Monday, November 30, 2020

Her brightly coloured materials

Cat, with various supernatural qualities and inhuman physical skills, catching up on BBC's patchy but entertaining Dark Materials from a relatively safe distance*.

This of course brings me onto the rather awkward subject of names we give to animals (particularly pets) and the names they give themselves. This does assume a certain level of animal awareness and human ignorance. I'm happy to go with that. We tell ourselves stories to explain the world all the time. I suspect that for many animals their self given names are nothing we could recognise. I'm almost sure that the language of "animal smell", pretty much unknown to humans, is the basis of what might be loosely described as an animal name or at least a means of recognition. Smell as a label and marker and way of telling time works very well it seems. Just watch how cats and dogs behave towards each other (assuming that they don't begin the social encounter with an all out attack), the scent of another is key to communicating and understanding time and distance. I'll just remain silent and happily odourless to other humans as you mull over these deep truths and revelations.

*Photo by LB

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Universal Rules

Space piloting, some top tips: When operating in the (easy) lander mode it is always important to get your line of horizon (zero setting) as straight as possible. A steady hand and an uncorrupted auto-approach program is vital to the mission. This simple advice can prevent dizziness and nausea for both passengers and crew as you avoid unnecessary turbulence and the potential for chassis or thermal violence. Try it out for yourself and have a pleasant trip and an even better return to earth. Easy with the snacks please.*

*For more piloting tips please create your own website by stopping your procrastination and actually doing it (because I say so etc.), type in whatever advice you like using the heading "Space Pilot - Tips and Tricks" and away you go. Dream realized.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Pacific Ocean Clear

Slightly over ten years ago my feet landed in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. There they are stood firmly on the bottom, toes slightly splayed for extra grip. They were at the time very much attached to my legs and I'm happy to say that's the way they are today. This photo popped up as part of my laptop's randomized daily screen show yesterday and in a brief burst of nostalgia I thought it was worth sharing. I don't believe I still have those trousers however, they're long gone.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Fog on the Forth

Ancient South Queensferry proverb:

"If you can't see the bridge it's foggy and if you can see the bridge its about to get foggy."

This is a very versatile proverb and one that can quite easily be reversed and rearranged without actually altering the meaning. This technique does not work for all proverbs, particularly those in the Bible (where I presume the whole proverb thing started in the first place).

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Neanderthal Porn

*Undiscovered art: Discovered on the cave walls, deep in a cave in a deep valley in a deep district of deepest France by an explorer named Jean-Paul in 1887. Early evidence of NP or Neanderthal Porn: as it is commonly known by excited paleontologist and anthropologists who aren't just in it for the bones and fossils. This rare example is offered for sale at a price that truly reflects the corruption and good taste in today's art world. Viewings are via Google Earth and the lucky highest bidder will need reliable access to heavy tunneling equipment and the significant amount of used Euros required to bribe stubborn local officials. The bidding starts ... NOW!

Here's a modern artist's "artists impression" of the subject sitting for the work back in the day.

* "Undiscovered Art is currently enjoying a high level of bombardment by Russian Bots. Currently all our employees are busy. We are eager to talk to you as soon as possible. Have you visited our website ? You can find an overview of our services and products there. Your call is very important to us and we are dedicated to making time for all our customers. Unfortunately, all lines are still busy and so we must ask for your patience".

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Headphones not included

The Bell Catalogue reflections caused me to further reflect on my other early 70s guitar equipment. I suppose the meanest and most useful bit of bedroom kit I owned was a WEM PA40, not purchased from Bell. It was second hand, retailing at about £20 from Live Music on Edinburgh's Leith Walk. It was an incredible and almost indestructible valve amp bargain that could do PA but worked well with guitars. It saw a lot of service in it's few years with me before being sold off in some regrettable gear purge that I foolishly decided upon. I wish I still had it. I still remember lugging it home on the bus, proud as punch.

