Monday, February 29, 2016

The breaking of the day

Today's extra and quite pretty dawn, captured from the bus to work by the wonderful Ms AG.
You have to wonder why the mystics, timekeepers and clever people from the past chose to add an extra day in February of all months. Why not July or August when we could all enjoy an extra day out hopefully in fine(r) weather. but it was not to be  for sound reasons of propaganda, stupidity and control. Any political party worth it's salt should shove that one in their manifesto, do away with the occasional 29th and add in the 32nd of July. Vote winner surely. Also an extra day to blog when my head's full of soup and cold chicken and there's a cat lying across the laptop.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bad design

Note: no grizzly away fans, just a blaze of winter sun on row upon row of empty seats.

When they (?) orientated East End Park man years ago they failed to take into account the position of the sun in the sky relative to the assembled multitudes watching the game. As a result the home support spends eleven months of the year sat on the dark side of the moon, devoid of heat and light, freezing, chittering and buying hot, poisoned Bovril that's murky and grim enough to stun a beaver. Meanwhile the away fans, no matter how badly behaved, bask in the radiant warmth of the best of the Fife climate should any of them bother to turn up. Groan. Anyway and observations aside, we won the game in fine style, 6 goals to 1. If only every match was like that (apart from the searing cold).

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cameras roll

This film (LIFE) is about the photographer Dennis Stock's early work featuring James Dean. Slow and unsteady, introspective and disturbing. Dean is enigmatic, volatile and vulnerable, Stock is driven and self centred. Neither man knows his life and what to make of it. They stumble in the dark while the cameras roll and casualties pile up around them. 1950s USA looks grim and cold and the film industry is a great, careless, chewing, spitting juggernaut. Having said that it's a watchable film in a bleak, car crash kind of way and the photographs that came from the sessions live on in the strange, black and white afterlife of remembered popular culture.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A short period of artificial serenity

The Superwoman of Rock? This is complete nonsense and what's more everybody knows that Dr Strange and Captain America were always Fender guys. Not sure about the drummer either.
For some reason preparing and cooking up a pot of vegetable soup gives me a peaceful, easy feeling. I can't explain it. and it's nothing to do with the Eagles. I don't actually get much of a peaceful feeling serving it up or when eating it either. It just happens. Then there's the eternal quest to get down to the bottom of the dirty laundry basket and get everything clean again. No real peace here I'm afraid just a sense of perpetual churn. What about mixing up the smooth, decaf and regular coffees into different jars and not letting on? Hmm, just breeds and uncomfortable guilt and mischievous self doubt. Extracting a trapped mustard seed from the dark void of a worn molar without drawing blood? First remorse over eating that kind of mustard and then some low level of satisfaction once the errant seed is removed and spat out into the sink. Ugh. Winning an item on eBay. That's OK but there's usually a catch, a delay or a quality issue of some sort. Feeding the birds? A short spell of serenity then rampant anxiety as the cats eye them up. Frying three eggs and not breaking any of the yolks; nice.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Instant protien

Keeping up my strength, fortifying my resistance to ebola and stimulating my vigour with a regular can of cheap, slimy, oily fish. It's almost working and I'm feeling younger every day. The main bodily joints work more easily, times passes more quickly and I suffer fewer corner of the eye flashbacks than before. My ideas are less politically bankrupt and my beliefs are less stressful and more believable (but less achievable). My sense of humour is darker and deeper and my feet less itchy. My trousers fit and my shirts need less ironing. Comfortable shoes remain a problem however. You are what you eat it seems. In other news I'm turning my back on bananas, you can't get a decent one anywhere these days.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Large artistic beanbag has detrimental impact on pony.
#Fiscal Framework. What appears to be a good result for La Bella Scotia somewhat marred by the lovely Nicola's overuse of the words detriment and detrimental. Clearly help  is required in the speech writing office in the SNP. HQ The offending words appeared in various awkward forms 87 times during her regaling of the "Toon Cooncil" this afternoon. So we've a few bawbees for the next five years and "nothing detrimental" to report apart from the Tories being in charge of the Treasury and the collapse of the oil industry.

