Thursday, August 05, 2021
Wednesday, August 04, 2021
There maybe two bees in this photo or one bee and a smudge, not sure. I've discovered that trying to count the amount of bees in a garden at any one time is difficult. They simply refuse to stay still long enough to allow you to focus in on them. There's probably a scientific method that allows an accurate figure to be arrived at using a complex statistical formula, a grid, two finely sliced lemons, a pot of jam and a special camera borrowed from NASA.
Speaking of insects: Why, when said in a certain way, does the word "mosquito" also sound a lot like "whisky toad"?
Tuesday, August 03, 2021
Monday, August 02, 2021
We come and go, we are all alone except we are not. As above: a rocky promontory where tourists and day trippers sit and noisily scoff fish and chips while enjoying the view. The smells hang in the air in the still of the slow summer evening but I've had my tea. Locals generally avoid this area for their own personal reasons, all of which remain a set of closely guarded secrets that outsiders can never know or understand. That also includes me.
Meanwhile an old Saab (there are only old Saabs now, a fact that annoys me) is still stuck at the top of a short set of steps that it can never hope to negotiate. It sits and stares forlornly down the close, towards the High Street and all it's bright, shining, imagined pleasures and distractions. There is also fresh festival bunting as now it is THAT time of year.
If you are sensing any sense of despair in these words then your sense of your sense of despair could be described as reasonably accurate but still sadly misplaced.
Sunday, August 01, 2021
Bob does tend to look a little menacing these days, even at 80 years. It lends a certain weight to his words. Actually I do understand everything referred to, everything said, every word, light and shade, tone and aspects of nuance ... and I understand it all better than you because of my own lived experiences and big dramatic ears, there.
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Overheard/addressed at the barber shop:
As a young man Donald Trump was an early supporter of action against global warming but later changed his tune.
Only pepper a steak after it is cooked. Pepper burns and should be the last thing you add during frying steak. Steak and chicken need to "rest" after cooking.
The army always include curry powder in their ration packs to pep up leftovers and other bland foods.
Joe Biden is being played by an actor as the real Joe Biden has Dementia.
Hair clipper manufacturers only provide cheap electric cables with their items so they can resell overpriced spares when the originals get tangled and broken. Also covering a clipper with Elastoplast provides a better grip in the warm weather. Why are rubber sleeves for trimmers and clippers not available?
It's easy to confuse TV show Dragon's Den with the Apprentice. (?)
Why are Fridays no longer busy but Thursdays (and the mid week in general) now are?
There is no such thing as a firm price for a haircut.
You cant estimate anyone's age these days.
I wouldn't watch Celtic.
Older bikers are always offended by offers to trim their eyebrows.
Viagra is available on prescription - making it free in Scotland.
Lidl stock the best value wines, bleach and male grooming products. All their stores are "massive". ("I've got their Quick Noodles for my lunch. I know it looks like pizza but it's noodles").
One of Scotland's top surgeons, an Asian chap, was in here the other day and he told me ...
You should not attempt to cut hair and solder electrical items at the same time.
Friday, July 30, 2021
When, in a peculiar serendipitous way you come across a photo that you somehow assign some kind of a more profound meaning to but then you struggle to come up with whatever that might be in a meaningful form of words. In other words (they just keep coming) I'm stuck at the moment with nothing more to say about the image. I suppose it's like writing a song or melody and never quite getting a lyric that fits.
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
After extensive tree husbandry, not to mention patchy care and sporadic attention, we're going to be rewarded this year with a single plum. The fruit of some sweaty labours, assuming that this little green fellow survives the next few weeks of wind, rain, loud traffic noises and random wasp attacks.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Dear Lord Jesus, Buddha, The Great Pumpkin, Mohammed, Eric Clapton, Krishna, Mickey Mouse, Ra and Karl Marx.
Are your children turning out the way you planned?
Anyway thanks for listening but my expectations are low, as gods you're all pretty useless by the way. I won't be worshiping any time soon. Amen.
Monday, July 26, 2021
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Sex Windows: There is such a thing but it's not what you think and best not to Google it. See also Time Buckets, life balance, Parkinson's Law, holistic approach, curse of perfectionism etc.