I also wish I had the 1974 sunburst Telecaster that was purchased for me using "band funds" (following the plot of Easy Rider) a little later. I only had it for about six months and to be honest never got the best from it as my playing at the time was way behind the potential of such an instrument. It was lost to me somewhere on the Channel Island of Jersey where a crazy "summer covers band" idea totally collapsed and broke up in a fashionable fog of sex, drugs and eastern promise. I hope that it found a home with a better and more responsible player, I doubt I'll ever know it's fate. For some unknown reason we were pitching ourselves as a sort of version of Poco meets Pilot meets Pink Floyd affair that was never destined to succeed. Too many Ps. Also having  incompetence as our most common attribute didn't help.

As cameras were seldom present in my exclusive circle of catastrophes these are I'm afraid stock images that don't quite tell the full story. What little personal memorabilia I had was lost in a house fire, aka a long running divorce.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Bell Catalogue

Musicians and "has beens" of a certain age will remember with a certain bitter-sweet fondness the joys and agony of time wasting and day dreaming by reading through the infamous Bell Catalogue. Free music porn for teenage boys looking to escape the reality of being an apprentice plumber or bricklayer, viewed while thoughtfully puffing on an Embassy Regal filter tip from the safety of their poster plastered bedrooms. In the late sixties and early seventies every wannabe pop star had a dog eared copy and many signed up for the HP deals that allowed you to purchase your dream gear by mail order in easy installments. It was a painful and costly rights of passage event, a necessary way for my generation to learn the cruel truths of economics. 

The page above shows my second ever guitar (but first "electric" one), The completely dull and pedestrian "Egmond Lucky Seven", an embarrassing and feeble instrument if there ever was one, but in my head it was akin to Neil Young's White Falcon in firepower and stature. It was of course powered through by the WEM Dominator (as below), complete with an ear piercing treble boost circuit carefully designed to rattle all the nearby council house windows exposed to it's 15w powerhouse and so incur the wrath of peace loving parents. Glory days, drenched in feedback and tuneless wonderment and all connected by curly leads.


Monday, November 23, 2020

Big Brother and the Pharma Company

There will be an Ad in 4 Seconds. Thank You.

"Big pharma rules, a lifeboat in the storms, governments are happy to stump up, roll up your sleeve, just a little pin prick, you may feel a little sick etc. I've heard it all before, chips and chimps and thought control. Bill Gates really does want to monitor your life, to peek into your comings and goings because however trivial they are, they are marketable, they'll be recorded as they gather their data, formerly known as your data. You see social media, though effective doesn't quite tell us the whole story. So resistance is futile. We're diving deeper. There is such a thing as the common good, you've simply not been able to see that before and to be honest you're nothing special no matter what you might think but the numbers and sequences you generate are valuable."

"Without the vaccine you cant work, cant travel, cant get a bank account, no social security, no welfare or health care, no purchases, no phone, no internet accounts, no mixing, no sex. How's that going for you? Prepared to lose your identity, your home, your kids, your human rights? So choose an arm, left or right and let the vaccination do it's work, play a role in bringing about a safer world. It's part of your ID now, we'll email you a unique number shortly. Old people can now die with dignity, young people live without fear and those in the soggy, flabby middle badlands just do whatever they need to do to pass the time. It's been a long while coming but you can feel necessary and valued and entertained. Your tax dollars and pounds are being spent sensibly. Be assured." 

"A wise man once said that the best way to feel safe on an aeroplane is to carry a small bomb on board. The chances of one bomb being on the aircraft are 1/1000 but two bombs are 1/100000. That's how safe you can make it all by simply doing your bit, playing your part. Sign up, step up, form a line for the vaccine today (well when it becomes available and if you are a member of a qualifying group) and be a good citizen. Terms and conditions apply."