"Move along, move along, nothing detrimental to see here."

Monday, February 22, 2016

Scully's Song

They said you'd come home
But things have moved on
They said you'd come home
Nothing's moved on

It wasn't the stress of the job
Causing offence
It was bound to come true 
Glorious chaos
Ripping my sense
It was bound to come true
So it rained for five days
Hunting and fishing
I was rusting from the inside
Justice asleep but somewhere
She was not sleeping

The programmes don't help

The links
The YCL girls
The sauna
The doctors
The drugs
The punters 
The habits
Community men

They said you'd come home
But things have moved on
They said you'd come home
Nothing's moved on

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Songwriting with Robert Mitchum

Any source of justifiable inspiration is a good source of usable inspiration. Black,white, film noir, moody, grim, rain, Blade Runner, X-Files. This has been a busy 24 hours, eating, occasionally sleeping and a fairly intense period of collaborative songwriting where we realise that we have nothing to say but that nothing is in itself meaningful and worth saying. So thanks to long gone movie star heavy weight Robert Mitchum for some blurry but useful inspiration in the wee small hours. Everything is currently running through the mincing machine as if it were mince but it isn't. Meanwhile in the kitchen real mince is cooking, Italian style. Robert M would've approved.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Stock footage of cats

Unsurprisingly some stock photos of cats in the "so you're back home from work, well we've been doing absolutely nothing but lazing on this bed all day" mode.  Also featured is a post haircut, half hearted, hatted selfie cleverly taken in a mirror and presented quite poorly even after some (all of 5 seconds worth of) editorial trickery on iPhoto. Alas things around are not always so serene, earlier this morning the cats staged an impromptu fight i.e. squawking and ranting at another slightly more hostile cat that happened to be outside on the roof staring into a window in a bid to gain territory. Just as well we humans don't try that sort of thing. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Day off

A few hero types here.
Unusually I spent today not at work. I still made a few phone calls and sort of thought about things. That's all part of being off but not quite being switched off. I also walked during a brief spell of early spring (optimistic) sunshine. That took place just before the daily deluge. Then it was administration, a primitive sort of sorting, laundry and guitar and drum machine twiddling. I also fed a random selection of British wild birds, none of which showed any obvious gratitude. They just seem to scatter it all across the lawn as if it were some free food avian carnival day. Don't these birds realise the high cost of scientifically engineered, non-organic, long life bird food?  There was also a spot of cat shepherding and the essential routine of laundry pursuits was also followed. After that I chewed on some sardines as the rain came down. Back to work tomorrow. Hurrah!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

One of those days

This picture is worthy of serious study and possibly a short story or even a novel. No motor accidents today, oh no. Then in some songwriting way just thinking about Egypt and Hawaii for some reason. Seeking inspiration and not finding it. Also listening to the radio for the randomness of it all. Then there's eBay.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


I don't know why it is that so many drivers, at speed, in the dark and in the rain, consider themselves to be indestructible. Is it some horrible, ageing, creepy thing I'm now feeling? That desire not to drive as fast as possible, despite the conditions and not to stay in the outside lane all the time. To be a bit later because it really makes no difference. To be wary of standing water and blinding spray and just to be sensible enough to know that it has to be best to take it easy when the weather and visibility are poor.  With increasing years comes maturity that gradually gives way to avoiding anything reckless and I guess it all slowly solidifies into a new kind fear. Not sure I'm liking this new experience.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cake of the Year

A pretty strong contender for Cake of the Year and it's only 15th February. Having said that I was not aware that there was a Cake of the Year until a few moments ago.

