Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cruise around the sun

Well, that's another one nearly over. All still looks pretty familiar and repetitive now that I've been round a few times. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The new year

Note: End of year grumpy post coming up. The phrase "new year", with or without capitals, makes the introvert and the mean little Puritan man in me cringe. People seem to think it's worth £££s of rare tourist gold so let's all roll over and be welcoming and servile. Who actually sees all that cash? What locals do well out of it? Hmmm. Maybe best to just get out of the way?

So crowds of bemused revellers descend upon the City of Edinburgh and set foot on the damp and frozen Scottish soil for (to me) no obvious good reason. Of course Edinburgh is a great place to visit but would you seriously want to be there in winter and at new year? You're going to get fleeced for one thing, also be dirty drunk, patronized and disappointed and be part of a huge and largely stupid crowd that don't quite know why but feel like they need to celebrate the turning of a calendar page by staying up all night in a strange city. It's neither religious or heathen, it's simply commercial exploitation and lots of dumb fucks will participate lemming like in the annual  carnage. There will be greasy chips and wooden prefabricated German Markets, baseless optimism (for a brief period), pickpockets, "warm hearted" media coverage and tolerant policemen and bouncers. 

In the distance you'll hear the bassy drone of music and interminable fucking bagpipes and the flash of far away fire works (for a world record nine minutes or so). Wow, this is the place to be, herded between fences, carrying no bags rules, frisked regularly and drinking watery beer from a plastic cup while you try to find your friends or just a friendly face. No, stay at home or go to a pals or a warm family house and avoid Edinburgh at all costs (then come along later in the year when it's all a bit more sensible and the weather is better).

Friday, December 29, 2017


Industrial light and magic.

A Smashburger burger (not sure of the exact model), the latest eating sensation to hit Fife, all the way from Denver Colorado. Actually a pretty good burger, all present at the tasting ceremony marked close to 10/10, a good score round these bemused and cynical parts. I may well return for further samples.

A rare view, taken looking north from Scotland's ancient capital Dunfermline. Snow shows on the Ochils in the distance and generally, as you might imagine, things are as grim as they've ever been there.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Photos of ghosts

Number 2 in an occasional series: I inadvertently summoned up a ghost the other day, mid winter soup creation and a rushed kitchen seance.  Not things I usually combine but accidents happen. There was some sewage vapour diluted in the air and a bloody coldness that could only have come from frozen hell itself. Clearly a troubled spirit, perhaps they lived here once, all curly hair, flowing robes and of course a deep sadness, the like of which I can't quite fathom. Strikes me as the basis of some new cookery show...spirits in the kitchen, ghouls on the chopping board, the great British Cake Seance. Another TV idea I'm working on is Dog Food Masterchef. I think this has great potential. The ghost agrees.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


A bear with a split personality...from feisty pets.

A free sample from the hotel for dead fish.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day

   A cheeky wee 4 track EP inside our Xmas card from chums Impossible Songs and Top notch results of a German recording in October...

After a long and "blinded by the light of the low December sun" drive from Aberdeen it's nice to see that our Christmas release CD is being well received here, there and on Twitter. Thanks Mr CBQ.

Listen here, for free, if you will. Ta.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all the people and to all the modern people. It never was the way it was or the way it was portrayed.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Eve Eve

Not even close to the nightmare before Christmas, no panic, mad crowds, traffic jams or chaos...the Christmas weekend arrives with a whisper, in my own head anyway. And (never start a sentence with an and) there never were blue passports...more utter nonsense to hopefully forget. They had black covers and blue text inside, that's all.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Grandma was a fishwife

But this isn't her. It's somebody else who looks similar. Grandma died in 1968 anyway so it's ancient history. Best to keep on the right side of these guys (?) at this time of year, particularly the window cleaner. Don't want a rogue window cleaner going rogue on us, that's worse than anything apart from a rogue fishwife maybe.


The hotel for dead fish employs a lot of people that the above newspapers would describe as "migrants". I dislike the term just about as much as I dislike these papers. Folks from the EU who have the guts, courage and drive to uproot themselves and move and work elsewhere deserve nothing but praise. These people are bailing out out our industries and services daily, we rely upon them and they are generally good contributors and great workers. Of course there will be a percentage that are wasters, just like within the so called Anglo Saxon/Celtic/Norman UK population. You find those kind everywhere. As I've said before, many EU workers that I've encountered put their UK colleagues to shame with their energy and positive attitude. So stop buying these right wing tale telling rags.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Dill. What is dill anyway? If ever the North Koreans want to destroy us I'd suggest that rather than using nukes they use dill bombs. The mess a single dill bomb would create would be far worse than any other WMD. Dill is insidious, gets everywhere, has a funny smell and frankly I'm not sure why it even exists. Has anybody ever said that they'd love a nice piece of dill flavoured anything? Anyway at the hotel for dead fish today was dill day and it was pretty traumatic and messy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hotel for dead fish