The views expressed here are not mine but they might be yours.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

2 x Bonfire

                                     Above: real life for what it's worth.
                              Below: unreal life can be anything you want.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Wilder People

In search of the new Wilder People it seems, but I am actually thinking differently: A good idea and I hope it gets some traction and is able to develop as well as deliver change. Nice glossy website and suitable pictures here. But looking at the illustration it appears that the bigger wildlife; bears, wolves, lynx etc. aren't included yet. I guess the hunting and shooting landowners have views, then there's tourists and (sometimes dirty) wild campers (teach them a lesson?), not to mention restless natives and townies. It's complicated. Lessons might have to be learned. Education is required ... and ambition and fences.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Return of Tesco cat

I'm not obsessed with supermarkets, I'm not a daily visitor, it's just in these strangled times there's no where else to go without attracting police attention and a small but unreasonable fine. So Tesco cat was back, the first actual sighting in nearly a year but still within his regular habitat. The soothing odour of chopped up timber and synthetic logs dipped in some inflamable liquid from China sends out a warming message of comfort to cats and signals the impending doom of yet another unavoidable Christmas season, tempered by rampant Covid pessimism. So as the November rain beats against the store's plexiglass windows and the masked OAPs shuffle by it's nice to know he's still snug under the warm air curtain of the foyer. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Retail Therapy

After a few weeks of fruitless searching I finally found where the Nesquik is located in my local, reasonably sized branch of Tesco. In my head I'd decided long ago not to ask any staff for assistance, I considered it a sort of Nesquik based quest* or expedition. A test of character, determination and resolve. So I came upon it today quite by chance (if you can believe that sort of thing). Strangely enough the elusive fine powder was in the soft drinks aisle and not near any dairy produce or confectionery or actual mixed up dry beverages or ingredients. Why soft drinks I wonder? It has nothing whatsoever in common with fizzy lemonade, fruit shoots or drinks. The fabric of reality has been shredded. I left the store bemused and actually unable to make a purchase, well there was only banana flavour and strawberry on the shelf; no actual chocolate. It was that kind of day. 

ⓘ ๐—ข๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐˜€๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด

P.S. Some insider knowledge: Good retail store layouts are those that improve three things: revenue, customer experience and placing the Nesquik in an unexpected location. Too often, retailers forget about the latter component in pursuit of the former and the barnstormer. This is a big mistake, as research has shown that whoever delivers the better experience typically reaps the higher revenues. In the current era of the “experience economy,” it becomes even more relevant: Your store may be selling physical objects, but your customers’ experience is an intangible but crucial prerequisite of the sale. 

Another reason experience is important: Remember that retail store interior design is meant to influence customers’ behavior. By carefully considering the design and spatial arrangements of the store, you can drive more sales and encourage a "treasure hunt" mentality and allow customers to embark on lengthy expeditions to far off places in the building as they discover strange new items to purchase.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Rainbows across the giraffes

Out of context headlines: Home Alone at 30: how the unlikely Christmas comedy has endured. Operation Moonshot 'like building the Channel tunnel without civil engineers'. Call any spade and some shovel is bound to answer. Cornwall cooker deaths: Turkish company not aware of risk. Firms agree Scotland to England renewable energy 'superhighway'. Study finds ticks choose humans over dogs when temperature rises. Misfits review and there's no place like Essex. 'Devolution' a disaster. How we met: ‘She was the love of my life but she had to focus on getting sober’. Dominic Cummings' media approach often means he'll become little more than a footnote in history. "I have a lot of respect for JK Rowling". French broadcaster apologises after wrongly killing off the Queen and Pelรฉ. Rainbow giraffes across the muddy bridges. Families line up to use the app. This makes about as much sense as what I regularly put out, jumbled letters and spaces that may or may not make sense and does that matter and is it art anyway?

Monday, November 16, 2020

Haribo Cola Bottle

Cobweb removal. Getting a few DIY projects sorted out and having some work done in the back garden. Looking quite good so far.

One of my other current "works in progress" is a personal tribute piece aimed squarely at the world famous Haribo Cola Bottle, a gummy cult object if there ever was one. Progress is painful but tolerable:

My intention is to successfully scale this up and then do a rendering of it onto Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh in time for the ritual (Waitrose sponsored) hangings, as part of the Summer Solstice festivities of 2021. I'm sure that the Outlander tourists and darling artistic types will lap this up. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Wing Nuts

            just saying no
not sure
             make a guess
heads full of tissue paper
see you later
cotton wool balls
just a tick box 
                      in the send off 
                in the come on 
                just a simple piece of whimsy 
just some fluff on a carpet
                           just some silly stuff                   
we all indulge
  in childish behaviour
                                              now and then

so I count to ten in French

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Blue Yonder

"Some race the pigeons, some eat the pigeons. Then again some ignore the pigeons, some talk to the pigeons. Some feed them corn or peanuts. Cats generally wont attack them unless provoked. You can never tell." L'Angelo Mysterioso.

