Monday, February 28, 2022

Black Soil

“We've already suffered so much. We’ve lost so many people to war, and famine, and historical events. Almost seven million Ukrainians were killed in World War II, more than any other country. We don’t need much. We’re not an imperialistic people. We aren’t very warlike. Our land is covered with black soil, so we can grow everything we need. We just need peace.”

(Baryshivka, Ukraine: Humans of New York Archives 2014)

Sunday, February 27, 2022


A feeling of pleasure and satisfaction you may experience because you are happy with your life.

My friends in the AI world would argue that all humans are on a long route out from nothingness and perpetual doubt to a final place of fulfillment. AI can create shortcuts that allow such a journey to be made in other ways, obviously artificially. Me, being an awkward sort of person and generally belligerent towards myself, decided on trying to make the trip in reverse, from fulfillment to a place of final nothingness and perpetual doubt. For clarity I've cut out the intermediary stages. 

The picture above illustrates that starting place; fulfillment. I do find that blankly staring into it does produce a feeling of fulfillment (as far as I can trust myself). So that works.

Below is the final stage of this reverse journey; the nothingness of perpetual doubt. As the work evolved, the figure (?) on the upper right slowly appeared and took shape while the lines hardened. We were traveling backwards in time at the time. All a bit cartoonish I know but in my judgement the image of a fragile human - of some sort. Alone in the experience and staring out onto the far horizons of fulfillment? Possibly me I thought, only because of the stance and body language. AI is always listening. I'll just leave it all here.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Polonium Tea

Traditional philosophy, standard political ideals, and notions of "right" and "left" have precious little to do with modern power struggles. Perhaps they never did. The idealists might start the argument or the movement but those who complete them are those hungry to rule, hungry to be the Alpha in the room, hungry to oppress. Ethics, principles and promises are meaningless, you'll get no credit for holding onto them. 

History proves that things are set and cemented in such a way that greed and an overwhelming desire to be top dog will always win. The views of the common man or woman are irrelevant as are their values and welfare - to the would be tyrant. It is not people who are ungovernable it is governments that are uncontrollable. 

The answers to world hunger and global warming problems are there, affordable and in plain sight, but nobody in power wants to solve them. Meanwhile Britain lights up public buildings in Ukrainian colours but refuses entry to the refugees fleeing from the war. The sickness is running deep.

So take your flask of polonium tea and off you go in your wafer thin uniform and do a 15 hour guard duty down at the Chernobyl gates and what ever you do don't let anyone in but more importantly don't let anyone out.

Friday, February 25, 2022

People Selling Mirrors


In my, reasonably frequent lighter moments I'm often entertained by the Twitter pictures based around the theme "people selling mirrors". There's an account that harvests them from Gumtree or Facebook or wherever. I was curious to see just how the sales of second hand mirrors were going in my area, coupled with the photo standards and hopefully some displays of eccentricity. Turns out there's quite lot of activity and some is perhaps accidentally quite artistic, you can't be sure. My faith in human nature etc. has temporarily been restored. Be assured that it wont last.

The dog, the ducks, the garish shed, the mirror frame and the cobbles. What's not to like in this marvelous piece of artistic mirror advertising composition? All to sell a mirror for £25. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

As if in a Dream

"I once dreamed that I was a cat crouching under a Cymbeline tree, or am I now a cat under a Cymbeline tree dreaming that I am  man." 

The quote is attributed to the famed Taoist Chuang Tzu but I have distorted it slightly, as if in a dream.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

How We All Feel

In Scotland there's rain every day ... but it's February and it's Scotland. Did anyone expect anything else? It's not the (reasonably predictable) weather that beats us down here though, we're resilient enough, it's the rest of the world. Well the rest of the world's news, their weather and scandals and gossip, maybe with a bit of our news added too for extra spice. There's just too much news. 

