Monday, December 31, 2018
... whatever it was. Now it's nearly time to move onto 2019 and face up to the future, something that's always just around the corner but still manages to arrive quite unexpectedly. I wish I could say more but the future is notoriously tough to predict, people have died and/or lost vast sums of money trying to do just that. Best to let it happen, relax and allow the soothing magic of time's oozing and passing to wash over you like some woolly, warm, soft and flexible blanket. Welcome to 2019, a year devoted to the void, to reflection, clumsy social interaction, moved goalposts and a degree of bearable frustration. There will be change and changes, pages flicked over and storybooks thumbed through. We'll tell ourselves different things, often they're script will refuse to line up with the obvious world of reality but when all else fails just stare into the soft glow of the imagined light that's straight ahead of you and point yourself towards it.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
That's my final day as a sweaty minion in the Big A over for the foreseeable future. I've returned to civvy street and feel like a combat soldier who's just done a stint in Afghanistan. Maybe that's a bit of exaggeration. The thing is that this year's sojourn into the purchasing mind of the British public hasn't been so bad. The Big A seemed almost human at times and the staff and managers were genuinely working hard to give the customer what they want, mainly a load of Chinese crap as it happens i.e. phone cases and covers, awful toy games, electronic oddities, cook books and a smattering (?) of lurid sex toys. It seems that's what Santa brings us all and then, for good measure we buy even more of it when the sale comes. As a barometer of taste and appetites it's worrying but then so are the TV schedules, the pop charts and the wayward political opinions trotted out all over the place. As a country and a society we're mostly fucked and fucked up but at least the good people of "A" retain a sense of humour and dignity in the face of Brexit and economic adversity and plow on. "It's all right for them" you may say, "what about our high streets and the retail sector?" Yup, totally fucked, blame that one on your town councils and chamber of commerce jokers. Those without any vision or flexibility will, I'm afraid, perish.
Friday, December 28, 2018
I've been following Coldwar Steve on Twitter before it was cool or fashionable. Well that's my claim. The output has been patchy on occasions but this top deck shot shows him at the peak of his form. Just a pity nobody is sneaking a fag in memory of the old days and the smokey, early morning mist of the upstairs passenger compartment. The 0655 to Donibristle Industrial Estate was my ride, humming "a day in the life" and probably (but I'm not sure about this) not having a care in the world. It was 1973 and the world was truly a different place, unrecognizable and strange, austere and tough. I'm glad that it's over. None of the punters depicted have shared my experience, they've done other things but still ended up in the same place.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Earthbound now for nearly 64 years, finally found a reasonable hat, still something of a tooth problem going on in that squint smile but at least I'm smiling, Christmas and the remains of all things must have been good to me this year. Sunglasses are of course vital in December, all that glow and haze going on above the fog. Having a lovely loving wife and a wonderful (if bat-shit crazy) family also helps me stay sane. Reasonable amounts of exposure to animals (dogs, cats, alpacas etc.) does no obvious harm either. I'm back at work today and I've eaten three Christmas dinners this week. Roll on 2019ish.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Boxing day: If the holidays, vacuous TV broadcasting and hollow religious festivals are getting to you then here's an emergency kitten to study and thereby calm you down. His name is Kylo, he's about eight weeks and he's currently residing in Dundee and in this pic he's having a wee nap. You're welcome.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
The source of numerous family breakdowns, Christmas arguments, tears and tantrums. It's that time of year when some (not all) turn off the TV and play games like Monopoly. Surely this year of all years there should have been a Brexit Special Edition to go with all the other variations. "Go to jail" or be sent back to wherever you came from, "Chance" they're be no food or movement of goods, "Community Chest" whereby we destroy local communities and industries, Utilities get little or no investment and you can forget your tiny green houses and red hotels, they'll all be sold off to Saudi as their prices collapse. As for the railways, they're fucked anyway. Never mind finding proper sensible political or economic solutions either, just roll the dice and see whatever deal or no deal comes up. Good seasonal family entertainment.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Traditional Bambi burgers. One of two hungry reindeer that popped into work for a visit. Neither were called Rudolph though they did have names that I didn't quite get. Their own actual reindeer names, the ones they gave themselves will however never be known to us. I'd guess they'd be quite complex, possibly Finnish sounding or in some similar Scandinavian language, tongue twisters for the likes of me. That's the thing with reindeer, you never really know what they are about. They probably taste alright though.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Monday, December 17, 2018
A sobering thought. Paul McCartney's highest earning tune i.e. the one that pays him the most royalties is in fact "Wonderful Christmas Time". Indeed I have heard it about 18 times today and that snyth part is starting to get to me, never mind the rest of it. Paul is a musical genius no doubt but it must be strange for a tune like that to at the top of your earnings considering all the others bangers he's come up with. Life and art are not fair.
