Friday, December 31, 2021

31st December

"So slow, the time goes so slow."

An incomplete review of 2021: Looking back over the past twelve months isn't easy. I'll not bother with meaningless lists.  Aside from family joys and accounts of wonderful people getting on with life amid all kinds of adversity there's been a seriously sinister side to 2021 we've all experienced. As far as I'm concerned it's been a dangerous year that made my head and many other people's heads hurt. I hope 2022 will be safer and better. 

Maybe the BBC news service will invest in a well informed, sensible, unbiased and honest editorial team, just for a change. That might be a start.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Blame it on the Dan

Despite everything that has happened in the world (?) and in music I never seem to tire of or get past the music and lyrics of Steely Dan. Over the years I've gotten bored, forgotten or abandoned numerous bands and artists. OK sometimes random tunes return to my conscious mind in the shower or driving maybe but, like some stubborn lodger or personality trait, the Dan never quite leave. 

Those pernicious and preposterous tunes and arrangements, the luxury chords, the players and the legendary sound quality - perhaps not so much their charm or good looks. They are a virus in the soul and there's always something new to pick up. If you don't agree your just not listening hard enough. Put in the time.

So: Why has this novel never been written or this film never made? "Godwhacker" developed from a blasphemous lyric Donald Fagen wrote a few days after his mother died of Alzheimer's. "It's about an elite squad of assassins whose sole assignment is to find a way into heaven and take out God", he later explained. "If the Deity actually existed, what sane person wouldn't consider this to be justifiable homicide? This dead project needs life breathed into it. Maybe retitled to"The God Murder"?

Wednesday, December 29, 2021


If it looks like a Strat, feels like a Strat, sounds like a Strat and plays like a Strat it must be a bit of a ... fraud, skulduggery, misrepresentation, fake, trickery, duplicity, forgery, deception, dishonesty, counterfeit, sham ... and so on. Nothing is real but something might be almost real. Some parts might be genuine, some features, something maybe abstract, some ghostly existence, a spirit that might be real enough. The hidden soul of the beast.

What if this guitar self identifies as a 1964 Stratocaster? It's just possible it might. What rights does it have? What if I self identify as the owner of that actual guitar? I'll leave it there and firmly refuse to cash in or capitalize, ever.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Farty Owls

Me hiding (or at least tinkering with stuff behind the scenes) and keeping warm in our partly completed renovation project. I can see the town clock from here. The beer is being served at a satisfying room temperature.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Orbiting Spheres

A brief moment in time and space: Baubles, stellar dust and snowflakes in an erratic orbit around the head of a hypnotized cat that shows no interest whatsoever towards viewing the BBC adaption of "Around the World in Eighty Days" starring David Tennant (Detail).

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Seven Candles

Seven is the perfect number: The seventh day of Christmas isn't where you think it might be. Perhaps there should be a search of some sort. Having said that it could be hidden between six and eight but who is counting out these things? In my experience numbers often hide from their close observers. It's not so easy to hide seven swans a swimming either.

Today is a day clearly without a seven.

God doesn't care what we do, how many candles we light, how many crooked words we whisper, how many swans swim. Idle dreams and blasphemy, it's all fine, it's water running down the back of a duck. Somewhere duck is on the festive menu but not so many swans.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Friday, December 24, 2021

Eternal Christmas


Long road out of Bethlehem: There will never be a year without a Christmas. The festival of economic complexity and cultural elasticity that cannot die. Religion and belief are unimportant because they never were important other than as a means to gain power to rule the calendar. We've been fooled on a grand scale and we're all caught up in the incessant flow of repeat performances. 

Not having Christmas is just unimaginable for people in this part of the world, or so I imagine. The timeline was doctored and hijacked for the convenient pagan stuff. We're conditioned and programmed (just a bit).  

Maybe that's the key to destroying civilization, simply ban Christmas. Have done with it etc. We'd be rudderless. Rewrite the code. Purge the whole thing into a black hole. We'll vanish in a puff of tinsel and the sharp lens click of a selfie on a phone. Just pop that fizz and see.

But what about the children, the antidote for Covid and the factories in China?

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Anyone Can Wear a T Shirt

Sometimes it all comes back to this, other times it does not. In many ways this album (as above) is unlistenable, unless you have the time to listen. I'm somewhere in between. I never quite finished it despite my good intentions. That's the story of my life. Also I can usually see both sides in an argument albeit still disagreeing with one more than the other. 

