Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Rather than post something about the topsy turvy weather with it's predictable "going out like a lion on speed" badly behaved behaviour I'd rather just forget about March and I will do so in about 5 hours from now. Instead of that I'm focussing on my favourite pair of boots, the same boots that have taken over from my favourite shoes as favourites. Favourites being things that for no obvious reason you become comfortable with, lazy about using and attached to in a non sexual and undemanding way. Such are these rather sorry and bewildered looking boots. Boots now approaching the end of their career, one spent keeping feet dry and almost comfortable and protected from dog shit, annoying little stones, hot coffee and gravel paths. Bye bye boots (is what'll say to them when the time comes for them to enter the world of future archeology via the blue bin of landfill and a lot of time passing).
Monday, March 30, 2015
Meanwhile the rain continues, the cats crave attention, a raptor is spotted in the garden and #askpoldark produces some of the funniest tweets I've seen. It's a strange world (not Poldark world but the real world), pleasant in it's own way but always likely to break down when you least expect it and are chronically ill prepared for the shock. The illustration above illustrates by means of photography today's lunch and well balanced diet, as if anybody cared. Later in the still of the evening some cold black pudding and cheese formed into a tight but loosely combined combination caused me to forget my infinite sadness and ridiculous troubles as I seek a solid Mini for under £5k. At least I'm not a member of the Scottish Labour Party.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Some may of course find this little vignette offensive but it does in it's own badly drawn way illustrate one of the theological problems that beset us here in these enlightened times - justification by faith alone. It probably applies to a number of spiritual outlooks or sets of behaviours also that span who knows what in the name of organised religion. Please note that in no way I do approve of cocaine use, running over hookers or staring into space whilst holding a cup of coffee (no matter how divine you happen to be). Having said that I just might find the concept of justification by faith and the high handed attitudes that it may cause individuals to display a little offensive but none of that really matters does it?
Saturday, March 28, 2015
If they ever build this road (obviously not following these peculiar arcs) it will be the only truly cannonball way from East to West and back again. Ideally you start from your home port and just batter your way through the undergrowth, pirates, disease and corruption whilst rating roadside cheeseburger quality all the way until you get to New York. Once there the car is sold as a curiosity or scrapped as a liability (or possibly stolen by groupies), then it's straight back across the Atlantic on some relaxing (?) airliner to the UK or whatever it is we call ourselves by that time. Cruise control is certainly a basic requirement regardless of the type of vehicle.
Friday, March 27, 2015
I started reading this (as above) monumental and painfully awkward new release on a Friday afternoon Easyjet flight, also known as an exercise in quiet pandemonium. Not much clear reading followed. The journey was superficially good humoured enough but featured two Welsh stag parties and one non-specific hen party; in full party swing at 13:00. I'm not sure why selling double vodkas and Red Bull on a flight isn't a crime yet, maybe the Tories will sort that one out or at £11.50 cause the market to crash. Maybe a total police state is called for. In terms of disturbing the usual business flight peace various tactics of harassment and chaos creation were used. In no particular order there's screaming out for no apparent reason, mocking the Scottish accent in what might be a racist or offensive manner, throwing ice cubes, wearing loud clothes, being dressed as a leprechaun, a dozen drunk (jabbering) women holding hands across the aisle, singing in Welsh bass tones and standing up and talking shit in a loud voice, all petty crimes to consider and stamp out. When you consider the grim security regime we all suffer to get on a plane how can it be acceptable to sell drink to a set of already drunk passengers all through an hour long domestic flight? OK, it was all good fun but at times close enough to a tipping point to make a grumpy old git like me to wonder (and envy ever so slightly).
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Living as we do in the back of beyond there are regular, steady and recurring problems with inter web connection, hi-fi seizure, miscellaneous parking, feline geography, non log fluming, vicarious liability, badly behaved wildlife, dustbin confusion, TV pixelation syndrome, icy heat stroke, irritable laundry, badly bleached and beached mermaids and of course the persistent and sleep depriving pleasure of wild and avantgarde free form indiscriminate birdsong. The only solutions are large amounts of self mockery, spicy foods and alcohol.