I sometimes think as you get older you become more comfortable with being average or ordinary. You realize that over time, looking back everything just kind of smooths itself out into a rather flat landscape, not dull or devoid of features but nonetheless quietly familiar and, because all those things are now in the past, quite acceptable. The stories that you might tell yourself about your life are less biased, less spikey or hot. Somewhere along the way a river rose up and cooled the landscape, rounded the hard edges and covered the assorted junk up with sediment. A fish just swam past my elbow. Here's to inner peace.
Meanwhile the interior of our fridge acts as a timely reminder as to the legacy and habits of Howard Hughes. This image is in fact pretty much the opposite of that whole thing.
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Friday, July 23, 2021
If you walk for long enough and far enough you eventually get to the bottom of the garden. Funnily enough I've never heard of anybody walking to the top of the garden. Anyway, when you get to the bottom of the garden, sit down and turn around (not necessarily in that order), the world looks a bit like this, and this.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
I wonder if anyone ever called the Wings album Band on the Run, Bland on the Run? Maybe some irate reviewer who didn't bow down and worship Paul McCartney and was subsequently fired by his newspaper tried that along with a two star score.
It's an album I've not listened to for over 40 years - would it pass/stand the test of time, tide and musical fashion changes? Before radio friendly rock was a thing BotR was a family favourite you could confidently play in any reasonable company. A box of chocolates album where you'd like at least two or three songs and know them pretty well. Granny might tap her feet and the BBC's best establishment figures were featured on the front cover. Cosy and unpretentious stuff, a relic from different times. Standfast Peter Cook (who wasn't even there but I thought was).
Well, though it didn't grow directly out of the Abbey Road album it certainly inhabits the Abbey Road universe. It's on that continuum where the Beatles trajectory, splintered by the split, saw McCartney still plugging away and writing on but without Lennon's raspy face reflected in the mirror. So it's all better humoured, less acidic to the taste, duller at the edges but ... it's OK. It's a good pop/rock record.
There are many tales about how it was recorded in Lagos, the problems and the personalities, that's all history now. The album still stands up, I still like it, it's vanilla but there's nothing wrong with that. There never was going to be a revolution then, it's unlikely now despite where we currently squat so, if you're listening on vinyl, start with the Mamunia side, that was the norm back in 74. I've no idea why either.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
In Scotland, when it's warm we like to go outside and look around, observe activity and that sort of thing. So ... flowers in a hanging basket flanked by bricks and a wrought iron stairway.
Trees behaving badly, bending and growing old on the banks of the Lake of Menteith. The only lake (not a loch) in Scotland.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Monday, July 19, 2021
It's here, I found it, at Ballinluig Services in Scotland, the world's hottest take-out latte, undrinkable for a full fifteen minutes as it slowly and reluctantly cools, even with the lid off. For scientific purposes the ambient air temperature at the time was 23C. Not sure if that is relevant. Takeaway price £3 (a little unreasonable in my opinion) but the high serving temperature means that it lasts a long time, in this case to the next stop another 12 miles along the road. Taste test: 7/10.
Sunday, July 18, 2021
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Friday, July 16, 2021
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Let me begin by saying that I'm sorry that I've neglected you for so long. I just tend to forget about your function and existence. You are to me but a poor utility device that I ignore, regularly. I delete many things, mainly because I use up and mess up many things, mostly photos and graphics. You bear the brunt of my erratic industry like a neglected filing cabinet or industrial archive space. A glory hole and dump that is seldom checked or maintained. You fill up and never complain, you seem infinite yet the space you have is real and I presume limited. Big fat files, stupid little ones, you never complain.
The thing that I wonder is, once in a while when I do bother to clear you out, where does all that digitally digested poo actually end up? Where is the output and spoil, the junk and the file effluent? Sometimes I suspect it's not deleted at all, like matter that cannot be destroyed. Ghosts and shadows and undying crap I simply can't see any more. You're not a bin or a recycling machine, you're a hiding place and your main task is to hide things from me. All for the long (or short) life of this device. You are a cloak of intrigue and invisibility, hiding my past sins, bad ideas and excesses in a place where, without some expensive hack or kindly, free, open sourced bot I'll never find them.
So thanks for those fleeting and pale memories, I've forgotten most of them already.
The fingers that typed this.
