Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of the year show

A few hours from the end of 2016 here in time trapped, storm lashed, baffled old  Scotland. Thanks to all the readers and robots (more robots than readers I guess), the good people of Alaska and Russia and god knows where for some odd statistics and sporadic support and to Google for free hosting. Frankly I'm glad 2016 is done but I've grave reservations and trembling anticipation over what 2017 may hold for us all. Signs are that I may not be able to cover future developments in any kind of clear or rational manner. This blog has been going a while, it probably will continue but I'm not so sure about life on Earth, as we know it.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Millennial Blues

Reflections shared on the second last day of the year 2016: I've just watched a video via Facebook that was (almost randomly) shared because somebody I don't know well decided they liked it. It may have been click bait but I watched it anyway. It lasted about 15 minutes and it went on about the problems that millennials (born around '84 and onwards) have with modern life i.e. interaction, ambition, expectation and working. It seems that phones, media and all the general shit that life casts up is too much, parents and parenting has been poor and corporations and employers have failed to understand. The result is a troubled, confused, joyless and unfulfilled generation. I'm not sure that squares with my view or experience but it was an interesting tirade to watch. Now I'm slightly confused. Have I missed something? Not picked up tell-tale signs? Been a dumb parent? I'm not exactly going to torture myself about this, it's all water under the bridge. Time was that thoughts and views like this could not be shared at all unless in some book nobody would read or from a street corner speaker. The times were not right. The technology not in place. Now we've got it, we're stuck with it and clearly we don't really know how to handle it and of course it (that is the technology) will quite simply destroy us. There, don't expect things to be a whole lot better in 2017 once the January 1st party is over.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wrong side of Christmas

Girl with cool plectrum. 
Aberdour light prison.
Bags of light to take away. 
A curious mixture of fruit, vegetables, eggs and kitchenware.
So the wrong, incorrect or troubling side of Christmas is upon us. Those few days when we drift between years and festivals unsure when to stop eating and drinking but also preparing for the incoming year as if it was going to make anything any different. A noble but ultimately flawed idea and really there are no grounds for celebration and as the harsh reality of our impending future bites. It's also  a good time to reflect on how it was things got so screwed up in the first place and how far beyond redemption we now cosily sit. Amen.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Last Christmas

Probably the first and last Christmas for this little fellow. Pranged by a cat early on Christmas morning and deposited at my feet as a gift on the kitchen floor as I stuffed the turkey. A strange, paradoxical and sad ending.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Beefheart lives on

As above: Not even sure what this really is, spotted in a pet store presumably for pets that need a healthy amount of Omega 3, which we all need anyway. The sight provoked memories of the good Captain, now long gone. Not sure if he'd be amused. Is there an animal simply called a Beef?

Another thing: If you happen to be feeding squirrels peanuts in order to fatten them up to eat them would you not be better just to forget the squirrels and simply eat the peanuts yourself? I'm wondering if this idea might have wider significance and possible applications.

Now back to the preparation of the vegetables...then running about.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Seasonal timbers

I can seldom resist the lure of bargain Eastern European sourced kiln dried hardwood logs, even during monsoon style rains and strong HGV threatening winds from Storm Barbara. These are the Mercedes Benz of logs or possibly the Stella Artois, something like that. Buying logs in the pouring rain is also a category #10 hazard for the terminally unfit man about town. Having said that there are only so many logs you can fit into a Mini Cooper's cramped load space but they certainly help with the traction control required whilst aquaplaning at high speed on one of Scotland's well cared for and manicured (?) motorways. Fortunately there was room leftover for a dead turkey and a dead chicken and some cow pies upon which we will feast in 2017. Things are a bit calmer's going to be a mild Christmas they say.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Psychedelic fur

Things are looking bleak. The clouds are heavy, trees bare, sea grey, small stones hurtling past in the gale and gritty sand particles sweeping across the beach etc. etc. I predict a bleak Christmas and an overcast New Year, for the weather anyway.

