Thursday, March 31, 2022
According to Robert Plant "upon us all a little rain must fall". Weather maps and forecasts usually show patterns of rainfall from quite a distance, maybe a mile high or thereabouts. I'm not sure, at a personal level, that's the best way to display such information. Here's what you get when you map the rainfall pattern from where it lands / hits the ground when you roll out a grid to capture it. You also get wet graph paper. After a while it's pretty much useless too, perhaps an alternative to feeble paper is required for the data recording to remain meaningful. I suppose nobody is ever 100% happy with the weather forecast whichever way it is presented.
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Less fuss and furor than your average Oscars ceremony.
A nasty bite from the Metropolitan Police's toothless squad
All hands on deck for BBC Scotland's journalistic standards.
When you're low you're low.
The Royal Family: it's own dysfunctional cash machine.
A guitar shaped like a fish does not need a bicycle.
You are in way too deep for yourself.
Alternative LED bulbs from Latvia.
Computers are easy to take apart with a claw hammer.
Unexpected load in the washing machine.
What the world needs now is love sweet love.
That's the only thing there's just too little of.
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Monday, March 28, 2022
Cat you spot the hidden cartoon cat?
Saturday, March 26, 2022
Friday, March 25, 2022
1. Now playing on YouTube. Well it was playing there. A strange album and unpopular at the time of it's release with many people but not me. I think it's fair to say that this incarnation of the band were better without (contributions from) Jeremy Spencer. Nothing against him but that's how it is.
Thursday, March 24, 2022
On the waterfront by the V&A we have this peculiar whale sculpture. Not easily recognizable as a whale from every angle so on approaching it you seem to see a large and incomplete bus shelter. It's also surrounded by some interactive pieces that don't seem to interact or offer helpful instructions. Perhaps we visited on a bad day when the systems were down. A tribute to the many dead whales who's oil was burned up to light the lamps of our forefathers.
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Having lived alongside various cats and been an active member of their workforce for a number of years I've finally come to the conclusion that cats do not really have a clear plan of what they might be doing. There are noises they make (incomprehensible meows mostly) that mean nothing but are still full of expression. Paws are extended and your leg gets scratched but there is no obvious meaning in the gesture. It's puzzling for the human.
Then they circle the chair you are sitting on so to encourage you to stand up and follow them but then they go nowhere. They lie on your tummy and deliberately ignore you because you are a couch now and when you need to move they are upset. They hang around by their feeding dishes as if hungry but as soon as you put some fresh food in the dish they escape via the nearby cat flap.
It's a bit like living with some benign and almost human looking member of the Conservative Party who abstains from parliamentary votes they said they'd take part in or an elderly, regular reader of the Glasgow Herald who is unaware that they are now living in a care home. God love them though (cats, not the human equivalents), for some reason I'm addicted to this odd and slightly abusive treatment.
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
What is the point when most things are pointless? Nothing undermines or frankly destroys the power of your witty or pithy Tweet like a well placed spelling mistake. OK I'll be generous and allow for typos, they happen, usually in the searing heat of the social media moment. Then there's also some bits poor of punctuation and grammar that are questionable, additional pieces of delight for the critical and uncaring reader. Of course looking back over my own body of shambolic work I've little right to even make such puerile observations. But I will.
On a positive note I've designed a special font named "Eagle Eye" that hopefully will mask any errors caused by hasty or thoughtless typing. It's main strength being the fact that it is mostly illegible. Examples are as below (a short extract from Finnegan's Wake). It's free at the point of use.
Monday, March 21, 2022
Outside, in the shimmering cold a puffy, poisonous cloud sinks below the moon, sneaking along some uneven path in the night time air, like an old man on his way back to the barn after an unexpected and over indulgent night out. Alternatively some alien life form or a ghost from outer space drifting along with no particular purpose. Maybe even a lost weather balloon from the Soviet era.
I saw it with my own two eyes and took a photo with those same eyes. Plain as day but at night. It was a revelation but only on a small scale. It hardly counts. In the dark you can make up what you like. When I awoke it was another day.
Often humans just invent their own reality and then decide to inhabit it. As George Orwell said "Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them."
