Sunday, November 30, 2014

You'll know them by...

...their use and the swoosh of the newly launched Swiss Army Knife Light Sabre (SAKLS), it's on every young and black hearted Jedi's Christmas wish list this year.

Capital Models: Last night we saw at least a third of a spirited performance by the Capital Models (for one night only) trio. In a good humoured and packed Kilted pig pub in Colinton they rocked on relentlessly for charity and in memory of main man Jamie Frain who passed away earlier in the year. Details are here...

Straight back to earth and pasta today via Interstellar and oil changes, then setting the log fires burning. Mourning the end of November and the watery sunlight and the mixed curse that is Christmas in the First World. Buying a Tickle me Elmo and marvelling at the mechanical idiosyncrasies of the Smart car. It's all here, real life and otherwise.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

There's no law against it

I quite like Mark's film critic style.
I went to the car wash today, £7 to make your pride and joy sparkle for a few brief winter moments. I was last in the queue and once there the attendant put out a sign behind my car saying "Closed for Maintenance".  I presume he thought that the heavy layer of grime on my car was going to prove too much of a challenge for the equipment. It all seemed to be working well enough as I sailed through foam and brushes in what is the cheapest psychedelic experience you'll get since mirco-dot left the marketplace. 

Yesterday I made a large pot of chicken, leeks, butternut squash and sweet potato, a hot pot of sorts. The left overs are now in fridge, slowly mutating into something else, some great creamy concoction that will never taste good at breakfast but may make a decent supper. Food is sometimes not all it's cracked up to be; there's plenty of it in the world but sadly it's in all the wrong places and controlled by all the wrong people. 

And so it came to be that I wrote a song, well I added some guitar chords to Ali's lyrics. There was no blinding light, the touch of an angel's wing didn't happen nor did any strange overheard whispered or whistled melody dancing upon the wind come to me. It was more of a fumbling about with Cmj to Am7 and mouthing the words a little tunelessly. It is in it's own way magical and strange but also very natural and formalistic; but it makes me happy.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday? Low profile!

The press are making a lot of capital out of people fighting over TVs in Tesco as the so called Black Friday deals are rolled out. I don’t know why we’ve felt obliged to adopt the American BF custom but it has already become a normalised term and 24 hour panic is expected. It may be bigger than Christmas one day. It’s a cheap retail trick, some more opium for the masses, some artificial hysteria and free publicity, something to deflect attention from real issues – that’s what it’s all about. Let the Plebs square up over discounted tablets and appliances; get granny’s Christmas sorted quick and then put your feet up. Have a good riot, crash a website or two, stretch out the police, do it at midnight, create some fake demand, after a while people lose a grip of what they’re spending anyway and they can always fall back on the pay day lenders or if they’re lucky stick it on credit for 28 days and make it all just another January hangover symptom and unpleasant memory. 

The whole thing is a vain and obscene piece of construction and manipulation and it makes a mockery of whatever Christmas / Thanksgiving / normal human dignity ever meant. I can imagine Cameron and Osborne giggling like school kids at the sight of "poor people on benefits" clawing for bargains. Anyway, I’m going back to Aldi, they don’t do riots there apparently, it's all cheap as chips everyday.

Rather than debate child abuse they've all fucked off to check what's the latest deal on Amazon.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

They want songs with choruses

Well that's religious people for you I suppose, the avant garde and ambient never will cut it with them, just a good tune, a catchy melody and something meaty to believe in and fight for.