Disagreement is freedom and, unless there is physical violence, it's also a basic sign of civilization. That's all all I have to say. Pacific Ocean Blue is still available on CD, possibly on other formats too. You must choose wisely.

Going up: Just thinking of the giggle fits that used to occur when hitting the first high on a decent joint - around 50 years ago by the way. Silly things that kicked it all off, "Piano Forte - Forty Pianos", "Liverpool - Poo Liver". For some reason these daft things still make me laugh.

P.S. Tim Horton's drive thru makes excellent coffee.

P.P.S. Best Tweet of yesterday: I'm not sure about making porridge with oat milk, it feels like boiling oats in the blood of their fallen comrades. @sarcasticapple.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Fake Log Review

He's still going strong, Mr Marmaduke Spartacus McTesco stands/lies down to guard this precious consignment of fake logs near the store entrance. It's all about enticing would be buyers with a well placed cat.  The logs will be sold at a knock off price to ensure that the good people of Fife have a cozy Christmas season along with reasonable fuel bills. (Aye, that'll be right).

By way of a fake log review; I've tried various types over the years and none really deliver the heat, burning time and promise of well being and world peace that I had expected. So despite the fairly un-green credentials of real logs, at the moment they remain a better bet than the over processed variety.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Hot Plates

"Not here old boy, please. The Plates are never hot". This cartoon from nineteen canteen drawn by the wonderful "Pont" says it all. For a while I thought that I was a bit crazy and alone by holding up warm/hot plates as a measure and a standard for serving hot food, now I know I'm in step with at least a few others. I try not to comment on this when eating out, I hold my views and criticisms in. I've become used to it and I don't want to be served a "sneezer". In doing so I enjoy a curious mixture of disappointment and smugness, a self indulgent curse. None of these reactions are healthy but it's the best I can do living in a world where most of the things that people do don't actually make any sense.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Voices From Another Side

"Actually there are no voices, I lied. On "Another Side" of somewhere voices are quite unnecessary and communication is done in a more elegant manner. Vocal sounds are considered to be a little vulgar. People often become animated and shouty, that would never do here."

"We respect space, silence and your own personal peace. You'll find our methods are very effective. You all seem to be in a bit of a tight spot right now ... "

"You'll need some type of transporter to get you through this."

"Red line it everyday, take it to 8000. It'll run like a Swiss watch. Believe me."

Edgar, Alan and Po.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Disappointed Visitors

The Homeland of Perpetual Gloom: I'm feeling a bit sorry for the numerous Chinese tourists who turned up in town yesterday. Burdened down with complex looking cameras, rucksacks and portable devices hoping no doubt to get some good shots of the iconic bridges. Alas it was not to be, we were beset by wet blankets and duvets of seasonal coastal fog. The number 43 bus was kept busy returning them to our partly destroyed festive capital, now known as Underbelly Land, where the beers and welcome flow like Bostik. 

Unfortunately the fog, like concrete candy floss, drifting slowly up the river for the past few days has landed us straight into Brig o'Doon territory. A mythical place wrapped up in thick, eternal Scotch mist and ancient mystery that can never be truly found, only stumbled upon by bemused American singing stars with perfect hair. During this difficult and eerie time the pubs, cafes and Co-op have stubbornly remained open thanks to benign spiritual guidance and face mask wearing.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Pursuit of a Dumb Idea


Experiments in low level confusion: There once was a dumb idea I was trying to make sense of but I've actually forgotten it now. By analysis I find that spontaneous dumb ideas do work the best but there can be occasions when they don't work out at all. This is all part of the ongoing confusing experience of being human. An idea works one day, doesn't the next. As I reflect on this I see that my little, unsung idea, may have been the best idea I ever had. I just can't quite recall what it was about.

Sometimes we just spontaneously shout "It's pixellating!" at the TV even when it's not pixellating. It makes no difference because why would it? If you or your family have been affected by some pixelation, slight or severe in your reception area, please calm down, or phone the number written in Biro on the back of the second banana in the bunch.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Brave New Morning

New Alert Level: Early morning awareness dawns in the domestic cat community as the outside events of the new day are observed from the relative safety of a warm room and behind thick glass. Bin men at work, hissing buses, dogs being walked clearly against their wishes, LED flashing cyclists and the general public going about their business in  grey drizzle. Hopefully all is well, I was fast asleep at the time so I can't be sure. Somebody did do a rather good job of dropping a can of white paint all over the pavement. Photo taken from a low flying Canberra.  

Thursday, December 16, 2021

World's Smallest etc.

