Saturday, June 30, 2018

Death of the British Navy

Photos taken from the upper deck of  a car ferry  leaving Portsmouth Harbour for France.
Whale Island, RN HQ Portsmouth, cafe at the top left of the building, Costa Coffee, sunlight and plans, some of which didn't quite work out.

Her Majesties' Naval Base Portsmouth, where they fix up ships. There's six Type 45 Destroyers in there, that tells you something about a) the state of the country, b) the state of the navy and c) the design and build quality of British ships.

The UHAF at Gosport but nearer Portsmouth, don't ask.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, not sailing anywhere at the moment but you never can tell.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Distorted view

A distorted view of the World Cup from a Scottish perspective. I really shouldn't care and the truth is that I don't. The World cup is like some sporting, animated wallpaper, good in short bursts, funny if laughing at the pundits and puzzling when the players and officials behave strangely. It's all too serious because it is serious. A set of moving adverts for Korean cars and American beer, training shoes and Russian gas companies, oh and Ally McCoist's  pseudo philosophical observations. I'm really hypnotized.

Elsewhere I enjoyed a job interview via telephone with a lady called Jackie. We talked for 53 minutes. It was pleasant enough. I probably said too much but at the same time failed to use the correct set of words or current terminology no doubt. Maybe I'm the right man for the job, maybe I'm an idiot. I'll hover between these views until my misery is ended by another phone call or email, that's how it is. That unavoidable procession of hope, guilt and WTF carelessness drawn to a concrete halt by the strength of a dose of reality. Caught up in life's brilliant soup or, better in most respects, fruit salad. Today's fruity salad got by with being light on fruit varieties, just pineapple and an unseen banana. I grow healthier and less affected each day.

P.S. Just received a phone call, I got the job.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ripping it up

Last night we were here, or there in Edinburgh. Scottish pop music. You'll have heard of it, over the years and airways. Now it's in a museum. There's a lot you could say about it. Punched above it's weight. Always odd and interesting. Full of characters. Sometimes predictable. Occasionally commercially successful even. Petulant, downright odd and experimental. Niche. Derivative/destructive. Bouncy. Done with an accent. Colorful and qUiRkY. There's a large chunk of it exhibited here in rather nice glass cases, it's all history now. Form an orderly queue and go upstairs to your room (there's no sweeties left because I ate them all).

Welcome to America

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Making history

I've put this up in the kitchen, held in place via a complex system of fridge magnets. It says at the top "history will be made". That's a rather easy claim to make and deliver. History is creating itself continually, sadly the most interesting parts are seldom properly recorded. We just get some other, spun out and soulless version that's chewed over and spat out sooner or later. 

It'll be interesting to see how the latest Glasgow School of Art disaster is covered over time. The higher minded apologists are already calling the ruined building the "heart and soul of Glasgow". OK, that's quite a claim, I'm not sure that most of Glasgow's inhabitants would describe it that way. Maybe the "adopted heart and soul of the artistic establishment in Glasgow" might be a better if less grandiose description, or just "the sacred cow". The heart of Glasgow is a far more abstract and precious thing that a burnt down art school however unique and wonderful the design was.

That's unlikely to be the point of view of the board, sponsors and academics who blindly managed their fine building in such a free spirited and irresponsible way that it's burned down twice with nobody held to account for the events leading up to the disasters. No proper fire safety, no obvious improvement plans or compliance, no decent security. I have a strong sense of: "Let's not allow the bureaucrats the pleasure of tying down our fine buildings and indeed our very way of being with rules and, all of you, pay attention, please stump up and rescue us". History, will you be kind or honest?

A sorry sight, thankfully nobody died in the disaster.

Stainless style

Just a stainless steel exhaust system.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cats n' Drams

The Jura single malt is rather good, add a touch of ice just to cool it a little and extend it's life (in the glass) and it's a fine, smooth, late night sup. Sweet dreams/drams. Meanwhile Tesco cat returned to his regular perch albeit the products beneath him keep changing, such is the speed and volatility of the retail world. Not a spot you'd expect a cat to easily settle into but...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Edinburgh daily photo

On a church in Princess Street.