Monday, March 23, 2015
Ah, the highlands of lowland Scotland, just west of the the great divide, east of the lesser great Z and south/north of the meticulous and possibly short forrest. So I'm not sure where I've been today or what I've been doing but I think that in simple and unpretentious terms it's all been about...textures.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Carry around a big chunk of entitlement: Some time ago I started feeding the birds, occasional and thoughtlessly, long periods of time would pass before I’d replenish the feeders, I was careless. I blew hot and cold and some days I seemed to be feeding squirrels rather than birds. Then we moved house, still in a rural setting and slowly set up a few bird feeders. Due to the aspect of the house, the garden and the location I began to pay more attention to it. A stray robin almost befriended me, I watched the birds and I suppose they watched me. I bought more food, obtained other feeders and silently prided myself that I was attracting birds and feeding them. I felt like some kind of charitable benefactor. I started to feel a little bit of responsibility for the birds and took notice if the feeders ran out. I realised I was becoming a full blown feeder; I couldn’t let these little guys down. I need to keep the food topped up. So where did that come from? That obligation on my part and what I weirdly sensed as their birdy entitlement, I should be feeding them because I could.
Maybe that’s the big problem these grey days, a skewed sense of entitlement. People of my age expect rock solid pensions, superb health care, free buses, discounted holidays, superfast broadband, BBC excellence, global warming to become somehow beneficial, good behaviour and apologies from bankers, supermarkets to forever discount, unlimited cheap stuff to be on eBay and respect from those younger, brighter and more agile. We did our bit. We think this because we think that we’ve worked for it and by a variety of enforced contributions and simply being there we paid for it all so it should be ours. That’s the way of things. It is our right but we also think human rights, religious and political freedoms are OK but only up to the point where they might impact on us and become scary. Nothing too close to the face please, hell is indeed other people. We want the young to work but we stick on our jobs too long and we want politicians to play straight, as if we would do things differently in their shoes, we want peace but we want to be defended. We want the guy in the garden to keep on administering the seed so we can fly about, brainlessly and carelessly and so stay fat and happy. What do you think you’re entitled to? Perhaps we should reflect on this and now and again just buy a few more packs of seeds to toss around.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Friday, March 20, 2015
Far away but in some nearby piece of the universe two bodies lined up for a few brief moments. The clouds of Scotland chose to obscure a large part of this event but from time to time it was visible. I understand that in some parts this is the first time that the sun has been seen since 1999. A whole generation held it's breath. There were rumours of riots, people beating on saucepans with spoons and others tearing their clothes to pieces as the great event passed over and while the sun continued in it's distinguished orbit around our flat and deflated earth. Some built huge plywood screens to hide behind and held their smart phones up, aimed at the sky as if at some pop music event, film premier or bus shelter, others just wept openly and shared their fears and various sneering selfies on Facebook. As for the moon, perhaps it will return later this evening. Meanwhile experts are denying that the moon might be the arse side of the sun, that's just an ugly rumour that may have been generated either by UKIP or a breakaway faction within the Catholic Church. As for me, I'm keeping my head down, too many weird objects flying around up there showing no obvious respect for one another.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
|Well that escalated quickly.|
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
I'd forgotten about John Wayne, here he is sharing cigarettes with Marilyn Dietrich. Things like that happened in the past. Films seemed to mean something more and the stars were...interesting. Shame that I cant think of a film that either of these folks were in that I still like.
Today's tea was perfect, pasta with cheese, ham and peppers, nicely put together and grilled to perfection. I dished myself up and sprinkled a little salt on top, more out of ritualised habit than taste and habits are hard to break. Unfortunately the top of the salt container was loose and came away at the critical moment covering the dish in a thick, white blizzard of heavy salt crystals. That was that. From cooker to bin in about thirty seconds. My faith in yesterday's Karma Points is shattered, the bank of life drew in my line of credit, ugh! The laundry basket and the Discovery Channel are calling.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Today the logs arrived after a tortuous journey from the middle of nowhere via a wood drying kiln and some serious cutting equipment to the road outside our house. The bad things I said, thought and almost emailed to Logsdirect where proven to be untrue. I'm actually very pleased with the quantity and quality of the consignment and have forgiven them over my minor upset and petulant inner outbursts. This generous act on my part will surely release lots of powerful Karma Points and I will move smoothly between the spheres once the logs are burnt up and my time on this fearsomely stupid planet is over. Thank you Great Pumpkin. On reflection having to unpick them from the pallet and put them away in a steady shower of fine Scottish drizzle was probably a part of my soul's ongoing purification ritual.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Edinburgh. Indecisive little moves, whirls on the concrete, shapes and abandonment, scattered plastic from a chippy or a Chinese, stolen by a quick pickpocket, tripped up by some tuneless outburst from a smart phone, an accidental collision tottering on high heels, having a laugh, dropped from a great height, thrown down as an offering, taking the huff as toys fly from the pram, just not good enough, too tired to care, taxi turned up and there was no nearby bin, some passive aggressive attack (and you don't want that), a sign from a lost alien, instructions as to the location of the cult's HQ, code for "we missed you", some binary phone number in part, voodoo message, artificial intelligence; stalled, the world according to fast food, Parkinson's Disease disturbance, training methods gone wrong, mugged and impolite. Six plastic forks, one piece of used gum, photo by AL.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
I'm later than most in picking up on the Sixto Rodriguez story and the Searching for Sugarman phenomenon. Part of me considered it to be simple fiction, a cynical, commercial construct or just that almost anything could happen in South Africa and how would anybody ever know?