Continuing with the tedious theme of not doing things by halves but just doing them by tiny fractions we present the (not really) world's smallest Christmas tree. A little straggly perhaps but it's tinsel powered heart is in the right place.

Nobody in their right mind ever blogs over Christmas. Too many distractions. I can't hear my own thoughts for the over-singing of Christmas tunes. A desperate need to find some soul in tradition. It just won't do. People need to restrain themselves.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Exploration of Geography

Most of the time I quite like to know where I am and what's around the corner. I think that's a fairly normal position that most people might share, even if you are trapped in some hostile and radical multi-verse, as seems to be the case more and more these days. Thankfully I've managed to avoid this so far despite what may have been a few close calls. Google Maps and google eyes will slouch to the inevitable rescue as reality bites. Often I discover that, somewhat to my disappointment, I'm simply at home in the kitchen in the long shadows of a ring of standing stones.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Search Yourself

Some days you just have to decide to do something.

And now it seems the wolves are running. If this makes no sense at all then that's the whole idea.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Circles of Convenience

Our circle of commerce is slowly shrinking. We're in a wee town, you can walk around easily. I'm not counting the internet options in this as it's less of a circle and more of a pin head. So from our current location we have a lot of service and retail convenience pretty much at our doorstep (this is on turning left, turning right produces a different list): 

Bus Stop - 25m*.
Coffee and Sandwich Shop - 30m.
Police Station -35m.
Chinese Takeaway - 35m.
Laptop Repairers - 40m.
God's HQ - 45m.
Weight Watchers and the Foodbank (?) - 45m.
Craft and Gift Shop - 60m.
Fish and Chip Shop - 70m.
Indian Restaurant - 75m.
Hardware Store - 80m.
Cafe and Bakery - 90m.
Hotel and Pub - 100m.

I'll stop at that. 

*For clarity I'm using the Long Martian Metre as a measure.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Intestinal Maps

The unknown artist once famously said of this piece; "It's just the way that the ancient world wants to do it's work, relax, you must find your own place of peace". 

That powerful statement remains as true today as when it was originally spoken all of three weeks ago on the premises of the local sheep dip micro-brewery when it was being officially opened for business by a local celebrity whose name escapes me. Lies, more damn lies and tittle tattle. 

Then there are the never ending questions about the tiny hairs that detach themselves and travel down the inner canals of the nose and become a source of irritation. And with regard to your sexuality, pronouns and your knowledge of conkers I care not a jot.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Radio Days


Some say it's 2021. We have phones, computers, smart TVs, amps, speakers etc. This is how we listen to music however, using the age old tradition of the Pyrex bowl loudspeaker as first invented by the Sumerians back in sometime around 2900 BC. Reception is a bit better and clearer these days but I'm less sure about the overall content.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Home Projects for the Idle Heart

From the depths of the archives it seems (time passes too quickly).

These cats are even more lucky and I've turned now them to monochrome. They are hiding our stash of black paint along with enhanced magic. It's a small paint stash and they don't hide it well but it's a job I suppose. Now I'm headed to the barbers for an update on current affairs. (To be continued).

(Continue). I returned from the barbers, uncut. Though it was a legitimate day of the week it turned out not to be a legitimate barbering day. The service was not available and though I could have gone elsewhere I chose not to. As I entered to our royal palace not for the first time the real cats were pining for food and issuing audible reminders in their plaintive cat tongue. I prefer written communication.

After that we looked at confusing phone pictures or photos, as they might be described. The colour brown was explored and digested followed by vigorous swiping. Angles were then explained and understood. Tall tales are told of improvements and I considered a second coat of black paint for my once grey project. There was a smell of eggs in the air and the sky was furtively cloudy. Some say that's an omen. 

"Greatest Hits" The Flamings and the Grooverings: This didn't ever work for me.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Public Service Announcement


As a new day dawns in this pulverized and fractured parallel universe we've found ourselves in, our new leader speaks out for the first time. I for one welcome these feline masters and look forward to a bright if slightly unpredictable future. Please note that cat's frontal lobes are not sufficiently developed to allow them to have any concept of tomorrow, or even the next ten seconds. Life is full of surprises for them. However this does not mean that they cannot provide better vision, empathy and leadership standards than those we have recently experienced.

Slow News Abounds - Only If You Want It.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

December Sketched

I feel that this post should begin with "on a day when ..." like some cheap novel, a poor essay or a dull diary entry. I've nothing to add to "on a day when" because why would I? It was just a day, we've experienced them before and for me it was not particularly noteworthy, other than that I took these photos. "On a day when I took these photos", you might say.

