Thursday, October 31, 2019


If you're feeling sinister this 31st but can't quite be bothered with any of it I have compiled a useless list for you. If you wake from a dream where you've kidnapped and tortured the Prime Minister and in that dream you threaten liars with a game of "truth or tazer", if you summon up the Devil from the Internet and then release him across the world via WhatsApp, if you chew on wasps, if you buy donuts that look like pumpkins that look like donuts and don't eat them, if you waste food trying to make it look scary with fake blood sauce, if you fail to answer when the doorbell rings, if you watch a comedy movie without laughing, if you cancel your subscriptions and if you mindlessly sleep all day and ponder over other people's tragedies all night, if your soul seems to you to be a primitive, scratchy black and white cartoon figure, then it's the last day of October and you've truly lost your religion.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


A wise man once said, "You may upload multiple files at any one time. Use files of JPG, PNG or GIF formats." Here's one I uploaded earlier.


Out for lunch today at the recently opened Lobster Phone Cafe; interesting selection of salads and flowery snacks, a bit expensive though for those on a pension. Fortunately the drinks menu was a little bit cheaper and so I avoided the plant based foods and stayed with a nice, more reasonably priced OXO cube beverage served in a ceramic mug. Not long after we sat down a plague of cyclists and chatty families descended upon us in punishment for past sins and possible punishment for sins yet to be committed. I'm unclear as to my precise stature in these matters but there are a few undisclosed sins out there, floating as it were. I'm not speaking about secret tattoos either.

In another part of town a cafe was closed but it's toilets were open. To me that sends out a mixed message that's bound to be misunderstood by the various bands of confused tourists working against the clock to both see the attractions and use the available facilities. I find it a strange business model and fully intend to use it critically in the highly practical self help book I've yet to write.


A random Tweet that I picked up reads:

"Respond to this tweet with something that's 1000% my energy". 

My energy? I'm not sure what 1000% of anybody's energy can be other than something that's too large to actually exist. Can anything be 1000% of something other than on paper in a maths exercise?  I'm now wondering how to go about measuring my own energy and what kind of weird figure and measurement that might be or should it just be things like: not much, low, pretty good, reasonable, fluctuating, very high, service required, nil. The unit of measure: KW, horsepower, sugar levels, volts, calorific value, Jules, Imperial Gallons ...

Monday, October 28, 2019

Fifeshire Daily

These are large, white, wooden and undoubtedly mean something, not sure what though. I don't think that they arrived here (on the Fife coast) by accident or due to any natural occurrence. They look quite good, striking even. I'm content to leave them where they are for the time being.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Wish you were in Alderaan

A short piece on Alderaan, it starts here, it finishes elsewhere, round about 1977. Nothing ever really happened in the real world.

27th October

A tale of two pumpkins who are one and the same.

My thoughts: Fuck world cup rugby, Brexit, modern industrialized coffee and septic tanks. Clocks back to where they were an hour ago, still spinning around the sun, heading for Halloween and all things hallowed, pumpkins at the ready, death and decay in nature's garden, the light now occurs in different places, sleep patterns are affected, toes are stubbed on hidden bed ends, sheep wear LED lights, cat's eyes glow more, rain may beat on hailstones, a chill wind rises, hoovers were designed to be filled but never emptied, pasta sauce is too thick mostly, Sainsbury's vegetables are not the best, cat's habits control our lives, the Internet is like a slow running train filled with inadequate explanations for the lack of progress, doors may slam, noise travels, the tide is in, the geese are in the field but all somehow apart and individual in their positioning, road works ahead, tomorrow Kirkcaldly, my birthday month is passing, farmer's market snobs, unknown distilleries, rotten pumpkins, rotten arty pumpkins.

