Sunday, January 31, 2016

Goodbye January

So January is over, now it's February next with it's inexplicable extra day, all because it's not had one for four long years.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Making things fit

The day began with a three egg F&B breakfast that somehow confused the waitress. She recovered well and earned a handsome tip. She also gave us free or bottomless coffee, not usual in the UK. Then it was time for the great outdoors, a pleasure always available but seldom sampled. So I walked three miles today in very cold weather wearing a very tight hat and very tight sunglasses; Mrs Impossible looked on approvingly and did her best to capture the uncomfortable moment. My head has swollen somehow. I did not choose to do this it just happened. Along with the puddle jumping, dog and owner encounters and the prospect of the heavens dumping tons of chilly water down your neck at any moment it passed the time in an edgy but almost pleasant way. Once home I was resuscitated with chicken noodle soup and corn bread. Then it was a YouTube marathon, editing and making things fit. More later.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

All in my head

A cartoon cat called Tog.
Everyday, if I can, I like to read something from a quality newspaper or at the very least it's facsimile in the form of a web site. So it turns out that I saw today that there's a cat in Scandinavia trapped in the body of a woman. She has to employ false ears and a tail to be the cat she wants to be. No mice have been caught yet but she may well eat them from a pet shop. I can think of a number of humans who are trapped in the bodies of cats, there are likely more than even I think. Any corrective surgery would be both risky and expensive. Sometimes life in all it's confusing forms is just plain confusing. The cat problem is one thing but I've yet to hear of folks who thought they were a red setter, a spaniel, an elephant, a buzzard or a trout. perhaps I'm going to all the wrong parties. Maybe in these "fluid" times it will become more common and we'll gradually adopt more creative personas and looks that will be accepted by employers, governments and welfare agencies. It'll be fine so long as I'm not expected to share a cage, hutch or aviary. What about being a tree? There's got to be room too for becoming inanimate objects like a bungalow, a lawnmower or a motorway information sign. So many opportunities really.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dash Position

As I've travelled the world, tripping over flagstones and spilling tea I realise more and more that a good many people are completely glaikit and behave that way most of the time. Glaikit is a great and underused word and one I'm sure both W C Fields and Groucho Marx would have used regularly had it been available to them. It sounds like it's meaning, pretty much perfectly. So these  glaikit people then; they are everywhere and often in quite senior and influential positions, others do things like hairdressing, driving or travel agent work. I often wonder how they survive and, more confusingly how the rest of us get by whilst alongside them. I'd also like to see glaikit appear on gravestones more often in what is known as the dash position; Born - Died. So it would be:

Born 20th October 1955


Died 21st October 2030.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Nothing personal

Available somewhere on Etsy.
If you were to criticize this blog (and that would hardly be difficult) an easy and accurate accusation to make would be that it's not personal enough. It's vague, woolly, full of fabrications, dull, lifeless, a vanity project, an obsession, unfunny and a complete waste of time. Fair enough. So to rectify this (the personal part) here are some truths:

Favourite food - rhubarb.
Favourite island - Galapagos
Favourite body posture - slouching.
Favourite font - New Times Roman Size 8.
Favourite item of clothing - cravat.
Favourite fabric - jute.
Favourite colour - duck egg green.
Favourite drink - coconut milk.
Favourite word - wobbly.
Favourite TV show - The One Show.
Favourite swimming pool - Burntisland Beacon.
Favourite shop - Lidl in Broxburn.
Favourite sound - sandpaper on wood.
Favourite day - Wednesday 
Favourite weather - foggy, dull and 11C with a 6 mph wind for N/W.
Favourite egg - brown size large.
Favourite toe - wee toe, right foot (on me but not everyone else).
Favourite stamp - First class large packet.
Favourite sand - builders'.
Favourite holiday - two weeks.
Favourite money - 20p piece.
Favourite band - The Pixies.
Favourite thought - stopping.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday - usual soundtrack

Drove to Aberdeen and back. There were occasional blips of tyre warnings, rain and scrambled egg on toast. As the dust settled and darkness fell I listened to what has come to be known as the "usual music". Soon it was home for haggis, neeps and tatties. Nice as it turned out. The tatties and neeps were purchased from Waitrose, a shop I seldom visit, mainly because it's far away. The vegetables were fine but overall the shop, whilst pleasant was unremarkable and strangely cheap. Is this the experience that posh people rave about and cannot live without? If so my thinking on a number of exclusive and elitist pastimes must now be reconsidered. I may indeed be posh after all.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Having not been in the village of South Queensferry for a while we ended up there two days in a row, eating, drinking and parking badly in the Hawes Inn, one time hang out of Robert Louis Stephenson. Here's some touched up and untouched photos of the noisy new bridge construction project, taken from a safe distance with a full stomach and an empty head. The old bridge remains a cause for concern, it seems to have become extra bumpy since it's December mishap - even with the crossing speed reduced to 40 thanks to a network of intrusive cameras. If I didn't know better I'd suspect it was reacting somewhat petulantly against the steady arising of it's younger, fitter sister. Retirement and redundancy are  not easy paths sometimes.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blurry cat exits

