Sunday, August 19, 2018

No particular order

Most buildings and back streets remain blank and indifferent. It's just another festival.

Out on the town in Edinburgh for a day, saw four shows and ate three sandwiches/bagels/buns or whatever. Eating in Edinburgh is both perilous, annoying and costly. We don't do food well in the streets of the capitol. No staff, big crowds, no experience, imported and transplanted oddities, no chairs, nobody cares. It's just a festival. Here's what we saw in no proper order of time or merit.

In the old town "That's what she says" was a vigorous, foul mouthed, angry femme-fest of shouty woman's poetry. It was actually bloody good (blood came up a lot) despite my early reservations and the prospect of a two hour show I didn't think I'd stomach. It was an open mike kind of format which allowed a dynamic edge for performers and nobody slammed on for too long or beyond the good humoured audience's capacity for endurance. There was also no ritual removal of penises though the vagina was warmly (?) celebrated throuhout. All as you might have expected.

Victoria McNulty, Glasgow born poet, mean girl and slammer.
Meanwhile Yanis Varoufakis the uncrowned king of European politics was holding court at the Book Festival. There was adulation, awe and friendly questions. He has all the right answers despite a very short spell of actual real world experience. The anti Brexit audience were supportive throughout, they like how he talks, straight and true-ish, like proper politicians used to do, back in the glory days of fake history.  Now he's forging ahead with a new party and a new European model. Will his charisma carry him through? It might do if he sticks to gigs like this. Not so sure the big boys will like it.

Yannis, unafraid and on a lucrative book tour.
Darren McGarvey aka Loki is now firmly on everybody's radar. He's the poor lad from the scheme having to deal with rapid success and adjusting to actual acceptance. It's a fairy story and he knows it but I'm not sure he's controlling it. His home grown Weegie rapping is quick and clever, there's a story-line even, it's not untargeted or unguided rage, there's also a plot and (spoiler) we're all found equally guilty at the end. Is that good enough? Maybe, it's all mutated out of Poverty Safari like a planning department Topsi, a better book than this is a listen but he delivers it well, just not always my cup of double-decaf latte with soya milk. Whatever you do don't mention gentrification or social mobility and don't expect slick lighting and video backgrounds, you're in a sweaty cellar for an hour but at least it passes quickly.

Loki, I'd ditch the cap if I were him.
Joni Mitchell is still alive (at the time I write this) but it's not obvious in this show. The author of this short but polished concert plus photo album homage seems to think she bottomed out or dropped out in 1971 and hardly wrote another song after the release of "Blue". It's kind of a lazy piece of story telling but maybe there are time constraints and large chunks of the current audience (all well into their 50s/60s) gave up on Joni about then. It's likely they dumped her then and so they just want to hear stuff from the golden years when they absorbed her songs in safe bedsits from scratchy LPs on their primitive student hi-fis and Dansette record players. I recall a bit more of her back catalogue and it seems I see the golden years as lasting a little longer.

Charlotte Brereton sings Joni's early hits  but pretty much in her own voice which is a good voice and no bad thing.

It was a nice, damp and blustery day out. The city at this time is like some magnificent failure of town planning, traffic control, litter, flyers and people management. Every business is scurrying to chew as much as they can from the tourist's temporary spending hysteria while the panicked and wide eyed workers try to stay afloat as they learn the job on the job. It's not pretty, don't come if you don't want culture stuffed in your face, regardless of content or genre. It's a strange and intense feast and for me one day is quite enough.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Lost civilisations

Not so much lost as confused. I'm learning up on the revisionist histories, one great event at a time. I'm currently stuck on the great cataclysmic meteor/comet strike of 13000 BC. That was when our half alien/half human ancestors were wiped out (almost, some escaped) by cosmic retribution and the reset button was pressed on earth's systems and intelligent life. Unfortunately intelligent life never did return and we were left alone to ponder the purpose of the pyramids and the various other massive ruins and oddities that survived the reasonably sized bang, flood and suffocating dust cloud that followed. Atlantis was sunk, seas rose and fell and the ancient knowledge was burned up here and there. To make matters worse the whole of human history was then rewritten according to the dumb ass and unrealistic Islamic/Christian model and the fact that man once walked with dinosaurs isn't really taken so seriously at the moment. However some writings have survived the test of time (see above) because they were made from an advanced form of Ryvita type fonts that were put together using alien super seeds grown in the Nile Delta before it all went wrong. Look carefully at the scripture above and you can easily decipher or even read straight away some of their wondrous secrets*. You'll sleep easy as a result, all is not lost and the world will not end in 13 years (might be sooner).

