Friday, January 31, 2020


Turns out that the machine has a heart after all.

God! (arguably not his/her fault). Friday night telly, live fuckin' Brexit? As if something is actually going to happen. At least Stewart Copeland is on BBC4 or just stream the most soporific piece you can find.


The new wood burning stove is now fully commissioned and battle ready. Fiery and hot when cranked up and relatively few nasty emissions released. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020


I point to whatever my chosen rant of the day is, the one I might be thinking of today or perhaps something else altogether.
Black cats sitting in dark pockets of shadow, caught only by my peripheral vision which I then learn is actually being manipulated by my imagination and that there's nothing there. Nothing from this dimension anyway. I fool myself but I'm not fooling myself. I'm a puppet moved across a chess board by my senses and their misinterpretation of my interpretations. I react in automatic mode. I suppose you could say it makes life more of an adventure, more unsettling and edgy, but this must be a common experience and is therefore of no significance and I just needed to point that out. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Here is the sun

Brighter news: Some clever clogs has taken the most detailed photo of the sun ever, either that or a close up of a Crunchie. A special telescope in Hawaii did the job. If it is the sun (it is) each cell is about the size of Texas according to reports. I didn't write the next bit, obviously...

“The bright features [in the image] … are the foothills of magnetic fields that extend all the way up into the corona and beyond,” said Rimmele. “With the additional instruments that will come online in the next six months, we will be able to measure the magnetic fields from the surface all the way up to 1.5 solar radii.”
The observations could help resolve longstanding mysteries of the sun, including the counter intuitive feature that the corona – the sun’s atmosphere – is heated to millions of degrees when its surface is only 6,000C. Understanding the physics of solar flares and coronal mass ejections could also significantly improve the ability to predict space weather, which can render GPS systems unreliable, take down power grids and knock out communication channels.

Goodnight Europe

Goodnight your Pope, no I mean Goodnight Europe, I'd really like to think that at some future point common sense might prevail in this country and we'll be properly back in the EU again. Having said whilst we're off licking our own UK bottoms over the next few years the EU may well morph into something altogether different. I wonder how the BBC and the scummy, sneering  press will cover it's progress?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Not quite

Thanks to Bands FC for this: A photograph, taken in a Houston nightclub, showing Post Malone choking Justin Bieber, has all the qualities of a masterpiece by Caravaggio.
The Asphyxiation of Saint Justin.

I'd add that it may follow some of the Baroque compositional requirements (no mean feat in live action and real time) but my rendering is a complete failure compared to the sublime workmanship of Caravaggio.

Blinds and indoor clouds

Thoughts on testing out a new and virgin log burner, before the actual event: Clouds of WD-40 passing by. Rocket fuel and a new level of cleanliness in a confined space. Just don't breathe too deeply. It's not very good for you so protective clothing is recommended. You may have visions, experience light headedness, you may even dream dreams. It will be a Biblical style of event in the manner of the prophet Ezekiel. You will be under the influence for at least four hours but will emerge a saner, quieter man and life will make sense in ways you did not consider previously. 

Reality is a very fragile thing. If it exists at all. I like to imagine that it does and that we somehow share that as a common bond or language but you can never tell.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Subvert the past

"I couldn't help but notice that all my time travelling was having a detrimental effect on my complexion."
I'm working on my PhD in Time Travel and the resultant issues, so far it's not going very well: Before I actually build my time machine I've a few issues that I'm struggling to iron out. I've noticed that out of the blue I'm a time travel skeptic. It's not going to work. No matter what direction in time you happen to travel in, it's not going to agree with your physiology. Any journey that takes you forwards or backwards beyond your actual age limits isn't going to go well. You can't travel in time and not age. Go forwards 100 years and you're a bag of dust and maggots. Go back 100 years and you're a microscopic stain. It's simply not going to work. You age traveling on a bus, a boat and space ship, it doesn't matter. In your body there is a clock that's running down, not up, nor can it remain at a steady state, suspended  out of time, so standing still and staying the same as time passes over and around you isn't survivable. Forget it. Oh, and the earth is flat (ish) in places.