I found this detailed piece more interesting. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Not pedantic

Fortunately I'm not cranky or pedantic about dates and so on (?). What's fifty years and a few days here and there? This album came out when I was 14, I probably wasn't aware of it until about a year later ... I became woke as it were. It was the soundtrack to the next few years of my life and of course a common experience, like the war or smoking or taking driving lessons. Twitter and Instagram keep digging up these big dates and reminders and once they are resurrected in this unholy way they are difficult to bury. I know that it wasn't always this way, history used to stay in the past, now it's reimagined, remixed and repackaged in an unending procession of the past and I'm not helping by writing this. Terrible though the past was it's now easier to understand and also reimagine, sunny days and perfect sounds that never were quite as they are portrayed. Everything is classic now, old is so  ... old. I'm just being pedantic of course. 

The good news is that my musical tastes have moved on slightly since those days, I'm actually listening to stuff from this century, 2019 even. As below.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Stocked up

The birthday stockpile has been quite significant, almost enough chocolate and whisky goodies to allow a long haul hold out during the coming winter. Netflix and Amazon had better improve their content significantly. Anyway being 64 actually feels a bit like ...

Monday, October 21, 2019

Cakes etc.

Birthday weekend: All done now. Pretty good couple of days, whisky, cakes, books, sweets, oddities and people (and pets), all you really need at 64.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Sun, set, west

It happens every day. Same place but different times. Red skies at night etc. Some are brighter, more vivid, bigger than others. Some dull days it goes almost unnoticed apart from the loss of light. Often photographed and highly filtered, an easy image to torture for one's own ends. Ancient civilizations may have worshiped this moment, a slit shining through a standing stone or confused it with the activities of a dragon swallowing the sun. Some call it "wine o'clock". Some just dip their sun visors as they drive west and hurry to get home, blinded by the light. Peasants leave the fields and prepare a well earned meal. Birds will spin and swoop across the skies celebrating their fellow feathered gods before they roost. You choose.

Meanwhile I recall the dragon moments and memory and how real they seemed at the time.

Friday, October 18, 2019


I like this strange funky Texan band called "Khruangbin" (Thai for airplane apparently).

Blame the Infiltrators

The infiltrators are traitors. They have infiltrated the organization. They have influenced the decisions. Affected the outcomes. Changed everything. They nudged. They argued. They got their way.

We listened. It sounded reasonable. It sounded believable (but they were unbelievable). Realistic even. We compromised. We bent. We traded a few things. Trivial things it seemed. We allowed ourselves to be won over. Firstly in small things. The small things grew. We lost focus. We became divided. We changed course slightly and ... over time that makes a huge difference.

Now we're firmly stuck in the wrong place. Bullied and confused.

I didn't see it coming. That's the truth. Now it's too late. A house divided against itself cant stand. Just ask Edgar Alan Poe. "Then in walked Roderick Usher..."

I was singing that tune in the shower the other day.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Common Experiences

This morning I was at the council dump, down-cycling various things: metals, plastics, oils, timber and a small amount of bagged up landfill. I'll never see those things again but future archaeologists, time traveling grounds contractors and aliens will no doubt dig them up and ponder how they came to be in the earth and what they were used for. Religious artifacts, food containers, bodily adornments and idols usually top the list of their suppositions - so says the Discovery Channel.

By lunch time the sun was out properly and no longer shackled by the weight of those dumped possessions I felt light as air as I drove out on the open road. The car was positively flying and though I am mortal I briefly was immortal. This sensation is a common human experience I guess. I pondered reverse reincarnation, the works and life of Franz Kafka and the rise of ignorant politicians. The radio was blabbering Brexit related updates but said "no data - no data" on the screen even though it was tuned to a news/talk station. I agreed.

Beggars Banquet

The Rolling Stones in sepia with fake food, costumes and stuffed animals - by Michael Joseph.

More apostrophe anxiety: For some reason Beggars Banquet is not Beggar's Banquet. So it isn't the Banquet of any of the Beggars around the table. The Beggars do not own the Banquet (yet?) Perhaps there is another meaning, something deeper, something over my uneducated head. Or maybe not. 