*Only works if you have 51% alien DNA. Viking does not count I'm afraid.

They are  still watching us.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Tinkering with these two today, actually made progress. Both working and playing fine (relatively).

Last days of Laurel and Hardy

Apparently this is the last ever photo of Laurel and Hardy together. I used to find them very funny and might still laugh at their antics if I ever got around to watching their old movies. Some say that there are only two types of people in the world: the "Laurel" type and the "Hardy" type. That of course is ridiculous, there has to be more variation in human kind than two simple comedy stereotypes. Of course I could be wrong but I've always though life a little more complex than any kind of "two types" theory might cover.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Gimme shelter

So today's been reasonably profitable in mainly abstract ways. I spent a few hours actually working somewhere in the Glenrothes area doing relevant research and dodging persistent and irritating rain showers. It was tiring but not tiresome and now I know a few things I didn't yesterday.

There is a certain dripping and rundown quality about this part of Fife that's hard to love (but I kind of love Fife). All the houses seem ill shaped, designed to need the maximum maintenance, and with poor and cramped access for both cars and pedestrians. People don't really figure, they're just artist's models. Evidence (if you needed it) that many of the people who designed these angular worlds had no intention of ever living in them and were chained to some austere vision and set of costs that made space and light unaffordable and undesirable. 

Anyway the chickens are home to roost and this once futuristic set of hen houses now looks tired out and unloved. Meanwhile the screwy and thoughtless developments roll on with huge carpets of Asda, Lidl, Aldi and Morrisons stores springing up in the middle of a great plain of roundabouts and traffic calming measures. Really? It's people calming we need to practice and that should be reflected in some decent, even thoughtful design. Some regular teaching on Taoism might help. Free copies of Tao Te Ching for all  (collect yours from the Asda helpdesk).

As I means of cleansing my mind I got home and repeatedly played "Gimme Shelter" on the guitar (badly) for about half an hour. That's this small corner of the universe sorted out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Pretty quiet day today. Got on with few things. Watched the rain. Trained. Didn't take any photos. Now it's nearly supper time. Over and out.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Inspirational massages

I'm not one for inspirational massages or even messages (though a nice massage might be...nice), so I'm breaking various self imposed and stupid rules by putting this image here. It is quite clever apart from the right hand face not reading quite as well as the left hand face does on it's own.The full picture is best. Few things are perfect. Having said all that you're very likely to end up  as a starving artist if you follow this advice.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Back by popular demand

Well when I say "popular demand" what I'm actually saying is that it seemed like a good idea, after a period of relative calm and inactivity, to relaunch the 911 996 apparel range once again. This is of course a rather futile and arguably laughable attempt on my part to extort small amounts of money from innocent punters for reasonably designed but probably ill conceived articles of clothing. It has of course worked for many others in the past and a few have made fortunes, I made a wee bit of money on the first attempt but that's history now so back to the present and the restart of business. If you dare or can be bothered, buy one here.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Strange destinations

Strange bus themed toilet decor from an Aberdeen restaurant that has no obvious connection with either Edinburgh or buses. Nice place with interesting food, I've already forgotten the actual name but it may be "Incognito" or something similarly disguised and slightly obtuse.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Drugs, documents and dirty money

Simple recipe: Peach yogurt, chopped banana and wild honey. Mix in bowl, eat with a spoon. When will I get my own TV series?

From Mother Russia with delayed love and some degree of memory loss. The latest birthday present delivery ever and it's not even my birthday but I'm actually satisfied with the contents and for the record it's nothing to do with drugs, documents or dirty money (this time anyway).

Narcissism of small differences

The narcissism of small will tear us apart?OK, if Freud first described this in 1930 or maybe 1917, it matters little but how come I'm only finding out about it today? It seems to be endemic in all groups and movements (well to some extent) that I've ever known. Wow, now I understand the value of an education and how I missed out on so much stuff over the years. I'm going to be seeing this everywhere in everything from now on. Trouble is, how do you deal with it? It strikes me that people are actually comfortable with it, perhaps enjoying it.