Holding onto obscurity

No.1 in the series "Led Zeppelin covers that didn't quite make it."
Scottish independence didn't happen in September, clearly it was against God's will and I for one accept that. Actually I don't. I've come to the conclusion that no matter what my own petty dislikes and feelings are towards the SNP and home grown politicians in general, the Holyrood lot remain a better bet than the Westminster lot. Westminster now only seems to represent a complete, false establishment front made up of posh toffs and chinless wonders and the North London set of well educated would be but will never be socialist types. These people (?) have no real understanding of the everyday lives the over 50 million of their countrymen/women. They are caricatures and an embarrassment and they cannot function properly because they blindly suffer from their own inbred dysfunctionality. So whilst it's true that Holyrood is made up of a fair selection of dweebs and no hopers, they don't suffer from the same self serving afflictions as their Westminster colleagues who are determined, at all costs to prop up the establishment (whatever that may mean) and suck vainly onto it for the invisible rewards they can get for themselves. Well that feels better. So the grinning Lord Smith of bananaland and his cronies may not have delivered much (and never will) in the out working of the Daily Record Pledge but their existence and impotence clearly illustrate and remind us of the panic and incompetence that set them up in the first place. Ding! Round One ended.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

40 years

Alan Partridge inspirational quotation poster.
Almost every day I discover that its now 40 years since something happened; a celebrity death, an album, a classic film, some great political event, assassination, three/four/five day week, invasion or brave new awkward fashion statement.  What a life I must have had as a nineteen year old, so many earth shattering events that all failed to shatter the earth and are now rising up as news stories in the Guardian and the Independent. So many amazing (back then you could use that word fearlessly) things tumbling one into another and you could get twenty Embassy Regal and a pint of Skol for 25p and still have change for a decent bag of chips all salted and supported in a high quality newspaper page. All our yesterdays...did I ever mention my magnificent sideburns and pale green loon pants?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kids Jokes and Band Aid

First of all a couple of jokes written by small children, there are more but I'm sparing you...

More Band Aid reflections and no real conclusion. The furore (real or imagined or ignored) over the Band Aid single resurrected with new squeaky clean pop stars and truculent and untalented old timers has at least taught and reminded me on one thing, the world has changed a whole lot in 30 years. The first Band Aid single was a welcome jolt to the government and the charity establishment which saw an angry and motivated few actually try in a very rough and naive way to generate and to place a need onto the world stage. For a time there was that fine bubble of heady optimism that we all bought into; music and media in the first world could somehow reach out and help those in the third and so trump those bureaucrats and do gooders who had clearly failed us and them (always an important distinction to make). It was like some cheap sixties pop-horror-musical film in terms of planning and plotting, Summer Holiday meets the Killing Fields. 

That was then and of course some good was done and lives were saved and awareness was raised and we survived the later Live Aid pantomime. That period, however disorganised, enabled us all to take a different view on “Africa, one that wasnt forever holding up a begging bowl. The rich but poverty stricken, complex and conflicted and continually let down Africa we now know slowly emerged.  The one we  know well enough to understand that we, with our own failed models of so called democracy cant fix. We no longer occupy the higher ground, were all in this global mess together and sadly a regurgitated pop idea resung however sincerely by a set of vapid X Factor faces won’t fix that. Peace and good government needs to come to Africa, I cant fathom how that has not happened, it is the cradle of most of our modern civilisation and  when it does finally wake up then it may well feed the world- and we might just need that to happen.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Not on Band Aid this decade

Lily Allen, sometimes she swears during interviews.
Once again it seems rejection from Band Aid has come our way, we wont make it there this decade.  I'm not treating it as a snub maybe more a badge of honour. Not belonging to the "privilege club" is at first disappointing but then, on reflection probably a good thing. We're in decent company and remain in the well worn "Groucho box" of club membership rejection and all it's pitfalls. Perhaps my critique of the condescending lyrics was too much or maybe just the BBC fueled overblown hype or that the old "Empire strikes back" in a charity formula is just...old. At least they'll make some money and that'll go into a pile somewhere and various well meaning agencies will squabble about it and err... the British public will move on. 

Old Damon put it rather well “There are problems with our idea of charity, especially these things that suddenly balloon out of nothing and then create a media frenzy where some of that essential communication is lost and it starts to feel like it’s a process where, if you give money, you solve the problem, and really sometimes giving money creates another problem.” 

