Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Leaky Dishwasher Door

On the Summer Isles they always knew where and who to turn to in a domestic crisis. It didn't always end well however.
Help of any kind is welcome when dealing with unwanted water from leaking kitchen appliances (try asking God to help but in the "for a friend" style). Today's "classic" problem being the old chestnut that is what to do when water is pissing out of the dishwasher door (lower seal) mid wash cycle. My first approach was to apply dish towels to stem the tide, not a long term solution but sensible first aid in a crisis. 

My next move was, once the wash cycle was finally over, was to check the seal and remove the assorted types of grease and gunge that seem to collect in that area. This was/is/remains an unpleasant task. Hand shovels full of undigested watery and wasted food gunk from way back. I also made some vital adjustments as to how well the door seal was bedded in, this could be a critical factor in the whole problem. Then a slow process of testing follows whereby the machine is run and I inspect it for drips and leaks at key moments in the program. This of course prevents me from leaving the house to head to the post office, get coffee or do anything else remotely worthwhile. I'm monitoring the situation in a fairly OCD style now as the machine hums and gurgles, somehow with a newly added menace.

Of course it's wrong to regard household appliances and plumbing systems as sentient beings but much of the time it seems like the only explainable way a reasonable way of working can be maintained, through thick and thin, good and bad times and the everlasting repair and maintenance loops we get drawn into and trapped within.

It's all over now, the cycle was completed with no obvious leaks but I can't say that faith and trust have been restored. This is a complex relationship and time, precious time, will be needed to build it back up. The sad truth is that all the major appliances know they have no long term future, a kitchen revamp is due and subject to the Great Plague will happen later this year. They've already seen what took place with the dangerous and unreliable gas boiler...

Monday, June 29, 2020

Cartoon food spoils the soul

Abandoned cartoon food being consumed by unexpected red soot spiders (clearly mutated in some way) but based of the characters created by Hayao Miyazaki in Spirited Away. The food is typical of what you might find served up on a nightly basis in any good quality, ethereal and ghostly bath-house you've accidentally stumbled into into whilst taking a break on a long car journey. Of course had you taken up the full serving, over indulged and eaten it all you'd have been magically turned into a pig and that's a problem. You see cartoon food can only spoil the soul, redemption after that is tough.


P.S. All dead on popular laugh tracks: Current comedy shows using canned laugh tracks from audiences recorded in the 60s, people laughed better in those days apparently. They felt freer to laugh before identity politics and a woke and critical mentality arrived. Now they're all dead, but still laughing, that's not really funny when you think about it.

Home Bargains

Before and after animation showing original breakthrough footage. You can actually believe your eyes.
Troubled by lackluster bakery goods? Underwhelming pies or sausage rolls? Fearful and worried about this sort of thing? Want to impress friends, neighbours and colleagues in these troubled times? Socially excluded even before Covid-19? We can help.

We're pleased to offer, at a reasonable but experimental price our home style pie and pastry inflation kit. No more embarrassing moments with awkward pastry based revelations. Now you can serve and display consistently sized and scaled baked goods without fear of rejection or offence. It's what every home-maker, amateur chef and DIY cook has been wishing and praying for (in a non-religious sense of course). This new and remarkable hi-tech method is fully compatible with all premium kitchen and communication systems including Apple, Android, Toyota, Winfield and Waltham. 

For even more vague details, including our newly launched special "Guinea Pig", "Conservative and Unionist Party" and "Red-Neck" offers please leave £1000 (or more if you wish) in used but clean notes in a plain rucksack in the phone box near our house after 2000 any weekday evening. Thank you.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Iconic album art we're all bored with

Iconic Album Art: The visual equivalent of wallpaper for the shelf, designs either hidden, visible only as spines or laid out on a coffee table like a copy of Empire or Viz. Album art is funny stuff really. I don't know quite how to take it. My top whatever choices would be different from some click-bait top 20 but so would everyone else's and to be honest some aren't really very artistic, more accidental and, more worryingly, the album art was/is often better than the music. It should tell a story, or at least be a part of the narrative, just for fun maybe. Things might almost make sense then. Some do, some don't.