Christopher Hitchens also puts it this way.  "In numerous cases of apparently ethno-nationalist conflict, the deepest hatreds are manifested between people who—to most outward appearances—exhibit very few significant distinctions." So in my experience this also includes (up to a significant point): families, religious groups, artistic groups, political parties, work colleagues, sports teams and on and on...

Thursday, August 09, 2018


A big welcome to a new cat (kitten) entering the family (but not in our household, phew!) menagerie. The very tiny and very cute Milo. Still only 14 weeks old but light as a feather and  petite, as he was/is the runt of the litter. Full of fun and very busy grabbing onto anything with his sharp wee claws. 

Career choices

About a year ago I was working in the food processing industry, high end salmon production and packaging and some loafing and such like. Most days it was a bit like the picture above but the folks inspecting the fishy products were from Sainsbury's and M&S. Oh, and they didn't smile very much, they wore white coats and frowns. Food processing in the west is seen as a grim business generally, no broad, vacuous smiles and the we didn't have hats like those either. Having said that I'd prefer to remain here than pickle fish in North Korea (for a career).

Monday, August 06, 2018

Touched by the hand of Cicciolina

Actually touched by the hand of two rather wonderful ladies in a bit of a golden moment on Twitter. It's downhill all the way for me now.

In other news here's a nice website by Miranda that you could waste some time quite profitably on(in an abstract but meaningful sense).

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Sleeping with the Dalai Lama

This either says "CHOZEN NOODLE" or "CHONOO ZENDLE" . I stay awake at night pondering the many meanings and multiple combinations. I'm searching for the truth, a thing that many claim is "out there", I'd say it's more likely to be "in here" but I'm no philosopher. The truth is that lately, thanks to driving over 3000 miles in at least four countries (but who is really counting?), I've become slightly unhinged and addled and the relentless diet of motorway service station food (even the lofty minded buckets of noodles) have worn me down.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Culross Daily Photo

Exploring the mythical and almost medieval village of Culross, now the strange home of the Outlander cult and also a good place to get married. Narrow lanes and streets, rough cut stones and drains, pantiles and crowstep gables, the old palace, the abbey. the house of the evil eyes and the rebuilding of the old stone pier. Confused tourists mispronounce the name regularly and seek out their favourite TV series locations, there's one around every corner.

So why are these recent posts reverting to the dull regurgitation of "daily photos"? Is modern life, politics, media and all the associated shit just way too stupid and awkward to comment on anymore? What about films and music?Dumbed down content rules the roost and what's the point? Seems that way. Based on my (wonky) perception of things the turn of events has been on a slide downwards now for a number of years, Trump and Brexit broke the back of anything normal or sensible that anybody could wish for, for the immediate future, so I'm stumped. I can't even summon up the energy to spit and shake and shout at the oncoming darkness...I might just write a tune or two or hit the the olden days...then the barricades (?). Never give up and don't give in but be good to yourself along the way.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Blibao Daily Photo:Part 2

Outside the Gugg a large dog made of odd fabric materials waits.

Standard city-scape river shot.

On the main road a single petrol pump awaits customers.

Flats above a cafe where I had a nice tuna and crab salad.

This balcony is adorned with a tribute to the river spirit from "Spirited Away", didn't expect to find that here.
River spirit head detail.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Bilbao Daily Photo

Somewhere on the other side of the river. Just liked the look of the building.

We climbed a lot of stairs and steps to get this view back down a lot of stairs and steps.

A ruined old piece of building trapped amongst more modern forms.

Strange hollow structure that serves no obvious purpose.

Obvious LOTR and Hobbit jokes abound with the city transport system.

Turns out that everybody in Spain is angry about pensions, things are not stacking up well. This noisy and effective demonstration called for a state pension of 1080 Euros per month. Seems reasonable to me.

There were buses so there had to be boats.

Cultural escape at the "Gugg". Not everything was to my taste or liking but I enjoyed the visit, very interesting space and not crowded out by tourists. I suspect most locals give it a wide berth.
More Guggy oddities.
There are more pics to come, I shall restrain myself for the time being and share more later.