Saturday, February 29, 2020

29th February

Only comes around every four years but in truth it's just like any other day. Same outlook, same light, same dark and twilight, same clouds. I'm underwhelmed. In 2024 something special needs to take place, some cosmic event. Over to you cosmos.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Altered States

The (funked up) Peacock Skirt by Aubrey Beardsley.
Living on in the "end of days": Nobody is talking about Brexit anymore, Scottish Independence has been sidelined (mostly), Boris Johnson's stupid outbursts and calculated misdemeanors have been shelved, Trump's lunatic rants aren't even worth clicking on to view. The BBC loves a cheap to cover story where editorial input is minimal and experts can solemnly comment from far away. Corona-virus rules the airways, the primary concern of everyone it seems, particularly those with those awkward "underlying health issues". That could be me or you, that 60th milestone is a long way behind now. 

We're relearning hand washing, not touching your own face, only flushing the loo when the lid is closed, a 2m rule between people and no handshaking or sneezing in a crowded room. We don't travel, we work from home (except those on minimum wage who need to actually turn up somewhere and sweat), we self isolate, alert the authorities, we cower down (TV on mute) and await the angel of death or fearful solitude or a chirpy Tesco delivery. Next it'll be looters in clownish beanie hats stealing your stock of surgical masks. Let them have them but cough into the carton first.

When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around, black markets abound where farmers used to rule: cans of tuna and beans, beer and 7Up, books in boxes and box-sets that were never boxed because they're digital, candles to calm the demons and shredded 24hr news reports on a loop. A comfy couch and a room with a view of the bus stop where those still waiting can receive the Last Rights simply by producing their bus pass (or entitlement card to give it it's Sunday name). I hope none of it ever happens and I don't even know quite what it is.

Daily Cat

Blue tinge: No heating in the house but Clint the cat is still watching yet another episode of Hoovie's Garage on YouTube.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Another's Psychedelic Breakfast

I blame the large cocktail of porridge, honey, cream and mystery spores. The breakfast of champions in some cultures.  Clearly I overdid it but it was worthwhile and a new world record was set even as I stared blankly out of the window to visually survey the strange spectacle: Six vehicles of various kinds and one redundant aerated bath carcass all parked up in the front garden and eager for work. A compositional masterpiece. The sun will never rise or set set on such a random but well formed scene again in my lifetime (I suspect). Lunch was the less sophisticated but equally nutritious pie on a roll, a Scottish classic but it led nowhere in terms of inspiration. Well that's my food and drug blog done for the week.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


I was born in this house 65 years ago (give or take a bit and it's not quite my birthday either). Now a ruin it was Mount Melville House (owned by the Younger brewing family) from 1904 and then from about 1949 until the late 90s Craigtoun Hospital. It sits unloved and empty a few miles south west of St Andrews, a deep pocketed developer is required to rescue it so it seems. Not likely to happen any time soon.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Quiet Life

Yesterday: A non-sensational day, the promised snow failed to fall from the sky. It chose to appear as rain, the persistent kind. A million drivers and commuters cheered inwardly at the weather forecasts failure. Window gawpers like me were left with a sense of both relief and loss at the postponed spectacle (maybe next week). As the rain beat upon the house a new boiler was delivered, encased in heavy cardboard and on a barrow, various pipes and vents also arrived in bags and a single naked firebrick completed the bill of materials. It will be installed and hopefully set up and running later in the week. We'll also have a Hive device to control the beast remotely and so manage our environment even when we're not in it. The promise of luxury and a warm, quiet life for now and a hold on decisions until better, greener solutions hit the market.

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Gods over Fife

Looking down on Leven, Methil, Mossmorran, Dalgety Bay and Rosyth from what might be described as a reasonable height. Seeing into homes, pubs and allotments in Valleyfield, Crossford, Crossgates and Kelty. Peering through shutters and walking across the bare boards of homes in Crombie, Glenrothes and Aberdour. Creating potholes and puddles all across the county, hanging dogshit in black bags on bushes, allowing the bins at the recycling centre to overflow, finding your tyres and lacerating them with the correct amount of broken glass. Nicking your washing, your bank card and breaking into your garages. Whispering in your neighbour's ear that you're up to no good and that your missus is a bit of a .... and your weans are running wild.

These are the everyday tasks and actions of the Gods that look after this resolute, confused and tarnished little kingdom of Fifeshire. They breathe out and vegetables grow, they breathe in and your fag goes out, they cough and you drop your half bottle of Buckfast onto a slab, they sneeze and your cocaine is scattered across your mate's copy of the Daily Record, they think and you think that you don't (but none of it is true). Being a proper God is no joke, ask any of us, we'll tell you the truth (up to a point).