Here's Tigger the local bad ass cat and general street fighter making a hasty exit from our cat sanctuary just as I was about to snap him snoozing. He objected to his privacy being invaded by a camera and duly bolted. Now the cat house is chilly and vacant until he or some wondering stray decides they need some shelter.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Asleep at the wheel

You know that feeling you get when driving when you zone out and carry on driving but you're not really aware of where you're going. You're on some aware but disconnected driving autopilot of the brain. After a few minutes you snap out of this, can't quite recall how you got where you are and resume driving in a much more conscious state, you think. So to counteract this I've taken to making up songs based on the number plate of the car in front. There's a strong, random element of nonsense here. It's important that there is a car there and that you are not too close to it. Here's tonight's effort, played in D but likely to be better in F#.

Slo Jamu
I want to be with you
I know you want me too
Slo Jamu

Slo Jamu
This place you're going too
I think I'll pass straight through
Slo Jamu


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Catch the Wave

The Waverley: The favourite Edinburgh pub of many good people for many strange reasons. Gig, venue, refuge, haunt, recording studio, store and meeting place. Often a difficult and odd place to be inside but still with a decaying charm and character all of it's own. Sadly the owner passed away recently and we're now wondering quite what might become of this place. Restoration, renovation, demolition or turned into something quite different...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Old age

Wookie Envy: I'm not sure quite when but I'm considering living as a Wookie once I reach some unspecified age and heightened mental state. Excess body hair is essential so some cultivation is required, a black nose (Cherry Blossom might work), various bandoleers and assorted weapons and a robust and confrontational (cantankerous) attitude. You can just stroll through life grunting and scowling, sort of like being a teenager again. The best bit of course is that once you adopt the Wookie persona everybody steps aside and yet everybody loves you whilst tolerating various degrees of anti social and destructive behaviour. It's tempting. Downside; I'm a bit on the short side to carry this off convincingly.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Revenant

Please note this is obviously not a proper review and there are no actual spoilers herein. OK it certainly is a ball bustin' blood fest, some kind of revisionist western, white man colonialist critique, it has the bear and it's an Oscar vehicle. Does any of that make it a bad film? Probably but I kind of like bad films with incredible cinematography, a creative mythology sub-story and superheated hype. One key scene did it for me. Amongst the gore and pain pornography the Revenant himself is trapped in some dreamlike agony. Outside a ruined Spanish style church, walls covered in icons he hugs his half blood son, back from the dead. The terrain is bleak, the church a broken mockery and the camera slips back to show the two figures in front of the ruin. Through the fractured walls and far in the distance a golden and green valley can be seen nestled between two rugged mountains. Hope is out there, unreachable and far beyond the corrupt church building that blocks their view and scars the natural landscape. The Native Americans stay away but this is their land, not the white man's and certainly not some imported Middle Eastern God's. In the end corruption and revenge seem to do best, at least for short periods of time but it's no way to live your life.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


You know our sense of timing etc. OK well I probably wouldn't have attended anyway and I might not have liked it but it did get some good reviews and notices. I only heard about it last night but then I seldom pay much attention to the Celtic Connections bill, I'll pick a few tunes here and there but this festival seems a little too far up it's own highly respectable folk/rock arse. So I totally missed the Scottish re-imagining of Joni Mitchell's Hejira aka "Pilgrimer" (for artistic reasons). As a fan of distorted live covers this may well have been right up my own narrow minded little street. There are some interesting printed and written offerings around on the evening and the effect, here and there; travelling in some tartan vehicle you might say. If all else fails there will be some sanitised snippet on the red button (if that still exists) or a ghostly podcast to draw down, download and down, in a oner. The moral of the story is that if you want to stay connected with Celtic Connections then you really do need to connect...early.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Before the snow

So before there was ever any snow, history will record that first of all along came the ice. That same terrible ice has been captured here (but minus any rainbows, somehow that didn't work for me). This ice is really pretty monotone in it's construction, dumb and unreflective, freezing with a disrespectful grip on life. It's once powerful spectrum bursting power lost as it became mixed down to the bare tones as the sunlight faded and the seasons of snow began to exert their power. The moon stood still like some silent assassin, hidden in the night sky waiting foe a clear shot. Soon the world will turn to a bright white and there the ice will play a secondary role as the snow glistens and new colours hidden and disguised by time and weather will appear briefly to shine, confuse and impress. Then the grey glaciers shall return, the mammoth's refuge and the scourge of man and skinny beast. We will light our vain fires but we all know that winter's grip will strangle those whose hold is weak.