I was aware of and the songs and the myths but recently I found myself...humming the tunes, mouthing the words and in a highly unusual development actually thinking about the lyrics. It made me wonder how I'd have regarded him if he'd had the same exposure as Neil Young or Bobby Dylan or James Taylor at the time, poisoning my 18 year old mind. His words belong in that era; drug anthems, street life and dodgy language, losing in love, the impending doom brought about by poor ecology and the belief that political systems could get no worse so something would change, soon.
40 years later it's hard to say if things are worse but it's easy to see that most things in terms of power politics haven't changed. We're still fighting for our rights and lives...well almost fighting. If you call pressing the like button on Facebook fighting. We used to argue in pubs but you cant do that easily, the music's too loud and everybody else is playing with their phone. Rodriguez's use of words looks clunky now and so do so many from that time but frankly compared to that most of what passes for lyrical content today is pretty shallow and meaningless. He was a man of his time and that was the 70s and in his rediscovery he's been shown to be a fine and decent man. I am and man of my time and right now it's wine time so let's all sing...
Won't ya hurry
Coz I'm tired of these scenes
For a blue coin
Won't ya bring back
All those colours to my dreams
Silver majik ships, you carry
Jumpers, coke, sweet MaryJane...
Saturday, March 14, 2015
From time to time I ask my self how happy am I, do I feel happy? Most of the time I'm happy but when I'm not I'm mostly anxious. Anxiety robs you of happiness and steals away clear and logical thought replacing it with a slow, dumb and often baseless panic. That's anxiety. So I order a pallet of logs on line, I expect a simple delivery drop. I come home one evening and there they are sitting on the cobbles outside of the house. That's what I want. What do I get? Phone calls, messages, special offers and emails asking for times (even though they can't commit to precise times), there's an irritating level of contact and detail I don't want and I've no intention of being in when the pallet arrives. I don't even want to think about this. I just want an anonymous delivery of logs and once done I'll put them away. Logs direct? More like Logs by the most indirect route possible. a week or more later One thing's for sure when the consignment finally arrives I'll be happy because I know I wont be using them again.
Friday, March 13, 2015
As a young man my mother told me that if I wore the wrong glasses then I'd lose my sight and go blind. Well I've not worn the wrong glasses and I can still see.
A friend told me that a vegetarian diet keeps you healthy and you live longer and avoid cancers and all that. I ignored that and here I am, years later, alive.
Religious people say that it's by faith that you are saved, not works, not deeds but faith. OK, I don't buy it but I can't prove anything just yet.
BMWs are no good in the snow. Tell that to the Germans.
Hangover? Try the hair of the dog...no don't bother with that one.
For an American president Lincoln was a bit of an odd looking bloke really.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
You know that feeling that you get when your suddenly conscious that you are looking for something but you can't quite be sure what it is that you're looking for but for some irrational reason you believe that when you find it you'll recognise it and all will be well in your tiny world? Well the answer to that frustrating set of searches and processes is quite simple. Chickpea Dahl. There no philosophical or religious answer, no change regime or rights or workable political solution. No debate, bribery or piece of ceremonial action that comes close. The answer to every problem is chickpea dahl (lentil dahl comes a close second). Joint the cult now if you will. No rules but just so we're clear there is no escape. Dahl, a word as yet totally unrecognised by western spell checkers; yes while we sit here watching our flat screens and consider ourselves to be civilised and dare I say sophisticated. It's never too late to change.