(Nothing to do with fishwives either). Back at work today, mostly on some kind of auto pilot. One that allows random whistling and the inner humming of tunes in no kind of order. There is also a certain amount of day dreaming or flights of fancy. This includes imagined conversations, replayed conversations, prize winning scenarios, inspiring talks to both myself and a variety of others and of course well worded rants of justification from all sorts of sources i.e. the merits of adding cream to fruit juice, ways to remove Mr D Trump from office, other miscellaneous acts of political revenge or downright revolution based around the current UK set up, why I did what I did (or why I do what I do), remembering gilt edged rants from previous daydreams and attempting to reconstruct them and also, by way of a break, thinking a few positive thoughts about the future. Of course by the end of the day these various long winded acts of twaddle are completely forgotten but will not down reappear on my return to the hotel.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

New album

This link may actually play the album / EP for you, the buttons above are just part of a dumb screen shot.

Recorded in Germany in October by the usual suspects, contains four tracks that we're actually quite pleased with. 

Sing along with Theresa

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day. 
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way. 
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown. Waiting for someone or something to show you the way!"

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Golden Time

That time of day and year when you excel at John Bull printing skills and the land outside is bathed in a strange, ethereal winter's glow. This level of success in life has not been easily achieved, there have been sacrifices and a certain amount of pain along the way. 

Birds of the air

Even the birds of the air and the beasts of the field will get a bit peckish from time to time and head around to your garden for just a bit of good natured freeloading. Be not concerned, it will not harm you it's only me pursuing something I really don't have a clue about. It appears that someone left the cake or possibly the suet out in the rain and that resulted in some catastrophic failure within the feeding system. Blocked. Well it's all been purged and everything is fine now apart from the bitter cold and crunchy, churchy ground found underfoot. Look carefully and you'll see the wee birds come and go and then disappear into some parallel universe somewhere close at hand.

Friday, December 15, 2017


The final episode of Detectorists has now been aired. Spoiler alert. The treasure was found but not in the ground. A tiny, well paced glimmer of a bright and slow show that excelled at portraying normality and eccentricity at the same time. They are parallel and diverse, like some perfect summer than never occurred. Normal people are crazy and flawed and things happen to them but it all goes unrecorded, marked only by the lost coins and buttons trapped underfoot. Maybe the pace of this was too slow, too much of a plod for most but not me. Sad and funny, desperate and contemporary and well written. It has passed it's peak but it was a damn good peak. A season three might be a good idea but then again it might not. In comedy and light drama leave them wanting more, not begging for less. That's entertainment. RIP, stay in the ground, undiscovered. That's the best way out.


A slow still day by the river. Nothing happens. Everything is frozen in the cold and in the vice like grip of a Friday early afternoon. The sun tries hard but stirs nobody. The wind is absent and the amber weather warnings are far away, meant for someone else. The birds are busy, just surviving the winter. Dogs play here and there, far and away from owners with long leads and devices set  to cast a ball as far as possible. The radio is filled with the truth about Scottish hip hop, pies on rolls and food banks. Who will eat where at Christmas and people aghast over tax and social responsibility. Some want nothing to do with anything because they've worked "so hard" to get to where they've got to and of course so should everybody else...but that's not how this world is, it's unfair and all the rules are unfair and the rule makers are unfair as are those who interpret them. Only the weather is fair, for today anyway.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas tree card

Superb Christmas card designed by my six year old grandson. It's just about perfect...not many things in this world  are.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Winter images #2

Colder and more curious: Here are some ice sculptures not created by the hands of men (or women), soaking up the pale sunlight and subsequently refreezing and growing stronger and fighting for climatic survival. Inside each are a million or so (my estimate) tiny prisms reflecting light and creating an unknown series of equally unknown spectrum(s) or whatever the spectrum-ish plural might be. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Winter images

Ice and a freezing garden but no snow, so happy with that for the time being. The freeze just slows everything down nicely and suspends nature and belief. Meaningful and profound thoughts escape me. Christmas countdown, things to do, wrapping and planning and testing. Leftovers to eat, laundry and wild birds that now need feeding twice a day, if time allows. Creaking somewhere inside me, ominous ageing evidence, warm wine, background music and repeated songs. Spice and cold pizza, flashes backwards and fast frozen forwards. December.

Tough for transport

Spare a thought for those homesick and overworked lorries out there at this time of year.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Fifeshire daily photo

Traditional Fife breakfast, having been fully consumed. 

Murky, reflective photo of Fife's ancient capital c/w dinner plate.

