Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Google

We're all reminded by Google*, it never forgets.

Timely reminders, prompts, "take a look back", "those were the days".

Things we uploaded return to haunt us.

"Recognize this face?" 

But one day, perhaps it will forget and who know's what might happen then?

Something beautiful? Something disastrous?

Memory fills up and fades.

The ages of innocence.

And the end.

*Google wants to know your pronouns. Nobody else does though.

Life in a harmonious dictatorship where we think we make all the correct choices.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Jack Black & Desmond Decker

 

One of those posts where somebody talks about a kettle or a fridge they've been using for about 60 years and how it's never failed them. I'm tempting fate. Well this Black and Decker 2 speed electric drill has been with me since mid 1978. I borrowed it from a friend to use on some house renovation work and promptly broke it. The 2 speed feature jammed solid. I tried to fix it but it was truly stuck in one speed (the faster one I think). I bought my friend a replacement drill and soldiered on with the old one expecting it to break down at any time. 

Strangely I've used it regularly since and it's never missed a beat. Of course the chuck mechanism is worn out and the extra handles are long gone but it continues to operate. Last week I used it to drill into stone and masonry (3"deep holes) in order to put up a new house number outside. Obviously it will give up one day but at 44 plus years I can't complain. Thank you Chucky from B&D.

Short Paragraph

A picture is not necessary in order to understand this.

"I despise him for the contempt he has for everyone else. The narcissism. The laziness. The incompetence. The mendacity. And I despise those who are keeping him there. Supine weasels. They know who he is. They know what he is. And they let him carry on. Fuck them." 
@ernest_malley

Monday, May 23, 2022

Porsche 914

 

An unusual sight at the Porsche in the Glen day, held near East Kilbride. A restored 914, ex-California and Belgium. Not sure what the age and mileage is/was, with this type of rare car none of that is particularly important.  Among all the "super" cars this simplistic VW powered, 1.7 air cooled model was my favourite. Over 200 shiny vehicles turned up, fairly choking the roads and display area, it made a decent wee day out.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Kidding Myself

The internal politics of just looking out of the window as a means of seeking serenity: Quite unexpectedly I've come to a conclusion about myself. I'm still me.  

Happy with this inspirational vantage point which may be described as low, medium, high or not anything at all.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Vague News


Just when I though that it was safe to forget about religion once and for all the face of Jesus appears to me in a set of wooden drawers. OK, perhaps it's not the most flattering of images of him. Looks like an inky version from the Middle Ages or an aged Russian Icon. Perhaps it's Henry VIII or Christopher Columbus, a weird werewolf or just some random skull. That's the problem with this kind of supernatural message, there's a degree of vagueness there that only creates confusion and uncertainty. Maybe that's the general idea.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Andy


Almost a cult figure: He's traveled the world but now he's retired from the media to a life in the hills and glens of bonnie Scotland (well they're nearby). £30, but maybe less if you're a useful or determined negotiator. Curious would be buyers are lining up.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Gibson Les Paul

 


"The Les Paul guitar mixed artistically with a brass samovar on a train headed East, at least that's what the befuddled conductor told me as he poured out the tea."

We used to call it a Les Dawson, 'cos he was funny and on the telly. I didn't realise that Les Paul was a real person who actually designed the thing. It was just a Lezpol. Something exotic, cool and unaffordable, that is until someone I knew actually got one. And then at a peculiar party gig in a rainy Naval Base mess over in the west he played Ballroom Blitz by the Sweet on it as I stood at the side of the stage looking on.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Good Advice

To get yourself through this somewhat awkward time in the history of Great Britain and to ensure that you can pay all your bills, feed your children and keep your home warm you simply need to choose to do any or all of the following:

Try to work more hours, overtime, weekends or backshifts.

Get a more highly paid job, something with better prospects. You just never know.

Try networking with the correct people.

Even if you are quite unwell still go out to work.

Consider joining a good golf club or society.

Wear a woolly jumper if it's chilly.

Be seen as the one who is "eager" in the team.

Perhaps make some astute investments.

Learn to cook using basic, cheap ingredients.

Become an influencer.

Eat less take-away food.

Put an extra blanket on the bed.

Commit financial fraud, preferably on a grand scale.

Consider cancelling your Netflix or Amazon accounts.

Put your money "off-shore". It will work much harder there.

And if this doesn't work for you then it's all your own fault. That's the government's good advice that you just didn't take.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Splash

 


When a picture is worth a thousand words and most of those words are likely to be swear words. Full credits go to @coldwarsteve the number one artist of our unfortunately toxic, digital and messed up times.