Had a sneaky BLT down by the canal at lunch time sitting on a pontoon. As I was happily scoffing I saw some waterway action there for the first time and actually witnessed the lift bridge being lifted to allow a canal boat into the basin. It all went rather smoothly. Just a shame that much of the canal walkway and surrounding area is very much a work in progress but then again what isn't? 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Groot v Groot

Baby Groot and his adolescent counterpart or perhaps some sort of Blair Witch / Guardians mash up. They seem happy enough and ready to dance and then save the universe. In other news the World Cup has won me over by stealth. Blog less, think less, couch more, empty head, fewer snacks (?), no heart attacks, the winner doesn't matter and neither do the pundits or anyone else's opinion.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Two dishwashers

As a result of  what can only be described as a First World and creepy privileged type of near death revelation I no longer have peace of mind in the kitchen. Accidentally I stumbled upon a twitter stream* discussing the obvious cleanliness, storage and space saving benefits of having two dishwashers. Now I am stuck with an inner conflict that I cannot shift. My life will never be the same, it all makes way too much sense and the conventional single dishwasher lifestyle with cupboards and drawers full of stuff seems both stupid and wasteful (?). There.

*Also on Pinterest 

The joy of cassettes

In black and white

Friday, June 15, 2018

Black sky thinking

Today's lucky and inspirational card prompted me to give myself an action packed day. It was chaos inside and outside my head. Firstly there was the storm damage to deal I left it till last. I headed out into the big bad world where for some reason the supermarket car park was blocked off by a glossy black Mercedes parked across the bay entrance. It looked like some gangland shit was going down so I avoided making eye contact with the driver and parked elsewhere. I bought more shorts. I will not be short of shorts this summer, that is my goal. I bought other stuff but none of it was interesting. It's in cupboards, fridges and freezers now, awaiting discovery. I came home and felt the familiar disappointment of an eBay-less sales day, I moved on. Then an email from Hermes arrived saying that my parcel couldn't be delivered at 1155 today for some reason. I looked at the clock, it was 1156 but no ringing on the doorbell. They hadn't even tried. They'll be back in 24 hours they say. I have an email but no parcel. How can they be back when they've not been here in the first place?

A quick and unhealthy lunch and then out into a temporarily sunny garden to rake up leaves, twigs, dead birds and other storm casualties. I counted 12 trugs of collected stuff and I was sweating. A good aerobic workout for the tired old frame though. I did take frequent breaks to watch World Cup action, I had to start somewhere. I also fired off a few oblique tweets into twitter oblivion where indifference and the odd lukewarm and grudged "like" hang out together. Brewdog make a .5% beer for the feeble of mind and constitution, Nanny State. I drank one whilst laying out in the recovery position. Then more World Cup, nothing remarkable here I'm afraid. Then more leaves and the ritual unblocking of drains in which no hands were stuck in the pipe nor were any gloves lost in the black hole. Success. I sifted through the twists of the news, too depressing; Trump talks more evil shit and nobody does anything, the Tories have produced a great ignorant lump of a man called Christopher Chope who is still living in the 19th century and Universal Credit has been slammed, that's not the same as actually scrapping it and rebuilding a fair system though. So, back to the World Cup and Portugal v Spain. Hmm.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Storm damage

We suffered some minor damage during last night's unseasonal (but soon to become seasonal) storm. Two innocent hanging baskets were interfered with, the wheelie bin wandered across the road and a flower pot blew over. I'm still stressed by the whole thing. Thankfully the winds have reduced to strong from very strong so we've lost a very along the way. I filled my day with defiantly cooking things and then going out to buy a pair of shorts and the things I needed to complete the cookery task I'd set myself. I also avoided the World Cup opener on grounds of "who cares at the moment?" and instead studied modern politics via Twitter and unreliable news media. At some point my new found opinions may result in me actually jumping down from this splintered fence.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Here's a very short film we made featuring some carefully choreographed rain, nigh time, moonlight and a large window. It's placed somewhere in the film noir genre and/or experimental - file under project. Note the very high production values. I'm quite fond of rain provided it takes respectable breaks in between periods activity. Night time and early mornings are the best times for it's sweetly indulgent pitter patter, of course it usually turns up when it's least welcome.