Blurry cat

The cold spell fairly killed the Mini and here it is in the actual throws of death itself, not living, not breathing. Well the battery gave out but thanks to the AA and the man's smart computer thingy the problem was confirmed and the dead car brought back to life. The trick was keeping it running until a new battery was available. It all came together thanks to the modern automotive supply chain's smooth operation and an £80 bill - which probably was fair enough. This event inspired a rapid clean out of the garage so as to allow entry to cars (but not this one however), now we're all set for winter and the steady drip of slow snow.

At the foot of the picture and on the bottom of the window a blurry puzzled cat looks out across the garden to try to see who might be trudging across the frozen wastes. Of course it's me about to split logs using the infamous Aldi log splitter. The act of splitting logs actually gets you warmer than you get when sitting in front of them when they are on fire. Something worth noting if your simple faith for warmth is in the power of fire and ironmongery.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Everybody's been burned

Back home at last: Just hearing that Alan Rickman has died. Heroes and villains passing away, cancer battlers or something like that. I'm not sure how you battle with cancer, how you wage a war on a part of yourself that's destroying all of yourself. It's cruel and unfair. The world, life, death and the illnesses that precede it and stalk us. Winter is upon us, war and refugees, remote from our lives here in the frozen north but real and painful. You can hope, hope for the best but what do you get? Time; hopefully.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hunky Dory

This is a great album but one I've not listened to in a while. That's how time plays tricks on you. It passes way too  quickly and before you know it there are layers of other things there; blocking, competing, covering up and distracting. Busy being busy doesn't work. So there's a dark, black, clever message in this album, hidden in plain sight. It almost changed my view of the world. At the time I didn't think it through though, I just reacted, I moved on, I lived on. I disagreed with so much of it and I've still not come around to the message. That superiority and super evolution theory never fitted, even if it wasn't serious. Now I don't know, it was just stupidly misunderstood and missed by me. So it's passed and past. And that my friend is the nature of all things that come and go; good, bad and indifferent. It seems we can all be heroes eventually.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Take the Floor

Why does Radio Scotland persist with wall to wall accordion music on Saturday and Sunday nights? Is the work of the Devil, the Masonic Lodge or the Free Kirk or something worse? Where is this foot tappin', happy humming along wee radio audience? Do they even exist? Or is there some terrible assumption made in the great brain of the BBC that our body of work in accordion dance music represents the pinnacle of Scottish culture and must therefore be preserved? Or is it simply that the PRS costs for playing this stuff are a whole lot cheaper than anything available from other sources of music set up in this century? Sorry I seem to have inadvertently set some kind of personal record for a sequence of dumb questions that clearly have no simple answer.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Meanwhile on Instagram

Meanwhile on Instagram the world either freezes or passes on by, like opening a thousand windows and looking out at a thousand scenes and vistas. Private and elusive, hidden and shared. No need to wander and explore, no need to breathe fresh air. Life comes to you...and you follow.

End of the Superbugs?

I'm relieved to hear that common sense has in a way prevailed and "food experts" have agreed that black pudding is now a super food. Unfortunately red wine and all alcohol is once again very bad, pasta might now be OK (seems to be conditional as to how processed it is), full fat (blue) milk is good, the less treated it is the better and kale is, well good but tricky to serve up in an attractive way. Sauerkraut is helpful to the immune system but again yucky to eat, digest or even look at. Anyway none of this continually variable and baseless list of shoddy opinions and bad science will change my eating habits; a little bit of everything you like now and again etc. I'll do what I please until some super bug meets my non-super system and that'll be it.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Something brought me to this

Today I was was once again proved wrong by a drum machine. Outwitted  by some flashing silver tray and Chinese electronics. It's no wonder I've low self esteem and stupidly high white sugar and black alcohol intake (or is it the other way around?). Somebody once said that drum machines will be the death of us all, possibly Shakespeare coined the phrase or was it Ginger Baker on bad day. Anyway none of it is true and I would be unable to survive without my virtual kick drum, hi-hat, cowbell and M&S chicken in red wine sauce; all at a reasonable price and 90 BPM (that's Beats Per Masochist).