Sunday, March 20, 2022
Saturday, March 19, 2022
A few days ago I mentioned my requirement for pickles and how forgetful I had been when trying to buy them. I finally got a jar from an actual shop* and started putting them to good use. So here we have two kinds of sourdough bread, ham, cream cheese, mustard and pickle forming up into a pleasing pickle tribute of a lunchtime sandwich.
*The shop was one of the latest "horse free" supermarkets where there are no horses roaming around distracting or possibly intimidating would be and otherwise carefree shoppers. I'm quite glad that the concept of a "horse free" supermarket has finally caught on around here. It certainly alters the retail experience in a good way. I realise that this is a topical topic but if you will just imagine going in to do your grocery shopping and not being even gently harassed by a horse (however friendly or nice it may be) and it certainly makes for trouble free Polo Mint and apple purchases, including the multi-packs. There's also a lot less dung in the aisles and fewer confusing altercations at the check outs when people try to buy the horse as part of their shopping tally and cant find the barcode. If any of this seems ridiculous to you then we're clearly living in different universes.
Friday, March 18, 2022
This is where it all began, in a book by Jasper MacSweeny Esq, written and illustrated pretty much in the days of yore and profundity in a farm cottage in Tullibody. Some scary hippies stole it, shipped it to the West Coast (Greenock) and the rest is a kind of blurred and garbled bit of forgotten history. Incidentally my imaginary tribute band name is of course the Grateful Dad*.
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Another superficial film and drink review: Wine now comes in cutting edge design, ultra thin, recycled something or other bottles. There's no glass or anything. A triumph of modern fabrication in a satisfying shape. It's from Australia but bottled in Basingstoke or someplace. It makes a few journeys and there's a manufacturing process that are not too helpful for the green credentials but it's a reasonable try. Saving the planet one skinny weird bottle at a time, though your fridge shelves might need to be adapted for a good fit. We sipped the red and white varieties whilst watching the new mumble-core movie adaption of Dune. Quite thirsty work with all that heat, sand and wanton destruction.
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
It's part of your five a day. Five fruity treats you're allowed by law. The Scottish Government might think so. They know what's best for us some say, now that they lost their profile pronouns to keep the oldies on side. Back to oranges; ironic somewhat in a country where our national fruit is the bramble, available fresh for only one week in September weather permitting. So scoff some fruit and take a brisk walk and a wee peek at the tweets from observers of the GB news.
They being the dodgy commentators and smarties who certainly know where the bodies are buried. They're just not telling anyone because, well in their opinion nobody could care less anyway. Just best to appreciate that the bodies were buried there by the Russians, though some may indeed have been reanimated and continued on as MPs. Nothing to see here.
I hadn't really enjoyed oranges for years. I felt guilty. Imagine the Tudors getting a crate of them from the King of Spain, between wars that is. The food taster would be busy but eventually they'd be able to eat some. It must've been a knockout moment at the court. "This (orange coloured?) fruit is fuckin' brilliant your majesty!" In return they sent them a crate of cabbages and a bucket of welks.
Looking back in history it's hard to understand why more Scottish people(s) didn't up sticks and move to Spain, the South of France or Italy just to get out of the dreich and gloomy weather. I suppose there were various employment laws, ongoing inquisitions and religious persecutions that may have discouraged such free movement. There's always some Priti Patel type waiting out there to piss on your chips. Anyway I'm back to liking oranges.
Monday, March 14, 2022
Typical Saturday night in a working class home in Scotland in the 1960s. Open reel tapes, analogue TV, self contained record deck with a lid, massive radio - genuine wooden finishes abound. Mum's carrying a good tune there too while dad sorts out the sonic engineering and playback. Maybe, with a bit of practice, opportunity will knock for them some day.
Sunday, March 13, 2022
There's a rumour that it's going to be a different season soon. The weather may become milder or colder. There's road works, traffic lights, tourist types circulating and political uncertainty in the air. An unspoken sense of some kind of unpleasant "change" being brought upon us. By degrees Governments and authorities being less able to cope with sharing the planet with regular humans. Odd and complex creatures. It's a familiar script in life's recurring cycle of dramas.
