Thursday, April 30, 2020
Tiny, sealed bags with various cartoon cat graphics in black, white, blue and orange, oh and explained in Chinese, not my first language unfortunately. I suspect it's some kind of cat treat but can't be sure. They arrived unannounced. It could also be cat poison or cat medicine or it could be something (presumably for human consumption) made out of cats. This isn't a pleasant thought. Based on the graphics the odds are that it's a cat treat or at least a diet supplement. I'll maybe allow the cats a brief sniff test, cats have pretty good judgement about this sort of thing (apart from them eating mice and flies).
|Truckin' got my chips cashed in. Keep truckin' like the do-dah man|
Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin' on.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Actual bike: Not for sale but if all else fails as it probably will I would consider a swap for a) Mazda Bongo. b) a reasonably sized sailing boat. c) a case or seven of single malt 20 YO whisky. d) peace of mind via your guru's sage advice. e) low mileage Cayman (guards red). f) £3500 in used notes in a brown leather case. Helmet not included, no haggling or time wasters please.
Somewhat ironic that the current UK Government, now set in a seemingly permanent state of incompetence and bare faced lying, should be advising us against spreading "false" information. I'll be doing my best to spread as enlightened a view as possible.
Limited Edition: To celebrate, commiserate and commemorate the demise of the actual paper newspaper industry, our own modern inability to write with pen and paper and the difficulties that some folks experience in both reading and understanding (it used to be called comprehension by academic types but that term has fallen out of favour) this digital only piece is offered as a download exclusively via a site that can only be reached via a secret bot Twitter account that I've yet to create.
In simple terms, numbers and price will vary according to supply and demand and the markets remaining open and flexible to deep and dark manipulation - if there is to be any success it will be for only those who seek the truth, but you must firstly break the hidden code. Good hunting.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Today I sat on a bench opposite this phone box in Dalmeny. I'd been out for a cycle on highways and byways (exercising and looking over hedges) and decided it was a good, sunny spot to take a break. It was about 1055 and the minute of silence was due at 1100 so I sat there, like many others and reflected on the deaths of NHS and Care Home staff as well as those who had also died from the illness. Huge numbers. Sad and awful.
I sat for while and also reflected on the ongoing lies, manipulation, avoidance of taking responsibility, duplicity, lack of empathy and the lack of funding of PPE and lack of planning and foresight this Tory Government has shown. I thought about their work to push through with austerity policies for 10 years, deny benefits for the needy, seeking to deport worthwhile and entitled citizens, restricting free movement and maintaining and actively voting for low pay for those workers they now celebrate as "heroes" - and their idiotic, stubborn pursuance of Brexit.
This Westminster rabble is an ignorant and stupid government of greedy thieves, liars and cheats. A veritable parcel of rogues and I hope their time is short, in every respect.
|A great wave of distortion.|
The older I've become the more I've come to realise that I have totally underestimated the metaphysical power and psychic strength of this tune and it's seemingly lightweight but profound lyrical content. As it turns out it's part of a Pandora's Box of Pandora related weirdness via an American railroad yarn set to music. However it seems that it's latent power is only fully released and realized in some transcendental way when you cheekily alter the lyrics as follows: "Pardon me boy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes". What happens thereafter seems to stretch and then break apart the fabric of the universe and the space and time continuum itself. If you doubt anything I'm saying in this then by all means experiment yourself but tread warily, there may be something very powerful hidden out there in the magic of the sung or lightly hummed word when you are tampering with it disrespectfully.
Monday, April 27, 2020
Monday: Suns out, cats out, chairs out. A bit of early morning exercise around the block, pop to the shop and the post office for essential essentials and warm up a car to ensure it doesn't flatten itself out. Dodge the cyclists, the many beagle walkers, the puzzled looking kids pushed around by a puzzled parent and listening to the noise of so much less activity than old style Mondays. Then some guys turn up, out of the blue to cut a new drain into the driveway, they're back at work, essential services. Now we have proper noise and dust and puzzlement. Then I read that the PM is back, blabbering, saying nothing meaningful and telling stories from his own personal twilight zone. I'll avoid any live listening, even the sight of him creeps me out now. New style Mondays and normality, what do they even mean? They're either gone forever or just around the corner.