Perhaps next year we'll write our own howling and tuneless twelve bar rendition based around fighting global injustice, where sick and grossly powerful banks and corporations elbow all and sundry in their path and the great terror created by the cycles of fear and ignorance all governments used to control the masses roll relentless on propping up their kid-on democracy. Might call it "Do they know it's just a farce."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Who we are and who we are not

I vow to thee my country.
If you want to drape some non controversial and shabby flags across your house then that's fine by me and driving a white van is acceptable; tweeting a picture of it when encountered? I might even do that myself and so place it in some simple social context or to make a feeble social comment or  just a little piece of public art, but stereotypes? That was then, surely it's a joke that's past the point of being a joke. Sadly Labour don't seem to know that they are the joke in UK politics right now... and bowling along there with the Cons, Libs and UKIP. 

Back in Scotland Nicola has her boys, girls and stormtroopers in order. Gender is on the agenda and she's got that right alright; not so sure about the racial, ethnic, religious and sexual orientation aspects of it. Tough to call and it may well end in tears.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

They frack by night

It's almost impossible to take a decent night time shot of the mighty gas flares and industrial lights of Grangemouth with a 1937 Kodak Brownie at this I've doctored them to become semi-serious art works that will remain overlooked and misunderstood long after the Firth of Forth, Fife and Falkirk fall into the great abyss created by well meant fracking. I believe that this event was predicted in both the Book of Mormon and Viz (August 1999). It will however be unreported by the BBC but may well be worthy of a third page (small font) paragraph in the Dundee Courier and a few footnotes on "Coastal Property in the East of Scotland - Zoopla." Tweets saying things like #oblivion may also emerge. Nothing much to worry about then, just retain your wind up radios, some small change and a sturdy pair of wellingtons; oh! a stout rope with which to pull victims from the pits and crevasses might also be useful come the day. Good luck one and all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Your PC performance is poor

Sometimes everything is just a pain in the arse. The call from the phone company, in broken English. "You can have a new phone and number, a whole new account because you are a good customer." What they only tell you later is that the new account doesn't replace your old account, it just gives you two, one of which you obviously don't need and you'd pay double. No postman today, no post. What's wrong with Wednesday. Salad from Aldi dries up like it was stored  in the Sahara instead of being in a state of the art fridge. Rain. Noisy brakes. Downloads on Apple that insist on prising themselves into little shelves and tiny places hidden in iTunes...then errors occur. Central heating. BT allowing rogue pop-ups that invite you to click them because your PC is performing poorly and, whatever you do, instant doom and drastic consequences follow. Forget all that, in an insane and ill divided world there's always/sometimes/occasionally the Jones Brothers. Also liking House of Cards...only at Season 1.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Some things

I probably won't do those things,
I said I'd do some day,
Those crazy, silly, wacky things,
I lined up carefully.

I'll not see those places either,
Nor stand in that special spot,
I won't register that feeling,
I could, but I know I'll not.

I should've seen those people,
Or stood and watched that show,
But some other light was burning,
So I turned and didn't go.

I made a pact and broke it,
My principles and hopes,
They looked fine from a distance,
But faded out when right up close.

I'll travel by some other road,
More practical and straight.
I'll cut corners and miss details,
If I daydream I'll be late.

And late is what you cannot be,
For time's a precious gift,
Mine belongs to everyone but me,
And they control the list.

Caffe Canto Bistro

Some great free publicity for Caffe Canto Bistro in the fair city of Perth. The place means nothing to me of course but I like the random nature of news and the it's place on the Internet and the raising up of the great unknowns. I'll never visit it or review it for Trip Advisor either.

Today (still running) was almost action packed...some work done, black pudding cooked nicely, cats exercised, to the borders and back and new dish washing routines worked in and worked out. En route to here and there via traffic lights fog these tasty beasts were sampled and the ice cream machine was cracked:

I'm also the proud owner of four jars of pickled herring and a tin of tiny fish mysteriously described as being "like anchovies", some assembly may be required.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Forgotten Brains

More on the forgotten brains here...

