Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Happy 31st October? Just another normal day around here and I'll be fast asleep by midnight. Just ignore any strange lights or noises...

Heavy metal

Nothing to see here, just a man looking like he may have his pants on fire...but they aren't. Just a little bit of innocent industrial grinding going on as the old well cover is removed before being replaced with a newly designed and fabricated cover in Gothic wrought iron.

The finished well cover, painted and fixed in place. Very satisfying for the viewer and looking just a little like some kind of  Steam Punk flying saucer or anti-gravity device that's just landed having stunned the crowds at the Great Exhibition of 1899 as well as killing a couple of sea monsters en-route.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Turning back the clocks

The clocks have changed, a few times in various directions, some changed via a dribble of AI but we are no better for it. It still got dark and then eventually light returned so the process seems rather futile. Perhaps this wont always be the case. Here's some sunny snaps from a German garden and my grandson's well drafted version.

It takes all sorts of gardens to make and keep the world an interesting place. Real and imagined are both fine. Not sure if there is any other kind out there.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Stairways Stare

Porsche Plaza Part Two.

This bright stairway begins with a narrow bottom and ends with a far wider top. The top opening up as you enter the exhibition space and adjust your eyes to all that bright metal and shiny engineering. Designer's tricks are everywhere like corporate propaganda or fake news. Outside it's dull, where you  emerge back into the city's oxygen free atmosphere and there are more shiny metal things moving or for sale. Technology is celebrated in all the spaces, up, down and inside as the metal resonates and drowns your happy wee soul. Then reflect for a moment on the meaning of it all and move on down the autobahn into the crush of traffic that contradicts the dream of an open road.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

On Porsche Plaza

It seems that nobody loves Stuttgart, a cold grey, misty city, choked by traffic suffocating road systems, pedestrian madness and no obvious centre. No warmth, no sausages or beer, just chill of the rain and beep beep of blue lighted emergency vehicles threading past the bendy buses. In the middle of the alleged mess is Porsche Plaza, home of Porsche development and build and a gathering place for fan boys, tourists, the lost souls of motoring and anxious wannabe drivers, some even wear the logo (a sure sign of sickness). 

Moving around in the engineered space is quick and easy, almost awe inspiring in a bright and artificial religious way. Design is god, function is the mantra and speed is the ultimate destination. Nothing is fake, this is the real deal. In these situations I tend to become more of an observer and critic than a round eyed disciple so I was happily conflicted. The cafe was too busy and shop was closed for stocktaking, the cars all shiny as religious artifacts or nuclear weapons, buses ferried in more faithful and confused participants as I soaked up the history and worried about my memory and powers of retention. Once your car is three generations old it becomes a classic, the car and I have a whole lot in common now.

The 996 escapes the tyranny of the penciled lines and finds it's true shape.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Daily Planet

Daily Planet, Daily Pallet. Whatever. Somewhere in Southern Germany at a coffee stop. I love logistics (almost), even after all these years.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Future future

Glasgow prepares for the future.

If I'm honest (which I rarely am) I never thought I'd live to see the day that is 22 October 2017. I say that because I never did think of it, not this specific day nor any other really. Maybe I think wistfully about Christmas or some other up and coming event but not much more. Future dates are too abstract, they don't actually exist, like Brexit or a cup final or your 100th Birthday c/w with a telegram from the monarch. This makes science fiction actual fiction set in place that's uninhabitable, the future. So few Sci-fi things exist, we just like the idea that they might. That brings me to Bladerunner 2049 (a year that doesn't exist either). First take the many escalators that lead to the theater, find your seat, get comfortable, take in full experience and refuse to squirm in your seat. No eating or drinking either. A dry mouth helps. Proceed. Bladerunner 2049 is:

A stylish film you probably should see in the cinema.
Not a good film in the conventional sense.
A good film but with a poor script and premise.
Loud and jarring.
Not nearly as effective and affecting as the first film but ... (three dots are required).
Should be viewed as an audio visual experience rather than a movie.
Bleak - but bleakness seems to play and sell well as this is how we best view the future "future", that way we avoid thinking about it too much. It is something to switch off to.

The future (actual footage).

Last Friday (actual footage).

Friday, October 20, 2017

Birthday Portrait

That's it. 62 years and all's well apart from my ears growing a little too much during this year and a strange banana hovering over my head in a rather annoying fashion.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Water melon man

Up & Go Brekkie? OK, cheating on time, eating water melon in October, part of my so many a day plan and encouraged by my eldest daughter's eclectic purchasing power. Today's been two bananas, an apple, a quarter of a water melon and various snacks, some not so wonderful. That melon hit the spot, chilled to within an inch of it's life red fruity flesh, sliced but not diced and so refreshing even when you don't think you need it. As the rain beats down the central heating cuts in, here comes Channel 4 News, there go the adverts, the melon is gone, nothing changes. The skin stuck into the compost, the rest into me. Tomorrow a birthday comes along with the usual dull regularity, time just cycles by and annoys the psyche and the constitution but I'm for feeling none of that. My lubricated interior springs back like it's ready to deal with at least three figures for an age, I'm just not sure what they are yet.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Unnatural lifestyles


There's probably a lot of negative things said about Romania and Romanians but today I had a marvelous chat with a young Romanian man at work. He told about his plan to return there once he'd saved up money, how he would work on his family's (small) farm, fix up the house and how he planned to set up a recycling business. Also how to roast a pig for Christmas, useful knowledge. He 's only twenty but full of energy and ambition. Maybe that comes from being born Romanian where it's criminally tough. 