If only people would stop doing things, invading spaces and talking needlessly, fibbing. Then there would be less news, whether reported or unreported (then it's whispered and leaked and toxic), it's still a plague of sorts. A drain on attention and appetites. No news is good, possibly even better news. Mine's is a simple but personal solution, I've taken to drugs. I choose their simple mainline effects as I enter the void. The glorious peanut butter and toffee intoxication ... as below.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Pizzeria Molotov

Given the chance I'd probably try a slice or two of Pizzeria Molotov's fine looking pizza. I'm unlikely ever to do this as they are located in the Republic of the Congo, that's a long haul for Deliveroo even on a quiet Tuesday night. I do love the name though, it deserves to go global and become a chain or at least be taken up by some indie band as a name or an album title (do people still record albums these days?). It's a wild and crazy daydream but I thank Twitter for sharing this material, trouble is you have to withstand a load of other five star gunk just to get to it.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Dunfermline Daily Photo

Brutal Post Urban: Contemporary street scene from the ancient capital of Scotland. Home to bar room poets, thinkers, musicians, shipbuilders and skivers of all sorts. Some say it's even the birthplace of various famous people who trod the long pathway of human history that leads out of Fife and into the light of civilization. It's by no means perfect.

For today though it's also site of the aftermath of a traditional and tragic sky funeral for a pair of worn out trainers. Never forget that King Robert the Bruce, mythical leader and alleged spider biased philosopher is buried nearby minus his battle scarred heart. Death walks behind us all, but not in these shoes.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Grateful Death

I've obviously got a problem. It seems I'm a misfit. A modern, socially dumb, fully paid up misfit. I understand that I'm out on a limb now as I'm not infatuated or obsessed with Wordle, Sudoku, Scrabble, Candy Crush, Word Searches and the like. If I had a score I wouldn't share it (OK I would if it was a brilliant one), but that's never going to happen. I self identify with a peculiar game deficient disability.

I'm missing the competitive games gene thing. I'm not seeking the challenge. There's a little black hole in my brain where that whole piece of creaking clockwork is absent. I don't know why. There's a foggy, soft centre of vague toffee in there. The thing is I've tried games and now that I don't try games I find that I don't miss them at all ... because I never did.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Out of Africa

A more serious post as Europe gently sleeps: While everyone seems to be losing their shit over Russia and the Ukraine there's a lot less attention being paid to the Russian mercenary teams (like Wagner) who are propping up or deposing various shaky regimes in Africa. These guys are big time players in Sudan, Mozambique, Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, Burkina Faso and god knows where else. In time their expanding sphere of influence will enable them to control large areas of land, resources and millions of people. Just as a reminder, warlords like these can easily turn settled people into refugees who will quickly be headed north and across the Med. 

The Kremlin knows that refugee movements are an easy lever to pull on to upset Western/European leaders, effectively an itch you can't quite scratch. Ultimately it's a tragic situation where innocent people are exploited over and over again, always in the course of creating disruption and the dangerous mischief that our naive and self righteous European politicians can't handle. Putin's having a good laugh at all of this - the Wagner Group are firmly in his pocket and so is much of Africa. Anyway back to the Ukraine ...

Thursday, February 17, 2022

My Basket


Repetitive basket weaving. Despite their deadly efficiency, inefficiency and despite being an ex-employee (so I should know better) my Amazon basket does get cluttered with what I'd call "count up to 99 in French" impulse items. Very few of these items ever make it to being an actual purchase, they just hang there in basket limbo. Free parking while the wheels of my mind and the figures in my bank balance rotate, fluctuate and get dismissed or forgotten. 

I might buy this EP CD one day, I don't know. I quite like buying CDs as a sort of guilty pleasure to be enjoyed on long car journeys, few of them ever make the journey from the car to the house. This one's fate remains hanging on the death row of basket land. I can hear it on YouTube or Spotify anytime I like but then again it's only just a click away. That's the strange appeal.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Meditative Polishing


A new form of relaxing therapy has come my way; the ancient art of meditative silver polishing. Believe me it is possible to get lost in a cloth as you vigorously rub away the grime and dirt from centuries of neglect and forgetfulness.  Back in Victorian times this was all the rage for rich and poor alike (albeit the poor mostly polished the rich's silver as they had none, any firm refusal to rub meant they were sent to Australia) and probably soothed and calmed exploitative spirits preventing even more colonial abuses, chimney sweep deaths and "Ripper style" murders. Anyway when I started the course (?) the old teapot was black, it's now a kind of puppy seal grey. 

