Sunday, June 30, 2019

Last Post of June

A sad state of affairs, there are no home socks, only away socks are available today. Terrible news.

Nice, neat embroidery making a comment that's fit for our times. May the blue bird of happiness etc. etc. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Something disturbing

Touched by the hand of Vlad: two warmly indifferent robotic psychos rub against each other and any kind of human sparks fail to fly. 
A fine day at the G20: Yes there's something disturbing about these two robotic waxworks, photographed at a gathering of other robotic waxworks (I await proof and a suitably lurid non-fictional reveal). How leaders ever come to be leaders intrigues me, why they choose that path, how they'll twist and turn in their beliefs, how  they'll manicure the truth and massage the facts, how they'll ignore discomforting issues or spin success and bask in reflected credit, how they'll corrupt and how they'll lie. Looking at the wider world these elite specimens seem to be more lizard like than human, I can't criticize those crazy observers who see reptiles beneath their pallid skins. All power is tyranny. Crazy is as crazy does.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Alternate Universe

We had to close, something escaped from one of the tubes.

There's always a different version of yesterday anywhere you might look. The past is never in a steady state, it moves constantly. I can't quite put my finger on it.

Alternate Universe or is it alternative universe, perhaps a sham or an illusion or is all just a series of effects painted on and in essence adding nothing to an already bland universe? I'll never quite know. I'm happy to have the scales removed from my eyes but not my eyes removed from the scales. I'll say it again: all good art is just another form of the endless repetition held over in our daily thoughts, and so is the bad stuff.

"Sir, this coffee has hard edges, I'm sure you'll like it."

Empire of the Scum.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Thanks to Happy Toast.
There's a truly Titanic struggle going on between truth, lies and the spaces in between but that's nothing new. In the end (?) the best you can hope for is that you've booked your passage on a well run, well navigated ship that's reasonably robust. Of course in life nobody ever knows quite where things may lead them or what unintended consequences might occur.

More Glasgow

Untrue Facts: Glasgow has more coffee shops than both Hong Kong or New York.

Through the old stone archway a hotel can be accessed. Tradesmen use a less glamorous entrance that cannot be found.

Once there was an empire here, a ballroom, a cinema, perhaps an actual empire. Now it has fallen on harder times to the point that it is now in some reverse facing world. (The sign is backwards on both sides).

Interesting building. Run down and occupied by a cheap and glitzy amusement arcade on the ground floor. On the front steps bags of rubbish await collection whilst the seasonally expected rain pours down.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Glasgow umpteenth daily photo

In Glasgow the beauty business can be tough, some succeed, some fail, others simply fade away like cheap sunscreen over fake tan. This is my perfect selfie (I'm invisible).

St Enoch Square: This is some kind of artwork that frankly defies description but it's there. People are taking photographs, clearly puzzled and the rain never stops. Books are piled up on the debris. Social comment? I've no clear idea. Make your own mind up please.

Noodle Bar: Close to Blade Runner territory here. There's food, there's drink, there's no coffee just eastern teas and alcohol. This may well be the future. I cannot easily live there. It takes at least twelve hours for your body to lose the burned garlic. A pleasant kind of torture. No service charge included.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

From a distance

National diet, easy to consume: When viewed from a certain distance, many of Scotland's best views resemble a burger. That is of course our national dish, apart from the fact that it's seldom served in or on a dish and as an actual "nation" we still have a way to go. In other news I hear that Jeremy Hunt is visiting Scotland to discuss fishing rights with fisher-folks and also Heathrow's third runway with people who wish to fly. The future is already looking brighter for our wonderful, burger based land. Be of good cheer, our elders, betters, ex-Etonians and ex-scholars from Oxford know exactly what we need i.e. some lower form of wit than this.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Take the blue chair

Another day, another cafe, another bicycle ride. Actually the first bicycle ride in about two years. We're not as green as we pretend to be. Cycling can be painful when you're not used to it. We sail along at about 7mph whilst the Lycra superheroes whiz by in coordinated speedy sweeps, swooping between dogs and errant children, far away into the distance before we can focus on their progress. (The cycle path goes on forever.) That's mainly because we're focusing on a) remaining upright and b) the nearest cafe/watering hole.

Once at the cafe I'm plonked down in the blue chair, it looks particularly attractive but once I'm sitting in it I forget that it's a blue chair, it's just a chair. I lose all awareness of it but remained seated. So does the chair cease to be blue when I'm sitting in it or is it always blue regardless of who is sitting in it? Or am I just forgetful when it comes to trivial things like the colour of chairs? Amazing how the mind works or doesn't.

Happy floats enjoying retirement.

Welsh dresser in a strange land.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Some kind of brutal

Years and years, a tale told on the BBC, set in a futuristic yesterday (there will be an alternative version played out via Question Time or something to redress the balance): The scene where the old granny has a colourful rant directed at her family but meant for everyone. "It's all your fault, you let it happen. When they introduced the automatic tills at the supermarket, you moaned, you didn't like it but you just got on with it and used them. Then there were no cashiers, they were paid off, more jobs gone..."