Sunday, December 16, 2018
|Christmas Card No1: The three wise angels of the Fairport Convention.|
Friday, December 14, 2018
|It's illogical to get stressed out when you know what you know. OK when you don't know.|
Fed up with Brexit, politics, economics, Westminster, national bickering, the BBC and Christmas tunes? Relax. Another busy week ends in a busy Friday and possibly a busy weekend but I had a colourful Social Bite lunch and the bus wasn't too crowded. Extreme weather (but normal for winter) is promised and the Christmas bug and the panic it exudes is biting legs and the back of necks. Wild alpacas are loose all over Scotland. It's just fluff really. Keep that seasonal stress in check by simply staying busy, it's the only antidote and alternative. Refuse to jump from the speeding merry go round, stare at the ground, breathe in and decide not to get dizzy. All things must pass eventually.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
I met some alpacas today at work and I'm not even working on a farm. I didn't realise that alpacas were a part of the Christmas story and that they belong in there with the various cows, sheep and donkeys (and presumably camels) mentioned in what is often loosely described as "God's Word" the much edited, redacted and distorted Holy Bible. Anyway nice to see that our progressive and modern society has now included the humble alpacas into the Christmas menagerie. Next year I've no doubt dinosaurs or even mammoths may well make an appearance. So much of the fabric of our society and our belief systems are based on very little, or nothing in particular or just plain old fiction ... but you might get imprisoned or worse for saying such things in certain places, Northern Ireland would be one I'd imagine.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Rare version of Andy Warhol's half banana, created as a prototype before he'd considered adding the other half. Trial and error, that's how you do art. The musical part of it ... well it is an acquired taste. There's no sign of it here but I recall being beat up by it at the time.
Meanwhile: I was in Edinburgh today for work. The grubby, grey Athens of the North. Litter, mess, gunge everywhere (seems to me), tacky markets and billboards, funfairs looking dismal in the morning light, public space hi-jacked for a quick quid and wandering tourists gaping as they wheel their cases across the bumpy pavements. Christmas in Scotland, we've not really done our homework.
Monday, December 10, 2018
When you don't believe in anything (?) Christmas preparations can sometimes take a back seat, but not this year. It's only the 10th but I've uprooted the Christmas tree from it's seasonal garden refuge and brought it kicking and screaming into the house. I've untangled a great mass of fairy lights and then tangled them up again (in a slightly different formation) around the house. There's a wreath on the front door but nobody has died so far and I've been to the shops and Amazon for gifts. I've also made a firm financial spending plan to take me up to the dawn of 2019 and I've even thought briefly about far away things like January. There's been an outbreak of common sense and morality despite my regular bouts of absent mindedness and my lack of any moral absolute in my belief system. Perhaps it's just duty or a sense of fun or a decision at some subconscious level to avoid last minute panics. Maybe, unlike politicians I'm now able to learn from history and mistakes and so prepare for the impending attack of everything Christmas. I could be just desperate and eager to "get it over with" or maybe I'm enjoying myself in some perverse way that's nothing to do with the time of year, just my time of life. Still got to start the wrapping though.
Sunday, December 09, 2018
Actually the sky is the same size today as it was yesterday but for a brief period in the afternoon it seemed rather large. That's the sky for you, always up to odd tricks, bigging itself up and generally showing a tendency for exaggeration. Perhaps it's a seasonal thing or a reminder of how things are as we approach the shortest day and prepare for our pagan dance rituals and back slapping. The phenomenon of big sky was first recognized in the 60's (of some century or other) when people dropped acid and lay down on the grass for long periods. They suffered from strange illness and became confused, now they practice all the things they didn't preach but still wonder about the sky and all that might be hidden on the other side. It's a bit of a winter thing here in the northern hemisphere.
Friday, December 07, 2018
It's still under test but I'm already excited about this new tool. Hopefully it'll keep one aging German sports car in fine fettle during the winter months. Peace of mind for me for only £30. Too good to be true maybe but worth a shot. It's all no nonsense, straight forward and even an idiot could use it. Hmm.
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Although he's not looking particularly energetic here, sitting amongst the fire lighters, I did see @Tescocat bounding across the tops of various pallets of winter goodies before settling on this spot. From here he surveys all the various comings and goings and random acts of shoplifting, all in a days work for the superstore feline. Also seems to be working a night shift this week. Any extra Christmas money is always useful.