So covers still are a force in the imagining of music, more than a meaningless snapshot, more than marketing, something that still powerfully endures because ... we need it to. It's a reference, an anchor and a curse. I can say that with some confidence as I used to be the kind of floundering teenage chancer who bought albums with cool sleeves or names and pretty much ignored key parts of the words and music captured inside. I was that shallow a youth, I may still be that shallow a man. 

Sometimes it's actually quite hard to know what you really like as you worry about what you should be liking according to fashion, charts, knowledgeable friends, press opinion, Radio 6 and your age and status's demographic norms. This must be what shallow looks and feels like. The old grey waffle test that you fail on a regular basis. I'll just let CBQ, Danny Baker, YouTube algorithms or Spotify choose.

"There, there".

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Explaining Brain Fog

For those of you experiencing brain fog: Here's cartoon that I've stolen and put here in all it's ill proportioned glory thanks to me wanting the text to be readable without anybody having to click on it. I wish I'd written it but I didn't. This breaks the fourth wall but only in a small way.

Apple Fritters

Today's breakfast: A flat white and an apple fritter from Tim Hortons and a fairly brisk stroll in a socially distanced queue. Chomped and enjoyed as a thunderstorm passed over and umbrellas prove their worth. I watched a guy throw a wooden stirrer from his car window and drive off. Was that littering or some kind of long term recycling as the stirrer slowly turns to compost? There wasn't quite time to challenge him to a debate or simply punch his windscreen either. These type of events are troubling for a host of reasons.

Everywhere there are warnings about heavy rain and taking care, as if we didn't put those two things together ourselves, as if cloudy weather and the possible consequences was something beyond our understanding but no, it now must be explained. If it's not explained then somebody will try to make a claim or blame the government or write to their MP or score with some puerile tweet that'll get 7000 likes. Somebody might even do a blog post about it. We deserve the shit we get, we really do.

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Kingdom of Heaven

Heaven: when you read about it and think about it, it's all a bit shit really.
All is not well in the Kingdom of Heaven, it never has been.
I read somewhere that lockdown and Covid-19 fears and social distancing etc. (shit coming down basically) has resulted in people turning to religion, finding god, reflecting, getting some kind of peace for themselves or using it as a coping strategy to get them through. Of course I could dismiss all this quite truthfully and cynically by saying it's a load of tosh and just get over yourself and get on with life but whilst that's easy for me to say I understand that for some folks its necessary to find peace and comfort wherever you can, particularly so if you've lost a loved one or some other tragedy has occurred in your life. Respect.

Maybe I don't like those "religious" or "faith based" spaces for a number of personal reasons, maybe I find most religions repugnant and those who "officiate" at their ritualistic services and provide leadership, counsel and advice even more odious. I'm not perfect. There's also a lot to learn from history and the tendency for humans to take things a little too far from time to time.

None of that matters if it's working for you right now: just don't be used, bullied, exploited, controlled and subjugated by your so called elders and betters. They are neither "elder nor better" than you. Don't give them your bank details either. Some are just deluded and I suppose well meant, some however are total psychos. It's not always easy to tell who is who when you're vulnerable. Choose wisely but if I were you I'd avoid it all like ... some kind of awful plague that you can catch from being in close proximity with certain infected and influential individuals. Best to remain at a safe distance and don't give too much away about yourself.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Hippies, Punks and Other People

Dick Dale, not a name I expected to see on the list.
Reliving your entire life in music in single click or how awkward it was being a teenager in the 70s (almost): Here's an interesting set of mainly listenable stuff from the BBC John Peel sessions archive, remastered and all that sort of thing. Comes along with various unfamiliar photographs that kind of enhance the listening experience or distract you from some of the more screechy, dim, white noise, tuneless and experimental drone styles. 