We moan a little, we grimace, perhaps we lose sleep, perhaps we think we see the point. We have some sympathy for the devil, whatever the form he takes. Business has to succeed (?), that's why they cut costs (staff), it's all for the common good. Maybe not. There's a relentless direction of travel here. A corruption, a subtle knife, an unspoken shift, a rot and a plague and worst of all a dumb and a stubborn self induced blindness. People don't really matter all that much...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Geometry of Pasta

The shapes of pasta intrigue and amaze some people. Not me but I like the stuff, I just don't worship it or worry how it came to be. In an Italian restaurant yesterday I had a chicken salad, is that somehow sacrilegious or disrespectful? Probably not, as long as you ring up a bill and pay it promptly I guess it's OK, just doesn't feel quite right though.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Sowing the seeds

The ongoing battle to become the next leader of the Conservative Party has finally gotten to me. I cannot take any more "talk radio", any more punditry, views, interviews or predictions. It's not even a general election but it's somehow worse than a general election. I am therefore retiring from this dangerous and tedious audio part of public life and am, for the time being, becoming a musical hermit. This may of course end badly as I disconnect from life with all it's gallows's humour, back stabbing and fakery. I'm not sure I care. Music, whilst obviously a matter of personal taste at least offers a safe place to go when political fireworks are planned and are inevitably firing off in the wrong direction. Just to illustrate my point I'm listening mostly to Tears for Fears and I don't care who knows about it. There. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Fish plays guitar

Above: A surreal advertisement depicting a fish playing an electric guitar. To the best of my knowledge this has not yet happened in the real world plus it is only a fanciful illustration trying to sell you a guitar. Sometimes people will say things like "life is so surreal" or that some event was "so surreal" or that they felt "surreal" (?). But it wasn't or isn't any of that, perhaps it was strange or unexpected, it jarred with the rest of what was going on or maybe just hard to understand. None of that makes it surreal. Surreal is not real, it is super real and we live in a world of "ordinary" real, "regular" real and far too may unnecessary bits of over use of inverted commas brought about by lack of imagination and of course that old faithful; laziness. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Return of the insects

Two wasp's nests, a giant spider and a lot of ladybirds: I'm in an optimistic mood, the insects are fighting back, maybe it's the wet weather, maybe it's the mild winter, maybe it's none of above. Perhaps my insect vision has grown and expanded, I'm seeing the world through ladybird coloured glasses, there's no credible explanation. The return and rise of the insects may save us all from Armageddon; the lack of pollination and the death of wild birds. Not noticing too many bees however, not sure when their big season is. The colony in the fields next door have been moved on by their shepherds, pastures new and all that. Anyway I've decided (as per yesterday's rant) on defaulting to optimism as the superior state of mental well being.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Asda car park: Somebody who really likes cats or just fails miserably to understand that sometimes words have two meanings.
Back from the brink of Gogglebox: Years and Years, Black Mirror, A Handmaid's Tale etc. Dystopian science fiction is like a drug, a drug that's a bit like heroin in fact. A black drug. A black hole of a drug. Invariably modern dramas in this genre try to scare the pants from us by predicting and portraying future worlds where things become darker, less controllable, more frightening and downright dangerous. There is no comfort, there is no salvation, just a ragged humanity constantly beleaguered by oppressive regimes, alien attack or nature going crazily out of control. It's a ratings winner every time and it does reflect real life but slightly skews it away from the everyday experience. 

So is there now an alternative case for more of a balance where science fiction carries a new and jarringly optimistic tone, where there are actual positive outcomes, where humanity isn't crushed, when we actually work together and manage to prevent doom and destruction falling upon us? In this other storytelling universe things actually work out, the good guys win (and not just the key characters we've been rooting for but everybody), there's a positive outcome. Is there anybody writing this stuff these days? 

I can't say I'd expect this to sell but there has to be a safe adult fictional place outside of kid's TV programming. The constant dramatic bombardment of negative energy, awful outcomes and the bigging up of man's inhumanity to man wins every time. As Steven Hawking once said via his voice machine, "it doesn't have to be this way". Just think about that please, even for a few seconds before cynically dismissing it. Not all coppers, politicians, billionaires or scientists are bent or bonkers.

On reflection the original Star Trek had a more upbeat tone as it grew awkwardly out the 50's wild tales and it was of course cheesy and unbearable at times but it got us all addicted to some higher plan and purpose ... we just didn't realize that the rot was setting in. Now we are not so much what we eat but what we view.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Reckless Eurovision

It's a few weeks since Eurovision but that's hardly important. What is important however is this epic series of snappy renditions from a Eurovision that never was but one that probably should be. I don't quite know how else to put it ... a highly creative piece of mash-up art work?

Monday, June 10, 2019

The sky...

FFS: Last night I experienced the latest incarnation of BBC's "the Sky at Night". Once the brilliant domain of the eccentric and goofy Patrick Moore and filled with genuine enthusiasm and mind boggling facts, figures and concepts (all presented in a wonderful, catastrophic garden shed manner) this show is now firmly in the hands of idiots. It's presented in the style of a condescending version of Blue Peter for adults. Howling feebly at the moon with no wit, nuance or respect for an audience that might just have lived through the actual space race and the development of space research and those mighty engineering and development leaps in technology and science than once enthralled us (and still do). 

