Thursday, December 31, 2020

Troublesome Moon

From our soon to be released winter collection for 2021, "Troublesome Moon", seen here creating trouble (as the name suggests): Producing bouts of insanity and strange behaviour, provoking werewolves and vampires, turning tides, inspiring bad poetry and art (?), giving people funny ideas, shaping months and time in general, encouraging the exploration of space and nearby planets and lighting up the night. The spooky old moon has a lot to answer for. Available early January from the usual outlets and on-line galleries. Ask for a discount and see where that gets you.

P.S. So as the end of 2020 rolls around, what are we to say? The slow end to a deflated year where one bad thing happened after another (there were good things too, I'm sure). That sense of being ground down and then just floating, trapped in lock downs and weird isolation periods in an out of body experience, political fibs and poor excuses, clock watching and then calendar watching. Your soul drifting away in some deep and disturbed Covid dream like a loose balloon, no proper work or purpose for periods of time and a nagging anxiety about nothing that can be easily described. Looking back it's a grey cloud, hanging up in a pallid sky set across specks of lost and dusty time particles, mostly punctuated by hastily arranged, oddly happy picnics and spells of mild delirium. Thanks 2020, it's been interesting to say the least. I'm also still firmly European and I refuse to be crushed.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Stream them on Spotify

Stream us on Spotify, we'll never make any money anyway so what the hell. Despite the scenario above and the pained expression on Bart's face, it's not some kind of punishment, honest.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Spiders on Drugs


Some modern/recent history:

Allegedly scientists from NASA gave spiders drugs and recorded and measured the outcome of the exercise by comparing the webs they had spun. I'll leave you to your own conclusions.

A similar study was carried out on a selection of fifth year pupils at Dunfermline High School in 1971, the full results were never published but I understand that Skol lager and water chestnuts did quite well.

The "Spiders on Drugs" came very close to being David Bowie's backing band about the same time. Not sure what became of them.

Monday, December 28, 2020

This is not here

It's that Covid time of year again here in Tier 4 country: To be honest there's a kind of chilly, winter grubbiness hanging about the village, curtains twitch, dustbins overflow and in the distance hounds howl. The street Christmas lights and decorations have an ironic, tired out ring about them, then some bulbs flicker and slowly fade and pop. The shutters are down and the cobbles have the icy blue sheen of slippery wet dolphin backs. Here in the still and baffled never-land between Christmas and New Year, all non-essential shops and businesses are closed, there are ragged queues at take-away cafes and bored visiting city dwellers shuffle by, eyes half open and shielded from the cold by grim, seasonal determination and well planned layers of sports clothing. 

Staying safe and at home, trapped by TV,  might be a better idea. Why get yourself struck down by Covid in a coffee queue just for some fresh air ten strange miles from home? Going out when you needn't for a drink you don't enjoy in a town that's firmly locked up and fashionably ghostly. Ho hum. Of course I'm one of those lost and wandering zombies too, part of a cloud of a crowd, safely social distancing by walking in the middle of the road. All dressed up and nowhere to go and unwilling to stand in line for a tiny flat white in a paper cup, paid for by contactless; how appropriate.  Business as usual I suppose.

By the way nobody wants any 2020 review TV shows, no comedic reflections on Brexit, no "why Barnard Castle became a tourist destination" articles and no lists of the Top Ten items to panic buy and stockpile in 2021. Thanks.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Trains across Norway

A relaxing train journey is good for both the mind and soul: Stuck indoors in Tier 4 lock down? Can't squander what little remaining cash you have in the new year sales? Fed up with virtual log fires and chaotic Russian traffic videos? Why not try train driving (or at least pretending to drive one) across the snowy wastes of Norway from the relative warmth and safety of your own couch? Any port in a storm as they say.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The only god I listen to


Back in the day when we shopped, visited cafes and walked freely across the earth, as some might say god intended (also carrying the weight of our own sin on our backs): The still small Dickensian voice of Christmas Present (well yesterday's voice) leads me to an enticing free gift guide. The guide is free but the gifts are expensive and are slowly destroying the planet. Best to stay home making plans for using up your "prepper" stash of tins of chopped tomatoes in the most creative ways possible. The destruction of the planet was previously being carried out by cats but they're currently on a break and the humans have taken over for the time being. I suspect it will not end well for any particular species apart from the cockroaches. Having a pleasantly bemused Boxing Day so far.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas 2020


Happy Christmas 2020. Whether you're a good person or you're a Russian Bot, a Republican Bot, and Tory Bot or a Bot who's just plain conflicted about things. Frankly right now I don't care, it's Christmas Day and I'm making the best of it. Take it easy but remember, you don't actually have to take it.