At this time of year decorative frippery is allowed here and there, even in the bleak and austere surroundings of rural Fifeshire.

Humorous vehicle number plate on honey wagon seen passing through the Fife villages with a precious cargo of mature sewage. One of Fife's main exports and contributions to the Scottish economy. 

Thursday, December 07, 2017

My voice is my password

Cat in a deep snooze as I sell off my future via a remote recording device hidden down the phone line.
Hurricane (insert latest name here) passes through Fife as calmly as the traffic on the Queensferry Crossing.
Phrases to fall asleep to: I have a new mantra. According to the robotic conversation I had with the robot tax man I can now and forever rely upon my voice being my password as it's tone and rhythm has now been recorded and processed on some contracted out government IT system in Russia. All you do is repeat the phrase "my voice is my password" for about a minute and the magic is done (chug, whirr!) and you're set for a lifetime of access to hearing that your tax code is probably correct but if it's not then an adjustment will take place in the next tax year that will cause your eyes to water ever so slightly. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

I sing the body eccentric

When you're hurt or unwell the natural thing to want to do is to curl up in a ball, sleep and let some warm magical force of healing wash over you. Or you can tough it out, move, lift, bend, squeeze and walk yourself out of hurt and injury. Up to a point that is. There are healthy limits. But I have however observed in the last few days that my refusal to stop, despite a certain amount of pain and stiffness in the morning has resulted in me, following my traumatic fall down the stairs, feeling better a bit sooner than I'd imagined. I sing also.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Foot, body but no brain injury

For a few split seconds I was weightless, possibly graceful even. Then came the moment, arriving in all it's standard slow motion finery when it all changed and I hit the bottom of the stairs. Blind panic and pain set in but I gathered my thoughts and focused on the zones that were crying out for help; foot, side and back. Hmm, head is just befuddled and shocked, not a proper injury? Ankle is bloody sore (check), side mostly ribs sore (check), back strained but probably ok. I'm alive anyway. That's a decent outcome.

Fast forward two days and the bruises start to appear, dull blue and grey surface scars that illustrate the minor trauma's locations. I'm hobbling a little and straining with certain movements but feeling a lot better. I can drive, I made it to work where I worked, I've had two reasonable sleeps and few hot showers. I'm an expert at sliding my foot into a bandage and then stuffing the whole fat foot into a shoe. The support the shoe provides is very satisfying,  I should wear them more often. So that's another near death experience notched up, gone in an instant it was, how many more before the actual real thing?

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Slenderman sighted

A strange, distorted figure appears on the wall, caught in a brief glimmer of the early morning sun's rays. A silent shadow passing, a spectre moving, creeping across the wall, taking the opportunity in the moment of brightness to reveal itself. Then as quickly as it appears it is gone, returned to some nether world, some place neither here nor there nor in between. Swallowed up, from the bright day into the abyss that is the remains of Sunday morning. And so the clouds pass and move to cast new shadows elsewhere on others. My thoughts wandered and I moved on. Then I turned as I thought I heard a distant scream as it echoed somewhere far away and unfathomable. I was mistaken, there was no sound, just a figment of my imagination, my overactive mind...or was it ?

P.S. The same shadowy figure was encountered later in the day, chopping vegetables, grating cheese and baking some cauliflower and broccoli cheese (with added red pepper). I ignored it of course.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

A million candles

You Want It Darker

If you are the dealer, I'm out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame
Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came
You want it darker
Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord
There's a lover in the story
But the story's still the same
There's a lullaby for suffering
And a paradox to blame
But it's written in the scriptures
And it's not some idle claim
You want it darker
We kill the flame
They're lining up the prisoners
And the guards are taking aim
I struggled with some demons
They were middle class and tame
I didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim
You want

Friday, December 01, 2017

Walk up a sweat

The current cold spell, aka winter, seems to have drained most of the colour from the local landscape with it's icy washing down of the fields and freezing north wind stripping the hedgerows. Brrrr!

Story of the song

It was always going to be some kind of pearly picture that went with if only I could remember how this song came about (link above takes you there for free plays). It was written in the spring of 2002, Ali came up with the words and I added the tune. We recorded it in Germany with Martin producing and playing bass and Siggi on keys later that year. It's really about our writing relationship (I think) and the reforming of Impossible Songs that took place when we got back together after a twenty year hiatus. A declaration of intent sort of.  It has a nice, light, poppy feel to it despite being written in quite a stressful period when our creative partnership was forming up and lives outside were breaking down, so the softer sound contradicts the heavy meaning in the lyric. It's a song that, in my opinion turned out better than I'd hoped for but, as is the case generally with our stuff, hasn't set any heather on fire as yet. We're in this for the long run though so you never can tell.