If you have a spare week or so to spend you might want to recklessly click here or hereabouts and see/hear what you fancy (the site formally known as The Bollocks by the way). Dodgy self indulgence is so Covid-19 in 2020. Pretty much every taste is covered up to a point, obviously there's nothing from the post JP era of music as you might imagine so calm down if you like hip-hop. Not much in the way of modern jazz either, what were the last 50 years of music about anyway? OK it's not the complete history of everything, we're a niche within a niche and are we even "we"?

There's even more if you click the "even more" links. Wow.

Those pesky young Fairport people from 68/69.

Kevin Ayers and some odd version of Gong (in a garden naturally).

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Our Illustrated History


A precious moment of religious reflection, captured for eternity. The eyes are the mirror of the soul.
Another day at the Museum of Questionable Art.

The artwork restorer; a firm but delicate hand, time well spent learning a truly masterful craft. Here are some recent, finely honed and rendered examples. A highly skilled, sensitive operation results in a wonderful and rewarding level of output. Returning lost, damaged, historic pieces back to their original standard so the world might once again enjoy these once damaged works. I for one am emotionally touched and lifted by any piece of sensitive and enhancing restoration. My faith in human nature and those innate skills some of our more gifted fellows can develop and display is now complete.*
Heaven will be filled with such saintly figures, I have no doubt.

*I apologize for the excessive sarcasm exhibited here. Something came over me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

In between the rains

Just get yourself in there, in the zone, right there in between the rain showers. Get out. In between the showers of rain, where the rain cannot hurt you, cannot catch you, cannot touch you. You are now in the in between. Neither one place or the other. Not wet, not quite dry but that's because you've broken sweat. That's because you've been cutting the grass. There in the garden, with a Flymo. Between the rain(s). The brown bin is full up too.

Fife: Daily Photo

A caravan burns in the car park of Lochore Meadows Country Park a few days ago. No one is quite sure who might have been using it or to whom it belongs. Thankfully nobody appears to have been hurt in the fire itself. There are numerous local theories as to the uses that the caravan might have been put to but probably not much is factual. For some reason an abandoned (?) and burning caravan parked in a busy leisure area has a certain poignancy to it, it's both wrong and disturbing. 

This is not how should things should be but it is how things often are. I could stretch the metaphor onto other areas but I guess nobody really cares, I'll just say that there are a few unexplained skip, tyre pile and caravan fires happening up and down the country right now. You can smell the fumes in the air, see the smoke over hedges and fences and observe the dull glow in the evening sky.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Garden Birds

Pigeons in conversation.
 Garden birds: These birds live in the garden, or at least appear to, there are no actual records available to check and verify this. They do spend a lot of leisure time here. Flitting about, collecting nesting materials. That sort of thing. We can't actually claim ownership, they're on the wild side. No swallows or amazons however, those skittish wall nesters and aerial acrobats seem to dislike EH30, too many noisy motorcycles and chatty, lost tourist types possibly, even with Covid-19 rampant; or just a lack of tasty airborne insects maybe.

Some days it's mostly pigeons; mum, dad and the two awkward kids perched on tree tops and chimney pots. "Boaby" the friendly blackbird (formerly known as Blackie) and the more discrete and private Mrs Boaby. An uncountable number of noisy and excitable hedge bound sparrows who flick moss down from the roof in a disrespectful fashion. Some wrens that are so tiny they seem out of place and out of scale as if they've escaped from another dimension where sizes and volumes are quite different. 

We don't feed the birds however, we allow them to do their own catering and gathering. This way we avoid attracting rats, something of a problem here, in the past anyway, for us and the birds. They now appear to have retreated or else they are in some kind of ratty lockdown for whatever reason. We're happy with this and so are the birds. Don't tell the crows or magpies; mega party poopers that they are.

Boaby, taking time to take the world in.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Good Omens

Commemorative Artwork: Trump Rally, BOK Centre, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 20th June 2020. 6200 people attended, venue capacity 19000. "Make America Great -  some time in the near future without Trump and his kind". 