Mystic Pizza

Exhibit A.
The art world swoons at your latest creation, part graphic, part recipe, part abusive message. The ideal mixed media concoction. The card describing the piece has gone missing as has the price tag. Gaze into it whilst enjoying a glass of fine wine, ruby red, in a crystal glass fresh from a Waitrose carton.Your shoes may be pinching your toes a little, you've an itchy nose and stale breath, typical. In the room there are conversations but you are not part of any of them. That doesn't bother you. You arrived without a coat. People pass by, they have important things to discuss and then, once done they can freely enjoy all the voluminous goodbyes that follow as they leave for their well proportioned, minimalist homes and sanctuaries. Once there they take part in regular ceremonies most people would consider odd. 

You enjoyed the moment, for that was all it was and all it will ever be, another fleeting moment. Sixty (60) interminable seconds followed by countless more, all passing like sleek atoms spinning across your sightless gaze. A white rainbow. 

The staff attending are getting £8.50 an hour and it's 2020, they work hard to maintain a smile, they are well trained. They consider the experience to be first and foremost educational, some type of informal social research. They plan and plot graphs that might best describe it because they can't explain it using mere words. Don't ask them what they think of you (as if you would). One day they will rule over you.

Thursday, January 23, 2020


I think this is called "thinking big" or "thinking out of the box" or something like that. Unlikely to happen in my lifetime. Having said that god may be reading this and spontaneously intervene.

Diamonds are whatever

Peace in her time: Smokey blue cat disguised as a black and brown rag doll. Simmering in a stilted sleep but awake and aware enough to register every move, creak, whisper and clink in the room. I am under constant observation, under scrutiny, I don't belong here. My behaviour is required to be steady, set at a slow pace, no sudden or unexpected moves, walking in thick socks, each step carefully planted. I am keeping the peace. Once in a while I succumb to the forces of gravity, I might power nap, lapse into the void of the over 60s wandered mind; a serious mistake. She dislikes not being watched, she senses that my senses have slipped away. A paw, then a claw, maybe a cold nose against my wrist or fingers. A faint mew. Feeding may be needed or entertainment or just the great magnet that is attention and obvious awareness. I agree and stroke her back, then in a flash she disappears, the cat flap snaps shut like a mouse trap missing the quarry. She's gone, there are bigger and better things out there, all far more interesting than anything indoors I might have to offer.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Daily repetition


These cats look familiar. So do the headlines in the newspapers albeit they kind of rotate on a daily basis. "Some of this today, leave that till tomorrow, tweak it a bit just to add colour. Let's make this trivial event huge, keep the public interested in nuanced and inconsequential stories. Celebrity illness, flu from China, problems in the NHS, the Labour Party have a poor record on..." 

The big, bad, proper stories should be the headlines everyday: Corrupt media, wealth fails to trickle down again, Global warming (because nobody gives an actual fuck it seems) and introduce a little positivity: some things have actually improved, not all politicians are idiots so let's hear from some sensible ones who can offer good advice, medical science has escaped from the dark ages, some folks are doing good things for no obvious reward. Balance and perspective, reality v click bate and non-stories. 

Here's more tedious repetition.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Edinburgh Daily Graffiti

Down in the bowels of the Cowgate, one of most dank and dismal streets in central Edinburgh, art meets ruin and wreckage. Collapsing pubs and clubs, hostels and court houses, where the litter piles up and the sun seldom shines. Apart from these things it's reasonable, unless you venture there after dark (which lasts about 20 hours any given day regardless of the season) and get caught up in some tourist street party or drunken riot. So this piece entertained me for a few minutes, nice style, expression  and composition. What does it mean? I've no idea.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Self portrait

Shopping: I'm not much of a patriot, or a parrot, not much of a portrait painter either, stunted by never really learning to paint much other than ceilings and bathrooms. A bi-product of sleeping in the art class on sunny afternoons. It was a simple reflection selfie gone wrong. Sombre, reflective. The kind everyone does and posts to get their fix of likes. I chose another route, unplanned and for some reason I look like I'm wearing a dog costume, maybe it's how I am. Now there's champagne, flowing free as I squint into the screen and not the lens. In some bling encrusted shop, on my way to buy not one but two shower heads. Once home I applied my regular dose of distortion to the mix. All for reasons of personal hygiene and a pale kind of vanity. 