Dragon face

Still messing about trying to get the right name and mark or motif as a user / business name for the various guitars I'm building. Dragon parts, eyes, tails and scales all figure and I usually google for ideas and simple designs to transfer, anyway this somewhat natural dragon head came up on my Twitter feed today. It may well come in useful when I get down to doing some actual concentration and focus in on the subject properly.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Elsewhere in the universe

This would explain almost everything if I could understand it.
Nice sharply cold but sunny Valentine's Sunday morning, early breakfast in F&Bs and a toddle around the shops and then home for bird feeding and catching up on odd domestic tasks. Meanwhile as we sit here doing this kind of stuff whilst pointing various kinds of highly dangerous nuclear weapons at ourselves bigger things are taking place elsewhere in the universe.  The problem with that is that we can't quite understand them. Heads slowly fill with treacle when the boffins talk and we of little imagination and patience stare blankly for a while, slack jawed and then return to our lattes and phones to study cats jumping into boxes or digital sprites flickering away on some pointless and noisy task. Of course I'm still puzzled by the modern conundrums offered up in car park designs and how to find your way out; no hidden galaxy quest for me it seems. Creatives still struggle on as a minority as a lost audience of confused enthusiasts listens to highly compressed music or watches action movies that contain no real action, elsewhere people are starving, drowning or being bombed.  I'd like to think that out there amongst the hidden galaxies some universal sense of common sense is prevailing and that they are either totally ignoring us (for good reasons) or about to invade the fuck out of us in order to set us straight. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mike up a piano

Firstly get yourself a suitable piano and somebody who can play it. Then get somebody else along who knows how to mike it up (thanks JF and FT) and set up the necessary equipment. Then do some recording. Then sit back with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee whilst all that happens. It's really as simple as that.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cat in the Bathroom

Cats can make themselves comfortable in strange and uncomfortable places. I guess that's how they survived on the long road out of Egypt, various treks to the North Pole and how they managed to cross the vast Pacific Ocean to quietly colonise New Zealand. It was probably during journeys of this type that they developed the "psychotic stare" and the "jumping franticly when somebody gets near" routines. Presumably the "randomly sitting on the laptop keyboard" move came a little later in their history.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wrath of the call centre

Never a good experience to hear via voicemail that your credit card has been hacked. It's followed of course by a long phone call where you are passed between handlers, all punctuated with irritating music whilst you forget and fumble through various versions of passwords and personal facts. I always remember nothing and the cat invariably sits across all the vital documents during most of the critical conversations. Thankfully the would be fraudster got none of my cash or credit (not much cash, much more credit of course) and I walk away feeling like an innocent man, even though I've done nothing wrong. So another brightly coloured credit card goes into the plectrum making machine, on-line shopping stops for a while and I re-register new versions of myself here and there. Groan.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Two days of cheesy pasta

If it's too good to be true...
For two days we've been surviving on cheesy chicken pasta with a chorizo twist.  There's a slight aftertaste building up but other then that no obvious side affects or effects either. I'm unsure as to the difference. That's the food review for the month done then. So having abstained from eBay for a spell I happened upon another alternative click-bait site where everything is a fiver; jeans, shirts etc. What could possibly be wrong with such an enterprising on-line shopping experience? Well I opted for a beige/buff/ indistinct kind of light weight summer shirt as a trial. Systems must be tested. I can already taste the sour disappointment in the roof of my mouth when I open the damp jiffy bag that's been crammed into the letter box and find some torn, shrunken, sizeless, useless offering in there...we shall see. The outcome may well be unreported and I might just get on with wearing it as if nothing had happened at all.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Virtual rule

I've come to terms with my political position, it's not been an easy journey. Painful even. Turns out I'm really a socialist zombie supporter with some tiny royalist sympathy (for comedic purposes) who would like to see the end of Westminster's tyrannous rule but with an alternative seat of power not necessarily operating  from Scotland, Iceland perhaps or (controversially) from the Moon. Earth's moon that is thought I'd consider one of Mars' as an alternative. Another solution is that Scotland could be run from some virtual world, at a safe but unspecified distance. My theory is that any Scottish Parliament will always be full of argumentative, ugly or thick Scots who all mean well but can't quite operate in a non-tribal and professionally productive fashion. They also have bad taste in a number of keys areas of art, music and decorum. So in short we should be run by aliens or perhaps zombies, or just zombie aliens in a virtual debating chamber in some digital dimension linked to Scotland by an App. Now I can't wait for their first party political broadcasts in that awkward spot when you're digesting your tea and about to snooze just after the Scottish News.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Bad Karma