P.S. This is a popular card around these parts, for reasons obvious to us.

And another thing...

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Exposed to Normality

I completed this personality test (or something like that) I happened upon via my questionable friend Mr Twitter, the results are pictorially displayed above. I'm exactly half normal and half abnormal, a statement that makes no sense. I guess the numbers pretty much add up to an old git who grew up in arguably more troubled and less affluent times - or maybe not. Anyways it's Christmas eve and there are other things to do, so enough of the reflection and the futile search for self understanding. Have a "normal" Christmas if you can.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Window Sharks and a Dog Bakery

Tis' the season to go a bit mental and nobody would blame you or your poor punctuation. A few things in the street nearby; the traditional Christmas Shark is now decorating household windows and bestowing good fortune on observers below, as is the custom. Meanwhile the "Dog Bakery" (an interesting and surreal addition to the selection of local shops), should be opening soon, sadly it wont be in business until that fateful new year known as number 2021 arrives with all it's pratfalls, complications and inevitable disappointments. Right now I'm unsure about how I feel with regard to most things. Life's a gas, possibly an inert one.


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Great Conjunction


Jupiter meets Saturn and everybody has seen this: However until my dear wife mentioned that this was happening I didn't know anything about it. Straight over my head. Now it's all over the media as the word spreads. Heavenly bodies behaving like heavenly bodies for once in a lifetime, anyway Google think it's worth a mention. So I borrowed their Gif. Oops.

Monday, December 21, 2020

California Dreamin'


Old, familiar words on a new wall. None of this will happen any time soon but it's nice to just imagine sometimes. The fourth line doesn't really make any sense either other than to shift blame or push a little poetic power into the statement. Mentioning the Devil in any song always adds a touch of glamour and danger. So any chance of getting back to the garden? Things have always been in some kind of a mess and wistfully and wishfully thinking of somehow going back and starting with a clean sheet is very appealing, just ask any old hippie.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Still droning on

This may seem a bit obtuse: I'm not a bible believer (and I'm ignoring anything to do with Christmas right now for obvious reasons), but that doesn't mean that I don't recognize that there are some profound truths held within it's (corruptly edited and compiled) much misunderstood pages. This little snippet, some time after the famous ark and flood adventure is, in my view, far more significant and insightful than the whole "two by two" and rainbow nonsense. 

I should add, there are some things in life that you can only understand when have traveled a fair distance and find yourself high on a hill and are able to see a long way in at least two clear and opposite directions. This may be the beginning of wisdom but it also may not last very long.
Genesis 9 v18 - 24.

v18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) v19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.

v20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. v21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. v22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. v23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.

v24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, v25 he said,

“Cursed be Canaan!
The lowest of slaves
will he be to his brothers.”


Historical footnote: If there ever was a real Noah you can be sure he did not look or dress like this nor did he have a collection of handy and attractive zoo animals paddling around the Middle East in a large wooden boat.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Iceland v Scotland

"Came from the land of the ice and snow etc." Marvelous pic of some unpronounceable, remote Icelandic spot, complete with Northern Lights, shooting stars, fractured ice and wispy snow. Scotland is a pretty decent looker of a place but Iceland is just ... far out. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Forth Crossings

I see these bridges nearly every day. I can check them out from our sitting room window provided I'm motivated enough to stand up and look out. It may be in a Covid racked Scotland, curled up and angry with it's twisted fate, an oppressed colony of the evil Empire of Westminster and perpetually bewildered, but it's still all pretty good to me. This sanitized but realistic picture was taken from the nearby sea front, which provides a clearer and more satisfying view of the night-scape Forth road crossings. Thank you for your time and patience.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Daytime TV at night


We're still sticking with the YouTube logs as a means to heat up the house and provide some ambient flickerings, working well so far but the weather remains unseasonally mild. By doing this we have erased the invisible and sometimes disputed links between daytime TV and night time TV, they have merged into one homogenized glowing screen of impenetrable warmth and a vacuum of subjectless content. A rainbow bridge across the chasm of puerile programming and the Nirvana of a mysterious black object staring back at you from space. Stanley Kubrick was seldom wrong.  Perfect for the times we exist in.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Jolly Penguin and his pals