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
There's nothing quite like the sense of loss and panic that combines and plummets you into some black abyss of despair when you misplace your glasses. I say misplace because you can never truly lose something, it's just in a place you can't quite get to or locate. Some smoky, misty, isolated outpost of a cracked reality where certain items tend to gather ... unexpectedly. There they sit, waiting to be found, perhaps even slightly anxious themselves while all the time fate whispers, "not yet, not yet, keep them hanging on, all anxiety, scratching, sniffing, fumbling and moaning." Eyes bulging in the cruel sport of the frantic search and still no sign until that blessed moment of wild illumination occurs, all the usual places, pockets, shelves and cupboards turned over and now there they are, hidden in plain sight sitting on some back lit surface and recovered. Fully.
Monday, December 03, 2018
Friday, November 30, 2018
Back to getting in shape and conquering the winter demons with a diet made up entirely of food. Some of it is quiet healthy, so a bit more so so. Not drinking too much either now that the birthday booze is used up, a long dry run till Christmas should purge the system and reset the points. Everyday is an endless stream of two bananas, an apple, some cereal bars, coconut water and whatever else is available for foraging or formatting into some kind of meal. On top of that I'm rising earlier and briskly walking oodles of miles in order to fulfill the Christmas wishes of a many people I'll never know. Strangely I'm also fulfilling various DIY, sexual, appetite, reading, viewing and clothing choice wishes all at the same time. Suddenly life has a new if slightly abstract purpose to it as I revolve around with all the other cogs in a slowly grinding and quite probably insane machine. (Other machines are also available but they're no less insane).
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
|"I talk to the trees, but they don't listen to me."|
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Ignoring some of what I said yesterday about TV and it's generally average content I'm sorry to hear that Steve Hillenburg, the creator of the whole crazy cartoon world of SpongeBob Squarepants has died. He had ALS apparently, a horrible and deadly condition. SpongeBob was/is a brilliant, funny, stupid, abstract creation that adults and kids could watch together and laugh at (though often over different things) and enjoy. Thanks for your weird and wonderful take on life and the ocean's depths Mr Steve.
Monday, November 26, 2018
Another weekend passed quietly (?) but still no Doctor Who viewing has taken place. Science fiction and time travel seem to be old hat, exhausted subjects, tired formats. The TV set stands forlorn, a single red light blinking in some small corner. We may turn it on once in while, check the news or weather, maybe go for a quick giggle from a reliable comedy show, one with a well chosen format and familiar presenters. Then there's University Challenge and the wealth and depth of iPlayer, Amazon and Channel 4. Sometimes. There is Sci-fi there but it's avoided now like hospital programs, sport or rigid political discussion set-ups where hosts and guests talk around subjects and dodge awkward topics. So who lost their way in this, TV or me? I'll never know, I'm not seriously asking the question, there are other things apart from habitual and repetitive TV viewing, it's a drug of choice and I've moved on, I'm away now, far of in some stellar space where other shiny lights and substances beckon... with my coconut water and a book.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Above: Nice piece of artwork from a messy Manchester Sunday morning. Far nicer and sunnier than the regular news ... if we were in France there would be riots, burning cars and a procession of tractors blocking every motorway junction. But we're here and we get by on furrowed brows, shrugging shoulders and sharp intakes of breath. So very basic freedoms and rights are being slowly taken from us but...hey it'll soon be Christmas and perhaps it'll all sort itself out. Not so sure.
Friday, November 23, 2018
Black Friday: No I didn't rush out (or stay in) and buy a load of clobber or drums or amps or guitars at rock bottom prices. No. No reasonably priced books, CDs or early Christmas presents of any desperate kind. I was stationed in the BF nerve centre where things were ... calm actually. Just another day at the office there (a bit sweaty) and I suspect at most other places in that line of work. The world has changed, a bit. Everybody can calm down, except the people at Aldi.
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Introducing to Blogger the strange, disturbing and remarkably accurate artwork of the Twitter legend known to his legions of loyal fans as Cold War Steve. His earlier works have sold out on eBay, he's being exhibited across London and Liverpool (?) and no doubt a Turner nomination awaits in 2019. Either that or a hyped and mismanaged Trump/Johnston/Kim Jong firing squad of some sort out in the backwoods. These are the precious and weird times in which we live and struggle to survive. Humour welded with surrealism is all that's left to us.
Monday, November 19, 2018
A famous actress clutches a not so famous white cat on a rainy day in black and white whilst looking wistfully into the near distance. My only small part in the creation of this admirable art work was to add the rain. So there's very little here that I can take credit for. In my defence I've been mostly working with more mundane things today and only took a short break in which to create soup and browse Twitter. This (and a pot of carrot and parsnip soup) is the end result and proves that today has not been a complete waste of time and/or energy.