Still shopping: I was stopped in my tracks by the tacky normality of what appears to be fashionable to cram into your home or living space. None of it reasonably priced or reasonably designed. Perhaps it's fun, fashion or just desperation, no rules but to follow the herd. As if not knowing what to really do until reading an Aldous Huxley postscript and realizing the power of bright, shiny things to invoke other worlds and godliness. A Catholic conspiracy cooked up by drunken bishops. The transport of the divine glint, how to get away from it all and with it all. Cheaper than mescaline and without the psychosis or headaches or unintended consequences. Everyone wants to find the short cut to eternal life, it's here, simply follow the light.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Book of Kells

For some reason a young time travelling Billy Connolly is portrayed on the cover of the ancient Book of Kells:

If you know nothing else about medieval European illuminated manuscripts (clearly I know nothing!), you surely know the Book of Kells. “One of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures” comments, “it is set apart from other manuscripts of the same period by the quality of its artwork and the sheer number of illustrations that run throughout the 680 pages of the book.” The work not only attracts scholars, but almost a million visitors to Dublin every year. “You simply can’t travel to the capital of Ireland,” writes Book Riot’s Erika Harlitz-Kern, “without the Book of Kells being mentioned. And rightfully so.”
The ancient masterpiece is a stunning example of Hiberno-Saxon style, thought to have been composed on the Scottish island of Iona in 806, then transferred to the monastery of Kells in County Meath after a Viking raid (a story told in the marvelous animated film The Secret of Kells). Consisting mainly of copies of the four gospels, as well as indexes called “canon tables,” the manuscript is believed to have been made primarily for display, not reading aloud, which is why “the images are elaborate and detailed while the text is carelessly copied with entire words missing or long passages being repeated.”

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Och Aye

A cauliflower subjected to seasonal X-Ray techniques.

Headlines and footlines:

Veganism is tearing our family apart.
All you need to know about female ejaculation.
Why do we find things scary?
Food prices will rise in 2020 industry warns.
Disgruntled painter graffitis side of pub.
How to make smokey courgettes.
Trump say s general was "saying bad things".
The language of war is always masculine.
Giant puppet takes Glasgow by storm.

...what a time to be alive.

Through a Scottish Prism

That's prism and not "through a Scottish Prison", a completely different thing. So how can I not view the world, the media, life experiences through a Scottish prism and how can I do this, taking a natural stance and avoiding distortion and see "straight"? Can a horse view the world anyway but through a horse prism, can an American view the world anyway but through an American prism, can a prisoner view the world anyway but through a prisoner prism? Hmm.

Maybe I'm black affronted, that used to be a thing, it means highly offended but also ashamed. A common Scottish lifetime paradox, guilt and shame in equal balance, enough of both to stall any major brain or emotional functions. It's how I feel about the Scottish version of the BBC's output, couthy, parochial, shallow and playing down the value of Scottish achievement. Weel kent faces with their views on a constant loop. Most major newspapers follow that line, the colonial one that keeps us "in oor place", quiet and servile. Then along comes a UK government that dismiss us as if we were a field of turnips, useful for soup, soaking up mud and not much more. A stupid, friendly race of comic characters and sporting failures, incompetent politicians, teachers and engineers who just can't quite cut it anymore. We need rescuing and only our betters, the Homo Superiors from Eton and Harrow can help. 

So how can I not see the world through this weird prism, this distorting crystal or whatever it is? Who out there actually has a clear view of how things are? Where's the balance and the clarity, why am I sitting here in a constant state of numb disbelief and loose alienation? I'm in space looking down, crazy people are in charge of things, nothing matters as long as their mass hypnosis continues to be effective. We're all just floating, prodding reluctant devices hoping to be entertained. Working class people talk about Boris as if he was their mate from the back-shift or a comedy act playing in the pub, they believe in shit turning to gold despite the laws of physics and Tomorrow's World. I'm not sure I can believe in my prism's output, there's a glitch, it's been got at. My view is subjective, biased, uninformed but it's mine, is that good enough?