He's a sharp contrast to most of the Scottish youngsters I've recently met (at the same work). They argue about how to stay on the edge of debt, how they might crack the benefits system (?) and seem to have no idea about handling money, saving or actually getting any further education or developing themselves. They're stuck in a rut by their early twenties and whilst I know times are awkward it's sad to hear our young talk as if it's all over for them. They seem to lack any self awareness, life is  a joke and despite all the technology at their fingertips they've no clue as to how to really use it. No business or creative dreams, no idea of using spreadsheets, Word, coding or planning tools, things that might allow them to progress. 

It's a long dark tunnel of life for working class kids in Scotland, a post industrial mess of nothing in particular and no urgency about fixing it. Of course they laugh at me when I suggest trying  different things, getting qualifications or moving on. Something has failed and continues to fail in education and providing aspiration and vision for our kids. Maybe Romania has it's  serious problems but we're not so smart back here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Kraftwerk Mums: 1965.
There's nothing quite like the slow dawning and realization that comes with a problem in the garden septic tank as it backs up into the house drainage system. Last night was spent mostly peering in the dark into an even darker foul drain that was full of unpleasant slurry. A few bucketfuls were removed and things looked to be improving, Alas by the morning it was clear that things were not improving. A thunderhead of material was building up, refusing to make the perilous journey from the house to the honey tank and, with complete disregard for the surrounding area, messing everything up. When the Dyno-rod guys arrived they effectively cleared the blockage in a brown explosion of air, water and sludge. However further investigations revealed that the tank's soak away bit may not be doing the business. Things are therefore not soaking away, they're just standing still, floating and slowly turning even more unpleasant. By now I'm on my third change of clothing and my fourth change of mind (as to what's best)...time, tides and a lot of murky H2O will tell.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Illustrative purposes

Another example of the common cat and dog thing. This time from a family canine point of view when encountering a strange and stubborn cat. A stand off ensued and after a while nothing really happened.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mini 4 Sale

The ultra reliable and long suffering Mini Cooper in my life is coming to the end of it's career in the exotic family car pool. Ownership has been a pretty good, funky, fun experience despite all the bad press and horror stories about these wee beasties. OK it's a bit hairdresser and not macho but it's nippy, reasonably economical, totally lacking in useful space and slightly silly. It's also been replaced by the quirky agricultural perfection that is a Suzuki Jimny. Not sure what the hell direction my car ownership is going in but frankly I'm past caring. Must be an age and weariness kind of thing; anything to avoid the homogeneous international hatch back monsters, dealers looking for safe pensioners and seven year warranty fishing lines. All I need is simple predictable unreliability, bugs all worked out and some kind of look that may cause the corners of my mouth to move upwards, even in sodium street lights. So now for a few nervous weeks plumbing the depths of Gumtree or where ever for a likely buyer for the old beast.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The truth about cats and dogs

Exactly what we all know already but put differently and rather eloquently. Lifted i.e. stolen with thanks from @TwistedDoodles on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hot Rats

This randomly appeared in my Twitter stream to remind me and the rest of the civilized world (not a huge area these days) that Hot Rats is 48 earth years old round about today. A somewhat challenging fact and of course there are now many similar "on this day" events that chime in the same worrying way. Amusing and disturbing.

No jazz

A sign of the times or just a sign of a lack of challenging time signatures? No jazz, just blues apparently. All other genres, major and minor may well be blocked also, a management thing. More questions than answers but you'll know them by their limited appeal soundtrack. Photo by Andy Leggatt, taken in an Edinburgh pub.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Burn down the Mission

About forty five years ago I worked in this factory in Dalgety Bay when this part was known as Hillend Industrial Estate. It belonged to an American  company called Bournes (Trimpot), who manufactured potentiometers amongst other things. We were at the cutting edge of science but at the blunt edge of wages, conditions, health and safety, industrial relations and planning. The management were mostly drunken, sweary, self serving sexists but it was the hard living 70s and nobody knew any better or cared. My time there was brief and hardly covered in glory, I was a lazy eighteen year old with little interest in the job or even finding a career of any sort. I was someplace between drifting and free falling but not in any poetic sense. I did hit the ground a few years later. I'm not actually sure when Bournes closed down and production ceased, I left in 1974 and I understand the building has been empty for some time, one or two careful owners maybe. A few weeks ago some kid torched it thereby rendering it even harder to let or sell. It's now another sorry scar on a blot on the landscape. Scorched earth in Fife's industrial history.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Twelve Million Bees

There currently are twelve million bees employed on the Hopetoun Estate. I presume that most of them are busy working on honey production whilst a few deal with actual estate work, administration and grounds keeping. Good for the bees I say and I'm glad they've all found meaningful employment of this kind, far better than having unemployed and feckless bees hanging around on street corners annoying passers by and drinking cheap cider. There's a lesson to be learned here for all who wish to make a meaningful contribution to modern society, eat honey or simply build a career for themselves in the large network of farm shops and farmer's markets that's taking over the country. 