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Psychedelic Salads for Saturdays No.1 - Avocado and Lupin with a hint of Chives. A popular choice in Central Scotland due to the kindness of the climate, the peaceful and open minded local inhabitants and the all year round availability of fresh exotic fruits from the roadside. Always a lunchtime favourite, tasty, mind expanding and quite groovy really and of course you can transplant the stones and get even more fruit in a year or two.
Today we're mostly crafting designer sock masks from designer socks. Obviously non-compliant but probably useful in a pinch i.e. when the mask riots start up for real. For full instructions on how to make the masks up in the comfort of your own home, simply tune into All 4 and watch last night's Gogglebox.
P.S. It is illegal (well it should be but we're in a free market and you can see where that gets us) to try to sell these for £9.99 (or any price) on Etsy if you're getting ideas.
Here's a useful graphic:
Friday, April 24, 2020
From the window last night, no meteors or comets or asteroids. No space stations or Space X strings of pearls. Just high and shady clouds, obscuring the higher sky but holding the sun to account and pouring out strange, wistful colour schemes. Putting on a bit of a show for the shortest of big times and then capitulating to the proper dark as it sneaks in and doused by the artificial light we throw around like water in a bath.
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Lockdown sleep perceptions. There's been some talk about "lockdown" dreams and how, now that we are all in this altered Covid state, possibly more anxious, fearful etc. dreams might have become more vivid or meaningful or whatever. Anyway here's a thing that I'm experiencing (or at least I think I'm experiencing) most nights during the descent into the big ZZZs and back out again.
It goes like this: When I sleep for about the same amount of time as I slept before lockdown I now awake with a sense or feeling that my sleep time has lasted a lot longer than sleep times did before lockdown. Sleeping or unconscious time somehow seems to my mind to have taken longer to pass than as I might have previously experienced. I'm not really dreaming much either i.e. to fill the time, but I never did much anyway.
This is something I've only gradually noticed, at first I dismissed it as just a funny feeling but my awareness and sense of it has grown to the point where I am wondering if it's real, well real as far as the perception of your own sleep activity can be.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
|A cat, happily asleep.|
When you don't believe in any god, when you don't believe the government (or even in the government), when you don't believe the media. For a start it all sounds terribly negative, all this serial non-believing. Perhaps it's harder to believe than not to, perhaps it's also a bit foolish to believe. We all need something, believing in yourself might be a good start, if tricky at times. We're now in one of four camps, infected and ill, carrying and dangerous, been through it (but maybe not sure) and finally awaiting the hammer blow of a cough and a sweat that signals the arrival of the pestilence. There's also a fifth category but they are sadly not with us anymore. So we're hungry for advice and information. It's there but it's sullied by incapable people trying to explain their way out of things they can't grasp while more open minded scientist types move the goal posts as experiences are understood.
The Covid 19 problem has obviously brought these issues into sharper focus. so many versions of the truth circulating, point scoring, air brushing facts, avoidance of responsibility and my own personal favourite; telling yourself stories. My only solution, and it's not a very good one nor is it comprehensive has been to shut down a lot of my normal information gathering sources. Local radio, BBC anything, reading newspapers diligently, digging into twitter or blogs. I'm still doing bits of these but radio has gone and TV is very limited. I'm feeling better as a result, strangely less isolated and also less bombarded with "stories". That's not to say that the human experiences being shared are not important or moving or worthwhile, it's the context they now sit in and the way they are included with bigger "lines to take" strategies that dilutes their significance. So I'm watching and waiting like everyone else but I'm narrowing my field of vision. At least that's the story I'm telling myself.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Monday, April 20, 2020
|The folklore of environmental challenge comes alive.|
A time to wake up before the alarm.