Accidental psychedelic (cat) fur photo almost created without the use of any filtering, just pure daylight, excessive sunlight and a little spot of hail from a passing storm.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Politics 2016

How the Tories fix things (and what we put up with as being normal in the UK today).

You might say it's a coward's way out but...politics, I can't stand them anymore. I need a break. In an ideal world they'd run quietly in the background, like central heating or air-con. Steady and reliable, maintaining a reasonable living environment, not too intrusive, not too peculiar. Safely ticking over and encouraging prosperity and looking after health and social needs and mankind responsibly. That's not the way it is (and never was), so despite on one level wanting to ignore Fife or Edinburgh Councils, UKIP, the US Trumpy Republicans, the Alt-Right and any Alt-Left that might occur and the horror show that is Westminster, we're stuck in a truly desperate and repetitive loop of bad behaviour, unplanned events and bullshit. Actually it's not a loop, it's a downward spiral...

Almost overnight a whole raft of politicians turned into grotesque torch bearers who would fit easily into any David Lynch movie and began grinning and making up unscripted lines for themselves. As if something had been added to the water and suddenly, like lost action figures they came to life via Twitter and invaded all available newscasts and screens with puerile and loaded comments and saying nothing remotely sensible. Fuckwits and toadies in the media added their own perverse oxygen and now everything is close to being on fire. So were told that we've only got what we deserve and what we voted for...I can't buy that. Humph! Last rant of 2016 all being well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Selfish Portrait

Man checks his phone. Trapped in a hotel room reflection as if it was some mirrored coffin whilst awkwardly trying to operate an electronic device. Could be a practice pose for potential Egyptian upright mummification should the need ever arise. Holding out some magical artefact towards the hidden gods hoping for acceptance or appeasement for entry to a place in the world beyond, or just killing time in an idle fashion.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The universe

When I took there pictures they were in colour as was  the rest of the world. Slowly they turned to near black and white and so I cannot be sure of what it was I saw as the evidence has become warped and distorted due to the amount of travel the light had to undertake in order to get to some unknown destination.
The universe remains out there. The universe is inside you. The universe is all around, floating monochrome M&Ms and neutral Maltesers, chocolate drops, polka dots and wooden pegs, dark matter  and spacial mistakes. They say that's all it takes to worm your way out of a worm hole and become whole. We are all lost in this peg board universe, scrambling for peace and Christmas meaning will placing ourselves in sets and sub-sets. Dreaming. Meanwhile the others are scheming. Seeking to establish tiny British Values, dancing on the tip of a pinhead when we really have few if any clues as to who or where we even are.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Random piece of graffiti art. 
Canal reflections.
Colourful building. 
Festive decorations on a canal boat. 
Floating bear made out of water bottles.
Breakfast eggs baked in tomato and bacon. 
Rodin's thinker, thinking still.
A few days spent in the north of the Netherlands, pretty, peaceful and stimulating.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

At the water's edge

OK whatever you do, don't attempt to try to understand this sign simply by reading it at high water. You need to wait a few hours and then the meaning and relevance, including the danger implied, can be easily understood.  Who knew that the water would ever get up that far anyway?

In the distance Dundee shimmers and sparkles like some kind of fabled, emerald city. Except for the fact that it's not emerald or sparkly, more of a misty cold grey and it remains as the regular Dundee however poetically you might try to describe it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sisters of the moon

There's something creepy about this time of year, close to the Solstice with the world on the brink and the temperature dropping. The moon watches us still, bloated and uncaring. An eerie, knowing glow in the sky, jealous of earth and colder than Hell. Black and white luminous magic reigns over us. I may have listened to too much Fleetwood Mac earlier in my life. I'd like to write more but there's a cat lying on my keyboard.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My actual handywork

You can spell handiwork with an i or a y but neither look correct. This guitar will never be quite right but there's something I like about it. It's a tight player, holds tune well, the action is a little higher than it should be and when played it feels like it's working against you a little but it also feels good. It's light, springy and has a limited range due to the two single coil lipstick pickups but it's a satisfying guitar to play. Anyway it's not up for sale yet so I don't really have to explain anything.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday before the next Monday

Monday: Everything is slow today, the weather, web, queue in the Post Office, thinking processes,  toasters, kettles, tuning up, laundry, life in general. Perhaps my own expectations are set too fast, perhaps it's a Monday thing where you just can't get things out of the way quick enough because those things just don't really want to move. 