Hound Point

Hound point last night at 2200. No hounds, no point, no ships at anchor (other than the duty tugs off duty), nice and quiet, still as a June evening's likely to get here at postcode EH30.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Coffee now available

Photo Credit: LB.

Hurrah! Civilization as we knew it is not yet completely over with, there is hope. I've seen it with my own eyes. You can now buy decent brewed up coffee, it's out there, the risk is low, do not be afraid, just be careful, choose wisely, time of day, location and non locals are all to be considered. Use your up to £45 contactless option. If it's OK then strike quickly and enjoy, taking care to exit via the exit only, no funny stuff. The baking and the pastries are still a bit shit however but we're not living in France (yet) so suck it up.

Crazy right now

A world famous landmark seen through the prism of some kind of crazy prism.
I can no longer be bothered with the religious requirement that we all feel compelled to exercise these days and most days; the venting of the spleen. Something that I can imagine a Tudor surgeon recommending that Henry VIII or Elizabeth 1 might need to do on a semi-regular basis. Let the poison, the bile, the putrid puss drain away from the wound, along with a healthy dollop of blood and all will be well, your Highness. 

"Shout, shout let it all out", they sing. Or maybe don't bother, just go "tut" under your breath and be on your way. You see your (our, my) opinions don't matter much. The pressure we create in #s and "traffic" is really unimportant particularly when directed at sociopaths and psychopaths who just ignore or absorb it. They are bulletproof to the feelings and sentiments expressed by real people. This is because to them, we clearly do not exist in any real sense. We are numbers, blurred images on screens or through car windows, huddled figures on tourist beaches, raw statistic queuing up for a Big Mac or the opening of a Primark branch. 

We are the masses. We queue and B&Q for concrete, toilet rolls, trains and sometimes even to vote. Generally we do as we are told. We are mostly a little afraid, we've been well trained. We wait, quietly. A few breakaway factions riot now and then, pull over a statue or defend other statues, these clods are easy meat. They'll be tired after a couple of hours, they'll need a Red Bull and a nap. A small amount of property damage is easily fixed and the insurance premiums will just rise and allow us a healthy dividend next year. Let them eat cake and let off some steam, Cummings PLC, SERCO and G4S will manage the situation. Apple and Google may be less supportive but then again you didn't actually talk to them, so they say. On balance, as far as you are concerned all is well and the lies, the misdirection and the corruption (a spade = a spade here) carries on. 

When times are tough roll out the Queen with some soporific message using only basic English pulled into clipped and preened sentences, fly a few flags, revert to Morecambe and Wise, big up the BBC's stirring back catalogue, stick some shit, distracting story on the Mail's front page and those with no homes to go to please be good fellows and quietly dig yourselves holes. Next please.

Sarcasm doesn't work I know and I've inadvertently vented my spleen once again.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Twice a day

Unreliable Histories: This clocked stopped the day after Robert Louis Stevenson had left his temporary lodgings at this local hostelry upon whose exterior wall it is a-fixed. He'd spent some time there living quietly and putting the finishing touches to his novel "Kidnapped" in 1886, so some say. The time piece was never restarted or repaired. The novel was successfully published.

Other famous novels and works of fiction completed at or near to this spirited location include: "Hills Like White Elephants" by Earnest Hemingway, "The Looking Glass" by Anton Chekhov, "The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury, "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier and "Interview with a Vampire" By Anne Rice. 

I imagine that the perpetually stopped clock acted both as a guide and a reminder to them during their stays. A slow burning inspiration and motivation for their mysterious writing processes. A guide to the tyranny that time provides in all our lives, the race against the doom it predicts, by it's very existence being one we cannot ever win and of course as a reminder that breakfast is close by as is supper, twice a day, twelve hours apart.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Geese Bathers

"Geese bathing happily in a Spanish street prior to their slaughter in the morning". 

This disturbing, unique and edible piece is available in oatmeal (as a base) with blueberry peanut butter, cream cheese spread (Philly), ochre tinted digestive biscuit, tarragon, basil and orange bhuna dressing. Drizzle of walnut oil is an optional extra. The use by date for this one of a kind artistic treat is 30/06/2020. Keep refrigerated. Will be lovingly packed and safely transported in a "pizza" style carton. Limited run exclusivity representing a wry commentary on the global food industry and the welfare of geese in general.