Ibanez Jem

 


Not spiky, not thrashy, not trashy, not shredded enough, not in my opinion. These gears are tough to get through, difficult to change, not easy to operate. That's why we're losing speed and fluency. We meaning a version of me that does not exist. It's down to a lack of practice and training and failing to complete those exercises in scales and fingering that require too much patience and perseverance. Now I'm tired and my brain is numb. I cannot climb this metal mountain. I cannot descend into those bassy depths and my tone is lemony and dry when it should be an enormous red strawberry of a thing, set at 97 decibels.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Gretsch White Falcon


The Gretsch White Falcon is an electric hollow-body guitar introduced in 1954 by Gretsch. The guitar was created as a "showpiece" to exhibit the craft of Gretsch's luthiers, sales and demonstration representative, Jimmie Webster, who created it for the 1954 NAMM Show. It was so popular that it was put into production and went on sale the following year. Since then, it has undergone various changes and is still being made today. As of 2013, Gretsch offers a number of guitars in its "Falcon" series, including a custom-built replica of the original, which is priced in the US at $12,000 (approximately £8300). Too much money. Please be sensible.

The White Falcon's distinctive appearance is owed to its enormous 17 inch size body (finished white, with gold-sparkle pickguard featuring an engraved falcon) and its sparkly hardware: Jimmie Webster's 1954 version had triple binding, gold-plated hardware, an ebony fretboard with mother-of-pearl inlays, and an eye-catching "Cadillac G" tailpiece. It reportedly did around 14 miles to the gallon on a long run.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Gibson ES-335

 


Something more that is now developing in a short series of blurry pictures and rambles themed around some types of guitar. It has a life (of sorts) of it's own which in itself is a reason to fear the potential terror that is AI. I am however going along with it quietly, feeling uneasy as I do that some kind of virtual Pinocchio is about to answer me back in a way I might just dislike.

The Gibson ES-335 is the world's first commercial semi-hollow body electric guitar sometimes known as semi acoustic. Released by the Gibson Guitar Corporation as part of its ES (Electric Spanish) series in 1958, it is neither fully hollow nor fully solid; instead, a solid maple wood block runs through the center of its body. The side "wings" formed by the two "cutaways" into its upper bouts are hollow and the top has two violin-style f-holes over the hollow chambers. Since its inception, Gibson has released numerous variations of it and other models based on the design of the ES-335.

Notable users of the ES-335 or one of its variations include Chuck Berry, B B King, Alvin Lee, Eric Clapton, Richie Blackmore, Larry Carlton, Freddy King, Dave Grohl and Alex Lifeson. Yakety Yak, Yakety Yak, don't talk back. Blah, blah, blah.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Strawberries

 

Another one of the many things I don't know is how was it that strawberries came to be? Full stop.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Telecaster

 


Moving onwards from the piece the other day, here's a carefully crafted depiction inspired by the word "Telecaster". There's quite a lot going on here and I find most of it baffling but interesting. I particularly like the wood grain mixing up with a metallic effect and the strange addition of what looks like old style glass valves from an amplifier of some kind. There's also fabric like textures as background drapes and some form of liquid output pooling in the bottom of the picture. Bizarre.

Pinocchio's Furniture


Pinocchio's Furniture by Frank Zappa. For some weird reason the title makes me laugh. It's like some conversational footnote or a forgotten quip from a drunken conversation. It could be the title of a short story covering the troubled relationship Pinocchio may have had with pieces of wood following on from his traumatic creation and redemption. Some say it's all a slice of Christian allegory, I don't know.

I like the long sustained note that turns into feedback at the end, other than that it's a pleasant enough piece of guitar noodle. Whoever put the video together did a reasonable job. Never good to criticize the source material of others. We are all just doing our best with limited resources ... and the seemingly infinite resources of the internet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Politically Homeless

 


Another study in AI to try to illustrate or explain how many of us (I suspect) currently feel and how there seems to be no direction available to any credible and worthwhile political home. Perhaps home is simply something that exists in your own head and you're better of simply remaining there and not looking out very often. The problem is the "other people" who seem to inhabit the hostile universe that we are required to live in while acting as if they alone own it.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Stratocaster


I've always been fascinated by the name "Stratocaster". It evolved from the names Broadcaster and Telecaster. Leo Fender brainstorming those names in a full 1950s flow of guitar creativity and perhaps some minor plagiarism, I don't really know. These were the names for the television generation. They were about to become the space-race generation. The first modern Americans, as I imagined they imagined themselves. 