It could have been Noggin the Nog in the form of sweeties but it was not: Always a pleasure, never a chore, the ceremonial demolition of the Christmas chocolate boxes began earlier than usual this year. Blame Covid and a lack of social life and decent TV I suppose. The bar was set unnaturally high with this massive single tier offering from some Hotel chain somewhere that is apparently constructed mainly from chocolate. Quite a claim but one I would not dispute. Taking a measured approach to this challenge we worked steadily through it and deliberately did not scoff the lot in one binge watch or rainy evening sitting. It took a little longer (which was worth the mild frustration) but now it has been picked clean. The happy vultures were agreed that this is possibly the highest scoring selection already and we don't even know what is yet to come. Hail the Jolly Penguin and his brown and white entourage, as Alan Partridge might say.

 The carcass, picked clean.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Swan Theme


Captain's Log, Stardate 47634.44. A locally produced and loyal swan complete with large swan's feet takes a moment to inspect possible rudder damage that may have been sustained during a recent shallow dive manoeuvre. As it turned out all the rearward facing control surfaces were found to be fully serviceable and in good order and so the long journey across the pond continued without further event. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Distorted Materials

Essential Sunday evening viewing: 

Children running about looking angry and confused, one has a knife but no idea what to do with it. The heroic girl is baffled. You know they're just going to run around aimlessly in a repetitive film set for most of this episode. The boy with the knife isn't feeling too good.

A man in a balloon reacts slowly to having a practicing Shaman on board and assumes the laws of conventional physics still apply to his trip. 

Priests talk very slowly and deliberately then frown and use the word heretic like it was some kind of unexploded bomb buried in the crotch of their cassocks. They are in a state of perpetual outrage. 

Grumpy woman arrives in a strange world wearing unusually practical clothes, encounters ghostly CGI monsters and scares them away, purely by using the strength of her mind and her determination. Her pet monkey does not seem to be fully aware of her intentions and is surprised at her show of force. 

A roving Irish woman hands out drugs to innocent kids. 

Meanwhile in the mountains, wooden witches act as if they were in some early Dr Who episode where every badly written line requires an excruciating level of over acting in order for it to be delivered. They perform a healing ritual before being attacked by some more CGI monsters.

The grumpy woman casually downs two bottles of wine, crushes a snake and kills the man who insulted her. 

The evil grey airships attack the balloon but the Shaman summons up thunderstorms and crows to down them. They plummet down in flames. Hundreds may be dead in the disaster, nobody is sure. The balloon may well crash land.

The end titles run. Well that was actually quite good.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Alternative History


The alternative history of the world in 101 household objects. Today it's the stereo owned by Jimi Hendrix which is "recreated" in his London flat. Presumably along with a set of his records and albums and other groovy stuff. I suppose this is actual recent history but it does seem like a lifetime ago (because it is!) when these crazy, daring types were barnstorming across the musical landscape, leaving incredible tracks and then self destructing either quite quickly or in some slow and terrible way over the decades to come. We all watched their collective pain, noted their suffering and wrinkles but didn't really learn anything. Not sure what's worse,old hippies, old punks, old Goths or just old people in general. Hmm.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Minimalist Nativity

One hedonistic moment after another: Obviously inspired by the scene depicted above I decided to create my own less well composed version of the classic Nativity grouping (below for the avoidance of doubt). Imitation is a reasonable and justifiable kind of flattery I suppose. Basically it's just stealing someone else's idea and then not executing it quite so well but still trying to claw some creative credit together for yourself. Then, if you wish to go deeper, there may be coded theological references hidden in the names and types of products used (?). One for Bible scholars there. Thankfully no cleaning products were harmed in the creation of these slightly disturbing images.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Christmas Telly

As everyone knows, traditional Christmas telly is in fact traditional Christmas shite with few if any redeeming qualities, all seasonal special programs are best avoided. This year we have endeavored to redress the cultural imbalance and now simply watch one of the many YouTube seasonal offerings i.e. "log fire c/w soft seasonal jazz background and crackling log sound effects", 10hrs of relaxed viewing well spent. A highly suitable and soporific background for home working, cat antics observations or constructing elaborate fish finger sandwiches. It also saves on logs, reduces greenhouse gases and gives off a reasonable amount of sustainable heat (that is completely imaginary).