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Slowly sizzling in the November sun, Tesco cat snoozes on top of sale goods surrounded by Dreamies and the crumbs of Dreamies. Perhaps the idea cat life, there and on display but distant and disconnected all at the same time ... and with a supply of reasonably attractive snacks on tap. The cat probably gets more attention than the regular Big-Issue seller or the odd beggar who might turn up for a short time. It's easy to interact with cats, even if they are snoozing and aloof. The poor are a bit tougher, nobody knows what to do with them, particularly the government who, for some strange reason we'd expect better of. It's become normal for us to assume that the State will not look after the weak and the vulnerable, in fact they will be blamed and vilified, tramped on and ignored. Brexit and whatever shit storm follows the cruel world of "Austerity" will together make matters worse. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, just more tunnel. So in the mean time maybe the best thing to do is pet any available cats, help any available poor people and hope that some currently unseen and unplanned miracle frees us from the shambolic and uncaring political vice we're stuck in.
Saturday, November 17, 2018
It's not art, it's not even an art project, it's not even proper Lego building, it's just shapes of plastic put together thoughtlessly. So it just might be art after all. The more I look at it the more qualified I feel feel to chair the daily workings of the Glasgow School of Art or even to design and build a practical but sympathetic alternative new school on a very different location using non-traditional materials and techniques. Just putting it out there.
Friday, November 16, 2018
I was wandering through the corridors of Dundee University's Tower Building yesterday when I saw this humble, burst and expanding in all the wrong directions couch. It's seen better days. It's really a perfect illustration of Brexit Britain today; used up, worn out, bereft of decent ideas, coming apart at the seems and abandoned by anybody remotely sensible. A couch without a potato. The toxic political landscape seems full of cast off puerile comment, embarrassments and idiotic and spineless individuals who, thanks to a polarized and toffee nosed education system have no idea how anything actually works. Perhaps I'm being tough on this poor couch, all it did was sit there and over time it became the victim. Maybe the couch better illustrates the dreams of Empire that Brexiteers cherish ... a torn, bloated and corrupt idea that's just dead in the water (or the corridor).
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
In a pleasant enough, non threatening, guerrilla way this black and white sign has been erected at the west end of Dunfermline. The way you might come if, let's say you were travelling from Falkirk. It's a mild form of territorial pissing so that arriving football fans can marvel at and also be warned at the wonders of what might be achieved not only in signage but in choices made over location and loyalty. I've not yet heard of Dunfermline being referred to as Parsland as if it were some Banksy related artistic venture but I kind of like the idea. No doubt the local fun police will remove it soon enough or it will be vandalized and roundly mocked by rival fans or those who just don't get it. The choice of location is also interesting, a stones through away from the Carnegie funded "Glen", on waste ground adjacent to a burger van, a car dealership (Kia), a few white vans and some small and semi-permanent business units. Parsland in all it's slightly dysfunctional but proud glory sums up the Fife zeitgeist whilst sporting a custom, hand painted font that owes loyalty to nothing in particular. The artist remains anonymous.
Monday, November 12, 2018
Big heavy lifesaving boaty thing about to get blasted into the sea in an non-emergency situation solely for training purposes. Good people and the general public need to stay well clear, unplanned events may occur. You passers by and bemused day trippers (sucking on your flat whites and unseasonal ice-creams) have been warned.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Friday, November 09, 2018
It's a lot easier than making furniture or running a hot coffee spot but probably a lot less profitable. The other thing is, pretty much any guitar I put together has a series of what I'd call interesting imperfections. That's the "one of a kind" excuse. It's not a proper business, to be one it would have to make actual money, recoup costs that reflect time spent or resources consumed. I know about as much about business as your average Conservative Cabinet Minister...(actually I know a lot more) but that hardly matters. I'm in it for the artistic flourishes I can achieve and technical brilliance I can narrowly miss and of course for the ruinous fun of it all.
Thursday, November 08, 2018
|Sir David Labrador in his study in Ontario (1946)|
David was happily married to Bessie, a chocolate Lab/Collie from Somerset whom he often described as a complete bitch or as he preferred to describe her "an almost complete bitch and canine dictator". They had 16 puppies together, 96 great grand puppies and a whole lot more offspring too numerous to list. David credited the invention of TV and numerous Fanny Craddock cookery programs as the main reason for the curbing of his family numbers and his short spell in therapy at doggy day care.
In his later years Sir David rested from the complexities of dog breeding and retail and retired to become the Conservative MP for Bristol South West. He served as a junior minister for "Treats and Taxation" as part of Margaret Thatcher's Government. He was outspoken over the issue of electronic chipping and voluntary lobotomies for his breed that nearly brought down the government following the Bonio Crisis. He was also credited as a major contributor to the 1985 Act that once again allowed Cock and Dog fights to be held in Victorian basements all across London provided that flaming torches were used to light the arena. He is survived by a whole breed of reasonably natured dogs and various members of the present UK Cabinet.