Missed Father John

Popped into an upbeat, wooden clad restaurant (Hemma) a stones throw from yon Parliament building  in Edinburgh last night for a quick pre-Vespers snack. "Sorry" said the waitress "only one person in the kitchen tonight, all food prep is taking over half an hour". My roll mop herrings and oat cakes were not to be. Service of sorts with a pleasant apology. Sadly that whole area has a pretty tatty, run down look. Overfilled bins, weeds, graffiti, just not very nice or welcoming. Sort yourself our please Holyrood Road / Chrichton Place, the public can be pretty annoying but you'll need them some day. On the plus side we heard two decent poets reciting their material at "Vespers" in the Serenity Cafe, all good. Shame the cafe, like Hemma next door, had decided to switch off the catering when the place was full of thirsty punters.

OK, Father John Misty's tunes (pictured) have been finally tried out by me. I watched his Belfast gig. A strange affair, loads of instruments and musicians all very busy  but very little actual sound and no dynamic highs or lows. Funny how a great group of musicians can really cancel one another out and just sound like background music. I had high hopes, I loved the early Fleet Foxes' stuff. This was different, tired and overworked but what do I know, the crowd were having a good time (if you can trust a TV edit).

Monday, June 11, 2018

Strike a pose

This was at Bridge of Orchy a few weeks ago, few if any midges were present.
A burst of panic inspired activity caused me to install (replace) two electronic cat flaps in two non-electronic external doors. The task involved a certain amount of swearing and sweat. Of course the new cat flaps were slightly different shapes from their predecessors, neither larger or smaller (just cat sized) but different. This meant that both doors required their cat-hole shapes changed = swearing + sweat. Eventually both were installed albeit still to be programmed and tested by the cats, the worst part by far. As I settled down with a restful coffee to check stray emails I opened one from a previous CF supplier. Therein I discovered news that one of the previous cat flaps was actually going to be replaced, we'd reported it faulty a few weeks ago and had given up expecting a reply. Now that the apertures are changed it's winging it's way to us via a kindly courier. Previous knowledge of this would have meant 1/2 swearing + sweat. Too late.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Bar code

the barcode printer: free barcode generator

the barcode printer: free barcode generator

the barcode printer: free barcode generator

the barcode printer: free barcode generator

Just another day of messing around with bar codes, failing to get the resolution correct and so on...and on.

Great moments in modern history

Whether it is simply blowing bubbles up the arse of the world or conclusively proving the significance of the Fibonacci Spiral you can never doubt the ability our greatest thinkers and leaders to please social media with their impressive  but unconscious compositional skills.

Saturday, June 09, 2018


Being fluid but remaining stuck: Most days I don't really believe in any god, most days I'm all for the big bang, alien seeding, engineering or some cosmic intervention. Evolution remains a tough nut, adaptation is attractive but not compelling or fast enough enough. It's all too confusing, the theories and the (lack of actual) evidence from all sides leaves me just wanting to believe nothing. Just whistle down the wind, just let it all be, just ride with the currents and lean into the wind. So I found this dead moth last night, I'd seen it (or one very similar) fluttering around the flowerpots for a few days. Months don't last too long, their life cycle is short. I'm not even sure of their actual purpose...but this one lived, flew around the flowers on a some sunny June afternoons and then died. Pointless I know but maybe it was happy, expiring somewhere in mid air and then landing, softly on to the stones and that was the end. That's it all, in a nut shell.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Now I know