Back in the day it was only the second side of this album that was ever played at parties and social gatherings. That kind of thing doesn't happen anymore now that technical advances have been made and the concept of 20 minutes of a whole band or artist's music being played at one time is unthinkable. Not quite sure how I ever heard "Sympathy for the Devil" (track 1, side 1), there must have been other listening models that made that possible, I can't recall them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Independent Literature

Sitting there in a YES book display in the fair city of Perth among all the worthy clattering and chattering political tomes are copies of ...

The Tale o the Wee Mowdie that wantit tae ken wha keeched on his heid.

Or £3.49 on Amazon if you are interested.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Three stages of creation

Number 1: Wash in the big, blobby areas to check that your composition works. Use cheap paint because that's OK at this point. Does it make you smile? Bit of a sanity check that.

Number 2: Add some colour, some detail, ensure that the message in the painting is coming across. Don't be afraid of biting social commentary and realism.

Number 3: Work up* light, shade and the finer and more detailed points that might bring the disparate characters in the piece to life. Tonal quality and clarity of expression are very important. Don't skimp on these. Sweat the job, take pride in your work and give your brushes a good clean now and then.
Disclaimer: This arty piece of art was of course created by our own @Coldwar_Steve and he deserves full credit, I'm simply doodling in the margins. The original artwork might be some old Renaissance piece done by a geriatric painter back in the day or maybe more likely Hogarth. Style is such a vague indicator and substance is meaningless.

*Work up is a copyrighted term that can only be used by fully qualified driving instructors and proper artists with actual fine art degrees from reputable schools.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Miles of tiles

If tiles were somehow related to reptiles, instead of staying in place with cement they could scuttle across walls, be independent but organized by some central brain. Reptilian worlds collide. Bathroom and kitchen walls coming alive, slowly. Cold blooded 'tiles. Operating theatres and diners, friezes and living mosaics across parks and public spaces, at the drive-thru and in subways. You're not alone. Tongues catching passing insects, colours changing as they try to camouflage themselves. Confused avian predators. Tiles as snakes, moving in new patterns. Tiles with eyes, forked tongues, regrowing damaged parts. Underground trains flash by in the dark, an amber eye slowly opens to focus. No need to grout on a regular basis or apply any bleach, just don't lean against the wall or expect your towel to stay in the same place.

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Agriculture: but mostly straw bailed up,  presumably for silage. Winter may well be coming.

Schrodinger's Syndrome

"When does a quantum system stop existing as a superposition of states and become one or the other?"

He was never cruel to cats (unlike Pavlov and his dogs). He was just trying to prove a point in physics. The cat, the box, the radioactive substance, the trigger mechanism, the poison are there for illustrative purposes. The point was explored, now we may be simply cats trapped in boxes.

I did think that there must be a thing called Schrodinger's Syndrome, perhaps a form of illness or delusion whereby you lead parallel lives according to various states of consciousness that you might experience; dreams, day dreams, flighty thoughts, imagination overload etc. Turns out there's no such thing but it could be said that thinking that there might be such a thing is an actual example of Schrodinger's Syndrome.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Album Anniversaries

Every other day these days is a "significant" album's anniversary. At the moment I'm still managing to stay older than most of them, 50 years? Pah! I must have grown up in some golden age, some creative hot spot that existed then, long before things started to go wrong, before people recorded music on their phones in bedrooms and public spaces. Back then they invented the technology with Meccano and used studios built out of cardboard and sticky tape. Music making then was on par with working in a coal mine or by a blast furnace. Ahem.

I don't mean any of this, looking back is a lot easier than trying to look forward nowadays, no need to explain this. BUT there was awareness of ecology, climate change, pollution and other 2019 issues even then in 1969 when the world was like a shiny new Eden to most people ... maybe not shiny or new, more tattered and torn and if I'm not too confused various cities were burning with riots or American bombing. Nobody really did anything about it then either.

Anyway, is she just hanging on for dear life on the edge of some abandoned swimming pool or emerging from a nuclear bunker? 50 years later I'm none the wiser.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Entrance of the Tin Man

On reflection: A bad day for the Tin Man, seems he fell into some kind of industrial process and was lasered into sections, but only one significant part made it back to the display cabinet. I'm guessing his heart is elsewhere so it's a return to Oz for a replacement and series of major operations. Legs, hands and feet?