|Bread is optional.|
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I'm not sure that I understand the current fascination for sporting hair that's the colour of beetroot. Of course I like beetroot and I like hair but I fail to see any relevant fashion connection. Possibly vegetarian Goths or Proto-punks may consider it as some statement that might promote the consumption of a healthy root vegetable. Maybe it's just to shock but then who even notices far less gets shocked but looks today? (Well unless you're a doofer like me that is bent on noting the odd fashion aberration that comes my way or crosses my zig zagging path headed into oblivion). So in conclusion I say, eat beetroot all you want but please don't wear it on your head. Well not if you're middle aged and you're still trying to look like some cartoon character. You should know better. Actually whilst googling this (randomly sourced) picture I did come across a busy looking shopping site called Everyday Cosplay, I failed to explore it but felt a little despondent when I realised that here was yet another clever term that I had not coined.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Life is a precious thing that I don't really understand. Around and inside as we experience it, old, not so wise and often cynical. Life is senseless and unfathomable. Sometimes the only thing that has any proper meaning is family; birthdays, children and seeing their happiness, their creative innocence and a desire to know and grow that appears to be perfect and without corruption. I applaud childhood, may it never diminish, grow cold or cease to amaze and may I enjoy it's unpredictability first hand. Reading this back to myself I am guessing that today wasn't so great a day at work (and that's not real life anyway) but a good day otherwise so I must be experiencing happiness in some form. To cap that a hurried late tea consisted of a sardine sandwich salad and no supporting alcohol, my head was almost clear and the cats were there, waiting on my late arrival home. Amen.
Monday, March 09, 2015
|Well it certainly wasn't me or my dear dad either back in 1977.|
Sunday, March 08, 2015
Possibly further proof that the inevitable ageing process is relentlessly taking it's toll and that my worn out cloth ears are turning to sack cloth ears. I'm listening, not sure how intently or not to the (challenging) sounds of Radio Scotland on the mighty Volvo radio and somewhere before the Sandy Denny track I was sure that some other piece of vocal dexterity was credited to an artist called "Bambi Clitoris". I did consider googling the name because you never really know, then I thought better of it. After all Bambi was/is a boy, (I think) so how can any of this make any sense? Either get those lugs tested or invest in a car with a decent radio and at least eight speakers. Anyway today it seems to have been international day of the international women all over the media and international world so in order to celebrate or at least acknowledge said misunderstood by me event here's a shot of Joni smoking a fag during her (in my view) most creative season.
We watched a Clint Eastwood film late last night, I can't recall the title, there was baseball, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake all mixed up in there. Amy and Justin got together eventually and old Clint was proved to be correct in his baseball judgement despite poor eyesight, driving skills and being unable to pee properly. He drove a battered Mustang and ate scrambled eggs, I could identify with that. I'd had a few glasses of wine by this point. It set me thinking once again about old people; why it is young people are scared of them and why old people are scared of young people. I'm not quite there yet but how I avoid this trap? Living life and being scared that is, middle age isn't really scary but the start and the end of life seem to be.
So I can see myself sliding into holding some odd beliefs shortly, I get this notion during those rare moments of clarity and self awareness that pass across my consciousness like irregular comets zipping round the sun. People are people. Old people do smell funny and forget things and can be inappropriate. Young people usually look funny, don't understand things and can be inappropriate. So what? Old people usually have a bit more money though, they just don't know what to do with it. They also write things that make no real sense because they just feel a basic need to make a mark and ramble a bit before the go.
Saturday, March 07, 2015
Ladybird books formed the bedrock of my early years. They described the world (strange and unfair as it was then and is now but in different ways), a world of white Britain, Lockheed Constellations flying over New York, fuzzy-wuzzies, the British Empire, dangerous things that kids could do without any obvious adult supervision, industry and the glories of nuclear power. Everything seemed simpler then and all things were possible - science ruled and held both answers and meaning. Then there was no austerity, there was achievement, we won wars, there was hope and there was challenge and it was all very one sided and all very influential for a deluded generation. Like Oor Wullie and the Broons, the Bash Street kids, Enid Blyton, the Red Planet and Telstar it all went deep into my fertile little mind and gave me a world view that even now I struggle to shake off. It gave me my default position, a default position that's not my fault...as I later learned. Some things, like general ignorance just can't be helped.
|Sexism or just how things really are?|
Music Sales Sitrep No.99 (or breaking in, breaking out and breaking big in the States aka just carrying on and doing the impossible for the foreseeable future).
Well the good people in Rumblefish (currently not looking for any new submissions if you've under 5000 tracks) currently have our material posted out there on Youtube where it makes us money. There's about ten thousand plays so far that come in batches of hundreds and we get a few cents (about $5 altogether so far), somehow I think this part of the retirement plan isn't going to pay out very much. Then there are others, like the segment above using us on a creative commons basis, and that's a nice if possibly robotic compliment but it'll never make anything (but we're hardly in this for the money). The torrent of income also flows from other most reputable areas i.e. Spotify and iTunes (hosted via CDbaby) always at least six months after the event and the payment is paltry even after thousands of streams. So that's the music business in the west (as far as we know).