Thursday, December 10, 2020

King of Screenwash

 Winter cats* don't go out in rain 
Stare through glass silently complain 
Lick up the gravy ignore all the fat 
Nine times nine times lives of cats.
Winter cats curl up and purr 
Sneak and scamper scatter fur 
Sniff the air and lie down flat 
Nine times nine times lives of cats.
Nine times nine times lives of cats.
Fine time nice time Winter cats.

*Original handwritten manuscript discovered hidden in the archives  thought to belong to Bob Dylan's grandmother in 1966.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

A certain sense of speed

Driving north on the silky surface (?) of the M90, going down the big hill towards Bridge of Earn in the outside lane and overtaking some large HGVs. Wheeee!*

*A journey I only make occasionally and not so often in these troubled times.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Episodic Episodes

How I discovered... 
(An occasional series that may never be repeated but this is the first episode in a lifetime of episodic episodes): 
Hejira / Hegira. 
An album of songs by Joni Mitchell.
The Hegira is the journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib, later renamed by him Medina, in the year 622. In May 622, after being warned of a plot to assassinate him, Muhammad secretly left his home in Mecca to emigrate to Yathrib, 320 km north of Mecca, along with his companion Abu Bakr.

Hejira is the eighth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. The songs on the album were largely written by Mitchell on a trip by car from Maine back to Los Angeles, with prominent imagery including highways, small towns and snow. Characterized by lyrically dense, sprawling songs, as well as the overdubbed fretless bass playing of Jaco Pastorius (whom Mitchell had just met), Hejira continued the musician's journey beyond her pop records towards the freer, jazz inspired music she would adopt on later recordings.

In about 1974 or 75, I returned home from the ashes of a failed musical venture in Jersey and fell down a black hole that did not look like a black hole at the time. Some might say that is exactly the problem with black holes, being able to identify them and avoid them in good time. Mine had a few silver linings, it's just that they were not obvious to me. Anyway I failed to correct things and was engulfed in the black hole for a while. I was also unaware at the time that any of this was happening being a black hole denier. Turns out that you only learn about your life by looking backwards at the various ruins and piles of rubble peppered with odd spots of colour along the way, I'm now a master at this grim but amusing art. 

So the circumstances leading up to me discovering Hejira were nearly really normal but not really normal. When the album was released in 1976 I wasn't listening to music, I was a ghost. I did see a mirror depicting the cover on display in a market in Cockburn Street Edinburgh. That was my only experience of it but the image stayed. Joni Mitchell was OK but nothing special. Life moved on. Occasionally I listened.

A few years later, I'm married, I have kids and I'm holding down a job and for fun I'm attending college in Bath, England. Though my family are down staying in Bath with me, after a while they move back to Scotland and I travel up and down as work and study times allow and live in a room in a Victorian mansion out on London Road. Everyday at lunchtime my group of students go for a run along the canals. We socialize a bit, have meals together and nights out, mostly we're not local so it helps keep spirits up and passes otherwise dead time. It's 1985 now. I may be losing bits of my hair at the edges of my head.

Finally, before the exams and assessments were carried we meet up one last night for a meal and whatever else. I remember it was the first time I'd encountered Grolsch beer bottles and their revolutionary caps. We ended up in some club but only all got in after we managed to all convince the doorman we had ties (?). This involved some subterfuge whereby in order to arrive at the correct number of ties per person, ties had to be smuggled out and reworn by the person hoping to gain entry. My thin red leather tie was one of the main assets in this venture. It worked and soon we all back on the bottle and bopping to Simple Minds or some other 80s twanging chancers from Glasgow. 

Suffice to say I never did see the tie again (not a problem) but the guy who'd last worn it was a good sort and he recompensed me some time later with a HMV voucher for £10s that one day arrived in the post. I was back home by now, the hectic, mid-life student days being a thing of the past. 

I'm not too excited about the voucher so it goes in the wallet and I guess I'll spend it one day.  For some reason I had to go into Edinburgh so I decided to go in on my motorbike, a small Honda. It was a windy April day and I can recall not enjoying going over the Forth Bridge but eventually I got into town, did what I had to do (can't recall) but also wandered into HMV for a browse.

These were the golden years of the Sony Walkman and the stereo cassette tape. It was to that counter I was headed. Regular journeys down to and up from Bath had made the Walkman essential and I needed new or at least different material. So I idly picked up a copy of Hejira, remembering the mirror in the shop many years ago and I picked up another cassette, I've no idea which. Impulse buying at it's finest. I was in no hurry to listen to them, I headed home and put them aside, as you do.

