose reflective poems, pieces of pastoral music and write novels about their happy and benign relationships with nature and technology as they live in harmony with all things modern up there on the Moray Coast? I wonder.

*As usual the photos are not at all connected with the main text.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The great grey gig in the sky

Grey trees 
Clough and Taylor with empty glasses
16 Bit Mona Lisa and Korean tourists.
Today was so dull and grey it was as if great sheets of grey fogginess were oozing out of my ears and plastering the world with their damp and dank unkindness. Normally I ignore the relentless weather and other non-comical natural effects; today (mostly spent on the west coast in those monochrome and troubled hills) it was never ending. I felt flushed with the certain, new and hidden knowledge that I stood, like some anxious Guardian reader on the edge of the precipice, looking down and into the black hole that mark the last days, the final battle, the groaning struggle and capitulation against global warming's dire effects. We all, and our 5000+ years of dumb civilisation and religious ignorance were being slowly fizzled away in some grey ooze and contaminated flood of turds, alcoholic sewage and broken wind farm components; the planet washed clean but still leaving those nasty stains you can't beat. Our feeble efforts at mitigation as disappointing in their performance as fast acting Vanish on red wine or one of those detergents you rub in with a plastic knobbly ball. The earth is now as good as dead...well all the humans are, drowned in their own filth and shit and guess what? "All they left us (that's the intelligent and conscious bacteria talking I presume) was a big skid mark." 

On the way home it stopped raining once I got over the Kincardine Bridge...we live on but maybe on another day...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Unreliable evidence

The sands on the beach, swept clean every day by the rising, relentless and soulless tidal forces care nothing for my five second stick sketch that amused my grandchildren for all of a further five seconds. Now darkness has fallen, rain, hail and winds have played across the river and high water has come and gone so ... that's about that then. I have however provided this unreliable evidence of just such an artistic and pointless event earlier this morning, there may be many others out there.

Speaking of unreliable things I give you George Osborne, Danny Alexander and Ed Balls; three men who would struggle to find a useful occupation for themselves outside of the grimy and negative world of modern politics. These people do not deserve to hold the lofty positions they inhabit, they set a poor example to all and their current common message that seeks to deny and delude not only the Scots but all of the UK population should be consigned to the Westminster landfill site wherever under the House of Commons that may be. So as alternative we now have the notion of the Ginger Bottle solution.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The nature of things

A profound image taken by the mighty Dave R and pinched by me from the CBQ website; I recall being told in the early days of digital music that CDs were pretty much indestructible (apart from fire damage and lightning strikes), well maybe they are not after all. Here we see the sad end to the music that famously never dies or maybe never even lived in the first place. How will it fare in those time capsules and space probes? Ooh, another short and gloomy post :-( what is to become of us? On a gloomier note, fast food, ideal v actual:

Here's a happier shot of my grandkid's feet covered up by happy, fluffy bunnies.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A week in photos

Girl with the raspberry claws.
Local butcher's shop where they'll slice haggis for you, fillet a steak, bag you some eggs and give you a lesson in local history, (no idea who the lady is walking by). 
Non-existent room but with a real view. 
The beginnings of a house. 
A young Donald Fagen and/or an older me apparently.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Not following anyone

A great metal beast has been erected by brave men in some garden somewhere. It dwarfs houses, trees, walls, wildlife and undergrowth. It is larger than the shell itself but still, despite it's size and clunky grandeur remains strangely unseen. A bit like prog rock gods Yes, here's a top ten of sorts that sorts and sifts their greatest moments; I might disagree with a few actual placings and entrys.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Quiet Interlude

Saw this movie (WoWS) yesterday, I didn't ever understand the whole quiet interlude thing until now, a whole piece of drug culture in the 70s and 80s that thankfully passed me by. My excuse being that I wasn't into disco at all and I wasn't in New York. That's reasonable and on balance probably a very good thing.
So you have a ragged fingernail and you go to the bathroom to get the nail clippers to clip the nail but absentmindedly you clip the wrong nail and you turn and leave the bathroom and you realise that you now have two ragged fingernails so you go back into the bathroom and pick up the clippers and clip both nails to even them up and everything seems fine then you feel like your nose is blocked but you cant quite figure out which nostril it is but you blow your nose and though it feels better you just know that something's not right so you decide to clear your head once and for all so you sit down a read a bit on the web all about what George Orwell really thought of mass sporting events like football or the olympics and you think about that for a while and decide it's an astute set of observations and why did you not think of it before? but you didn't and now another fingernail feels ragged and your nose still feels a tad blocked up and you're no George Orwell either.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Easy to be wonderful