So one day I simply said to some artificial intelligence the word "Stratocaster". The picture above is what came out of the mindless and faraway mincer. Perhaps this AI is not so smart or it's incredibly smart and nuanced and sees connections I cannot imagine.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Vika Kaj


Vika Kaj sounds like a Viking warrior or an Icelandic sex worker but it's neither. Just another IKEA tag, this time for a table top with telescopic, extendable legs. We've had one for twenty years and we're currently giving it away via some social media site. It still has a bit of life in it albeit one leg has the screw head that fits into the base stuck in it. Some lucky punter will hoover it up I hope. So this ramble is really just about IKEA hacks, as pictured above; a Vika Kaj has been nicely (?) converted into some kind of very industrial looking sink set up. There's a simple principal here: pass on, recycle, upcycle, and remodel and reuse. We need to do more of this.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Relegated

 


Saturday afternoon: When your team loses the second leg of the playoffs against a team they should easily beat without showing any proper gutsy fight and is instantly relegated. Now we're in the seaside league and we deserve nothing better. A poor board, poor managers and some terrible business decisions have pushed us right into our lowest point in years. You can't blame the fans and supporters, they've been rock solid. Now we'll be stuck down in the nether reaches of the leagues for a while and that's about all I have to say. Taking a summer break from it all and it's not even summer.

Friday, May 06, 2022

C'est Chic


Reaching a point in life where  don't really give a fuck about mass media output, though at times do I enjoy some of the photography or a pithy cartoon. Editorials and opinion pieces ... no, not really. Wait a minute this blurb may well be an opinion piece. Time for a factory reset or a long cool beverage.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Shut Up

 


Aspiring guitar players, the up and coming up and comers. While you may enjoying the delights of old masters like Fripp, Beck or Summers, or the shredtastic metal heads of the 80s and 90s or even strummy shoegazers from whenever to get your ideas and inspiration there's one name you should add to the list of players. He's dead and lacks god like status. He was a difficult genius and that's hard to market, even once dead but ... "Shut up and play yer guitar" (albums 1, 2 and 3) might just disturb you in a fairly disturbing manner. The playing of Frank Zappa isn't really appreciated or celebrated. I suspect he'd have wanted it this way, obscurity knocks etc. His invention, fluidity, speed and range is impressive and exhausting. He also knows how to use wah without wah tones being the prominent sound too. So shut up. Just buy it on eBay, cheap as chips. Nobody will ever know.

Blame my frenzied cropping for the tiny guitar Frank seems to be holding.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Simple Pleasures

 A picture once hung on the wall, 

But then it wasn’t there at all.

A dirty mark and a pin hole show, 

Where that stupid picture didn’t used to go.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Abstractathon

Once in a while everybody should make up a new word.

Abstractathon: A long period of time spent thinking fundamentally stupid but still interesting thoughts about nothing in particular.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Date Collective

 

Date Collection: The slow hobby of date collection and consumption is moving on at a pace that might be said to be comfortably slow. The dates of the date palm are harvested by experts and then stuffed by beginners. It can best be described as being a process. We use both exotic and mundane fillings. Examples might be and are not limited to: Diced grapefruit and brown sugar, crushed cumquat, slivers of anchovies in oil and sardine paste, coriander and mushroom, Malteser and sweet pickle, shortbread (crushed) with clotted cream and brandy, scrambled egg and peanut butter and of course finely chopped Mars Bar. 

Doctored dates are popular in Catholic and Islamic countries across the world thanks to various works of Biblical fraud. In an apocryphal story Jesus turned a pile of donkey dung into sweet dates flavoured with cinnamon and the honey from wild (or fairly upset as I understand) bees and distributed them amongst the poor and the Roman colonists in order to illustrate some now lost teaching points via a forgotten parable. Hence “The Miracle of the Lost Parable”, a new film due out in December 2024 on Netflix starring literally a cast of thousands of CGI peasants and funded by the Date Marketing Board of Canada. Expect a sharp uptake in date demand that party season.

Dates are a fruit. Did I say date and mean data or did I say data and mean date?

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Still Lives

 

Feel refreshed, feel fulfilled, feel content. Colours and composition can satisfy. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Velux Exhibition



Velux Window Collection* and Exhibition: We’ve been secretly accumulating these roof windows and hiding them in the house in various cupboards, box rooms, secret passages and at times in plain sight. It’s such fun to confuse house guests and unwelcome visitors with the pitter patter of rain or the scrape of a low hanging tree branch on a discretely placed Velux frame high up in the darkness of an unlit bedroom.

They can also be a useful source of extra ventilation in a confined space, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the installer’s advice.

We also collect long and sharp, pointy knives and there’s an axe under the bed**.

*Frames without names.