A nasty draught and a stiff neck.
A minor coincidence involving Cheltenham Racecourse.
A bar of chocolate at the wrong time.
A walk through the woods and the discovery of a picnic area.
A struggle to the top of a steep hill.
A cracked windscreen worsened by frost.
A large bird roosting on the corner of our house.
A street where the house numbers that are completely out of order.
A police car passing slowly.
A dish of rhubarb and yogurt.
A stranger wondering around inside your house.
A short stint at cat wrangling.
A Tesco delivery driver phoning from Folkstone.
A tiny error in the paintwork rectified by one burst from a spray can.
A moment of forgetfulness involving a mobile phone.
A loose slab under the gravel.
A quick shower during which you finally get to the bottom of the shower gel.
A two Porsche driveway.
A time to make sure that wall mounted furniture is stable and safe.
A sunny morning but a cool breeze.
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Shit TV: I watched a bit of this on Nozama Prime on Saturday night, it wasn't so bad, reasonable if predictable performances and not too much in the way of patronising or clumsy, heavy interruptions to the flow of the show. OK but still a bit..hmm, preachy. Then tonight somehow the BBC got a hold of it, worked their editorial magic and sucked the little fun that might have been right out of it. Excellent work there, three awkward presenters (?) in the standard BBC (One Show over explaining) mode and tone trying to link up pieces that were already fermenting in the can and, in the true spirit of all their over the top, touchy feely charity shows, adding in appeal after appeal "stay the fuck at home" messages. We're four weeks into this now and we don't need to hear it every three and a half minutes. I lasted half an hour and then pressed the red button. That's the off button around here.
The plagues, the rats, the religious persecution, the lack of affordable fashion and the complete absence of socially aware and challenging comedy and the ever present possibility of a death sentence for any crime involving sheep stealing or some sexual misdeed or another. Times were hard but then rhubarb, the "wonder veg" was introduced to the hungry, sugar poor Scots in the sixteenth century. A miracle fresh from the colonies to the common man's colon.
It was brought over, along with herbs, spices and various affordable drugs by a Dutch merchant who was freakishly tall compared to the diminutive locals. The Dutchman known as Dick Van der Valk promised that the regular consumption of rhubarb would boost stature, prevent tooth decay and the improve general mental health and disposition. Of course he was immediately believed in as if he was a god or a football manager and rhubarb bulbs were planted in the gardens, fields and public spaces all across the country. These were the years of "rhubarb fever" or "the red devil's insanity" as it was sometimes called by fanatics and various bald headed bishops of whatever faith.
The rhubarb market was also highly volatile, an early example of boom, bust, more boom, too much bust and then a long period of upset stomachs. Of course people never learn from history or tittle tattle how things work and so applied copious amounts of cow dung to their rhubarb patches on warm summer evenings. The results were both interesting and poisonous and the once profitable and reliable balloon suddenly burst. This caused great confusion as balloons hadn't even been invented yet.
Dark days indeed. However custard had been discovered by the French and chefs and bakers across the land realized that without rhubarb they'd be onto plums and so the pie and (glossy) if somewhat brittle revisionist tart industry was born. The exponents referred to themselves as artisans and soon sprouted beards, incomprehensible tattoos and aprons and so civilisation started a new period of decline.This was also helped by James Watt inventing the kettle and the loudspeaker on the very same day resulting in mass tea breaks and custom playlists for wandering minstrels. Once again the workers were back in control and it was destined not to end well. Rhubarb and the wearing of the sacred tartan were banned and so the clearances began. We dare not even speak of the Rhubarb Riots of 1745 and the unfortunate incident involving Bonnie Prince Athelstane, Flora MacBurger and the Spanish Inquisition, all too painful.