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A clean pair of heels

Garage Band Revival: Another view of the everyday mundane aspects of everyday mundane life viewed through those rose tinted spectacles that your granny had back in the day when life was simple, beer was 10p a pint and Cadbury's Cream Eggs and Mars Bars were substantial pieces of fodder that you could comfortably live on for at least a fortnight in the "old money" version of black and white time that existed back then in 425 lines only. The trouble is that none of it really happened because it's forgotten and that renders the past redundant and open to dispute, no two views of the same experience are ever the same. Here in this fuzzy illustration, the past has been shown a clean pair of heels, we've run away, it's buried and gone, over the hill, in the back of beyond, packed up a shifted elsewhere. Or is it? I just caught a fleeting glimpse, from out the corner of my eye...

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Thank you

Thank you for visiting,
What were you thinking?
Are you a Bot or not?
Whatever, I forgive and I also forgot.

Blues and yellows

View from the office this morning through 60s tinted glasses: The wild winds hammer down the Forth Valley and whistle through our letterbox delivering a chilly message. The seasonal blues and grays prevail; the yellows are inside my head in a summer dream that's trapped in February. Six days to go to the next milestone and payday. I'm a little sleepy and lethargic due to a heavy breakfast; haggis-cheese (that is a thing) and bacon on a brown roll, supplied by the local Mafia cafe/office. Heavy but tasty. In other news I now know that 60mph winds and car covers don't agree, in future I will review user procedures according to reliable weather forecasting sources.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Normalisation of the Strange

Original photo by LB.
I'm not the only person who thinks this (I'm not the only person who thinks anything, thoughts are pretty commonplace and mine are nothing special, often learned rather than original) but I suspect that cats take drugs on a regular basis. After a few years of observation and cat monitoring it's the only reasonable conclusion I can come to. What I'm not sure about is where their sources might me. There's a wild world out there that is wilder than we think.

Thursday, February 20, 2020


Spring may be in the air somewhere but here in the far north the rain is wet and regular and the wind is a series of patches of turbulent air moving and swirling in whatever direction it chooses causing actual damage from time to time. We have moved away from a rural location to a proper town so weather based environmental issues are less relevant but still worrying. The sea is visible from various windows, any day it may rise, well in the future.

In this busy idyll the car needs a tent so that it's new outdoor life can be tolerated, I suspect not really enjoyed though, hence the "all weather" covering. We'll see how long that lasts. The weather will be closely monitored and a long hot summer is kind of anticipated but only as a guilty pleasure because whatever the conditions there's really no weather pattern that pleases everybody and that's left me confused as to what to wish for. Flood, drought or pestilence? One man's shit appears to be another man's pancake etc.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

All the new films on Netflix this week

The title is a poorly constructed lie. I've no idea what's new on Netflix and even if I did I'm not sure I'd list them here. I do like films though, I also like spoilers. It's OK to know how it all ends or what the plot twist is or even if it's any good. Knowing is not a reason not watch. Films are not immersive experiences that you need to sweat and work your way through. Mostly they're poorer versions of books and the opportunity to let your imagination coast out of gear for a couple of hours while you admire the acting and cinematography. You might get a laugh or a jump scare or two on the way, maybe even a tear in the corner of your eye. 

Netflix promises a does Amazon...sometimes they hit the spot, sometimes not. There are other providers. One day this bloated market will collapse but why worry about that just now? Soap, movie and comedy fixes are there for us all. Stay on that couch and use the JustEat App. Keep us amused while the wreckers go about their business in the shadows, in Oxford or Cambridge, behind the closed doors of No10, in the Kremlin, the White House and probably in some random Starbucks near to you.

Despite everything: This is new on Netflix, "Miss Americana", Taylor Swift's story, it's pretty good in my humble opinion.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cat view

Using virtual reality cat vision it is possible to see through the eyes of any passing cat to understand how they observe the world, quite wonderful technology. Here's a cat-cam view this morning of the big bad outside world beyond our front door (door also included for reference).

Monday, February 17, 2020

Solid Fuel

Some say solid fuel is a bowl of warm porridge, some say glowing logs or coal, charcoal for the barbie, some say other things that I have little knowledge about: rocket fuel or atomic isotopes for example. We're still with logs just now, they're working well on the domestic front. Maybe too well, perhaps a log burning rocket isn't a bad idea, very Jules Verne when I think about it. His ghost may be whispering to me, that still small voice can be persistent. A greener and long term proposition for a lower-tech version of space exploration. Just grow a few trees on the moon ready for your return journey or wait a while longer and go interstellar. Some patience might be needed and the wood drying times are critical for decent combustion.