Amazon: The truth about Amazon, yes it is a shit place to work but so is pretty much everywhere else. Work gets in the way of all the other things you really want to do and never pays enough, doesn't matter where you are. I've yet to meet a happy worker. So work sucks but it's the education system and staying trapped with an unplanned set of your  fellow human beings in close proximity (in that potent working environment) that really screws you up. 

Monday: Soon be over then it's some other day.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Not my actual handywork...

...more like the work of John Coltrane figuring out the structure of a Love Supreme. Recent demo recording efforts on my part have convinced me that I'm not fully capable of plotting or planning anything out properly and in detail. It's all inside my head, not the best place for storing ideas and then trying to execute whilst they form up into other ideas and conflict with either idle thoughts, hunger pangs or the drifting horizon that is the relentless intrusive daydream. All things that are the curse of concentration and focus and ultimately application. That's where it all goes wrong ... application. I do however intend to remain faithful to my current course of tablets.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Excuse to pause

It may come from some jacked up chrome machine but the milky coffee taste is quite serene. A Stephen's coffee purchased from their global HQ (along with a tantalising raffle ticket opportunity). I'm spaced out and watching the waves and reading wooden bench dedications, almost a moving experience. That's coffee for you, today's most over-rated and over exposed beverage. Millions suffer under the illusion that they somehow need it to "get through their day" as if they were coal miners, fishermen or chimney sweeps needing to be warmed and revitalised during their back breaking, dangerous and  sweaty toil. No, it's just a cup of coffee, an indulgent luxury and an excuse to pause but not a necessity. We live in a post-industrial and flea brained society that (assuming they might even be aware of them) remains firmly confused by the many classical sets of human values and conditions that have gone before.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Good News

At last, that pesky cold of mine is definitely on the retreat, feeling altogether better and quite ready to face the prospect of Christmas. A thing that seems to be almost unavoidable. Anyway the cold did a allow a strange, short period of self indulgence mainly consisting of binge watching clips from "the best of Curb Your Enthusiasm" (Seasons 1 -8) on YouTube. I'm not sure what the long term effect of this will be though I'm unlikely to consider Judaism as my next religion. Larry David is a peculiar role model, I just worry that usually I can kind of see his point. In my life there have been odd, inconsistent outbursts similar to his but thankfully not on a daily basis and many largely you get older things do change though. I'm remaining guarded (arms firmly folded) about the whole thing.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

View of the bridges

Back to the 'Ferry for another alternative view of the biggest construction project happening just over there. Just think, next year at this time I could well be stuck in a traffic jam on it (or one of the many roadways connected to it). It's all back to the theory of repressed demand.

In other news I think the CIA may finally be on to us, or maybe the FBI, some of Trump's henchmen or the KKK, whoever it is they're based in the USA and I just don't know why. Is it some keyword trigger, some phrase or some expression? Initials or graphics or photographs that draws them to our information? We'll never know...just keep sending the messages and ignore the statistics.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Not going out

Currently I have the cold. I share the common feeling of having a chilly and leaky aquarium for a head. Every so often it fractures into some kind of glass shattering sneeze and then relents simply to drip a version of thicker than normal condensation from some unrelenting source. This is of course to be expected at this time of year so no point in complaining, just head under the duvet, pop a few pills that don't seem to work and stay there, that is if the tiny cranial explosions allow. Any cats present will of course lend a hand by either a) ignoring you completely unless they want food or b) trying to sleep on your chin if you adopt any kind of remotely horizontal position. Ugh...too choked to type anymore, this'll have to do.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Extraordinary Sausage