Non-edible versions are also available in silk screen, sycamore, cymbals and sickles. Prices on application. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Home Improvement

I was reading somewhere that Vlad (the Impaler) Putin now has a "Disinfection Tunnel" at his building's entrance that all his visitors must pass through. I presume this is to deal with viruses and germs and not thoughts of counter revolution or computer bugs. I'm thinking that this device has to be the next step in home improvement and neighborhood one-upmanship. 

Popping by for a coffee and a chat? Delivering and installing some white goods? Simply step through the highly affordable Everest/B&Q/Amstrad/Wickes tunnel first and you'll be good to go. Latte or flat white? Gin and tonic and Pringles? Fears of Covid 19 infection? Not a problem. As installed in Moscow (The Kremlin), Washington DC, Trump Tower NYC and the Mar-a-Lago Resort and Country Club.

So fuck off with your bolted on conservatories, your pigs in shit hot tubs, decking, patios and your extensive collection of PVC windows and doors. Get up to speed and keep in good health with a handy and affordable disinfection tunnel. Terms and conditions apply.

Translation: Available for immediate delivery, easy terms. Full and safe Russian Mafia design service and finance package, variable APR 125% (variable upwards).


Photo Credit: CS.
I feel and fear for honest people who watch TV news and buy a daily newspaper and in the mess and mass of their stories try to form up a reasonable and accurate set of opinions and views on the current situation in this country. Arguably it's always been a difficult thing to do and to some extent you always needed to either ignore or shield yourself from certain aspects of news and current affairs just to stay sane. These days it just seems impossible to actually hold a consistent line on anything. There is little in the way of clarity and trustworthy reporting and "real" worthwhile events are regularly overlooked. Stories and opinions are now commodities, bought, sold and ignored. No more than packets of washing tablets, jars of coffee or shrink warps of shrinking chocolate bars. 

Media is driven by money, either shoveled into it to influence and direct or shoveled out of it to sponsor drivel, trivia, pointless sports competitions or cannibalistic media events ordinary people don't even care about. There's always a special offer, just to ensure you take your eye off the ball for long enough. The big lie in all this is the ongoing, rolling illusion that is perpetuated by media; namely that we need it "as it is", it's a force for good, it's an honest broker, it's truly reflecting public opinion, all for some undefined common good. No it isn't and it doesn't. It's simply about money.

Of course once you step out of that playground fight the next logical move is into the wormhole that is social media. Hmm.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Don't lose that number

A pleasant dream: It’s choir but in a strange location, maybe a sail loft in a shipyard, industrial workers, the hard type. You know. Staring up at the wooden beams, curved and stained and built when they knew how to build things. There they are, the good people of Fife. From Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly, Kelty, Rosyth and thereabouts, easily dismissed you might think. I recognise the labourers faces, weathered, hard, soft, some dead, some alive maybe, younger than they should be, perhaps younger than they ever were. I’m looking around at those faces, nodding in recognition. There’s no back biting, no feuds, no religious differences or football teams, smokers and non-smokers, short and tall, male and female. We are a diverse and fractured tribe, this Fife choir of choice misfits. Perhaps we’ve died and this is some retrospective, non-compliant heaven nobody dared to believe in.

High on this imagined hill, the sail loft starts to fill with sound. Like a heavy aircraft taking off, or a ship being launched, pulling against the chains, reluctant, but we’re putting in the effort, we’re applying ourselves. We’re throwing down those expressions and inhibitions and years of dissent and negativity. The singing will be strong and positive. We rebel against our type. You thought wrong. You judged us blindly. Tough? Uncouth? Stupid? If you see only that then just leave, we’re past that now, we have a singing voice that just might break the stereotype you find so easy to believe. But to know that you’d have to stop and listen and that’s not easy for you. Your inside voice tells you that on repeat. Misplaced other voices just don’t count and you fell under the spell, telling yourself stories. Those people in the choir don’t hear your own inner narrative. There will be no disputes or riots today, no slap across the puss, we’re free from disagreeing.

