Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hard Labour

Well it is going to be hard for Labour in Scotland next Thursday if the non-scientific polls and pseudo experts are to be believed.  I had my own painful version tonight moving numerous heavy stores that once formed the fabric of the house.  The work made me think of the Egyptian slaves and the folks who built Blackness Castle, god they had it tough. No gloves or goggles either, just blood, spit and a slap on the back with a willow branch. Anyway I moved a few and then, aching in all the customary places supped a pint of best. Phew. By the way I passionately hate the Sun newspaper in all its UK warped forms and I'm embarrassed to hear it's Scotland's favourite read. No wonder we're regularly screwed by the rest of the world.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The end is nigh

Robotic troops defend the once peaceful border.
I presume that nigh is some vague unit of medieval time, like nearby, soon, about to happen, imminent or very very close, perhaps within a few moments. Then again nobody can claim to know the day or the hour but I guess for most god-fearing and terrorised voters way down south in the UK it must seem like some time around the 7th of May. That day will signal the beginning of the end if we, or at least enough of us, vote a certain way. Those canny Scots can't be trusted and with our thrawn and wilful behaviour we're destined to fuck up the UK so much that all will be left will be the K.  It may even become a small, lower case pathetic little k in time. That would be sad in a way but for many of us a bit of a relief. A kind of unkind  corrective surgery if you will and one that may not necessarily please all those who called for it. So this will be either the Great Election of Unexpected Consequences or the Great Election of More of the Same Pish. (Pish which has in many ways has served us well, kept us safe and healthy and given a few of us disposable incomes with which to explore parts of Europe and beyond. ) Neither will play well. We Scots will tear ourselves apart eventually, it's in those frozen, obese and damned genes we carry. All secretly hoping they'll find a purpose and outlet someday before we're stricken with self doubt and the queer desire for an imposed salvation from any posh English quarter. This may be it, but I have my doubts. It's the Devil's bargain and we're caught in it. Next up will be the summer of love.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Songs they don't play on the radio

Baby Groot might have understood.
That golden dawn picture by Peter Howson did remind me of the lyric in the David Bowie song "Quicksand" from Hunky Dory. It seemed to me that when everybody was humming Life on Mars or Changes, how odd it was that I was pretty much stuck in the quicksand of Quicksand. It probably was my first encounter with the darkness, duplicity and many unsettling conundrums presented and suggested in the fall out from the superman theory:

"I'm closer to the Golden Dawn, immersed in Crowley's uniform of imagery,
I'm living in a silent film portraying Himmler's sacred realm of dream reality."

Dwelling on that stuff for too long as a dumb and  tender16 year old couldn't have been a good idea. It shouldn't have been allowed. Here was Bowie's howling pseudo intellectual London boy take on Nietzsche's theories disguised as a pop song, more potent than Dylan and more poetic than Lennon. It perplexed me for years but I was captivated and the scar tissue and confusion remains. Now it's buried too deep in the album so the other cod pop songs can get a run out and an airing, this piece of devil worship and open ended hard to deal with questions remains sleeping, unheard and ignored and overtaken by bigger beefier matters; but those questions are still unanswered and the observations and the clumsy words and clunky robotic points cannot be blunted. Some stuff isn't designed to be dealt with in the here and now, we'll shelve it all until music and media matters mature, a bit of a catch up. Some time about the 12th of Never I guess. (Then we might also try and deal with the Bewlay Brothers at the same session). Sad that Bowie never was quite as hot ever again.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Golden Dawn

Peter Howson working on a new piece entitled "Golden Dawn". Once it's complete I'll probably not like it, such is my taste and limited tolerance.  Of course anything with golden dawn in it is bound to interest me and hold my limited span of attention in place for all of five minutes before it fades like smoke in a breeze or frost from a dry-stone dyke. That is how things are unfortunately. Nothing stays in place too long and all that is constructed must be deconstructed one day.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Currently my favourite thing appearing on a TV or DVD player someplace near you: Vikings.