Tonight we'll settle down in our relatively dry and warm mud baked accommodation, munch an Aldi baked potato or two and enjoy a slender slice of rhubarb crumble as the dawn of lockdowns passes and the long evening of lockdowns grows longer. Somewhere out there across the fibre optic network Lady Gaga is playing a Zoom gig as Keith Richards sits bewildered by the guitar in his hands and the lens looking him over. In that moment we'll remember the many rhubarb martyrs down the ages and the flans, pies, crumbles and tarts that they fought and died for, or not as the case may be.
Stay at least two metres apart from any rhubarb next time you're out there.
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Duck Duck Go tells me this site is insecure but I remain relaxed, tempted even to whistle a happy tune. No good reason for this other than I'm not really paranoid but I can hardly blame people if they are paranoid these days. It makes some kind of sense to have a skewed view that can be quickly translated and understood. From now on everything needs daily reimagining. The feast is continually moving and the mission is creeping. Gird your loins etc.
Life used to be about threats and opportunities, now it's about the avoidance of risk and the potential and costs for risk mitigation. There are real threats out there, the most dangerous of which we either do not see or those we see everyday but they remain hidden from us in plain sight. But fear not, we are not victims yet, we are just poorly defended by our traditional defenders and their best defence may well be attack. Duck Duck Go is actually OK and less intrusive than the voice of good fairy Google's little helpers. Anyway it turns out that after quite a few mishaps and unexpected problems we all lived happily ever after. The End.
Friday, April 17, 2020
Sewage Seagulls: Contemporary piece, rare oyster and walnut auto-paste on squirrel skins and Baco foil. Inspired by the far away and elusive Fife coast, a source of refreshment and reflection for many generations of creatives and the lower classes. Some minor referencing as to the branch line railway cuts found in the 1964 Dr Beeching Report add tinges of tragedy and pathos to the work in which the stranded birds ask of themselves "what is our place and meaning now that we find ourselves alone in a hostile post-war society?" Serious offers only, by fax to my undisclosed 01333 number. A (small) donation will be made to the RSPB from any funds successfully raised.
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Silence: In lock-down (now available with a hyphen) I am, strangely enough enjoying the silence. The crashing silence of a slowed down outside world, a traffic free street, distant voices and clocks ticking, the curious swish of electrons and faint pulses in my own head, I think that's where they come from. The odd message beep to alert me that my phone lurks in a corner and that something might have happened out in the expanse. Nice.
Fairly early on I decided to stop listening to the radio. Most days, pre-Corona I'd tune into Radio Scotland, whilst driving or at home in the kitchen, news, phones ins, debates etc. I seldom agreed with the lines they took, neither critical or political. I guess I liked to argue with myself as they shoved out the broadcast. Now I'm not doing it and I simply don't miss their BBC pish and so called balance, I don't miss the sycophantic reviews and the "every thing is amazing lovey-dovey" arts coverage, the aggressive debates that are factually light while trying to be journalist heavy and still failing miserably. Too many furrowed brows but no direction.
Stupid traffic information blips that fail to inform on locations and detail and patchy weather forecasts. Not challenging the big boys and girls on key issues, skating over depth, towing the line that they deny exists, playing safe. Yes I'm free from the inner voices BBC Scotland forced me to create for myself, ghosts and shadowy creatures. I'm happy in this open and strangely clear state of mind. I do miss the sport, one thing they can actually get right, I'll be back for football banter once football comes back.
TV is a different animal. I watched the first couple of Corona briefs but they quickly degenerated into, well more pish and denial. News? Can't stand the presenters or the presentation tropes to be honest, the stories are at best patchy and all tricky areas are avoided, best not to upset them upstairs I guess. Queen and country, stiff upper lips and don't talk about the dead etc. "Keep the UK on track, have some balance and end on some touching human report, that's what people need." Channels actually make little difference but C4 is at least self aware in some ways.
Regular programming: I don't watch soaps, cookery or the vacuous comedy shows, only University Challenge is worth a regular view. Funny how adverts have dried up, I quite enjoy that they've shrunk back although it reflects the depression and dip we're in. I pick up the rest via streaming. Overall YouTube is adequate (that's a good score in a crowded field), short and snappy, funny and informative and of course all over the place at the same time. Once in a while a Tiger King or something will emerge, you have to choose wisely, most content is time bandit stuff, ultimately unrewarding.