Somehow Hejira made it's way down to Bath with me where, apart from odd sparks of  college social life I was mostly alone, evenings and weekends. I was supposed to be working on some project management kind of thesis, writing it longhand as these were the days before laptops and PCs, strange to think of that now. Eventually it would be typed up and bound by some disinterested typist, and it duly was and again, as is normal, duly forgotten once marked. As fudgey and tortuous a piece of drivel as you'd never wish to read but it gained me a pass.

In the background I had started to listen to Hejira. It was akin to beginning some strange drug taking habit. Silent and dark, growling calmly, mysterious and smokey in some elusive but heavyweight way like an opium paste dripping slowly from a knife blade. It was in the spindly headphones, regularly competing with passing traffic, the landlady's hoover or my own thinly spread out thoughts.

It wasn't a particularly productive period of my life, I was skimping on expenses so we could have a family holiday in Ibiza, I wasn't writing or playing music, it was heads down and study and get myself comatosed by any cheap alcohol and music, Herija was starting to get a grip. Train to Reading, bus to Heathrow, flight to Edinburgh, car back to Fife, the soundtrack was forming up. Then back down again on a Sunday afternoon and into the Huntsman by the Abbey or the Boater by Pultney Bridge for a quick pint and the required stare into the oblivion of bar room mirrors.

"I could say each song is an actual journey but that would be a lie. They do transport the listener, whoever that might be." Quotes courtesy of the bad journalism of the NME. I never did take that paper seriously. What was serious though was the live version on "Amelia" on Shadows and Light. The songs is stretched out by a lengthy coda in the form of a meandering Pat Metheny guitar solo. As he starts he heads up a scale and it just sounds a bit out, there's this one single note that jars. It's weird, I think about that note a lot. That's also weird.

Meanwhile in Bath my life was slowly unraveling to the tunes of Hejira. I could feel the stitches come apart, one by one as I descended into getting to know myself as a fully formed adult. One Saturday I had a strange epiphany, I was walking down Walcott Street and I decided to buy a burger for lunch. Designer/fancy burgers were a new concept to 30 year old me,  a man unsure what mayo was and how garlic might taste, I was in a dietary slump. I bit into the garlic mayo burger out on the cobbled street as "Song for Sharon" played in my headphones. Looking back it was the precise moment I lost my religion, I couldn't care less about god or belief, I saw myself alone and confused but rooted in the material world. I didn't look back and I didn't tell anybody. It was all to complicated and I knew I lacked the basic vocabulary to describe what was happening.

Fast forward, life's wonky cassette player is running too quickly. I'm in Scotland on the A811, a road as straight as a crooked arrow. The same songs are playing. Everyday I drive 75 miles there, 75 miles back. I'm in a state of hypnosis for the full 90 minutes. News, music, news, tapes, Hejira. This is the journey. The strange thing is it gets me nowhere. I'm a tiny spec moving across a landscape, that's all it every is, moving. One morning, about 6.45am a huge white owl hit my windscreen. It bounced off and way into the darkness, the windscreen remained intact. The car was a battered Rover, tougher than I'd imagined it would be. Owl proof. A great white portent had marked me now, sought me out and awoken me. The tapes kept on rolling as I mulled things over and began to wake up. Heaven was trying to get my wandering attention, as were the twists on the A811.

Now I'm older and wiser. I tell myself that I understand myself much better now. I understand many things I might have misunderstood, an advantage of the aging process and the ongoing delusion of progress. I tune in on a occasional basis, just to keep grounded, mostly while driving, that's their natural setting. Back and forwards across the Queensferry Crossing, slowing down then speeding up, searching for a break in the traffic, taking the exit lane, respecting other road users, watching others speed off into the distance and wondering where they might be going. Then, quite by chance seeing yourself in another car, headed in the opposite direction.

These are not songs for funerals, old men or the bewildered. They're not for background noise or filler. Nor are they fit for some kind of careful eulogy or signing off, there's no apology to be had for listening and no easy explanation as to what they might mean. They are about something that's more than something. I just can't quite put my finger on it at the moment though, but on my next long journey I'll be there, alone, listening.

Monday, December 07, 2020

December Rain


There was a lot of it the other night, better today I think. Now let's get on with things and live our lives upwards, onwards and far away from the corrupt media's propaganda and politician's slime (how is that ever going to happen?).