Monday, July 12, 2021
Sunday, July 11, 2021
In many ways statues are a daft idea, unless they are a bit wonky or abstract. When they go for realism it doesn't quite work for me. Sorry Michelangelo I'm sure you did your very best. So, this is a fisher woman statue in the town of Nairn, it popped up in my Twitter feed as things often do, providing more random thought provocation. I did think about my two old grannies, now long gone, born two centuries ago almost. One was proper fish-wife, from Lerwick to Yarmouth she followed the shoals, the other less so but she was still working hard in a struggling fishing community. Times were hard.
I don't much like this sombre statue, not sure what it's supposed to convey. I guess it might make people on their caravan holidays stop and think for a moment on their way to the fish and chip shop, like Mollie Malone in Dublin. My grannies were well worn down by the fishing, the hard work, the fickle nature of the industry, the exploitation of labour and successive government's indifference to the workers. Meanwhile fishing remained (and remains) one of the most dangerous professions.
There was little romance in gutting wet, stinking fish on a frosty afternoon on a cold quayside ... for pennies and broken fish. OK, maybe the statue is a reasonable tribute but it doesn't really do justice to the lifestyle and industry that came and went as the unsustainable methods and get rich quick boat owners destroyed the fish stocks and left a hollowed out set of communities*.
*See also mining, ship building, iron and steel, railways, engineering/car manufacture, oil and agriculture. A kinder, gentler form of "Highland/Lowland clearance.
The Sunday morning (quiet) rant is now over.
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Friday, July 09, 2021
We currently live close to a bus stop. Surprisingly it's used by people, their behaviour varies a lot. They wait there for buses (there are two routes, one I know, one I don't) and they also get off there after their journey. I try not to think of them as "bus wankers" but that famous phrase does stick. It sticks even though I have a free bus pass and occasionally when on a bus I'll think, we're all just bus wankers now. It's hard wired. Had I Tourette's I'd be shouting it now. I'm sure that same thought and urge passes through the mind of god on a fairly regular basis.
Bus stop conversations, antics or chance encounters often encroach on our otherwise sublime peace. They seep through the kitchen window gap like Lewis Carroll's fictional, shadowy treacle might do on a warm day. Too loud chattering between strangers, attention seeking rhetoric, drunks staggering about, youths swearing and shouting, seagulls attacking the bin, dog owners briefing their dogs on a potential out of body experience, confused tourists looking for the Forth Bridge, couples snogging in the drizzle, habitual offenders (daily riders who spit, smoke, quaff energy drinks or allow their headphones to bleed), howling bairns, temporary rain shelterers, old people with malfunctioning volume controls and Co-op bags, unfamiliar tongues wagging (Chinese, Weegie, Polish or Proper London), sneaky farters. All human life is there, passing through, at least until the bus finally turns up.
Thursday, July 08, 2021
He's not dumb, he's just challenged in few significant areas but still lovable. Mostly pooing in the wrong place is the current problem ("there's a right place?" retorts the cat) and throwing up randomly where a fur ball missile is expected but instead breakfast reappears. In this shot he's just been rudely awoken, few creatures can stand this type of thing. You can see it in his eyes.
Wednesday, July 07, 2021
For posterity and foodie reference, front elevation and plan view: A constructed and slightly deconstructed fish finger sandwich, although I'll concede it's not strictly a sandwich if sandwiches are 2 x bread slices with the contents between, as it's a bread roll (or bap or bun if you will). As an addition I'd recommend a liberal dose of garlic mayo be applied and enjoyed.
Tuesday, July 06, 2021
Filing this in the somewhat overused category known as "things that just never occurred to me". It turns out that there are people who never drink water, ever, because (mostly) they don't like the taste. So what does water taste like and what makes that taste unpleasant to some? Perhaps they have over sensitive taste buds, maybe they've never tried "real" water. Maybe they just want the attention of gagging at a water jug over a meal. Is it some sort of badge of honour amongst certain types of individual?
I don't really think water has any real taste unless it's tainted or flavoured, or stagnant. Regular tap water just tastes of mostly nothing, well here in damp and often dismal Scotland it does. It's some utilitarian thing like air or light. It's there and we use it thoughtlessly but regularly. But this is not true for some people as they obviously avoid all oral contact with it. This kind of thing makes me feel like a bit of a simpleton, scoffing food and drink with no thought or actually stopping to savor the actual product. No.
Presumably they wash in it, boil it and make tea or coffee or drink juice but hate the taste of plain water (?). They must be risking their health up to a point, kidney stones, digestive issues, dehydration and so on. Also they are missing how water just hits the spot, cleanses the palate and perks you up in the glorious slough of despond that is a hangover. Coca-Cola does that job pretty well I have to say. How do they clean their teeth? Hmm.