The presenters spoke like primary school teachers and explored absolutely nothing with their tone-deaf, puerile scripts. It was so bad that I felt simply stupider after watching this half hour long accidental splashdown without any parachutes. Poor Patrick must be spinning in his grave at the very thought of a once flagship (if niche) show turning into a badly stated space travelogue for the under sevens as if read from a Ladybird Book. I'm not going back into the spacial vacuum of BBC4 to view this again any time soon.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Super different tastes

I heard some young, bright, eager and slightly irritating young (Indy) musician using the phrase "super different tastes". She said that "we in the band have super different tastes". At around that point I concluded watching the interview/promo or whatever it was by hitting the stop button. Having said that here are two "super different tastes".

Three act drama

Of course and obviously it's stolen from Twitter, where else am I supposed to go to for content that's a bit broader based than own dull and narrow life experiences? 

When you have clear, expressive pictures you don't need any words.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Lost Maps

If you thought that the Crook of Devon was some kind of criminal type from the West Country then you'd be right, it's also a place in Scotland however. The above map is of Crook of Devon and is in Crook of Devon but for some strange reason is located on a stone wall, in a quiet lane at the outside rear end of a churchyard where nobody (except a nosey git like me) would ever expect to find it. Most towns have their maps near the tourist information, on bus stops or by the entrance to the local Morrisons (note other major supermarkets do not bother with this as far as I know). Crook of Devon however keeps it's hand crafted map hidden from prying eyes. Of course it may be that you can only find the map if you're actually lost, that's a clever twist.

Mount Everest

Awful to hear that four bodies were found amongst the trash collected on Mount Everest. I do wonder about "adventurers and thrill seekers" who queue up to climb the mountain (maybe this applies to any really grown up and angry mountain). What the fuck are they thinking? Mountains are dangerous places, do what you can manage, do what you can cope with. Don't try do to what might kill you and possibly kill the ones who come looking for you. End of rant from a reasonably safety conscious 64 year old who enjoys the outdoors up to a point.

Thursday, June 06, 2019


This is an actual thing, by Coldwar Steve. The cover of Time. Unthinkable last year at this time.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Daily Cafe

Old School: The Powmill Milk Bar has not changed in 30 years, maybe more. Clunky and hardly elegant but not quite a greasy spoon. I went for the classic fried egg and haggis roll with a flat white, all for £5.50 and with really quick internet for hours of easy, endless amusement. Friendly staff and, as you might expect on a wet Wednesday, the clientele are mainly wrinkly Honda Jazz driving types i.e. over 60s. They take a long time to make their minds up making me wonder if they've ever been in a cafe before but then again quite what to eat may be their biggest decision of the day. Things I liked: the long well stocked bar and counter (as above), my tasty snack, the wifi and the ability to swing back on the wooden chairs. Didn't like: weird sticky tables, gungy toilets and the slightly gloomy look of the place. Anyway as I'm touring the area with my heavy workload I'll be back.

Strange spectacle

A strange spectacle yesterday. Just across the water the football ground at Bo'ness is on fire. Obvious tragedy for the club and it's supporters. From this distance it looks like some wartime battlefield scene.

Monday, June 03, 2019

LD Experience

This was fun: Pitched up yesterday for an off-road Land Rover driving experience up in the heart of damp and rural Perthshire. We began with coffee and biscuits in the loch-side retreat and then headed for the hills,the glens, steep hills and bumpy descents and the muddy swampy places were Land Rovers have their native and natural environment. Now I know what it takes to be a good off-road driver, basically buy a Land Rover, it does it all itself while you quietly hang on. Oh, but don't buy a white one second hand, they're the ones the off road schools use so beware.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

How memories were...

... or how the magical properties of old prints and photographs can confuse and delude in a dangerous but pleasant way: 

This photo arrived in my Twitter feed today: "Blue Train, Scotland, 1960s". The striking thing is that everyone on the train looks relaxed, stylish and cool in a proper 60s way. Was it a set up, all preened and posed? A promotional shot for British Rail or some tourist flyer? Whoever posted it didn't think so, just another day on the train during some random Scottish summer, snapped at the right moment. A wonderful everyday moment.

The funny thing is that a photo like this plays on your mind and quickly starts to influence your memories (well mine). Despite the knowledge of my own experiences, it seems that the past was not only sunny and strangely colourful but people looked nice, behaved in a civilized way there was an obvious peaceful, simple happiness just about everywhere. Things were safe, clean and predictable and somehow better. The trains probably ran on time and you could get a seat. OK I know this is an illusion and total rubbish but if you're of a certain age and you look into this picture for a few moments you'll feel your own back pages and thoughts of the past start to blur, distort around the edges and just drift into a, dare I say, happier place.

None of this evidence based, it's all about feelings and a mild unconscious influence, perhaps just wishful thinking. Such is the power of a random image, reflected on and seen through rose tinted glasses which works quite well still, despite years of cynical black and white filtered observations.