So we sing, “Rikki don’t lose that number”. No choirmaster, no song sheets, it’s all just pouring out like from a machine. Stronger by the second. I’ve never heard a choir sing this song. Incongruous, an imperfect fit but just right. I’m so new to choirs and people. How did this ever happen? We do two verses, two choruses, no flaws, word perfect. Everything is rising, the room, the loft, this is a huge space now filled with our sound. It’s wonderful, warm and uplifting. The middle eight is coming, I feel an inner tension. It’s not tough to sing, we’re in the groove anyway, we have the momentum and everybody is feeling really good. In my head I can hear the words coming up, I can see the words … that middle eight.

Now I’m awake. It’s three thirty. The cats want fed.

Monday, June 15, 2020

The men who protect statues

You're only as immune as your immune system

DIY can be hard to handle.
The older you get the more you realize that no one is immune to immunity so we have a strategy to build up the human immune system and systems management systems found in us all. Reboot yourself now and then, try a factory reset. Very necessary in these days of virus and rampant dick-headed leaders and politicians. We use* the three Ds. Diet, Diplomacy and Dozing.

Diet: Eat things that are good and that you enjoy. Don't deny yourself treats but eat and drink and be happy.

Diplomacy: Live a sensible life, be out there but don't be far out. Respect your fellow humans and travelers. Don't be a shouty, moany arse, don't be a Tory, live and let live and do a bit of exercise now and then. Take what you need not all that you might want.

Doze. Get a good night's sleep, don't overdo things, be measured, have a nap if you need a nap. Take a day off now and then wearing loose and comfortable clothing.


*For clarity and truth, we don't actually use three Ds or anything like that, we're not weird. This is just made up stuff, fiction if you will, with a tiny sprinkling of reality now and then.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

When you're not losing your mind

If you're not losing your mind you must be finding your mind. There is no comfortable middle ground. Things are way too dynamic for that. I find these ideas useful if contradictory.

There has been persistent rain for a few days. Persistent rain is a bit like rain that you are having a long running argument with and you just can't get the better of the rain with it's slightly superior level of damp discourse. You remain wet whilst out in it as you force yourself into stubbornly carrying on with trivial outdoor tasks as the rain persists. This is the fragile basis of your entire argument. The rain silently continues as is it's true nature. This is not an argument you can win but you will feel at times the elation of temporarily holding the upper hand simply by taking part. Research has shown this to be a short lived and hollow experience. Ultimately you'll fail and surrender to the rain's higher purpose and find yourself returning indoors for a cuppa tea. At this point you can take comfort in observing how well that "new grass" is doing from behind the window glass but deep inside you know you're a loser.

Next time we'll talk about arguing with failing light or perhaps the dark itself.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Everything is stolen, everything is discarded

Random unwritten, unspoken thoughts, written:

People generally don't know left from right, exit from entrance, near from far, 1m from 2m, slow from fast, safe from risky, fun from serious, stiff from flabby, cheap from expensive, clean from dirty, noisy from quiet, truth from lies.

When you "ting" the bell on your bicycle they ignore you. Everybody apologizes except the psychos, they don't see the need. Dogs can't comprehend moving bicycles these days. Hills tend to tilt in the wrong direction. The east wind is cruel unless you're headed west.

You move around in space like some lumpen asteroid hurling across a segregated supermarket looking for the eggs. Where are the bloody eggs and why are all these people taking so much time to do simple things? I don't even know what I'm doing here. Where are the other old people wearing face masks?

So we sail on, here in our ship of fools. Sea-cocks are wide open but we have a decent, fully compliant bucket donated by the government as part of an interest free equipment loan. When they say interest free it's not free, it's just that they are not actually interested. So we'll doggedly get on with bailing ourselves out and try keeping the damage to the minimum as we struggle to float and remain upright. No fuss please but we didn't think we were voting for this.

