Saturday, July 31, 2021

At the Barbers

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

Ready Made Ambivalence

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. 

In this instance I didn't even create the photo. I just happened upon it so I can't even take a small % of any credit. There's some sort of repetitive creative bankruptcy here but the more I think about it the more I understand that this is all quite normal for me. Perhaps it's just a good photo and so there's no need to try to get deeper into it.

Did I mention that this photo, at some weird level, really entices me to have a cool glass of fat but guilt free Coca-Cola?

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Life's a long and complex song

Dean Martin's crooning version is possibly the best, "Sweet, sweet, the memories you gave me," declare the luxuriant backing singers, like some hypnotic message designed to lull you to sleep and into those sweet if slightly fabricated dreams.

As the human aging process progresses what were once crystal clear memories morph into odd randomized items, curios and junk tossed into an overloaded and difficult to access psychedelic skip. There's no clear filing or location method, items stay where they fell, mixed up and buried. However that does make the process of recall a lot more interesting and generally means that looking back on life, the possibly fictionalized memories become increasingly more real than the real ones ever did.  A bit like how the western world writes it's history I suppose. We're all at it. Unreliable memoirs are written and over written continually. 

After a while nobody can contradict you about your own version of your life ... the strange beauty and benefits of now dead witnesses paying off. Facts don't matter, just a dynamic narrative. So you self edit according to the outcomes you'd prefer to believe as you go along. After a while they slowly become real and superimpose themselves over the other (realistic but tedious or disappointing) versions. Eternal life is therefore faintly living on in the minds of others as your own bungled work of fiction, coloured by the wreckage of the indifferent recollections of  your peers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

One Plum

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.

I woke up with Cinnamon Girl rattling around in my head, full of unresolved chords resolving and my mispronounced lyrics spilling across my imagination. It had been an uneventful night, the promised thunderstorms described so eloquently by the motorway warning signs in amber capitals did not appear over our town. 

The extreme weather stayed away and presumably all landed on Clarkson's Farm in the Cotswolds to thwart his harvesting plans. I felt slightly cheated. I wanted the rain's sweet drum beats on the window to stir me at 3am as distant thunder rolled across the River Forth like an attacking alien force.

So today it's mild rain, broody skies, sticky temperatures and no biblical style storm. I hope the solitary plum survived the horrid ordeal. Thursday's looking a bit rough according to the Met Office, it may take a battering then, I'll see what the AI on the motorway thinks.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A Prayer

"The great gods of  TV sport remain strangely ambivalent towards the BBC's hysterical but restrained coverage of whatever sporting event is currently taking place."

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 Window

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


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Friday, July 23, 2021

Bottom of the Garden

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

Play the Mamunia side


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

Scotland: Daily Photo

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.

Hot loaves of bread cooling in a back alley behind an artisan bakery. I dislike the term "artisan" being thrown around like some wartime medal to describe food and drink but it does seem to fit on this occasion and at this location. I was tempted to steal a loaf like some cartoon apple pie from a window sill, I resisted and simply bought one. Everyone gets urges now and then but best to do the right thing if you can.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Looking West

Queen's View in July. A sunny day. Old people, confused tourists, people complaining about the parking, midges and the heat. 10:00 AM. Loch Tummel and beyond. Nice lookout though. The mythical road to the isles or thereabouts. As seen last week.

Monday, July 19, 2021

World's Hottest Cup of Coffee

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.

P.S. Manipulated idiots are calling today "Freedom Day" in various places, well they can just fuck off with that dangerous rhetoric as far as I'm concerned. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Insert Volcano Here

Hringar úr Keltar og kóngar línunni okkar fóru með ánægðum viðskiptavini upp að eldgosinu! Fríða skartgripahönnuður.

Our friends in Iceland: They have volcanoes there, emerging, active, dangerous, keeping people curious and on the edge of uncertainty. 

Uncertainty isn't very popular in Scotland, we like to think we have a grasp of events and that we're choosing the correct course of action. We are taught from an early age that the world can be understood and explained, but that depends on who's version of the world's ways you've chosen to believe. You may have been denied a choice. Anyway ...

We have the dead stumps in Scotland, a volcano graveyard, moon-like craters, cold and hard, rounded and smoothed by the ice that passed this way. Worn down. Like the grey, bald heads at a football match, a crowd full of groaning old men at a car show or a bowling tournament, murmuring and narrowing their eyes. Standing in a queue, shuffling along, accepting being fed shit, thinking things aren't so bad, they'll do ... but with no vision as to how they could be better. 

Once hot-headed and alive, once volcanic. Now blankly looking on and sucking in the thin, stale air. Air that we'll all need to pay for in a few years. Meanwhile vacant children play on the grey green volcanic slopes, sheep graze lazily and trees try their level best on an incline as the rains roll down and into their roots, the water disappearing for a time. Dripping unseen and unheard in the dark. There, underneath, the cold stone has forgotten it's origins and doesn't even understand why those lost memories just might matter. 