Last night, in heavy rain and poor visibility at a hotel in Edinburgh I inadvertently parked my car in a disabled slot. It was there all night and I only realised by mistake this morning. Fortunately I'm not superstitious or paranoid, in fact I don't believe in much and I don't expect to suffer some divine retribution but I have an awkward feeling of guilt now that I've broken a (golden) rule of some sort. There will be consequences, bad dreams and sleepless nights until I can find out how best  to claw my way back into the bland and abstract favour of the universe. Or maybe not, perhaps it's best to shake it all off and not give a shit. To the best of my knowledge no one was hurt or harmed by my (thoughtless?) actions. Let battle commence and rage  inside and outside my head but I will choose to ignore the voices.

Dyson Airband

Last night I encountered a Dyson Airblade that (I known it has a kind of sad robotic face here but I'm not going into the whole  "faces in things" stuff) seemed to have a strange musical capability.  As soon as a drunk, post urinating punter but his dripping hands into the robot's mighty jaws it responded by playing the intro to "See Emily Play". A top twenty tune by those timeless psychedelic darlings known as the Pink Floyd.  Well it certainly sounded like it to me, but I had had a lot to drink by that point in the evening. I also suffer a little from false memory syndrome. Occasional bouts of blogging, periods of reflection, alcohol and the keeping of notebooks helps greatly. Please send money or listen to some of our stuff at least 2 million times on Spotify.


The Birth of Venus of Suburbia. A photo by Rosaleen Ryan.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

What cats really want

That strange, moist, pre-lubricated chicken pieces pack that you never buy; we buy. But we don't eat it ourselves, never. It goes directly to the cats, well one cat, particulary if it makes the hungry noise. Seems to taste best straight from the floor as well, maybe that makes it like some kind of household road-kill so there's cat satisfaction. Tesco value, asda value, Aldi whatever and randomly packaged bits from petrol stations and Spar shops (whenever lack of planning and lack of shopping comes about). All from the same big chicken run in Norfolk, economies of scale etc. It's probably OK but I can't say I find it appetising, it's got too many cat associations now. They won the chicken pieces war over a long period of time and I'm slowly either turning vegetarian or into a vegetable.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Project for somebody

I am of the belief that all things are (possibly) possible. So, setting James Joyce to music. Has it ever been done successfully? Then again is successfully the correct measure to use or outcome to expect? Doubt it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Collateral damage

Cat relaxes as the storms roll by.
The measure of a modern storm are the new kinds of harm done other than chimneys and trees getting blown over and other forms of collateral damage. We had a bit of that, the felt has parted company with the garden shed and a piece of the kid's slide went AWOL (now returned) but generally it's our wonderful lo-fi Internet life line that goes all flaky. Funny how this unseen and abstract little link with civilisation affects us when it glows with an angry red light instead of the cool blue of stable communication. Then it's the pointless OCD act of switching things off and on just to try to jolt a restart and also to delay the painful process of calling the rather frigid and underwhelming BT hotline, joy of joys. Anyway the link has (no doubt thanks to some BT engineers climbing up a ladder in a gale; thanks) returned and I'm bathed in a serene blue light again. If only I could find something meaningful and worth linking into on the great wide web. I should look for some IT contingency planning techniques I guess or better yet, get a life.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Not civilised enough

There must be better and less petty things to moan about than the weather. In theory yes but once trapped in the black hole of stormy muck that is currently steamrolling over us it's hard to think creatively. Of course it's hardly tough indoors in a warm and dry if slightly shaky building. Get a grip man.

I presume that it's the government, Donald Trump and ISIS that are to blame with their negativity, well constructed lies and poor sense of style. They've killed our moment. They disturbed the Karma balance with their antics and now we're all headed to hell, limbo and the 5th Dimension. Once there we'll befriend pigeons and wild birds; feed and talk to them in the streets awaiting the moment of our arrest and eventual incarceration. It's just not civilised.