Aside from the headline stories that we're all either fed up with or entrenched in some rock solid opinion over there are some long running issues that I just don't understand. No matter what I read or hear I'm still confused as to right/wrong good/bad or whatever. I'm not sure where the failure lies or where the crystal clear facts are. I may be suffering from some generational blindness or a chronic lack of care and concentration.

Churchill's dead and in a box, so's his statue. Who's next?

Friday, June 12, 2020

Artwork not Artwork

Trapped in some green place, an unknown location in a shimmering and mirrored universe where nothing is quite what it could've been but if it was to be fully investigated and turned on it's head it might be different anyway. Some things are said to be priceless but in some ways that's the same as them being for free really.

"I was only suffering from graphic designer's vertigo, a momentary lapse and a mild case of inner colour blurring," said the plaintive. "I'll be fine in the morning but you'll be just the same as ever."

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Fiddlers of Orchy

There is an old Scottish legend you may be aware of that tells the story of the "Fiddlers of Orchy" saying that they were some of the finest music fiddlers ever to found in the Orcs of Orchy district of OrcShire. This lonely highland glen spawned the finest spawn of spawny music fiddlers who fiddled (and occasionaly spawned) spawnily in those remote glens and upon those wasted and battered hillsides come rain, shine or stomach upset. 

A musical and cultural wonderland from beyond the pale mists of time itself populated by golden throated and fingered beings the like of which were seldom seen south of the Green Wellie. Some say that on a clear midsummer evening, just as the sun falls behind the great Mount of Ben Orchy you can still hear their fiddleness tones floating on the easy breeze like some dandelion dust and see their ghostly thin images dancing like shadows amongst the bracken and midges by the lochside and all across the moorland. 

In the far distance a lone figure is kicking an empty can of Tennent's lager along a puddled up gravel path, he lazily flicks a cigarette butt into the stream running nearby, turns and starts to walk in the other direction. He's whistling to himself and suddenly aware that his favourite shoes just might be leaking. It's quite possible some of this is true, humans can do all sorts of things, as far as I'm aware.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Building bridges in the wrong places

Dead celebrities are not coming back any more than dead slave traders. Dead kings and politicians, dead rock stars and footballers, they held the limelight briefly. Perhaps they are the lucky ones, the lived enough of a life to be famous, maybe rich, even leaving their mark. They did bad things and good things. Their stories are clear and exact in some places, dim and not easily understood in others. But they are gone and any trace they left diminishes every day - or maybe not. Fortunes may be a stake. If they shaped our world, if their deeds, policies, actions and their omissions are still echoing today then that has to be dealt with. Their history should be exposed, taught and explained as necessary and not covered up. 

This country has a sick, greedy, cruel colonial past that still has the power to influence and control. Landowners, country estates, great swathes of privilege and snobbery, snouts in the trough, as red faced as those awful maps of the "Empire" in it's heyday. The great churches and institutions, too big to fail some say. The children's children, the "royal" families, the old money v the new money and then those with no money. Guttersnipes in rat trap flats and terraces. We owe you nothing but you owe us an explanation, an education and compensation.

You may say it's all none of anybody's business anymore. Here's a black hole to shout into:

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

The Hissing of the Summer Cats

Cat diaries: Welcome to the worlds of "Stripes", ferrule and unpredictable and currently living in a garage and "Shadow" living at home but eating and relaxing elsewhere as far as is possible. Shadow is currently mentoring Stripes in learning social skills, manipulating humans and throwing interesting shapes. Their cunning plan has been evolving over the last few weeks resulting in noticeable improvements to their standard of living and well being. Good job cats.

Post Everything

"Yankee go home" there's a slogan I haven't heard in a long time (and in Latin).
"I may have inadvertently joined a cult. I have previous form in this area. Sometimes I doubt myself, then I remember how it actually was."