**The long, fingery tendrils of mean spirit tree branches may decide to interfere with your sleep pattern in ways that could be unpleasant or even dangerous. They do this by accessing your space via the Velux window. It comes from their deep and understandable dislike of humankind.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Macchiato at the Kitchin


Keeping things low key: A tiny macchiato served up after a superb meal at the Kitchin down by Leith. I did not expect to be so satisfied and impressed with both the food and the service. Yum.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Red Diesel

Fuel Duty: They came down from the hills. Red diesel in the tanks of their Landrovers and quad bikes. Roads were built for softies. The secret paths, glens and gradients were all theirs. They had tamed the wilderness with the whip of the 4 x 4. The dogs loved it all, riding shotgun as the heather parted before them. The sheep were less sure but queued up for turnips and the deer stayed away. That's what deer tend to do. 

As for people, they know their place in the organic machine, crammed in a car park before pottering into the wild purple yonder on their bikes or in their new boots. The latest water bottles from Tisos on display, dangling from backpacks. Soon the sky will be slipping into the colour of the diesel as the sun sinks into the western sky.

In the countryside water is a vital resource, just getting it into the ground and into animals can be a challenge.

Not all holiday homes make the cut, some are just too basic and rustic for the wide eyed townies. The landscape is scattered with the wreckage of a failed colonial economic theory.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Fools on the Hills

 


Lost in our own country, shadows on a strange hillside, scouring the landscape for clues. The traces of what might have gone before disguised with lichen, moss and heather. A motorway of rabbit paths.

Old stones and broken timbers. Now banished and crushed by nature's persistence,  treasonous history and it's repeated excuses. The landowners thought they knew best and the locals were no better than cattle to them. Their portraits still hang in their empty halls. They died in their arrogance without issue or remorse and still their influence drips down like a dirty oil spill on the land. This peculiar economy is their legacy.

The truth is always troublesome, bothering the soul and tarnishing the dream. It was a nice day to be up there anyway and the deer on the hills were in fine form. Could do with a few weeks of rain though.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Lord of the Aga Rings

Aga cookers get hot very gradually. There’s no hurrying an Aga. They are the plodding dinosaurs of the cookery universe. Jurassic and basic. Functional in an unhurried world of their own. But you can still burn the food if not careful. That’s plenty pent up and uncontrollable heat for you.

I am the Master of the Aga. Bow down. I can shuffle the pots. It’s a form of dance fused with the management of sources of intense heat and burning metal. You could lose your fingerprints or fingertips. It’s very dangerous but when it works out for you it’s satisfying in an abstract and ancient way. However the naan bread that became a biscuit was less successful.

As children we burned many books and things, mostly sausages and some books, some Ladybird books. Currently I am burning logs. Logs harvested by the great wind of the winter of 2022 that flattened Edzell Woods and many others. Now we burn their tree bones. There’s nothing else to do with the piles of timber debris. I don’t know what environmentalists might make of this action. When nature fights back the rules change and the logs are harvested.


Logs, secure in their resting place awaiting cremation.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Holiday Homes Under the Hammer

If you see the internet as a great cloud that covers the land then you’ve obviously never visited the backyard, backwards arse of the beautiful back of beyond. We were there and there was no waves to speak of other than stray blips of digital distortion that refuse to be gathered together into a pattern of credible pixels. Cloudy blips of inconsequence that flew overhead and for a short while promoted baseless optimism then for a longer while some stiff resignation, acceptance and gallows humour. The crawling of the Twitter Bots, the Facebook Posts, the refreshed screens, those reflected creations of repeated opinions, swirling in the mind’s eye of an invisible force that asks no questions but always asks questions. 

We just communicate badly because we quickly forget everything we ever said. We outsourced the memories to a memory bank that’s in crisis but doesn’t know it so reality is no longer recognized as a thing. How did it happen? More badly presented history perhaps. How did they (?) amuse themselves back in the day when alcohol, sex between consenting adults, sex with horses (??) and imagination was banned by the all seeing, bespeckled eye of the Kirk? Now we can see everything but understand nothing. I no longer feel at home on your cloud. Nothing good will come of this digital withdrawal. Well maybe not. We all need a break sometimes.


Sunday, April 17, 2022

First of a Few


Interesting artwork carried out artists I don't normally like, No.1 "The Haunt" by L S Lowery. My tastes are of course uniformed, petty minded and variable.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Potential Compost


The eternal compost of the spotless mind: Compost is the nuclear power in gardening, the dilithium crystals of plant life, the Coca-Cola for the garden's perpetual hangover and you can mix it up yourself like a pro. The photo is of course showing vegetation and gathered material in what I would describe as a "pre-compost state", with all the chemical and bio changes only slowly beginning and a long way from completion. To kick start the process I use copious amounts of amber urine and enforced darkness with applied compression added to the source material. If you think that sound pretty awful then you're right and it's never easy to get these items all together in the correct proportions. It's the ugly side of gardening. Anybody got any spare worms?