Time will crawl

Photo by Bob Mazzer.
Nobody owns time, it's just time. We exist within it. You can't stop it. It's interesting to talk about it, to speculate about it's nature and how, one day we might somehow move through it, as if it was a swimming pool or a field of wheat. All good conversation fodder after a few drinks. We like to think of how people from the future might visit us and tip us off about danger. As if we'd listen to advice from an "expert". 

Nobody owns the weather either, they just pretend that they know a bit about it. The seasons are a rough guide but inconsistent, the weather man or lady offers a hint but it's vague. Satellites see storms but from afar. Easiest is just to look out of the window (in this country look West), you'll see it coming, clearer than a TV screen. If you can't see it coming that means it's foggy or the rain is already here or clouds are a bit lower than usual. Thank you for listening to my TED talk.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Cat upheaval

Moving house: The last major family piece of our abstract and living jigsaw has now moved back in. The cats of course, no longer orphaned and free from temporary care. I did a quick oil and acrylic sketch of them shortly after they arrived to mark the moment. I captured them getting orientated and comfortable within their new surroundings and of course enjoying the warmth of the main bedroom radiator.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Fixin' Banksy

When I think about art my mind goes down a rabbit hole. Usually it looks like Bugs Bunny's home, deep and wide, with carrots stacked in cupboards. I've Luddite DNA with a pinch of Calvinism added for good measure, some things can't be escaped from. People used to say things like "I don't know much but I know what I like" in order to divert from their ordinary ignorance and lack of really caring. It's probably a little more complex than that, firstly what are you allowed to like? What do you allow yourself to like? Do you understand what you like? Does any of it really matter? These are awkward questions and I can't be bothered answering them, truth is most art is pretty boring; framed wallpaper, splattered ideas, ragged collages and the lazy copying of far away genius. A bit like somebody describing last night's dream but using pastels, oil paint or a spray can to do it. "Hell is other people expressing themselves and then talking about it Ad Nauseam." As a wise man once mused to himself but thought better of sharing (so he buried it in some non-ironic blog post). 

I find I like things in spasms, I burst into a fit of understanding and for a brief moment I get it. Then I think about a cheese and pickle sandwich or kittens and so the tableau moves on, art's a distant memory when you have to hoover the rug and fix dinner or just look out of the window. These honeymoon encounters are OK, just not intellectually worthy enough, I'm still not knowing what I like but I know what I wouldn't buy, fleeting moments of clarity are not so rewarding. There are just too many images, my retina are run ragged. The conversation is too long, too historical and weighted, too worn out, I can't concentrate. Perhaps a cull is required, an embargo, burn down the art schools (?). But in a throw away culture all culture will eventually be thrown away, ashes to ashes. Rome will be raised to the ground and we wont know what we've lost but we won't miss it either. Maybe I'm the one who's missing something, cheap and nasty DNA kicks in. Nothing lasts but everything is going to be sustainable.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Mattress in the rain

Not the actual mattresses, this one's in London, photo by CS.
Actually two mattresses, in the rain, out in the cold, dumped. Rolled up for disposal, tensioned and spring loaded with string and bungee cord, like some unexploded pent up thing. Ready to go off at any second and prang the dumb handler. Moving a cold dead mattress in the cold dead rain must be a bit like moving a cold dead body in the rain, I'm imagining this, I've no actual experience. On your own you just have to drag the mattress across wet cobbles, like some Robert Louis Stevenson villain bringing out the dead. I feel guilt seeping into the backside of my head and a nagging pain the small of my back. They are now by the gutter, next to a shiny blue wheelie bin, in the dark, their fate is sealed. No more platforms for sweet dreams or drunken slumbers, it's over.

Everything bound for the dump or landfill must offer up a little resistance, suddenly becoming heavier, harder to grip, more awkward, a universal law I guess as I reflect on the final lap. Like trying to strap a tired toddler into a buggy, there's bound to be a struggle however one sided. They rest in peace and I leave, slightly anxious that the email from the local authority promising a timely uplift from 6am tomorrow might somehow be not acted upon. The roads are flooded, a tree is down and my £15 fee doesn't quite seem like enough compensation for the efforts of the bin-men team. Will they, like the Pony Express get through and if they do will they actually uplift two double mattresses folded and in high tension, ready to pop at the smallest disturbance? What if some one loses an eye during the loading or a passer by trips over them in the dark?

Next day: They are gone. It's as if they never were. Now they swim with the fishes, except they're in landfill and being pummeled by a big yellow digger.