Elsewhere it's Twitter and a couple of on-line papers and random trusted if factually unreliable blogging sources, find your own path in the maze. The odd bit of music filters through but I'm not really looking for anything new out there. Comfort sounds are better. In the end I know no more or less than anybody else, remaining informed these days is an illusion, all FoMO and not much else. When the end comes (?) we'll know by those four pale riders in the burning sky and a proper, breath held and heavy silence as the screens flicker and die, not by the familiar repeated jingle of a newscast.
Thanks for watching and don't forget to hit the subscribe button.
In politics however, where self awareness and self honesty do not seem to exist (in fact cannot exist it seems) such moments are deemed to be impossible, inconceivable and if they did exist they'd be considered to be traitorous and the (honest?) individual suffering from this "delusion" might well be hung from the nearest lamp post or indeed 5G mast.
Such are the dysfunctional and crazy times we are currently living in. By the way if anyone is in any doubt my current opinion of our heroic and well adjusted Tory Westminster Government MPs is that they are a complete bunch of greedy, useless, self serving *****, but you knew that anyway.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Their satanic majesties successfully requested and the wallpaper industry answered. For my generation, the wallpaper designs of the mid twentieth century inflicted upon us as youngsters have resulted in a great deal of damage being done to our development and mental health. It's the unseen, unresearched, unspoken curse of Boomers, we were sabotaged by decorative cruelty. Now we are but shadow people, stunted and afraid, turned in on ourselves and shattered. Perhaps it was all a government plot or some side effect of the Cold War, I can't be sure.
Growing up in the fifties we (?) were subjected to constant daytime and bedtime torment due to having to fall asleep or play staring at horrid, shoddy designs plastered onto damp walls by well meant but poorly advised family members. Houses all over and particularly bedrooms were zones of terrible design and decoration carnage. The sitting room was no better, the wallpaper there had even bigger and more lurid patterns, if you could ignore them then wooden bodied radios screamed at you in brass band tones, laughed at you via Worker's Playtime or confused you during Children's hour with plummy English accents. No wonder we stared into those patterns looking for escape but sadly finding only more confusion.
The horror of it all still haunts us: patterned demons, open mouths, dragons and foul beasts, crazy patterns that drained away or fired up your imagination, faded colours and damaged surfaces. I could go on and I am. Some ugly papers were also badly fitted, bulging into corners, not stuck down properly, overlapped or scored, stained and faded, plain smelly with damp and condensation marks. Ugh. So the walls were bad but worse was to come. The floors!
Linoleum, the killer of dreams from Kirkcaldy. The tattered edges, the breaking down, the aging process, the ill fitting cuts, the patterns (again it comes back to those patterns). No wonder we're in the mess we're in. Little did we know that fitted shag pile was lying in wait for us in the 70s.
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Straight forward enough really, what is the better lunch/sandwich option? I should add that both sandwiches were toasted sourdough (because it was about three days old, this is a feckin' lockdown situation we're in here not a children's party with dinosaur napkins). So:
1) Peanut butter (crunchy) and strawberry jam, beverage = milky Nescafe.
2) Smashed avocado and Philly, beverage = fizzy Berocca.
Usual rules apply, answers on a postcard please, the first correct winner will receive a recycled Blue Peter badge.
Monday, April 13, 2020
If I'm spared and I live long enough to see the ending of lockdown I'd quite like to visit a cat cafe one more time. Not so much for the cats or the coffee, more to establish any parallels that might exist between such places and the big cat "experiences" shown on Tiger King and the like. Something in the human psyche needs contact with animals or than as food. Am I really as guilty and gullible as the great American customers who pay top dollar and queue for hours to be photographed with tiger cubs or eat pizza while lions paw at them through a fence? Probably, despite what I'd like to think, you may well be no better. Animal magnetism is strange and it pulls both ways.