Signage optical illusions or misread car-park signs (there are many more straight forward explanations). The way to go if you're inclined to fall into trance mode at any point in the afternoon or early evening. Take some time out and visit the great void of emptiness inside yourself before breezing around the shop.

Monday, October 07, 2019

In black and white

It can't happen here, the revolution won't be televised, we are the monochrome people, the heartland, a reminder, a warning, how not to do things. 

We are however quite good with tiling.

Milky Way

Sorry but that's definitely old news.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Recurring use of stock photos

The photo is not mine, too good, too old etc.: I try to remain original, but often I fail. The fail ratio is about 2:3 which I reckon is acceptable. It's mainly due to me not taking enough photos when I'm out and about, not seeing interesting things in the first place, missing opportunities, doing other things or being caught up in distractions. 

Distractions might include: cat being sick in another room, noisy neighbour, stray thoughts, sleep, strange silver object floating overhead, rushing to the shops, an unexpected phone call, itchy toe nail, a loudly boiling kettle, daydreams, actual driving, freelance work carried out elsewhere, low cloud, the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, listening to voices, concentrating on boiling eggs for 3 minutes or so, sorting out socks, searching for cobwebs, YouTube clips, reading the instructions on a ready meal, waiting for someone, staring into space. This list is not exhaustive. 


This comparison photo-shot works on several levels: Historical, cultural, sexual and auto-motive. There are a number of versions out there, the Sophia Loren/Jayne Mansfield classic being the best example but this derivative piece works quite well (and it's fabricated so that makes it fictitious also). In simple terms bigger doesn't mean best, everyone knows this but that doesn't mean everyone would choose this, that's where discernment comes in. Good and effective discernment being one of the universal secrets of having a happy life.

Saturday, October 05, 2019


A brief history of AG: "The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer."

AG is also a security and facilities management company currently working in Central Scotland. I wonder how unorthodox and unconventional you're able to be in this type of business these days. Perhaps they only recruit seekers of the truth, pilgrims and existentialists for employment in their key company positions. Goals are vague and esoteric but they can still erect fences quite well. Even their signage might be said to be a proper AG piece, being weathered and interacting in it's free-form, outside exhibition space.

I first heard of "avant-garde" when I was about sixteen, it might have been used in some Monty Python episode or late night BBC2 doc. My sources were confused and random in those days and often mispronounced and badly used. I never really understood the term or liked the label but I would drop it into wavering conversations to try to look smart. It was often used to describe the music of Soft Machine or early Pink Floyd, creative dance and Hunter S Thompson books.

Just I was exploring what it might mean the name already had some serious cultural baggage and distortion added to it and although people use it to label genres it really is a much broader term ... in French it just translates as "advanced guard" in the military sense. It's meaningless really without being set in a clear context. For most people it's also understood to point to pretentious and confusing crappy art efforts that can only be described as avant-garde as a means of justifying or concealing the quality of the final work. Anyway nobody really uses the term anymore.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Octopus Dreams

Octopus triptych: There is of course a proper video if you can be bothered to find it.  I know that the colour changing octopus is old news now but it wasn't really the colour changing that impressed me. It was that colour changing is somehow attached to dream activity (?). I always knew dogs and cats had "dreams" or at least exhibited dreamy type behaviour in sleep but octopus dreams with external tonal variations? Their dreams must be the most far out, trippiest and unhinged dreams of all. Who wouldn't want to be wired up to an octopus to peek into that sub-sea alien dream world ... well maybe not. As Sir Bobness said many years ago, "and if I thought dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine" etc.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

All just numbers

Oh brother/sister, where art thou? The handy index of wealth numbers allows you to check at a glance where you rank in the hierarchy of the world's wealthiest people. A few reasonably well known names are added for reference. No actual surprises there.