Old Dollar Bill

Featuring Fingers Farrell on bass these guys are Old Dollar Bill, famous in the Edinburgh area for blue grass and roots type music. These are screen shots from an internet gig I attended in a suitably remote and modern fashion this very April evening. A busy website (here) tells you all about them and has some useful musical download capability.

I find it interesting

Actually it's more likely to be a parasite.
I find it interesting or maybe the word is shocking that so many people really do love the royal family, with a small r and f. That strange and mostly English (sorry if that sounds racist) mentality that longs to bow, scrape and grovel to fellow human beings who by accident of birth rather than effort or intellect have somehow found a place in our society from where they appear to rule over us.  There, I feel a bit better now I've said that. Move along then, nothing to see here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lichtenstein in Edinburgh

Nice sunny evening spent indoors and outdoors with the backdrop of numerous Roy Lichtenstein pieces. He was a busy man until he stopped. An artist who confuses and infuriates and for some is stuck in the gaudy time warp of comic strip pop memorabilia.  That's not really how it is, the sixties didn't actually happen and nobody really captured anything of it all anyway, especially unreal things like sounds and images. They are all free as birds except for the fact that they are constrained by frames,  plinths, rooms, human minds and recording mediums. You can own reality (in small slices in small towns ) but you can't own art. I also heard the word "factory" used in conversation. Think about it.

Today a crow parked himself in my office, via the fire exit, I fed him a half eaten apple (who ate the other half?) and he nodded to me, many times. He then stretched out his wings and bowed low. I last saw him, padding around on the grass, apple core in his beak. "As proud as a crow with an apple core" which never was a popular saying around these parts or any other parts that I can think of. Will he return for more core tomorrow?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I almost admire the endeavour and determination but not the hygiene of seagulls. They don't give up. They are like the warped Islamic State of the bird world, nothing is sacred to them but their own existence and survival, a trait that both defines them and condemns them. Maybe the Scottish Tories are similar, spouting imported rubbish and somehow standing upright while a great Westminster fist operates them from the back, promising a promised land and then delivering only a rotten half eaten left over sandwich, that's what you get when you mess with us. Great Westminster fists also operate the woeful and desolate innards of Scottish Labour. A poor and insipid offering that will be burnt as a sacrifice to the gods of the idealistic college boy and professional politician movement on 7th May. These are terrible times for those with feet of clay and big jabbering gobs and running noses. Every graveyard in Central Scotland is filled with rotating coffins as the once proud, effective and meaningful labour movement capsizes in it's own sea of blissful and avoidable ignorance. Not a cloth cap or a pint of porter in sight, no fag ends or rolled up newspapers to piss through, no solace for the boys in the white vans with three days worth of Daily Records and Gregg's bags stuffed into the dashboard. This is the end, beautiful friend, our nihilistic farewell to the Commonwealth and the corruption, we are doomed and cursed, spat upon by our shrivelled up masters, those deaf and dumb grey creatures  on the green leather benches. We will not be forgiven, the Queen will no longer wave at us from a distance, ships wont be built and we'll ask who the fuck approved those stupid wind farm builds. Then the sheep will return and the highlands will bloom, we'll discover coal and fresh vegetables, slaves will walk away and the turn coats will rotate a further 180. We will bloom again, even in Methil, Gartcosh and Invergordon. It's a long hard road when you vote SNP...but we will.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Barrels out of bond

When the hobbits, elves and dwarves flipped around in barrels some place in the Hobbit storyline it must have been a tough if completely fictional gig. Barrels are heavy and unforgiving things to work with, a person could get hurt manhandling them. The art of the cooper is an unsung art (apart from the Bonnie Wee Cooper of Fife and of course my new Mini Cooper) and one I know little off, apart from drilling drain holes in the ex-water butt so it can be born again as a planter. Anyway we have two full barrels and a few half barrels and I think that that's enough barrels for the mean time. Having said that the new barrel (seen directly above and in situ ready to gather rainwater) does still have a nice warm stale, beery / hoppy smell which I hope takes a long time to fade.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mini Cooper

Another high quality fine old banger to add to the long line of questionable motoring options taken up so far.