Whatever your views I'm in no doubt that this tasteful artwork will enhance any home with it's warm and friendly depiction of pigeon society at it's most vibrant but relaxed, warm, bright eyed avian zenith. Remember, but for the unexpected rise of mankind from the primeval and putrid soup of creation, pigeons would rest supreme at the top of the evolutionary flagpole. Can you not see this set above your baronial fireplace, ebony framed (2' 6" x 3' 3") and beaming down it's message of unity and fraternity on your delighted house guests as they enjoy a seasonal mulled wine and a slice of tiffin? Go on.

All sensible enquiries via approved GumTree accounts please.

Friday, November 13, 2020


Some days I'm a little tea pot, short to average height and not particularly stout, I'd admit to having a slight paunch at worst. I do at times struggle to get a handle on things, that's due to a mixture of age, experience and patchy education but I'm not going to apologise for any of that either. Life is life. In fairness I've been known to spout rubbish or at least not particularly well thought through opinions from time to time but haven't we all? Having said all that I'm not often picked up and I've never been poured out, partially or otherwise (not that I'd admit to that either). Few people realise or appreciate the profound pieces of observation and poetic wisdom hidden within comic or music-hall type songs of the bygone age. As for tea, I can take it or leave it.

Thursday, November 12, 2020


It's easy to say that wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. It's even easier to say that wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence. In my opinion it is also very easy to say that wisdom has been defined in many different ways, including several distinct approaches to assess the characteristics attributed to wisdom. On the whole I like things that are easy to say and, if possible, are easy to read. 

To me this, not anything else, is the "beginning to wisdom" which should not be confused with the "end of wisdom" which isn't even a thing. Wisdom is also nothing like the kind of home made soup that sticks to your ribs and makes you feel like a balloon or maybe a pregnant baboon. It's that still, small voice that whispers to your inner innerspace in the bathroom when you're flossing. Then once you leave the room you immediately forget the message.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020


 Golden leaves v green leaves.

Streams of inconsistent thought: Autumn Almanac by the Kinks, a great band but not their strongest song, perhaps unfairly overlooked in their overall catalogue. Old Moore's Almanac a weird old Irish publication I've only bought once in my life. That being in the newsagents in Inverkeithing station in 1971, a change from the NME. A fairly silly and incomprehensible set of regular prophetic writings and bits of astrology and predictions that has been in print for over 250 years. I'm not sure who would buy it these days but it's still going (which surprised me) and that's quite nice. I recall the advertising section being fun to read, really weird small ads and peculiar items for sale. There's a proper website too now, that is not any kind of recommendation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Daily ATM

Daily ATM and piece of street art. Mostly made of cardboard and Sharpie. Found somewhere in Dundee. Accepts all major bankcards and credit cards but wider use is not recommended. Possibly accepts alternative payments via users sweat and their Fitbits. Perhaps there is nothing left worth spending anything on. Please contact an engineer.

And so it came to be, without so much as a flourish of trumpets or the melting and the sealing of a seal of royal approval, the death of capitalism occurred that day on a cold and misty street somewhere on the east coast of Scotland. A new world order emerges from beneath designer face masks. A space of extreme mystery. The plan had been conceived and hatched over a murky coffee and a Portuguese custard start whilst socially distancing. All revolutions start somewhere but nobody is ever quite sure where they end.

Monday, November 09, 2020


                     Small rhubarb tart reversing out of it's cake box garage.