How can we ever know where we're going to if we've been denied the story of where we came from?

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Stray Happy

From time to time I've considered trying to build a career as a ventriloquist, performing comedy and the like. I've never actually learned the art of ventriloquism but I'm currently drawing up designs (as above) for a robotic puppet that based on a paper towel dispenser that I could use - perhaps. 

In my life I've visited many petrol stations and bought petrol, something you buy and use but never really see, like electricity or natural gas or what's actually inside a take away coffee cup when the lid is on tight.

Staying happy in a crazy world. One cat poos on the laundry basket, later the same day the other one poos on the bathroom floor. There's a litter tray nearby. These are well behaved cats of a certain age that have no "issues" that I'm aware of, so what are they saying (if anything)?

Repetitious cookery: I make the same things over and over again, perhaps there are slight variations but basically it's the same stuff rehashed. I've recently discovered anchovies and have taken to having them on toast ... for lunch. I've no idea what this might mean for my next narrow culinary experiments. 

So as we approach what may well be the end of the world I wouldn't blame you if you just turned your phone off.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Garage Conversion

Nothing really, a photo converted to a burning inferno, where graffiti used to be, bots working for the common good of humanity. Breathe in and breathe out.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Everybody has a mouth until they get punched in the plan

"You've heard it all before but as you've never actually been punched in the mouth you don't quite get it,  but as for me, well I have been punched in the mouth. I tell you when that happens it all disconnects itself pretty fast. That shock, that dull then sharp pain, that numb feeling, the taste of your own blood tricking down your throat, mixing with saliva, dripping from the corner of your mouth, your head going like a mad pendulum, then reeling backwards as the force of the blow and gravity take hold, your knees buckling as if the were useless as you stagger backwards and fall away, down into some dizzy, spinning place before the hard ground meets you. You hope it ends there, that you don't get a kick in balls as a follow up, piss yourself, get pulled up by the lapels for another shot, maybe in the nose or the eye this time. It's going to hurt more that you imagined ... and as for your strategy and plan, what just happened? Too much of a blur and too much red inside your head. Now it's just down to a means of escape or playing dead and staying still."

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Images from the East

Never had a Yamaha motorcycle but I've had a few Yamaha guitars over the years. I don't really fancy this type of motorcycle to be honest, popular in the days before crash helmets.  The campy ad doesn't really sit well with my current social life, fashion sense or choices of transport either but there's something attractive about it. Proper "paste up" for those who remember those days.

Noodles always look good in advertisements and did you know that they are the only food that requires 100% of your concentration in order to consume them safely? Enjoy them at home or when out with friends. These things are not noodles in case you are confused.

And now for the grande finale I present a stunning, colourful, comic style montage or collage...

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Recycle Bin

Dear Windows Recycle Bin,

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.

Yours sincerely,

The fingers that typed this.


Monday, July 12, 2021

Wonders of the Internet #99


A feckin' bargain all day long, do you know how long it takes to make one of these and the time it takes to gather the materials? Then there's the skill of the operator to factor in. Design, distribution, delivery and construction, also safety and compliance. Evolution is fantastic.

P.S. So, no public holiday, just a quiet Monday morning, normal service resumed. A factory reset. No political capital high-jacking the events, no triumphal rhetoric and chest thumping; England, welcome to Scotland.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Fish Wives

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


Peak Covid creativity here, some timely video and music curation, for posterity and the good of the general public. A rather arty but pleasingly cinematic rendition of the song "dancing". High production values abound in this no expenses spared production. A BAFTA or something like that clearly awaits.

Friday, July 09, 2021

Bus Stop People

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

Dumb Cat

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. 

Neutral food or cat type posts like this act as a useful and therapeutic piece of blogging wallpaper that calms the soul and eases the mind at a time when pretty much every news broadcast or bulletin serves only to infuriate and depress. Obvious really. Back to cats tomorrow I imagine.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

People who don't drink water

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

Thoughts for the Days


What is art anyway and why does art matter?
Also why do fonts matter?
(Asking for a friend).

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Some Choices

Fireplace, paper plane, pizza oven, the tomb of Jesus, geometric nonsense, distorted shoe box, Bessemer Converter, bedroom tissue carton, variations on the golden ratio, oblivion, Turkish Delight, sarcasm: You Choose!

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Amazon on Acid

"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

When Cats Burp


Cat contradictions: When a nearby cat burps, all you get is the awful whiff of some disgusting meaty/fishy cat food meal that they've recently had. No apology either. Ugh! Despite that they are still lovable. Also it wasn't them who chose and bought the cat food 😕.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Unmixed Heritage


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.