Life is like a garden

Yeah, probably and at the same time completely inexplicable but pleasant. So here's how some parts of our garden look this morning as the spring sunshine bathes everything in a pasty, peaceful warm heat, a cool breeze inches it's way through the trees and I do a spot of ironing.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Isolated Ed looks on bemused as three of the UK's truly progressive politicians get together for a hug. Sometimes a picture is worth ten thousand words.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Useful diagrams

This one shows where the background scenery for some famous US based films allegedly originates, assuming it's not CGI. Next time you're driving coast to coast be sure to look out the window and clock some of the action.

The codes that burglars might either chalk on the pavement or daub in paint by your house to indicate whether or not it's worthwhile to have a go. A bit like the old tramps codes that warned of dogs, old ladies and bowls of soup. If you spot these in your area it's time to start up a neighbourhood watch scheme, or move house.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Palestine today

Kate, far left at the school assembly.
My sister-in-law Kate is currently doing a two stint of charity work and visits in and across Palestine. Here's the link to her blog Kateoffthecouch. Naturally her heartfelt and moving observations and experiences have little in common with my flippant and irreverent ramblings. It is obviously worth a read therefore, much more than anything I'm ever moaning about. Please check it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Same of Thrones

OK I did enjoy the eagerly anticipated and over tweeted Season 5 Episode 1 of Game of thrones, I did. There is a but in here though. Somewhere in amongst the bare breasted slave girls, the violent death, the state occasion, the gay sex romp, the walking in a the garden musing by the palm trees and the grumpy dragon scenes I began to think "I've seen this before". Game of Thrones, like history I suppose, is really just one thing after another but presented in an interesting and enticing way that makes you come back for more. And I will.

Four other things happened: the garage fridge died and it's contents have been redistributed into the other freezer, the oven, the bin and the four winds. Twink failed to show last night so now we're anxious and wide eyed (or maybe I'm just anxious on my own). An exhausted pigeon tinged with rainbows and sparkly feathers  arrived at the back door having just returned from an ultra marathon in Morocco. I fed him seed and kept him free and safe from the prowling non stray cats. I think he's now walking back to Perthshire with a bit more of a spring in his step. Then the  barrel man tried but failed to deliver the much anticipated rain barrel. Tomorrow will be a full barrel day.

Monday, April 13, 2015


A cat enigma.
We've now started feeding an old friend, a regular visitor to the garden; a stray cat by the name of Twinkletoes. We've no idea how he got this name other than he sports white socks, a bit like in Dances with Wolves. Twink is elusive, he arrives late at night and just sits and howls in the garden. We decided to feed him to try and silence him. It seems to work but at least he's singing for his supper. If he stays as slippery as this though and only visits at night we'll never get a clear photo of him.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fridge explosion

We need a hero who can carry and pint into battle.
The garage fridge, that forgotten chilled out place where summer's refreshments and leftover items lie awaiting the great reawakening exploded today.  Well the contents did, too cold for too long it seems. Two large bottles (2 Lt) of lemonade and a bottle of Beck's Blue to be precise. It was total carnage. Great chunks of frozen lemonade ricocheted across the garage and plastered the walls and the fridge interior. Quickly I threw a trembling bottle out into the garden like a short fused hand grenade, in seconds it had exploded showering the rockery with sharps shards of icy Schweppes. UXB = unexploded bottle. I was lucky to escape with my life, my eyesight and some sticky fingers.  All you folks out there, beware.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Poor man's Banksy, etc.

Bad example.
Graffiti artists everywhere, raise your game, move away from dumb handles, slogan cliches and cheap stencils. Daubing on and roughing it, running scared in your obvious execution, in your fear and haste and grammar; but worst of all is your lack of something original to say. Let's have some classy work, some Renaissance based themes, some agitation, some high quality draughtsmanship and composition. Etc.