Monday, July 05, 2021
Sunday, July 04, 2021
Saturday, July 03, 2021
"I swear that big grumpy box is eyeing me up. It wants to eat me. Why am I attractive to cold cardboard carton creatures? Perhaps it's seeking revenge for my recycling or refuse efforts, I've crushed a few of it's mates I suppose, burned others. Either that or it wants to package me up, smother me in Prime labels and bar codes and send me of to an address in Glasgow instead of the lawnmower and plant food that the family there are expecting. Like the Velvet Underground's "Gift". All in all I'm uneasy, agitated and bordering on total paranoia. Amazon, I quit!"
Friday, July 02, 2021
Thursday, July 01, 2021
I found out the other day that the term "mixed race" has been replaced by "mixed heritage". No sure how these things happen or how compliance is achieved but fair enough, somebody will be happy. Less offence may be taken albeit the multiple wrongs done in colonial history and it's sporadic invasions are sadly well beyond any kind of retrospective correction. People argue that words and names make a difference (they probably do) but there's always someone who's left behind in these academic and complex rebrandings i.e. older people like me who can't think clearly.
I however, looking back on my family history, am of an unmixed or even fixed/stalled heritage. Bordering on incestuous due to an understandable inability to travel or explore (?), the tiny East Neuk villages I hail from were ignored and uninterrupted by incomers for centuries. Family trees are often close to being straight lines. People married locally and so generations grew poorer, shorter and stupider and so on ... the unmixed heritage model built up pure but peculiar blood and breeding with no mongrel additions or invasive species. We lived on potatoes and herring, alcohol and/or periods of enforced abstinence and temperance. A few convenient world wars helped to steady the number of inbred victims and religious guilt did it for the rest by banning sex as it just might be seen as "fun".
Unnecessary footnote: Our cats (as above) are highly mixed to the point of being feral in all but behaviour. What doesn't kill you makes you strong, or at least it makes you interesting.
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
I quite like the idea of a slow spillage sign being applied to a stream of lava, crawling in slow motion down a mountainside and gradually thickening and burning up the ground it covers. Anyway this is about a DIY road sign spotted locally. A Sharpie written white board on an old black chair warning passing motorists that diesel has been spilled all over the road.
A short while after I'd clocked this, a wagon from Edinburgh City Council arrived and scattered absorbent material across the offending area. The homemade sign remains on station, guarding the damaged stretch of roadway. Someone, somewhere is a well loved folding chair short tonight and are unable to sit by the kitchen table. Remember them in your thoughts and prayers.
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
I've noticed that despite appearing to be composed of strait lines in concrete and wood, Dundee's temple of inequality and tone deafness, the V&A, is squint and cock-eyed in a number of places (if you look closely). Not sure if this some formal but informal style, a deliberate trick or just "how it all turned out" due to the vagaries of materials and settlement. It remains an enigmatic building that I continue to like despite myself, interesting on the outside, strangely full of wasted space on the inside and somehow unable to produce exhibitions with any kind of "wow" factor. Like some alien thing it just doesn't gel with the world outside and the city it sits precariously on the edge of. Fife looks on blankly as the V&A's tortured jaw butts out across the Tay with a silent menace.
The latest exhibition, entitled Disco (?) looks for all the world like it was pulled together from the 5th year school notes of some upper class kid travelling around Europe on her trust fund in the 90s. So it's mostly full of privilege signals, absolute pish and chatty tittle tattle ("here's my first ever joint in France etc."). Some might argue that it's worthy of being put out there as a record but frankly there's no connection in there that fits with Dundee life or Scotland's art scene, not now or in the 90s. The days when you could stick Polaroids on a wall along with old DJ flyers and Sharpie notes name checking your pals and call it art have I think long gone.
I wonder how long it will last before the plug is pulled.
Monday, June 28, 2021
Sunday, June 27, 2021
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Encountering the great beyond close at hand: I opened my eyes this morning, struggled into unsteady wakefulness and the conscious world only to see before me conclusive proof that as I slept, once again a great tear has occurred in the space time continuum. I'm sorry but this was on my watch. I must remember not to fall asleep and so allow this to happen. Sometimes I think I take a little too much responsibility upon myself but I guess that's just my nature.