I'm never sure how well or badly I'm fitting into the world. What jars about me being here or looks awkward or out of place? This of course has been my normal mindset for well over 50 years, or at least since I gained some form of self awareness. Here's a list I've lifted from somewhere that describes the 30 ok/cool things in 2018. It's all a bit conservative and disappointing really, all pretty worthy and self righteous. I wonder who exactly was polled in this and from what societal cross sections of  the country's under 30s.
Top 30 things which are considered “cool” in 2018:
  1. Reusable coffee cups
  2. Going on holiday to unusual places off the beaten track      
  3. Going to the gym    
  4. Having a balanced diet      
  5. Staying in rather than going out      
  6. Working from home
  7. Record players      
  8. Fitness trackers     
  9. Coffee      
  10. Being able to cook from scratch      
  11. Being teetotal or cutting back on your drinking/drinking alcohol free beverages   
  12. Yoga/Pilates/ Barrecore     
  13. Craft ale      
  14. Hosting a dinner party      
  15. Instagram      
  16. Cycling      
  17. Gin      
  18. Filter water bottles      
  19. Tattoos      
  20. Beards      
  21. Baking      
  22. Avocado      
  23. Frozen yogurt     
  24. Android phones     
  25. High Intensity Interval Training     
  26. Being a fan of things from ‘before your time’ / nostalgia      
  27. Helping the family      
  28. Charity shops      
  29. The 80s      
  30. Pizza
The research for this survey was conducted by frozen yogurt brand Yoomoo.
So what's missing (that I would add)?
Twitter, blogging, lo-fi music, sports cars, long holidays, gardening, CDs (they'll return), hill-walking, children, Wes Anderson, cover songs, showers, toast, saving bees, pyrography, red wine, plimsolls, resistance, bus travel, chocolate, AirBnb, Scandinavia, odd socks, getting up early, wild birds, rising above politics, helping out in small ways. This list is not exhaustive.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Mucky world

It's a very mucky world. I've decided to capture aspects of it as I wander through the land. Lost. Things rust and decay. Things are abandoned. There to be overlooked or tripped over. There's a strong sense of nobody caring, particularly me. Maybe it's all nobody's job. Perhaps costs are being cut. Ongoing austerity is an excuse to be untidy, to be mucky. So we see muck but mostly we don't because we are desensitized and it's just how things are. Sooner or later everything gets set aside, becomes overgrown and awaits the arrival of the next large meteorite to provide cosmic retribution and cleansing. Then the next new civilisation can start all over again.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Dundee Daily Photo

Dundee: Scotland's sunniest city and the only one boasting a V&A monster and Captain Scott's Discovery set side by side by the Tay. A city of smashed avocados, decent coffee, tattooed barbers, Beano figures, strange street dragons, conflicting football teams, out of place penguins, graffiti and the Kingsway. I'm there probably once a week and after making some adjustments for  my inner compass to function properly I'm now getting the hang of it. It'll be fine once the construction work settles and we no longer need to peer through fences or be blinded by hi-vis and deafened by hi-abs unloading materials in the street. Good times are coming.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Hidden past

I'm glad that some of Dundee city centre's past is on display despite the grime and clumsy modernization. Doorways signs and business names remain intact after who knows how many years of closure. The businesses are long gone, forgotten by all and part of an ancient history story that's faded away and too tired out to recount, but the marks and trade names are still visible, just.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Rare live appearance

Thanks to Malcolm for this photo taken last Thursday at OOTB in Edinburgh. I am playing the house guitar but wearing my own glasses. Ali is singing and also helping me interpret the actual content. 

Saturday, June 02, 2018


Pic by Andrew F at BOO.
Extracted from an organic to do list with absolutely no actual/possible song titles hidden therein:

shim sunburst strat neck pocket*
fix pussy cat telecaster electrics
lubricate car roof and motors
fix plastic bit on conservatory roof
progress car radio done
shed empty at Kinghorn
visit the dump / bottlebank
paint well top done
do some more cement work / pointing
tidy work space
work more with audio interface
work on short stories
cat litter
chop kindling up
back step
wire brush / wash weatherboarding
purge wardrobe
purge old records / work docs etc.
cement work at back door
use less fewer capitals
eBay cardboard
avoid distractions
Air BnB Bilbao 

*replace centre pickup screws and also shim P Bass neck pocket.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Things I didn't say

For people of a certain age 
Nostalgia hooks like crack cocaine
Somewhere between divine and profane
An antidote and poison

I'm sick of blood poured on the tracks
Of friendly warnings "don't look back"
"You'll give yourself a heart attack"
As if I'm even bothered

Health warning mantras for those who know
Ignore them and the prostate goes
There's love and cancer up the road
And a series on iPlayer

The past is littered with the past
I lost it once but lived it fast
Now we're the bus pass underclass
The pensioned shuffling strangers

Tomorrow is a better day
Specsavers see through fakes and haze
You're aches and pains will melt away
On some brave new hejira.

For people of a certain age
Nostalgia hooks like crack cocaine
The worries they just melt away
I'm better now I'm older.