Friday, January 17, 2020

High Hopes

2020 has been strangely busy so far and a little tiring, I'm writing less and musing more. It's a phase as are most things but ... progress is possible and actually happening. Many think that the world is just a huge shit show. Well it certainly is in some areas, that's undeniable. But there are many great and good things happening on the planet and, as far the bad things go, it doesn't have to be that way. Stay calm, play the long game, have high hopes. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

For the days

For the days when you feel a bit like a fly-tipped washing machine, broken and abandoned upside down in some forgotten piece of waste land. You are not alone.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Flag Days

Political Stagnation

And now a word or two from a purely fictional character by the name of Logan Roy, fae Dundee no less (as above). The sad truth is that nothing "official"can be done when we're up to our necks in political stagnation. It doesn't mean that we are a nation full of stags either, they've all either been culled, mounted on walls as trophies or been adopted by the kindly capitalist Spirits of Christmas. Maybe time for the souls of the anti-1707 zombies to rise and run free.

Friday, January 10, 2020


Reflections on the lost cause of Scottish Independence: We're in an abusive partnership, where the rules and the parameters change all the time. The Unionists are clever, they're in it for the long game, they know they have the power and the fear. They control the facts, they have all the muscle. If you think you might challenge the UK establishment then you're in for a one sided fight. Look at how Harry and Megan are being treated. I'm no fan of the royals but the methodology for maintaining their "order" in things is clear. People who refuse to do their duty simply wont be tolerated, that's the first rule. Then they excommunicate you in a lather of self preservation, because you really don't matter. Don't expect fair play, kind words or understanding. Don't expect anything to change because I doubt it ever will, in the near future anyway and some day there will need to be a fight, a proper fight.

Here's a piece called "Reflections":

Looking out on, frozen waters,
I was bound to share the shame,
Here I stand now, cross the border,
Will my times there, just fade away?

Angry silence, grasses blowing,
See the clouds run, heading on,
All this landscape, seeking order,
Tell their stories, nevermore,

Years' oppression, takes the soldiers,
Voices silenced, losing song,
Words and promises, just growing older,
Broken down now, to bring it home. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2020


A back to basics day today, avoiding the codswallop of before. A brief history of the spectacular. A dustbin full of bees. The correct temperature for boiling custard. It was dark, my headlights were on but my vision was somehow hampered. A raindrop touched my nose, cheeky. Phone batteries are better than ever but can be easily forgotten about with tragic results. I did not drop my keys down the drain. An email from my third cousin in Colorado? The lights were on and somebody was at home. I lost my torch at the baker's shop. Laundry done without a quandary. You can visit the charity shop without an appointment, that's really anytime you like. Petrol has gone up in price at the forecourts. I did not watch any Jethro Tull videos. 

These are things that I did not speak, utter or say out loud today at anytime at all. I wonder what I'll not say out loud tomorrow?

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Land of Shadows

Brief encounters in the ever open, never closed, land of eternal shadows: Placing your mortal soul on the line is seldom easy, that is unless you have no actual soul. I'm ambivalent when it comes to the matter of souls and their existence, souls come and go, some troubled, some disagreeable, others are completely fine, probably the majority. Then again are they even there at all? 

The shadows are a different matter, they lurk, they distort, they hide and they cover. You see, people will talk, people will stare but few will bother to listen. They like to make it all about them, as if they had any substance. Well...

"Actually I feel quite at home here (or there) in that shadowy world. You see despite my best efforts to hide the fact, I really have no soul at all, not the tiniest bit, I'm all shadow." These are words I never did say. I wonder who did, but that's not an actual question. 

On reflection (tough to see in the shadows) perhaps there's just a bit of shadowy matter maybe, floating, with a tiny portion of diluted soul, disjointed. That's better.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Colours of January

I did some colouring in today, (that's the 2nd of January 2020 to be precise). Of course when I say "did" what I really mean is supervised and when I say "supervised" what I really mean is facilitated but when I say "facilitated" what I really mean is observed and when I say "observed" what I really mean is that I was, for a short period of time in the same room as where these various masterpieces were created. I can therefore claim no actual credit for these pieces and intend not to do so at any soon or into the distant future.