Friday, April 15, 2022

Fall Friday

 


Fall Friday is a Twitter thing. Not much to say about it today. Perhaps this image describes things as they are, maybe, up to a point. Or not. Soundbites and knocked off or knocked up images, that's all I really do.

Speaking of which, this is possibly the best bit of advice you'll ever get in your life, "If you're not in the queue, don't stand near the queue - you're causing a hell of a lot of tension." I'm glad that this has been written up (as opposed to written down) by somebody. It hasn't be attributed to Mark E Smith so far.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Ballad of Greenfingers

 

I made these raised beds from old pallets and filled them with liners and compost. My dear wife planted the plants, marked them up and diligently cares for them in a highly professional manner. As we're optimists this is surely going to end well in a few months when we harvest a magnificent crop of vegetables and greenie, herbie things.

If you're at all worried about intruders and pests (not that we are) I can vouch for our fence, with it's weld-mesh sections and sturdy timber bastions, making it now fully Red Panda proof. Slugs and snails are however not applicable to the security tests we applied. As for cats, well that's another story.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Resorting to Woodbutchery

 

The journey into / onto / around stable tuning continues with these Vanson locking tuners being fitted to "Bodge", a partscaster Telecaster. Bodge has had a few troubles over the years and I thought locking tuners might help resolve them. That's how it goes in the world of guitar, you try everything to fix it, allow it to stew, then chuck it onto eBay as a sort of purge and penance. In truth I've never tried *locking tuners before but I though it was worth a punt.

Due to a unexpected set of incorrect dimensions in the headstock area some serious unplanned wood butchery was required. Turns out that 10 mm items cannot and will not fit themselves into 8 mm holes. Another failure to read the small print. However I managed to drill, file and sand my way around the problem and now they are fitted. They're still subject to a thorough test and implementation regime that is as yet to report it's findings. Perhaps it never will.

*As usual a big thanks to numerous YouTube content makers and layabouts for advice and explanations.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Green Card Blues


I've been working on this specially commissioned portrait for about 10 minutes, it's called "Green Card Holder with Roubles from Putin". I've no idea what it's about. 

Rishi Sunak is a British politician who says he is serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer, sometimes he works from home but I hear he's moved on now. He's been in the job since 2020, having previously served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2019 to 2020. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been Member of Parliament for Richmond since 2015. That's a short career for such a high office.

He likes to dabble in hedge funds, soapy excuses and he is married to a very rich lady who lives nearby but who has also been found out to be a cheeky little trickster. He's not known for the common touch and is unable to understand contactless payments, petrol pumps and the ethics and principles of International Law. It would appear he has no real concept of poverty or experience of hardship either. I imagine that he's having a good day none the less.

There will be a "proper" inquiry you know. Plus they (?) went to parties.

You may well consider that this (my opinion and the image) is just more vacuous ranting and that reality is only some kind of complex construct. To try to prove this you may say, "have you ever actually seen your neighbour bringing in their groceries?" To which I might well respond with, "you know I have not, perhaps you have a point there."

Monday, April 11, 2022

Pink Floyd (Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Boombox)


Pink Floyd - Hey Hey Rise Up (feat. Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Boombox). All self explanatory and a quite moving musical piece coupled up with war footage and that of Andriy singing. Already it's had millions of views in the last few days but I'm always late to the party so it's still worth sharing. All the background's there on YouTube. Cynics might say that the old rich guys of Dad Rock should stay in the background and die quietly in the shadows. Nope. If there's one thing (the good part) of my generation has learned, it's that silence is seldom golden. Every little note, word, image and whispered truth helps. Don't let the bastards grind you down.

Reserved for Media

 

A match day out at Kelty Hearts FC. The day's opposition was Stirling Albion. Nice that they kept a seat allocation for each of us. The game however was a dull 1 - 1 draw. The pie score was about 8 out of 10, fair selection, good quality and serving temperature. Ease of access and overall impressions 7 - 10. Partick Thistle Factor (PCF = crowd sophistication and conversation content) a surprising 8 - 10. Cultural references and relevance (sightings of ex-Dockyard workers and Dire Straights on the Tannoy plus playing the Kelty Clippie at full time) a time warped 8 -10. Not bad scores after all. Recommended.

I could have deducted marks for their drum but I'm not so petty minded.