Handling the truth

In the UK this would read "all" instead of both apart from whom I wonder? You see our reality has been invaded and infiltrated, watered down and diluted, history, facts and statistics are erased and changed and turned on their heads to the point that we really don't know the good medicine from the bad and the good good people from the bad and once you start to follow it's hard to turn away. So despite this am I paranoid and Anyway here's a good tweet:

Someone was slatin McGeady & an Irish fan shouted "we took on an empire, you couldn't even take on a pencil." Nae comeback whatsoever.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cometh the comet

Not that I'm a big fan of google (but just a regular user like most of the western world).

Monday, November 10, 2014

At this time of year

This album was played out and worn thin back in the early 70s. It's a flawed piece of flawed rock music but it has an important place in history for simply saying the unsayable, then and now and for  another 100 years into the future.

This explains

This handy diagram explains something interstellar apparently. It'll all make sense one day.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

In praise of playlists

Following on from the other day - It's late in life I suppose to discover the random pleasures, challenges, surprises and shocks that come from listening to the play lists of others. Their choices, their orders, their themes, their idiosyncrasies, their provocations and their taste all set out in a long audio recipe that you cook, pick up on or put down or just hammer up the bass on. Now that most radio is dead, strangled by either pointless natter, bland ads and fillers, convenient fades and sycophantic comments; however it comes at you the play list wins every time.


does anybody want to share their ordinary Amazon purchase of an H7 headlamp bulb on Facebook or Twitter?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Dementia Playlist

iPods for the aged. It had never occurred to me until today how those who suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer's can benefit from hearing the music from their earlier life. How it can calm the individual, provide a touchstone, create happiness and just maybe unlock something in experience or memory. There in the deepest of spaces and places this happens, quietly playing in the background or via  headphones putting pictures and colours back in the mind straight through to the heart. I'm making my list up now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I intend

Dundee's Caird Hall, not designed by Leo.
"The soul lives in the human body. You can tell a lot about the condition of the soul by looking at the condition of the receptacle that holds it. Never take medicine and eat only wholesome food, add a little water to your wine."

Peter Capaldi and I had soup together this evening. Well he didn't have any soup, he was stuck inside the TV in that bizarre and wobbly place known as Sky Arts 2. Peter was busy being or at least representing and verbalising the thoughts, ideas and manic (but lucid) rantings of Leonardo da-Vinci. There were gestures too, lots of them. The saddest, wisest and most driven man of all times and not Malcolm Tucker or Dr Who either. There were a few quotable moments shared between the three of us, Peter, Leo and I,  although frankly, I never really got a word in. As I supped on the hot home made soup like some puzzled student or an old man bundled into a care home I hardly moved. There really was no point as I help my breath between spoonfuls and waited the punch line that never came. But now I know that somebody got a hold of those 30000 notes, words, ideas and diagrams and kept them safe, right up until today. Then of course there are the secrets, the hints that Leo dropped, the dark magic and those hidden places; we'll never know what he really wanted, how he was, you just can't trust TV's versions of events,  "I intend to leave a memory of myself in the minds of others." This must be how you do it.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Tenement symphony

The insides of buildings can be as interesting as the outsides. Here are some studies from a strange world somewhere on the East Coast where bicycles go to die or at least take refuge from persecution. I do believe that for them, peace will eventually come.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Abandoned again

A brief but very enjoyable visit to Bridge of Orchy this weekend resulted in spotting a few interesting (or not) abandoned pieces of man made construction left to rot in the great outdoors. You can't beat going over and checking out a nice bit of desolation, human failure and despair when pointlessly wandering in these unfamiliar wide open spaces. A place where the rain seldom stops and hotel staff get more unhelpful and surly as the season comes to it's dripping end. It's all the Toffs and the Tories fault anyway (with a bit of help from the Labour Party).