But what kind of day was it really? Fat, skinny, sore knees achy, possible bad breath for no obvious reason, hungry, anxious, anxious about being hungry with added bad breath potential, icky weather and a grim attitude, too perky for your own good, optimistic but in a slightly sinister way, too humble for words, unable to avoid disturbed house cats, annoyed by a toenail gripping your inner sock or just simply stuck in a December loop?

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Cat's Paint Plinth


We're experimenting with the possible idea of a third plinth that we might open up to the general public or indeed anyone even more than general who wishes to display their work at this particular venue. Cash bribes for this high honour will of course be given our full consideration and dumped into the nomination slush fund without fuss. All monies pledged are likely to be accepted.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Hidden in Plain Sight

"Everyone is a hypocrite, you can't live on this planet without being a hypocrite". Paul Watson.

I've nothing against the Christmas season because I'm just as much conditioned by it as anyone else. Resistance seems futile. I realize it makes people happy, mostly business people and small children but also me sometimes. However please consider this; if you put up trees and decorations on or around the 1st of December then you're spending a whole month, one twelfth* of the year "celebrating". No one really knows what they are celebrating either ... various fairy tales.

You're sitting amongst this stuff and absorbing it all, along with a mish-mash of belief systems, at least visually in your own home and garden for over 31 days. It's not your fault, the TV ads seemed to begin in October. There's an imposed imbalance in our lives.

Three months of seasonal marketing stimulation and media conditioning; but is it as bad as watching the 6 o'clock news religiously or getting a daily dose of Facebook all year? Back in the day there were only 12 days of Christmas, it took that long to burn through the Yule Log and bury the dead. 

*English is always a peculiar language, why is there an f in twelfth, what purpose does it serve?

Sunday, December 05, 2021


The M96 is not a motorway, it's a motor. If you own that particular motor it's very likely in a motor car. That's how it usually works. Then you join (without any other process, invitation or commitment) this strange, nebulous and slightly unhinged band of brothers (and sisters no doubt). I didn't design the logo or decide on the name. Somebody dreamed this up. Drugs and alcohol may have been involved. So I'm in the band. Oh, and once you're in it can be quite tricky to get out. I blame the peculiar but compelling residual values.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Screen Time

I'm of a primitive generation that still sees TV as some magical thing despite the fact it's now commonplace and with a thousand times better quality than 50 years ago. So I'm quite taken by seeing our YouTube music and chaos channel on the lounge wall. The hits and the plays are really irrelevant, I know nobody cares much, so just having colourful stuff on a big screen with decent sound is reward enough.

Friday, December 03, 2021

The Shapes You're In

A free sachet of Garman Masala 1908 blend.

A bean filled soft body.

Sheba Snacks v Scoobie Snacks v Liki Lix

OLED TVs are better than QLED TVs says a panel of experts.

An artist of all things Geeky.

£7 Mulled Wine in paper cup ... people seem to be lapping it up.

Changing the colours of shadows with new technology.

There's male, there's female and there's unisex when it comes to body butter.

A medium sized font is less likely to offend.

"You can't beat a good fiasco" said the Council.

These are some of the shapes you're in.


Thursday, December 02, 2021

The Ascent of Man

Dear 21st century people, do you think you know a lot about art and design? Perhaps a bit more than your parents or grandparents? Things do move on. Here's some detail from the magnificent panel of sixteen lions at Chauvet Cave in France, created by our ancestors more than 30,000 years ago. That puts these pieces of work well outside of any bolted on biblical timeline*. The drawings are not done using rattle cans or Sharpies either. Take a short tour here.

*It's all been said, many times, many ways ... Merry Christmas ...  etc. By my reckoning we've got a fairly good handle on the last couple of hundred years of history. Moving backwards the past becomes increasingly unknown apart from royal families, academics and the lives of churchmen and the like. Common people's histories are more or less unwritten or assumed. They pass through time with little or no record of their deeds. There are dark facts.

Beyond that we hit the realms of dark speculation, interpretation of found objects and scattered artworks, ruins, fables, legends and tales. Then the salvaged translations of religious writings and the stone carvings and cave paintings, some clear, some opaque, some fictional, never fully understood or explained. It's all very easy to find or choose to believe something that fits your views and completely misunderstand it's meaning and context and of course the victors always compose a narrative that suits them. As for actual historians, if you assume that people can actually be known, maybe their work is not in vain.