Catch up. While walking down here yesterday morning and taking arty photographs I met my old English teacher, I hadn't seen him for 42 years. How strange, and we both recognised each other, had a quick chat and then just  walked on...100 yards from our house.
Radio Days and Hell is Other People. In the Seventies folks used to say of Radio 1, "it's easy to be wonderful (as the jingle ran) when you're the only one." I fell out of any love I ever had for Radio 1 a long time ago and have spent thirty odd years in the wilderness hopping digital, FM and podcasted yesterday when on a three hour car journey with the kids I relented and listened to the weekend Chart Show. The surprising thing was that the music wasn't all bad and I quite enjoyed most of it and duly dumped a ton of my prejudice and had a nice time. I felt bad for missing most the the 80s, 90s and 00s and becoming a becalmed and stranded rock snob (this is all a bit exaggerated) and a general fashionista musical dullard. What I didn't like and what I realise is completely wrong in pretty much all available music radio are the useless DJs and presenters. Yesterday's vacuous Radio 1 woman had two words; incredible and amazing. These apply to everything it seems and are surgically pasted in with gushing and enthusiastic energy to each tune via some badly structured sentence or phrase. So it turns out I'm awake and aware and I quite like the modern world and modern music after all, it's the just people in it that get me.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Cat art

"Cat passing by". A new, modern, simple but provocatively original and primitive piece using the mediums of wet concrete and authentic aged timber; concrete strokes  applied randomly by the four paws of a passing cat. Suitable for wall hanging or horizontal display - 1.5m x 1m. Offers over £50000 please, buyer collects.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Auld Grey Toun

I once got married here in the 1970s (in the building not the white van), as did my wife...but not to each other. 
I like the faded signs on buildings that illustrate some former life or use. Nice bend in the roof there.
Cafe Giacomo has not changed a bit since way back when, still does a good coffee. Now filled with OAPs who presumably dislike Starbucks and Costa and their clones.
A costlier than normal Thursday morning spent in a damp and characteristically grey Dunfy. First there was the timing belt replacement for the high milage Volvo (including a water pump and fresh water) a full on and impressive eye test at Specsavers*, a bacon roll and coffee and some random shopping experiences. I took the opportunity to snap a few of the fine sights on offer (?) amid the pound and charity shops, some of which are rendered and displayed above for no good reason other than to fill the otherwise empty blog canvas - that sums it all up really. I returned to work in the afternoon a sadder, wiser, happier, fitter and more rounded and properly eye-tested man, I think.

*Recommended - a good experience and a fine science lesson, no kidding.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Burroughs at 100

Art: William Burroughs (a "profound cultural influence" some would have it and some would say) would have been 100 today had he not died. That's a common problem and it will become even more common as more writers and artists become famous and then die. Not enough heavy industry and manufacturing in the west so we've gone completely  to seed and just produce artists and thinkers these days, not actual useful stuff or machines more's the pity. Here's an odd interview from 1975 when the man who in his writing inadvertently named more rock bands than anybody else was still alive and pondering energy, music and other stuff.

Science: Mouthwash, Bonjela and Rennies are, when taken together a potent force in the extermination of mouth ulcers apparently. There is however little or no proper scientific research or actual evidence to support this. I may be blazing and lonely, sad but vital trail that will benefit all sufferers. A full report will be issued in due course.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Other people's ideas

Ideas: One of those dull mornings driving past Stirling Castle when China Girl came on the radio. BAM! I immediately decided that it was the best and truest pop single of all time and that it deserved more recognition, then on came Don't Fear the Reaper so I gave up on that train of thought  (lingering on another Kevin Ayers music thing for seconds) - so straight back to the Radio Scotland debate on carers and metal detection. It's one of many random mind streams that come and go now that I'm no longer denying myself that pleasurable poison known as alcohol. The dry January flopped for me (or foppled as I nearly typed). I hoped to feel brand new and invigorated, filled with ideas, passion and clear and incisive thinking. None of that came close to happening. January was mostly an inspirational flat line of an experience. Beware good ideas, noble causes and other people's recommendations for how you should behave or live your life. Amen.

Facejacker: Facebook it 10 years old and I see by my time line and greatest hits and most liked posts options that I've been a slave to the blue beast for 7 long years (groan), where has my life gone? Next time just give up alcohol, caffeine, politics and Facebook snooping, and using fewer question marks.

Misadventures: Cats running across wet concrete and then into and around your house is not an early evening experience I'd wish on anybody. It did happen today and a frantic and busy period of  cleaning floors, couches and cats followed. Ugh.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A cat looks out...

...on the apparent devastation taking place in her little and confused cat world. We in the wise and wonderful full colour human world see it slightly differently and more positively, as a means to a necessary end. It's tough explaining change to cats and other non-humans i.e. god, other divine beings (there may be many just watching), aliens or the all too clever weather. Here's a hot shot of the current constructive devastation.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Wee Country

This deserves to go viral, nationwide and beyond. The best ear-worm yet from the mighty Tommy Mackay.