Some say cakes lead secret lives. That they get up to things. They are self aware. A perplexing, crusty, spongy situation. Are they our friends or are they our foes?  Sentient but edible beings? All because of the magic and mystery in the preparation and baking process and the way that those in the trade guard their secrets so closely. The truth about cakes might be too much for the public to cope with (some have said) so we remain ignorant and unconnected with all the latest thinking and information. Take it easy out there if you should encounter any stray cakes today. Just another wee thing to worry about on a Monday morning.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Overblown Claptrap

Indistinct images from the other side of the world: Finally making it big in Japan. Years of touring, promoting, sweating, sitting at home and puzzling over the future and how best to get there have paid off. We still appear to be in the same place despite determined attempts to travel, but that is quite acceptable.

Saturday, November 07, 2020


Having an imaginary victory dram for Biden:  In other news Aberdeen and Ayrshire hotelier loses election, turns out nobody really liked him much, nor his manner, nor his hotels. Oh well, I'm sure he'll find other things to do.

For the record I'm rather fond of this little extract: Tommy Vietor, a former Obama press aide, responded to Johnson’s congratulatory tweet last night by calling him a “shapeshifting creep”, adding: “We will never forget your racist comments about Obama and slavish devotion to Trump.”

Crown etc.

Saw a preview episode of the new season of "The Crown" the other evening. OK mostly but I thought that Princess Diana's character wasn't really well developed or convincing. Cracking costumes though.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020


A poor review with vague opinions on beer types: Some say the craft brewers are snobby twats, some say their beers are over priced, over hyped and over rated. After all it's just beer. Maybe but as an irregular drinker I must confess I mostly like old school English beer, slightly flat, room temperature bitter, not chilled, yum. So Tennents? Makes a good draft shandy, a nice mural, good from the can in the garden after mowing the lawn, a tin on the beach or at a barbie. The right thing at the right time? Sometimes, not always.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Avant Traction

No.1 Lightweight.
No.2 Normal.
No.3 Family Size.

Citroen Traction Avant.
The Citroรซn Traction Avant was a range of mostly 4-door saloons and executive cars, with four or six-cylinder engines, produced by the French manufacturer Citroรซn from 1934 to 1957. Approximately 760,000 units were produced. It's now seen as an iconic piece of car design. I'd have liked to own one at the time, (if I was a character in a French film or novel) maybe not so much today.

Avant/Forward: Is this what blogging and the internet and social media should be about really, just writing about things you like and posting pictures you enjoy and want to share, loosely meandering across life's nicer parts? It seems rubbish that I (we?) spend energy and time feeling that to rant about, moan, criticize and berate failing institutions, religions and the poorer/meaner aspects of human activity is necessary. Ho hum.


Monday, November 02, 2020

Dead Flowers

 "Dead Flowers" Acrylic on sacroiliac, in vinegar and pencil. A lightweight piece that looks at the plight of untended, lonely and overage vegetation summoning up uplifting but neutral themes of abandonment and desolation. The artist pursues these valiantly in energetic blue and teal tinges with an almost black metallic precision and an eye for dread and finality.  Offered at a very reasonable pre-sale sale price of £999.99 (delivery not included). The purchaser will be delighted to receive a full brown bin of inspirational organic material (part rotted) arranged within the pre-collection bin, also an empty plastic milk carton once use to water and tend various now defunct house plants. Please be aware that slight spillages and staining may occur in transit. This is quite normal and not age related.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Unfortunately, everybody is busy


"Everybody is a busybody and if you're not busy then you're not much of a body and we are experiencing an extraordinary amount of online clicks, traffic, comments, calls, tea breaks, fag breaks and interruptions right now." 

In other words our systems and our manning levels are not quite up to the task but as your time costs us nothing then you can wait. We might also just skim a small amount of cash for ourselves from the lengthy call you've now found yourself entangled in. You are after all a highly valued customer (Cue the enthralling music).

If you or a member of your family have been affected by this post them please take a few moments to stare at the two cows (pictured) and their reflections in some far away pond and try to calm down. Thank you.

How to solve boredom and restore a sense of control and purpose in your life on any rainy day. Simply head into your email inbox and, one by one seek out the unsubscribe link lurking at the bottom of all those pointless and irritating messages you now get because you once bought something from them or whatever ... and click. You're done.