I also traveled back in time to when there was only one lamp post in South Queensferry to capture this Edwardian era shot of past times, low down  on the High Street. Before there were automated bookies, coffee shops and estate agents...so that's the days of gin palaces, rampant sinfulness, wooden lawyer's offices, stables for horse whipping and boys selling porter from crates on the cobbles.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Geese Warning

There are lots of noisy, agitated and possibly unruly geese loose in the area. Their anti social honking and blustering starts about 6.30am and then peters out when they head off to Canada for lunch. They also refuse to fly in a nice V formation for some reason, just  to confound watcher expectations and they  insist on squatting out on the foreshore for long periods thereby upsetting other local and more well established bird colonies. Once dead they also taste like chicken and their fat can be rubbed over roast potatoes to make them shine, a good food presentational tip. They have been known to bite the hand that feeds...

Friday, October 06, 2017

Glasgow daily photo

The sign for lap dancing club "Diamond Dolls", down a back street where an odd mixture of today's Scotland fans, Eastern European girls and swarthy characters of unknown origins congregate and presumably do some kind of business deals while they all take a smoke break from show-biz life and the not so bright lights.

Every window in the clothing store is filled with the dead carcasses of used and broken vintage hand sewing machines. Rather than glamour, honest industry and good tailoring, it suggests sweat shops, misery and cheapness. That's just my take on it. Perhaps the designer was being ironic.

Almost every tourist stops to take a shot of the iconic Duke statue and his traffic cone hat. At the moment he's dual hatted suggesting he actually has two jobs on the go, neither of which he enjoys.

The floor in this card and art materials shop is lit up by these colourful tiles as if they were part of a giant paint box but set in no particular coloured order.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Pin ups and downs

This old pin up photo of Raquel Welch popped into my feed the other day from some click bait site or possibly in the Guardian. I've not seen it for about 47 years. I'd like to say memories flooded back but I'm still a bit numb over my teenage passages of my years, not sure why. Desperate times, smokey, troubled and too distorted to be real maybe. 

At one time a large poster sized copy of Raquel hung on the back of my bedroom door along with other images designed to irritate parents; Easy Rider bikes, Jimmy Page, the Grateful Dead, Freak Bros cartoons and Bridget Bardot in black leather with the Velvet Underground droning in the background through 17 minutes of Sister Ray.  A blue bulb glowed up above giving out little actual light.

In those days having posters from Poster by Post was cool and the word cool wasn't even in my vocabulary. You paid by postal order and a grey tube arrived a fortnight later. I'm not sure I even had a vocabulary, just animal grunts and some internal conflicts raging here and there inspired by the latest LP I'd heard or paperback I'd read. Black and white telly and the John Peel show on a pitiful transistor radio accompanied by twenty Number 6 and some Nescafe from a tin. Glory days.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Cursed by Frida

Meanwhile in the human zoo and football match that is politics Theresa May is cursed by the ghost of Frida Kahlo, presumably for wearing the bracelet upside down, not being much of an artist type  and enduring as one of our worst ever Prime Ministers. Oh and obviously a vision free Tory. So don't mess with the commie creatives, not even the dead ones. All the other things that went wrong on the day were just down to security incompetence and the fact that all of our fine leaders can't organize much of anything these days. Just watch their frozen, fearful, stiff upper lip reactions to the P45 prank. Groan.

Vanity Plates

Somehow modern online business still has the capacity to confuse me. The relatively simple task of moving one registration number from one car to another involves an on line process that is simple but lacking in logic and if you get it the wrong way round...it fails (as you might expect). The confusing part is the numerous codes required and the fact that despite "owning" the number you still have to retain it and pay £80 for that retention, not for the actual transfer. Of course I had to call the DVLA at one point when I was told that my transaction couldn't be completed on line, though quite why wasn't explained. The DVLA lady, with a nice warm Welsh accent didn't really process the transaction, she simply pointed me towards a web area I had previously missed and there I was able to somehow make the transfer. In the end it's still all clear as mud glorious mud but hopefully, in a few days or so, the postman will bring me my updated documents and then all will be street legal and personal again.

Monday, October 02, 2017


Embedded via F***Book. I wasn't sure this embedding option would work. It seems that Facebook have changed or disabled the option to download photos...maybe. You can never really tell what's going on, nothing is clear, published or explained. But that's what you get with free social media that asks very little other than you put up with stupid and inappropriate adverts, links, click bait and suggestions as you trudge through what is basically ongoing spam content apart from the real posts from friends and family.