Sunday, December 06, 2020

It started life as a field of cabbages


"The drones that flew over were equipped with a special lens. It was developed by NASA, so somebody said. The world is hungry so we need to survey the food industry, the great bread baskets, the green spaces where migrant workers toil as they bury their dreams in the soil. We'll learn something valuable. So we used the special lens. The project leader often spoke about unintended consequences, they get them a lot of the time. When you start to watch things, even from afar the watched thing behaves, well differently. That's what physics tells us and who can argue, I have a degree in arguing and where did that ever get me? There's a pile of evidence. Anyway when it all began it was just a huge cabbage patch sown into the Korean landscape. As we observed we began to see beyond that, there were other levels, other lives and quirks and then came the knowledge that even the light was playing tricks on us. Whatever you think you're seeing, you're not. That's just the thin skin, the superfluous surfaces, the mirror that stares back. Now you need your own lens."

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Everyday events in Bizarro World

In Bizarro World a four in-line cylinder auto engine is compared with a two cylinder boxer engine. The two cylinder boxer wins out as it has magical properties and runs on some sophisticated fairy dust kind of fuel. Turns out it's soother and more reliable and everybody wants one #BizarroPhysics. I believe that this is the direction that Tesla is now headed with it's latest research. 

To the tune of "What if God appeared and said 'by the way it's pronounced Jod' and then disappeared forever". (He may have also whispered under his breath, "a curse on your churches and your cruel and overbearing colonial attitudes towards cultures you don't understand").

Friday, December 04, 2020

Nine Day Score

Very interesting musical concept and striking design, details are here. All very downloadable for a reasonably small fee. The famous Cafe OTO in Dalston plays no small part in this.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

If badgers were reptiles

If badgers were reptiles and not err...badgers, (maybe repto-badgers), Wind in the Willows might have been an all together different kind of story. In another parallel universe far far away, badgers are also enamel badges (with hidden pins) but still manage to go about their business in a fairly workmanlike badger way. Well done you various kinds of non-existent imaginary badgers. 

Fun Fact: All badgers like to squish mud as it can be a joyful medium to do dance moves in using the strange vibrations they create with their rigid arm movements.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Not everyday I feel superior

So to give this painting it's full title and to prevent you from wondering here we have: "It's not everyday I feel superior, just most days".  This almost original artwork and inspirational piece is now available for exclusive distribution. In pastel and acrylic this contemporary work depicts the internal conflict that often prevails between our own physical and spiritual selves. A key element in gaining understanding of these somewhat elusive truths is shown in the mountain top scene where the subject is wearing a scarf but critically no actual socks. In certain circles this outward gesture (the clear depiction of naked socklessness) is viewed as a telling comment on the inner spiritual vacuum that might prevail during a sustained period of metaphorical mountaintop isolation when the subject is experiencing a "bliss crisis". In all things you must speak with the hidden voice and and listen with the silent ear to view with the crystal eye and so come to your own conclusions.

Please contact us via out usual lofty mountain peak bivouac address for further information on prospective purchases and career advice*.

*Address only known by those within the inner circle of the inner circle.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Occasional Guitar Clinic


So after only 40+ years of playing Les Paul (type) guitars, why have I only stumbled upon "top wrap" now? Idly watching YouTube I came across what was described as a "controversial secret" that's been argued about on forums and in venues and studios since god knows when. News to me but then I don't get out much. It seems there's a healthy body of professional opinion that says wrapping the strings round and over on a Gibson type bridge improves tone, sustain and tuning. Well I never. Naturally I tried it yesterday morning, adding a fresh set of strings and a bit of cleaning up in the process. Does it make difference? Well a day in it's hard to be sure but it may well be a change for the better.

P.S.Gibson's own promotional materials seem to show their bridges being used both ways so it's really whatever you think and are comfortable with.

Another hack I happened upon came up on YouTube a few minutes after top wrap concerns keeping unwound strings in tune on a Gibson  3 x 3 style neck. To solve the numerous tuning issues (and all other non-straight pull string configurations guitars have), wind the string from middle to top (not middle to bottom) when tightening and tuning. This will cure all those ongoing issues you probably have with unwound Gs, notoriously the most awkward bastards of the string community. Does it work? Sounding OK so far, and excuse the illustrated untidy string winds.

Final tip (and one I've known for ages) a small shot of lead pencil graphite on the nut and bridge rollers (or pieces) can help lubricate and steady the strings and also preserve tuning and create a little less wear and tear (ping!).