There have been a few tears and dirty fingernails along this road to gleaming enlightenment, it's not a path suitable for everyone. My invisible guru tells me that this slow progress is simply a reflection of the current condition of my soul and that given time, patience and hard work I shall be redeemed in a silver shaft of blinding light (terms and conditions apply). If I endure these trials and reach some remote personal pinnacle of a bright metallic Nirvana I might also be granted a cup of tea that doesn't have the nasty aftertaste of Brasso or Silvo.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Nightmare in Dunkin' Donuts

If you've never experienced a full on Dunkin' Donuts nightmare episode then be glad. Of all the sleep induced alternate realities that are out there, this is the worst. There's mostly donut carnage, a sticky mess on the unforgiving tiled floor, lukewarm coffee and staff frozen by trauma and unable to deal with the situation. Customers behave as if in the zombie universe, a place where they have arrived unexpectedly. 

Outside in the car park American police officers are talking to a shifty looking man that they've spreadeagled across the side of a car. He may or may not be packing a pistol, he make of may not be on the run in a stolen vehicle. You just popped in for a hot drink and a muffin, now you're some kind of witness though you saw nothing. You'd like to speak to the manger but he's on the phone. The phone is in the shape of a green and brown plastic palm tree.

Everywhere you turn there's pink icing, on the counter and the stools, splattered across the windows. At least it's not blood or so you think. Paper bags are covered in red letters, you can't make sense of the words they form. The other customers sit silently, actively looking the other way, sipping their shakes and coffee. "Happens all the time" somebody says as a siren blips and another patrol car comes to a halt by the front door, lights flashing. A Latino voice cries out "Pipe down!" Then you wake, in a sweat, your mouth is bone dry. You'd really love a strawberry milkshake right now but it's 3am and you're at home in Scotland.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Spider and the Ducks

Self explanatory really, we're getting the band back together, by public and financial demand. A power trio in the traditional sense. It's still unclear quite who will carry the mantle as Spider and who will form up as the duo known only as Ducks. Names can be very powerful things. Inner voices repeat the notion that the material will write itself over time and I continue to believe in that wonky piece of truth.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Sins of the Flesh

Possible new movie idea and elongated strapline: "In a world where nobody really understands anything, here's something else not to understand. The audience will be riveted to their seats but they might equally be arc welded or simply giga casted into some cinematic oblivion."

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Good Ideas

Every post is simply the wreckage of a good idea. I'm going to recheck the intonation and generally make minor, unsatisfactory adjustments. If this was a business it would be out of business. There's a strange appeal in that statement. It almost warrants a seminar, a fireside chat or a Ted Talk, but there's always the wreckage of a good idea looming up ... or down.

Please note: This post was mostly composed by AI.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Striking the Tone

Tone colours: Frank Zappa once said to somebody, "your playing is fine but your guitar tone is like a ham sandwich". How bad would your tone have to be to be compared to a ham sandwich? I quite like a ham sandwich, Frank clearly had some bad sandwich experiences. 

Guitar tone means different things to different players, good tone is subjective and at the very least should fit into the context of the music. But how do you know when you arrive at it? What if you just like what you like? I'm probably on the ham sandwich side here, cloth ears and low volume, only messing with the pots when I have to, following trickled down rules that are actually just hearsay from guitar mags and YouTube gurus. 