Travelled overland to the remote, mountainous and almost perpendicular village of Kippen where there is an extraordinary sausage company. I've no idea what it was that attracted me to the place, anyway once there I bought no sausages (other than pigs in blankets) and mainly concentrated on a soon to be dead turkey for the festive feast albeit steak pies were also thrown firmly into the mix. I may return for the sausages at some later date.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Cold spells

The cold spell tempted me to start a fire, burning up waste wood not dry or good enough for the household stoves; so I let it burn away in the garden. A small and avoidable contribution towards global warning I suppose. 
I rather like the mystery red spots that appear in sunny shots, here and there, inexplicably. It's as if they exist but unless you discover them and then attack them from a certain angle they can't be seen. A bit like some media and political figures...and the royal family. 
Stones from the old pier seem to scrub up well in the pale winter sunlight. Broken lines and disrepair. Dog and human footprints everywhere messing up any clues to any unsolved crimes or acts of treason. 
Just the ragged patterns of some wall clinging  shrubs, lost without their leaves in the cold, and naked to the bone and bark.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Good to go

What happens to ironwork if you don't paint it.
What happens to ironwork if you do paint it.
Breakfast yesterday was in Rankin's Cafe North Queensferry. Here's it's web page if you're interested. They do all the usual cafe stuff but (unusually) they do a decent all-day breakfast, something  that not so many of the other Fife coast cafes do; internet research and a few phone calls revealed that fact to me. Another cafe that does breakfasts is the Yellow Coloured Cafe in nearby Rosyth. FB Page here. 

In truth I have no idea why I'm banging on about cafes, elusive breakfast providers and the like but there you are.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

The air that we breathe

The good folks at Ineos Grangemouth are happy to send smoke and vapour signals to all and sundry on a clear December day. Unfortunately I'm not fluent neither in smoke or vapour so I've no choice other than to simply observe the spectacle from what I presume is a safe distance. I did try Google Translator but it doesn't do smoke much either. It may be a Christmas message of some sort or perhaps the presentation of an economic forecast for us all here in the ideologically foggy, bloody freezing and culturally bankrupt north. I'm sure the future is bright around here, particularly at night when their spectacular  roaring chemical flares light up the dark skies.

Pop up put down

Those pop up ads that fly in lethal squadrons in formation across my laptop screen are sending me some new messages today. It is the dawn of the "bladder calming" treatment era. Based on who knows what I'm now assured on all the best places to go for non-prescribed but guaranteed help for my irritated bladder (some herbal kind of solution). Smiling middle aged male models with strangely combed hair assure me that I'll be well taken care off as their perfect wives look on and nod in passive approval. If only it was my bladder that was irritated I'd know just what to do. It's a change however from funeral expenses, little black party dresses (?) and holidays in the Canary Islands. Inspired by my recent browsing history never has made sense; when did I ever search for a new Vauxhall or a smart phone on eBay? A credit card with HSBC, Chinese recipes or Netflix access so I could catch up on the Gilmore Girls? The truth is it's a very blunt instrument that is being used against me, and sadly, despite all the effort I'm unlikely to bite on any of this algorithmic bait. Ah! But still it influences my thinking in sinister, strange ways I cannot the ads in the Glasgow Herald or the billboards at the traffic lights? The internet is not as smart as it thinks it is. I also wonder what advertisement would go best with spending a sunny morning indoors drawing Christmas hats onto cat's heads?

Friday, December 02, 2016

Official dead bird photos

Exhibit A. Colourized.
Exhibit B. Natural
It's officially official, signed, sealed and verified. Another dead bird discovered in the conservatory. A guilty cat stands by, looking the other way. To ease the pain and mask the sense of loss and bewilderment I broke open the emergency mince pie stash that I bought today. 

In other news: a brief visit to the fair city, the purchase of fired up audio (talking that is) ginger biscuits and more drum machine practice using time travel techniques established in the 1980s. Singing and operating heavy equipment tends to lead to lyrical mix up mash ups...

"First we take MacDonald's, then we take Limekilns."