So I was considering the fate of the Kerfuffle family. They live nearby and unsurprisingly their lives seem to be in a permanent state of kerfuffle. Their neighbour, Freddy the Fish has confirmed this in some of his more lucid moments, messages from across the bar room floor. Freddy likes the odd drink or two, anytime, anywhere. He is quite observant and provides a droll commentary on local events though not always as lucid as I might like. Too much detail and the shutters go up, as has already happened in the mysterious house down the road. Freddy knows the truth but isn't telling.
You'll be glad to hear, if you didn't already know, that the Kerfuffles are presently nestling down and lying low. Their assets may well be seized at any moment. The Kerfuffles are in a quiet kerfuffle. Financial clarity is important. "Dictators don't play chess", says Mr Kerfuffle, "they don't like the rules. They gamble, they play Blackjack, they bluff and they smirk in the face of their victim." "Maybe so", says Mrs Kerfuffle, "but don't try to tell me you wouldn't want to play just a single hand with one and try to win big".
"I am not a victim!" Mr Kerfuffle thinks to himself for a moment. He can only do this because he cannot think to anyone else. His eyes are on fire, almost. "I would play, I would play my hand but I would hold my nerve and take the match to the limit. That is how you play against a dictator."
It was at that moment, across town that Mr Dick Taitor walked into the local pub, ordered a beer and asked the barman if he knew of the whereabouts of the Kerfuffle family. "I'd like to spend some dirty money" says Dick. "I'd like to take your dirty money" says the barman. At the other end of the bar stood Freddy the Fish, he was playing close attention to the conversation. Mr Taitor looked to him to be an "interesting prospect". He said that to himself a number of times, allowing the cement of that thought to cure.
Back at the Kerfuffle's sleep had broken out, well it had for Mrs K. Mr K decided that it was the perfect opportunity to head away as his good lady snoozed in the armchair. There was a message from Freddy on his phone he felt he should respond to. He stuffed a biscuit into his mouth, put on his jacket, grabbed his wallet and quietly crunched his way out of the door without rattling the door lock at all. As the door quietly closed Mrs K opened one eye and smiled a little smile to herself.
Mr K entered the pub by the wrong door. Nobody cared. He recognized the rear profile of Mr T and hesitated for a moment. There was history. The jacket was quite distinctive. Helly Hanson. He turned headed out the in door. Nobody cared. Once on the street and in the air he began thinking again. He knew Freddy would be in there and may have spotted him. Freddy was all ears and about 50% eyes. Mr K had a few drinks down the road and then, propped up with Dutch Courage headed back to see what Mr T and Freddy might be up to.
Now, an hour or so later all three men, Mr K, Mr T and Freddy are in the pub, sitting together around a round brown pub table of the kind we all know and damage occasionally. There were conversations, these are in the past now. They are playing a discrete game of Pontoon and drinking red wine from a bottle in the centre of the round table. Dirty money is being passed between them. A sly enquirer might just see the wads of cash hidden in their fists or being quickly moved in and out of pockets and transferred as the games progress. Most locals are smart enough to look away and the bar staff are whispering to each other about their own little windfalls of dirty money tonight. It came via a series of "keep the change" orders. "Nice" is what they are thinking.
In life however everything ends in tears. Sometimes these can be happy tears, other times not so happy. You can never really tell. It's all in the turn of the cards and the whirring of the wheels ... maybe some beads of perspiration too, oh, and you might find that you have a dry mouth. If this was all just a dream I'd say so now but it wasn't. It was a full set of dreams, one after the other. In proper order. They only became jumbled as my recall fumbled. It's a poor excuse but the best I can do.
So the three of them are deep in the dirty money card game.
"Fuck me that was grim", says Mr Taitor as he trousered close to £1000 in scraggy notes. The other two said nothing, both are observing their sorry shoes and the sorry bar floor. The word "sorry" seems to have been added to every area they encounter within their blurry field of vision. The cash machine up at the Co-op also took quite a hammering.
"Time Please!" The bar staff are eager to tidy up, they've had a good night, well a good night of extravagant tipping and they sense that the best is now over so best end it here. It's getting close to home time. The body language from Freddy and Mr K is fairly low key, subdued and pale faced. They both have a story to tell but no one to tell it to. Before they could collect themselves it became apparent that Mr Taitor fled the scene in his pre-booked taxi, at least five minutes ago.