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Netflix exhaustion, take the necessary precautions, wear a cowboy hat, if you're a wild cat.
Big cats and small cats; we're slowly catching up with the Netflix Tiger King chronicles and the jaw dropping antics, crimes and weird lifestyle choices that those people obsessed with having wild cats at home experience in the USA. After a few short episodes you start to understand why people voted for Trump and why things are as crazy as they are nowadays. I'm trying to think of the UK equivalent so as to explain why we might have the current crop of idiots running things here. I can only think of blaming inter-breeding, top-tier private education and unrestricted historical privilege. Must be the BBC's fault then.
Saturday, April 11, 2020
"Kelty Supermoon". Strong tone water colour on pained and strained vellum with inserted shotgun cartridge and magnesium traces. Superb example of the recent larger than life but smaller than reality moon that visited the highest village in the Kingdom of Fife from a lunar altitude. Taken from exclusive stock footage and reworked examples from the Friday edition of the Central Fife Times. This prime piece is retailing at only £1500 but is open to reasonable offers. Priority with be given to bids from ex RNSD Lathalmond employees and residents of Blairadam Forrest.
"Heroes of the Motorway" Digital acrylic on Orkney sheepskin with Duckhams 20/50 and ashphalt rendering in the Gregorian tradition of many other great landscapes. Please note that this is a non-specific motorway scene and therefore suitable for all locations and lifestyles. Some noticeable odour. Bank transfer and credit terms available (£2300 as a starting price) but would consider part exchange for low mileage diesel Ford Transit (white) panel van.
|"Berocca Sunrise" mixed media piece from reputable Caledonian source with Sharpie, cornflower and corrugated iron flourishes. Offers in the region of over £1000. International buyers and hedge fund managers please phone for PayPal details. Thank you.|
Friday, April 10, 2020
|Daily Strudel, in the current climate a strudel a day keeps the medical profession away for a reasonable time, all being well.|
Losing track of time is nothing new for me but this has been going on for a long time now. Trapped in this bizarre world of disease and government skullduggery and incompetence, it's not even a good sci-fi script any more. There's no Bladerunner soft underbelly or noir tones, it's just posh, over grown school boys showing us that they don't know how to behave or take responsibility for their lack of action while things break down and people suffer.
So to brighten things up we had a fire drill this morning, an unplanned and impromtu one set off by an unattended grill set to low and ignored. The cats reacted perfectly and bolted out through the cat flap in seconds the instant the smoke alarm sounded. We can learn a lot from them. Humans are of course slower to react and whilst I issued ridiculous orders mostly to myself I was as confused as any 65 year old would be in a potentially burning house. Good to know your capabilities.
Eventually the red hot and smouldering grill pan was identified and retrieved and our systems reset as you would on the bridge of the Star Ship Enterprise. And plop, we splash back into our locked down and ill informed present day, whatever one this may be (Good Bad Friday, see above).
Wednesday, April 08, 2020
|The dead fruits of my labours.|
|Willow in the middle, looking rather bald.|
The Faded Rainbows were a Los Angeles based alt-rock hippy band in the 60s. The line up varied due to excessive doses of unreality but most songs were written by the partnership of Ricky Puddles and Sally McMaserati. They recorded two albums: "Rainbow's day's off" (the first double apostrophe album on vinyl) and "We are the parents our children warned us against". Sadly both sunk/sank (you choose) without trace following a cargo vessel striking an iceberg in the foggy Straits of San Francisco. However their music lives on thanks to a dedicated cult following and a tribute act, "The Phased Out Rainbows".
Don't despair is your carefully constructed rainbow has faded a little or lost colour recently. Most likely explanation is that there has been some kind of weather event, rain, moisture etc. that sort of thing. If life seems more monochrome than usual, well maybe it is just due to un-seasonal seasons but that will pass once you pay the licence fee.