Today I was strumming on a Les Paul, a Tele and a 335. All at a low/household, neighbour friendly  volume. There was agreeable tonal colour but not actual Technicolor. The Les Paul offers the most variations with it's coil tap and treble boost circuit, it's a subtle beast with class and poise, it has balance. The Tele seems calm as I'm mostly on the neck pickup, it only gets agitated when you use the bridge and hit the strings hard, it's tricky. The 335 is alive and willing, it thinks it's in the Albert Hall and it's 1968, Crossroads is playing, or is that just in my own head?

I've no idea where I'm going with this, there is no describable sound in my head I'm chasing unless I use meaningless terms like crystaline or soaring. I listened today to somebody discuss and dissect the bass work of Jaco Pastorious on Herija. His bass tone is spine tinglingly good, from some other world of tonal perfection, all layered up and hard to pin down, it defies categorization but it has such a soulful sound. It's also multi tracked to sound like a choir. Almost as good as a nice ham sandwich.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Secret Handshakes

By way of explanation: My trademark style these days is never starting a paragraph with a single indent and then adding in some obtuse image that doesn't quite fit whatever I'm gargling on about. The title can be meaningless. That may all change over time but that's unlikely.

Today the subject is the "secret handshake" and if this was YouTube I'd be saying things like "deep dive" but as this is little more than an "abstract crawl" So I'll not bother with that. As it happens I do, thanks to many years of undercover work for Queen and country, happen to know a number of popular secret handshakes, also some secret signs only to be used in courtrooms when a death sentence might be handed out and you are the recipient. 

When I say popular I mean popular in a certain circle or certain exclusive circles. Anyway if you think I'm giving the game away or exposing any tardy truths here then you'll be disappointed. My secrets will remain with me and no one likes a grass. If you want to know more then I'd suggest that you keep your eyes open and your palms slightly moist and sensitive, while you can.

Recent handshake occurrences: As an unaccompanied adult I didn't feel the need to watch the BRITs, Prime Minister's Questions or trawl across the dross dug up by Facebook. I remained aloof and detached from these matters comforted by my knowledge on the demise of the sinister tapestry of handshakes and signs and how, under Covid and societal change, that murky, shaky world is slowly caving in on itself. I like to end on a high.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Black Cat Moan

The Black Cat Moan Tele returned to occasional duty following some minor fingerboard and fret surgery. Despite a generally high level of bodge*, particularly in the wiring, it's holding up reasonably well. "Is it for sale?" I hear the distorted call of your vocalized mental pain and avarice crashing together in a frenzy of desire and then falling headlong into a dark abyss of even more darkness down towards the black night of the limitless beyond. In a word (or two), probably not.

*Bodge alert reckoned to be registering in at about 11 on the NASA scale.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Lemon Yellow Sun

The lemon yellow sun is in fact a reasonably sized sponge cake. The moon is cheese and the sun is a sponge. These are just some of the astronomical facts that our government, via the education system and media, has chosen to withhold from us, the great unwashed. Movies like Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy perpetuate these lies as does Dr Who and the Sky at Night. Elon Musk is allegedly building a star ship (?) to go to Mars. He's going to be very disappointed when he gets there and finds it's a Plum Duff that was prepared using the microwave method many years ago.  The Greeks and Romans knew all this for eons and, as they were very fond of their food, named their gods after these celestial treats and puddings. None of this makes a particularly solid base for science, a religion or universal faith but you can believe what you like.

The Earth meanwhile, is made of earth and is earth shaped.

Monday, February 07, 2022

Witch Burning at Chattanoogan

Most historians now agree that this particular event did not actually take place in Chattanoogan or indeed anywhere else. The story was part of an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a travelling traveler who was never actually interviewed or apprehended by local law enforcement officers. This may have been because of his energetic use of an invisibility cloak. He is now thought to be lost in the mists of time. It's mostly seen as one of those damned urban myth things, common in the USA under the Trump administration.

Some grainy film shots and photographs of an "incident" have also been analysed and discounted by experts. Naturally they are all over the internet if you can be bothered to look. The witch however is completely real, unharmed, undimmed and continuing to practice in the area mostly by providing energy oils and love life enhancing spells to teenagers and complex singletons. She remains famously anonymous but often cites the event as being a good example of the old saying "there's no such thing as bad publicity". 