Easter Break

A bit of a chocolate disaster took place here.
Most of the Easter break was spent by getting a mixture of drenched one minute and nose and bald spot sunburn the next. The venue being Alton Towers, a theme park that, quite strangely has become better over the years. More rides, more of some other things and lots of other numerous minor improvements whatever they were. Clearly money has been spent on a few ideas that are new but other parts are tired and tarnished. Anyway there's always plenty of water either being dumped on you, squirting in your face or just landing in the way and sploshing you for no apparent reason: all in the name of a kind of weird pirate based theme. The UK's kids now face the future imagining pirates to be nice but ugly chaps who, armed only with water pistols ruled the seven seas ranting but never swearing and posing around like mental Jonny Depps of some sort. 

So much for our nation's history, Hitler could've written it that way.  I suppose made up shit is bound to be better than real shit, a bit like the Koran, the Bible or Detective Comics.  What I liked a lot was CBBC land, a great area of rolling AstroTurf and plastic sheds awash with crazy, blobby TV characters and scientists and marvellous soft balls that could be fired at any given stranger or small child using compressed air. Also the ability to start a shower of giant green peas from above, the peas being the size of cricket balls and highly dangerous. In this space apart from all the big rides many insane acts of neo-vandalism are performed and seemingly underwritten by the great Beeb's commercial arm. Good fun I'd say and great fun said the kids themselves.

Monday, April 06, 2015


Apart from being a rather exotic and far away wild bird with a huge wingspan "Albatross" was once a one time frequently quoted Monty Python line, you had of course to be there. Now these poor creatures suffer untimely deaths brought on by inadvertently hoovering up our crap from the world's oceans. A grim indicator of grimness mounting.

Favourite Bridges No1.

Without a train.
With a train.

On the North side of the Forth Railway Bridge and just outside of Inverkeithing stands this massive old iron bridge that belongs to the same era as the world famous bridge itself. I've always liked this "big bridge's wee brother" as it gets on with carrying all of the same traffic but over a far less glamorous crossing - buses and cars bound for the Park and Ride mostly. Recently refurbished it still looks good to me.

Worthwhile dilemmas are probably not worth solving, if they remain as dilemmas then they are more useful (unless life threatening or likely to cause human or financial harm). That's a pretty stupid and trite thing to say you may say but just think about it and then think about what makes life really worthwhile and then take all these thoughts and just allow them to form up into a natural shit storm of a dilemma and then, as if boarding some roller coaster,  go with it and see where it takes you.  All these things are of course optional and to some extent unnecessary but some small dilemmas are worth having if only to funk up ever so slightly any given and otherwise dull day.

I'd also like to thank god in all his forms for today's weather, Marmite, Nandos, fat and icy Coke and geese flying overhead in a haphazard fashion. Thank you.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Proper Photo-blogging

Sun on Easter Sunday. A great excuse to escape the Pope, the Church of England and a load of rubbish films on TV (and doing the garden).
The Water of Leith headed right towards that actual place. 
Stairway to Haymarket apparently.
Reflections (almost).
This sign has been purposely made this way it seems, an in-joke or something clever? I'm reading it horizontally, vertically and backwards and still struggling. It's the same on the other side. Way too sophisticated for the likes of me. A nice day spent (almost) in the centre of Edinburgh today where it turns out  there are some dear green and not too badly littered places, some hidden in plain sight and some that take more effort to discover. It's been the kind of day when I almost wished I had a dog to walk or  decent bicycle to ride and that beer and crisps were available for an easy sale by every park bench or nook and crannie, but then who needs strong drink and salty snacks when you can have wall to wall sunshine and a brisk stroll in it? Keep on Walkin' in the Free World, as you might sing should you have the correct speech impediment to do so.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

As I walked out

A fine sight.
It appears that I ate more Chinese food last night than I normally would on any given Friday, there were few if any ill affects and when I regained consciousness this morning this fine sight, a tribute to both Scottish and Chinese engineering greeted me, bathed in the early dawn's rays. What more could you want; I reflected and decided that it would be for someone to pour you a pint that actually went all the way to the top of the glass and not finishing approx. 1 cm from the rim. I am of course too stupid and polite to complain as well being over eager and grateful for any glass of dark beer that comes my way, so it's pointless.