Warm Testicles

Having had the Mini Cooper for nearly a year I've somehow avoided using the heated seats feature. That may be some measure of global warming, poor circulation or simple loss of memory. Anyway today's unexpected (?) temperatures of -2C or thereabouts turned the wee car into some kind of icy tomb and a rather unpleasant place to be. Also it hadn't moved for about a week hence the high chill factor. Well the seats certainly work, almost too well. It was a warming and invigorating experience making finding space in the Tesco car park distracting to the point of almost being hallucinogenic. I hear that out there there are actual cars with actual heated steering wheels. Ooh! Technology would be wonderful if it wasn't killing us and the planet.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Cultural Normality

Another Dreamies moment

Those awkward January moments: apart from eating, sleeping and going to work much of early January has consisted on Season 3 #Vikings and Season 1 #TheAffair. For some reason this narcotic and soporific mix of cultural normality is working it's slow and potent magic. Seems that I am seasonally afflicted with unseasonably appropriate happiness and simple satisfaction factors that make no proper sense nor need to.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Shut up and play

This cigar box, slide racket requires a steady hand and a high level of concentration and some stamina. This applies not only to the listener but to any human form within hailing distance. Apropos nothing, just reminded that Jimi managed all of seven gigs with the Monkees before the whole tour fell apart. Seems like a lifetime ago.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Pudding Surplus

It's official: The Pudding Season has no obvious ending but we have a surplus of puddings remaining. Quite a few anyway and in assorted sizes and flavours. Dogged by the usual provisioning problems and poor planning our system has gone screwy and here's the result. You can't even give them away for age and health and safety reasons. They'll have to be eaten by careless and carefree volunteers who must first sign a stiff and possibly illegal disclaimer. Once done all will be well in the world and the cupboards can be put to better use.

Ghosts of the new year

This strange apparition appeared to me in a 16th century en-suite toilet almost on the stroke of midnight on the last day of what was known as 2015. I kept my cool. This was simply a result of imbibing large amounts of alcohol and beef as well as the loss of inhibitions due to the season. The ghostly time traveller / alien said very little. It just glowered from a floating position above the cistern. Naturally I appealed for world peace, general calm and scientific cooperation and any hard information on possible lottery outcomes in the near future. What he said I cannot repeat. That's because nothing was said but I think it's fair to say we had some level of rapport and understanding, at least for a short while. Funny thing is that as soon as I switched the light off he/she was gone.

Pooh what thou wilt

Winnie on a day trip and honey picnic at Boleskin House a few years ago.
Seasonal reductions time: I ventured out into the wild today noting as I passed through the bleak terrain that many unfortunate folks in both the public and private sector are being forced to work, or at least to turn up, sit in the correct place and appear to be interested.  In the supermarket, where bread and washing tablets were necessary purchases, there were many tempting seasonal reductions in that forlorn  aisle where barbecue stuff and inflatable swimming pools used to be. Now there's just lots of bargain nuts in packets, Christmas Pringles in strange flavours, wrapping paper and biscuits for cheese in sparkly tins. They'll all be gone tomorrow of course and the edibles scoffed long before next week's dazzling (?) episode of the BBC's War and Peace airs. Meanwhile, just in case you can't wait for chocolate fix a consignment of Easter Eggs has arrived from Milton Keynes via the Kincardine Bridge and are now in the place where the festive bulb planters  and neon elf hats once were. Get them purchased soon because they'll need that spot for the weedkiller, garden machetes and suntan lotion by early February.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Avoiding social media explained

I know it's now a cliche type of overkilled, over shared thing but I do like this picture, because a) it's a great natural and unstaged dramatic shot, b) it's clear and sharp in a way you'd not expect and c) it's nothing like any of my recent real life New Year experiences. This is a proper opium for the masses, expose the thick turds/working class heroes, Chavs and drunken drones of society at their best. See, this is how they behave when simply out on their own trying to celebrate the change of some numbers on a calender in non-public space in some city. So it plays right into the hands of the right wing press and media and reveals that soft and ignorant underbelly that we all love and hate within ourselves. This is Britain and frankly it's not so great. It is however honest, embarrassing and captured in that  unlikely moment in a classically artistic way. Strange things happen all the time it seems and now and then time just freezes.

Aside from the odd dip into Twitter (capturing gems as above) I've steered clear of trying to gauge my own and other's feelings towards 2016 via the web. Same shit different year I'd say and avoid making dumb promises to yourself about lifestyle or plans. Just get the next few days under your seasonally adjusted belt and life will eventually take a hopefully pleasant course as the year unfolds. That's a reasonable expectation. Ultimately it'll all make as much sense as the latest Sherlock episode, be as predicable as the Ten O'clock News and as repetitive and familiar as The Force Awakens. I wonder if it'll taste like this cake?