Jamendo, a provider which seems to target an eastern and central European market is at the moment our single point of proper success. At the moment that success looks like close on two hundred thousand streams, almost fifty thousand downloads and couple of soundclip or soundtrack offers. Jamendo is based around creative commons principles but does seem to pay out more than you'd expect in Euros and Dollars (and at prices almost the same as the others) but again is a number of months behind...but it's free to join.
The others. Reverbnation never really impressed me, we've had stuff on there for ages and all it ever seems to generate are those spam emails that offer you golden opportunities if you'll only stump up some fee or other to have your music submitted. No chance. Then there are other others and frankly I can't be bothered listing them (cos I cant quite remember them), they contact every so often to say you have a new fan someplace or you've however many hits. It's a nice feeling to get the little wave of attention but what does it all mean? Maybe we should do some marketing. On that note I'll finish and by the way, what does it all mean?
|Well this means something.|
Friday, March 06, 2015
Above: Some (genuine Twitter sourced) material from the Green's Party Political Conference, nice people I'm sure but they do seem to take themselves a little too seriously, the tone set is almost like that of some Southern Baptist Sunday School picnic pretending to be hip or leaning towards Buddhism. No holding hands, toothy smiles, fraternisation, "rude or unkind" jokes, wear your delegate T Shirt and badge at all times and keep your hands away from your private parts / nose even if you experience a strong desire to scratch these places. Clearly it will all appeal to a certain type of voter; curious if a little damaged individuals. I've no idea where it's being held but it will be fully right on and self sustaining and will probably leave no trace of it's existence but you will have fun.
Doing anything memorable or remarkable this weekend? No but I have the black pudding in the fridge and the pasta bake is loitering dangerously near to the as yet unlit oven. We've also been rescued from holding a generally chilly disposition by the welcome arrival by road tanker and helicopter of 867 litres of precious heating fuel all the way from under the Middle East or was it Middle Earth? keeping the heating going has also meant experimenting with solid fuel alternatives; presently peat, bark, powdered timber(?) and unpowdered timber sit together in the solid fuel stove. simply light the dust/air mixture and...run. In other unrelated but useful news the hunt for Super Bubbles now stretches far and wide across the web, will they ever be found? Could be Moonpig, could be Amazon, might be nowhere. Perhaps it will be a remarkable weekend after all.
|And apart from the bewildering array of snacks you can also get a meal deal.|
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Wandering around dumb and uninspired in a supermarket, buying nothing in particular, there they are, all household names, famous brands but incredibly dull. Same offers, price hikes, three for two, end of aisle piles and dump bins. What to buy, what to have for tea? We start with fruit, the usual fruit, easy to eat, easy to carry. Bananas that have survived some long ocean journey will be black as coal in about five days. How come? Apples that seem to have been dipped in wax and string bags of tiny oranges. What must it have been like to taste an orange two hundred years ago? I wish for that feeling. Keep bumping my basket into other people's or pallets and I wave and apologise but it's not my fault, nobody looks where they are going and some just stand, lost in a shop. I forgot the peanut butter, remembered the black bags, forgot the coffee, remembered the shower gel. The list was OK but incomplete, now it's in my other trousers. In a moment's blind inspiration Soy Sauce sailed into my awareness, I found some, lost in a fridge with mass produced badly coloured curry. Ready meals save the day some say; Mac & Cheese in various variations, lazy ways to eat. No alcohol on this shop, too heavy to carry, too tough to decide, too early in the week. Sour dough bread and yoghurt, that'll do and no vegetables for soup.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
I've just found out...It's coming on the 20th of March, the biggest media event to hit the UK since the Commonwealth Games, Songs of Praise and the first episode of the Voice courtesy of the universe no less and not the BBC for a change. The sky will darken, things will turn to blood, there will be frogs in our porridge, cows will give birth to lambs, MP's rhetoric will sail close to the truth, the dead will rise (again) and DAFC will pick up 3 points. Yes it's eclipse time, a short season of baffled sky watching, oohing and possibly aahing and generally skiving away from work as we feel fully justified at least for one time in blankly looking out of the window. Some poor souls will of course go blind, other feeble minded folks will stare at the phenomenon through specially modified bicycle inner tubes mounted on gimp masks and there will be some social breakdown and unrest. There will also be "good advice" and general words of wisdom on TV and in pullouts from newspapers and of course a rise in the birth rate in about nine months time. Once the riots die down and the looting stops and the power stations restart (late June) things may well get back to normal and then Jesus will return in glory and the rapture will take place. Right, that's everything sorted then.
Monday, March 02, 2015
|Structurally perfect artist's model in Duplo of some big, dumb building that they built in Dubai for some reason.|