We're being mindful, focusing, there's regular "exercise", there are still, soft voices. We're encouraged to be steady, stay home, stay safe, don't rock the boat. Consistency in behaviour. Where you are is safe, it's a life boat floating peacefully on shark infested waters. Other people might just be dangerous. Everyone is a suspect. Stay alert, stay vigilant. Never forget ... but find peace where you can.

There's the constant threat, the dark narrative, the unknown, unseen enemy. Real believers believe it's really real, others say it's a construct, a trap and a snare, a strategy from somewhere dark. Other others don't care, they ignore the warnings, they do as they please and flaunt their actions and their disrespect. There are a lot of others. It's a time to bring things down if you can. We balance these with the plight of victims. There are so many victims.

On the sidelines are experts. They seem to argue in clumps of understanding, as experts might. The facts are fluid. They are advisors, they are seekers, they may have their own agendas. There are opportunities sprouting up in the apparent chaos. There is a name to be made, there's money too. They have graphs and models. Their advice is important and to be heeded, but not by themselves. Hit the spotlight and a position goes with it. Well meant heroes helping and spinning. Their words are destined to be misunderstood or twisted by those in power.

It's all a familiar sci-fi scenario, we've seem the film a thousand times. Mad scientists, greedy power brokers, angry mobs, innocent people caught in the crossfire. Now it's real life. Where do you stand? What's the point of standing anyway?

Monday, June 08, 2020


Hope: We are crawling towards the ancient way of being known as recovery, things may get worse along the way but they will get better. A route of mixed fortunes. I'm choosing to believe this despite the numerous signs to the contrary. All things must pass. Classic themes in literature and life.

Hope: Kindness and creativity. Even in bad times these things stubbornly refuse to go away or die, in fact they often flourish. There is new music, art and writing being birthed and carrying on right now, you just need to be on the look out for it. You can even create your own jigsaw puzzles these days.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Cats as Jigsaws

Via a threaded journey from Orkney Library to the Forth Bridges and some stone balls we came upon JigsawPlanet. Something found that was never being looked for. A strange little (?) site where you can create your own jigsaws and play and mull over those created by others. A fairly normal activity these days and another brief and futile bid at internet immortality. Naturally cats are a popular subject and so we've added more cats to the extensive cat catalogue. That's it really, probably the most significant part of yesterday other than the regular world shattering events happening in an even bigger, never ending jigsaw puzzle.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

The wall of the Future

Staring into that bright but fuzzily blank wall that is the future isn't much fun these days. Trips to plan, meals to organize, events,  places to go to and see, meeting up; all things that are still somehow out of reach as our entitlement and privilege moves further away by the day. Looking back on recent history is an equally bland blur of those daily media circus shows and clunky lies of ministerial briefings, political own goals, stupidity and now violence. 

This is quicksand for the mind if your not careful. A dizzy slide into a deep and muddy puddle. There is of course hope. Hope in the shape of small things, slowly getting bigger, more rugged and nimble; maybe even writing up those stories or recording a tune perhaps? Clean out a cupboard even? Rinse the grill pan!

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Decoy Art

The weather has broken. There's only a watery sun. It's June but we're not in Oklahoma so no bustin' out. This is a Scottish lockdown. We're staying home. Peering out of the windows. Seeing what can be predicted from those broody, moody clouds that are passing slowly, headed for some random destination out across the North Sea. Slippery. Every so often the optimistic sun peeps out and I scurry to the garden to rearrange some plants that hopefully will grow to create a "display". Not that we're in any kind of competition or race, it's just for those fat little furry bees, ladybirds and the butterflies, creatures that we all have a soft spot for so long as they don't sting. 

We hope that they might survive and so inherit the planet once our shambolic reign is over and we are reduced to dust. They are survivors, but only up to a point. You see clever and industrious as the insects are they are clearly unable to open the seed packets and turn on the water taps so as to create the conditions they actually need to survive. Evolution is a bit of a broken system if you ask me.

"Your use of quasi religious images and feeble plagiarism does you no favours and will win you no friends or fans."  - Well Wishers who know things about art and the artistic establishment.