Later in the car wash I pretty much fell asleep thinking about the economy as the engine hummed. How can it be possible for businesses to survive when a highly skillful and effective hand car wash only costs £6 in Dalgety Bay and a 2 and 3 (cutting levels) haircut only costs £5 in Dunfermline?  Meanwhile somewhere else they are giving away three Easter Eggs for a tenner and a (lukewarm) 7 item breakfast in Dobbies is £3.95. Everything is too cheap to be appreciated (apart from football pies) and I for one don't have a clue what to do about it despite all of my academic achievements, life experience and knowledgeable and well wishing friends. Of course I talk to the trees but they don't listen to me. 

Once home and following a pointless tree v human  conversation I took a handy pick axe to the big bump in the ground, effectively levelling it and adding years to the  lives of all parked and passing cars; I'm a bit sore here and there as a result. Then back on line to buy a rain water barrel. The amusement never ends.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Chasing cars

As rain failed to stop after the accident I decided to go out and look at second hand cars. Something that's just not fun, it's an anxiety trip set in a forest of schizoid dark marshmallows where the trees are full of mean monkeys with shiny sharp teeth. OK, maybe not that bad but it's strange walking around cars, sitting in them, looking under the bonnet or in the boot and somehow seeing nothing except that you're making a mental note of cup holders and smells and knowing you're not going to buy this car because despite the conversation you had with the salesman and the fact that you need a new car you really don't much feel like buying one today. There are other ways to buy of course but I'm conditioned by something to go through a long and convoluted process of indecision before finally making a quick impulse buy that gets me something that's not quite what I wanted.

Lawn food and moss killer: The ground must be wet but the grass must be dry for best effect. How can the garden ever reach this perfect state?

Thought for the day...

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Goodbye Maundy Thursday

It used to be the day when the sun first shone properly, the day the queen gave away coins and money, kind words  and her healing touch to the poor (those people who according to Jesus will always be with us, he was right). It was the day when pubs and garden centre cafes noticed an unseasonal boom in trade, stale lunches were served, drink was partaken and wild conversations floated on the breeze, homeless and carefree. There was indiscriminate bad behaviour and a certain amount of gay abandon abandoned. Young men would go out and buy tyres or sneak up on their girlfriends and push them over walls or into the bushes.  Pop music played on radios and everybody listened or at least tapped a foot. Old people would natter, occasionally mumble and often complain. Bees buzzed as if they'd just been set free from some winter strong box, all angry and uncoordinated but there were no wasps. None had survived the long journey from China so far; little did we know. Of course at that point we had a Labour Government who knew how to bow down to the Trades Unions, the BBC and the media whilst most Tories lived in the country or Switzerland anonymously. Now we're all older, a bit better of but still working hard on Maundy Thursday because it is sadly no more a holiday. That day must come tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Aye Robot

There is something mesmerisingly dull and desperate about April Fools Day, running as it does as an incomplete day from about 8am till noon. Stupid and unfunny spoofs appear on websites and in the news and you wonder who on earth has spent time coming up with Marmite Vaseline or wild tales about Top Gear broadcasters, it's all as unfunny as all those other Daily Mash stories that nobody bothers to share on Facebook - so it has to stop. Next year I'm just going to ignore it altogether and deny any interest in news of current affairs until the afternoon. The other thing that annoys me is that we've lost the term "Gowk" from our vocabulary, when we had that term rolling from our tongues in an avalanche of insults and name calling the day made some sense. Now our language is homogenized and PC so Gowks cannot be named and shamed. A pity really when you consider how many proper blethering Gowks there are out there proudly decked in the colours of all the main political parties.