The Fire Department stoutly refused to provide a comment.

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Guitar Guitar

They named a guitar shop twice, not sure why. Perhaps their stock increased twofold or they sold two guitars on one day. It may have been a typing error or a graphic designer got carried away. Here's some shredded cherry finish artwork inspired by not actually going in there for some time. I do check their website now and again though only out of curiosity. Despite biffing guitars around for 50 years I don't much like visiting shiny guitar shops, not sure why.

Saturday, February 05, 2022

For Sale

"Cities without swimming pools*": Version #1 and Version #2. Original artworks from unoriginal artist. To be sold as a pair 🍐. For sale and happy bidding if you're on eBay. 

The usual unreasonable and unorthodox terms and conditions apply - no hippies, long-haired Fifers or robots. Cash only. Thank you.

*The novella "Cities without swimming pools" is due to be published in 2045 once written, along with the true facts about the strange death of Heinrich Himmler; the evil man who knew too much but also overrated his own value and so fell foul of even higher powers and agencies.

Friday, February 04, 2022

Crow Wars

We spent a lot of time and energy fighting the Crow Wars. In the end the outcome was inconclusive. That's often the nature of war; needless damage, destruction and cost to little true effect. The good news is that we're on better terms with the crows these days. Diplomacy can work and time plus distance are great healers and useful things in equations. Our avian friends can better look after their own feathers and welfare now. We don't try to scavenge on their patch or eat in the MacDonald's car park and they don't binge Netflix.

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Something Weird

A house is not a home if it's just a pile of bricks and timber. A house is a home if your heart is there. The house pictured here has morphed into an animated boat and is sailing off into the mysterious mist on the grimy waters of a flooded earth. A cat is at the controls, or at least the wheel. All very symbolic and metaphorical or something. It remains primarily a house at the moment. I hope it encounters dry land eventually but that might involve a significant bump. Some of the fish didn't make it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2022


My tuppence worth. The utter stupidity of Brexit will remain a running sore that will cripple UK politics for years to come. Labour enabled it as much as the Tories because the British (?) people had spoken; despite the facts that they were manipulated, lied to and slowly brainwashed in a toxic soup of misinformation. Now as the consequences slowly unravel, largely unreported, there is nowhere to go for a recovery. The media is in denial of it's responsibility and our political masters have no concept of responsibility anyway. 

The thing is I'm suffering from terminal schadenfreude listening to the snippets of information that escape, as abstract sums of money are supposedly lost and simple business transactions between once cooperating countries penalize commerce and ultimately create more poverty and unfairness. We're now fucked by Brexit (the hate that dare not speak it's name) for at least a generation. Ugh! Writing this down provides no cathartic relief whatsoever.

Those anonymous passengers on the SNP gravy train should've all walked out of the Westminster cesspit the other day and hiked back up the M1 in protest against the ludicrous and corrupt Tory regime. Not that it'd make any difference to the goons on the benches but it just might have been noted or even reported on by the BBC. I'm done.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Kings of a Dead World


Items and opinions for sale or free to a good home. 

Photographic and Artificial Intelligence collage: "A flamboyant and disturbing commentary on the state of things as viewed from the empire of things via the good offices of the internet of things. The new green shoots of disaster are clearly visible and quite tempting some may say, I'm not so sure. The red signifies the red-tape that the government are going to remove, simply by doing nothing. Everything else is just wreckage."

"By way of an update there appears to be only a single bullet left in the gun barrel with which to dispatch the beast. It seems than no one in authority has the courage or strength to pull the trigger. We'll just play on with Wordle in an attempt to ease the pain."

"I described my many fears for the future to Alexa. She stayed quite for a moment, you know that kind of processing pause that you get, then she just laughed."

"Nobody could ever say that I excel in answering University Challenge questions correctly."