P.S. We tried to give them away to charity but charity said no thanks.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Brief period of exploration

People say that the effect of sunlight fallen upon a spot can be magical, it can lighten the mind, lift a load or troublesome burden, ease pain. It might even get you out of doors for a bit. Sunlight may be explainable via physics and the like but it is and should remain magical. If the sun were a god, as people once believed, it deserved to be worshiped. In any event it certainly deserves to be worshiped more than the prophets and chancers mentioned in the great and holy books, scrolls or scriptures. Marvelous works of fiction and manipulation they may be, translated by the elite and twisted on a regular basis so as to double human misunderstanding and misery and perpetuate a series of remarkable lies. 

So it's the sun every time for me, I tip my badly drawn hat to it and whilst I wont be offering any human sacrifices to Mr Sun or any other kind of servile offering, (once a god in the universe always a god in the universe), I do like to see it every day, even in gloomy Scotland and I'm pleased that as far as I know any thoughts and plans the sun may have are not written in any book.

Tryptich has Greek roots

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The bridge is out

No ice on this bridge.
"The bridge is out!" they cry, great chunks of ice falling from the sky on tiny vehicles. Baffled engineers check their thermal imagery devices in their thermal underwear. It's Baltic out there. Commonly in Scotland every roadworthy detour or diversion involves going in the wrong direction for about 40 miles, I've become accustomed to that now, long lines of traffic, the blankest of stares and no lane discipline. The mornings just fly in as the traffic cones crawl by. The more things that happen the less I believe. So the bridge problems must be somebody's fault, that's how we do things in Scotland, find a scapegoat and slit it's throat and gloat. The BBC and the Glasgow Herald smell the blood, the Lib Dems Tweet their best watery pish. Hollyrood you're rumbled. We've wasted even more money it seems. We could'nae run a raffle but we can burn down Art Schools. Hang your heads, fall guys. Motorists are quick to point the finger in a pointless fashion.

Here in Scotland the weather is our master. Unpredictable weather in winter, sleet to snow to ice shall be our shame and downfall. We didn't see it coming, like that first ice bomb. Now every tall building or high structure is a suspect in the great ice bomb plot. The silent threat from above, the urban avalanche, the motorway icebergs, stealthy like flying U-Boats. Look up before you leap out. It's slippy oot there and they'll smash your windscreen. Whether you believe it or not it is happening, mostly in the common head-space to be honest. Me? I blame Westminster naturally. 

Monday, February 10, 2020


February sky. The moon, our one and only, rises or sets or moves across the sky quite close to the Forth Railway Bridge. A well known and photographed engineering icon that also doubles as a means by which trains can cross a body of (quite rough today) local water.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Zombie Spiders

If you dislike zombies and/or spiders then you made a mistake clicking onto this piece of dead bait. We found these in the bottom of a cupboard when moving house. Zombie Spiders from Mars (to give them their full title), trapped in a vase and time and ...err ... nicely zombiefied (not a proper word). Please note that the vase has now been recycled and the spiders have returned to Mars.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Black and white time piece

Yesterday's post should have been published (?) the day before yesterday but I was busy yesterday and I've been busy today. Sorry for the mix-down. Fortunately time has actually stopped still, this stylish cafe clock is proof, as a result I can catch up a little. I watched it while I ate lunch today and it didn't move at all and it's clearly not even indicating lunch time which was the actual time. I owe this clock a big favour and it owes me some time. I doubt if we'll ever settle this.

An exact replic of the above mentioned clock but with added wah-wah pedal and fuzz tone.

Emergency Post

Too busy with other things so I'm using my default settings and lack of imagination to post some piece of emergency shit so as to fulfill my erroneous, nonexistent and equally fictitious performance indicator requirements that only moderately satisfy me, never mind you. 

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Wolf City

From an original by the very gifted Jakob Rozalski.
Tonight we will feast like peasants, cold amongst the snow, bare trees, moonlight breaking, faces set against the winter winds, seeking the warmth of our friendships and loyal fortitude. Stoic in the face of the seasonal adversity. We are the pack. We are werewolves (and reasonable to boot). Most likely it'll be a stir fry; chicken, vegetables etc. some rice, there's also a least one bottle of wine I'm led to believe. Apple pie and cream. We may be werewolves, living on the margins but we are far from predictable in our tastes and behaviours. Our desires however are a different thing. Happy Palindrome Day 02/02/2020.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Keep your weird stuff to yourself

Art is such a useless and yet provocative word, everybody thinks they either know it or own it. When they see it they recognize it but if they can't see it they don't recognize it. Art, like history is really just one thing after another and somewhere along the way values have been added. This is neither right nor wrong, it's simply how it's perceived and once there's some general agreement a jolly lucrative bandwagon can be jumped on. So please (unless you've made your name) just keep your weird stuff to yourself. Thank you.