Freddy makes it home. The house is empty like always. There's no drink, no cigarettes, no heating right now and the bed is unmade. He slinks in, avoiding noise as if he might wake up some imaginary sleeping partner. Tomorrow will be ... tomorrow. Perhaps his pension payment will hit the bank a few days early. He remembers working on the railway. Happy, greasy, grimy days. That British Rail pension's traveled further than he ever did.Mr K returned home also. His wife, whom he had sneaked away from without so much as a word, was still in her armchair and wide awake. She was engrossed in a cookery show she was watching on catch up TV. Mr K opened his mouth and hoped he'd quickly find some reasonable explanation to offer for both his absence and his loss of a significant amount of money in the disastrous card game. "Shoosh!" She cried, "this pasta bake recipe is one of the best I've ever come across". Which, strangely enough is also how my family and I discovered this delicious meal, so anyway, let's all get on with following the recipe...
Saturday, March 12, 2022
Friday, March 11, 2022
Friday is the day we* moan about things we* seem to be unable to change, the steam can then slowly escape: Let's not fool ourselves*, at the moment the UK is one of the least inspirational and respectable places to be. We* are reduced and diminished by the antics of the present government, the feebleness of the opposition parties and the inept devolved parliaments devoid of power and focus. Some humane leadership would be nice, some honesty would be better. When nothing is true and everything is possible and we* find ourselves here, on a downwards trajectory.
Today's artistic effort: Black doves crossing the once purple planet.
Thursday, March 10, 2022
Message begins: The Rest is Politics is worth a listen (mostly). You may or may not agree with the two nodding and talking heads, what with their diverse backgrounds and reputations but (there is always a but) it's accessible and informative, mostly. It also means I'm in a little less of an echo chamber regards opinions and outlook, that's pretty important now that our homeland has lost it's moral compass and it's way in the world. I'm not really liking this new, blunted instrument version of reality. Message ends.
Wednesday, March 09, 2022
When you buy things you don't really want to consume but that simply look good on the fridge shelf so you'll be cheered up every time you open it's door. There may well be a longish German word/term for this kind of eccentric behaviour, I don't know. If there isn't then there should be. I'm looking forward to handing one these, along with a glass nicely topped up with ice, as a cooling drink to a visitor one fine day in the near future.
Tuesday, March 08, 2022
FFS South Queensferry, you need to up your game. What is this? Street Art? A prelude to the Edinburgh Fringe? Perhaps it's some piece of social commentary referring to homeless issues, refugees, the plight of wildlife or poor waste management. Surely everybody knows that a good teddy bear like this deserves a more dignified send off than abandonment on a rubbish pile. Anyway no worries, he's coming to live with us now*. There, that's it sorted.
*Subject to Home Office clearance, security and criminal background checks, ethic origin evidence acceptance, health conditions, vaccination records, suitable bio-metrics and having a fair wind behind us.
Monday, March 07, 2022
Sunday, March 06, 2022
Yesterday's foray into footballing misery found us at Gayfield Stadium in Arbroath. Like a poor pop festival on concrete. Plump security staff preside over our entry, the Pie Hut and six sad portaloos provided for the seven hundred that made up the traveling support. That's the common standard for what you get with an £18 ticket. We saw our team, Dunfermline, beat one nil. On a sunny afternoon and despite enjoying a black pudding and steak pie and some good company the universe was clearly against us. It's the one thing you cannot beat. Footballing fate is always cruel for one of the teams involved. Neither side played particularly well. My team hit the post twice, the bar once and were denied a penalty. In my head we were 1 - 4 up. How a fan sees it versus reality and the universe.
Lower league games maybe lack the quality and panache of the higher leagues but as a "fan" who attends this subtle torture once a month I see it as a better, earthier experience. The top needs the bottom to survive. Where players and coaches learn their trade, hear the praise and abuse and remain unrewarded and unrecognised unless they break through the pie crust and into a top drawer club. You sell your soul on the way there but what were you ever planning to do with your soul anyway? The unsold souls of yesterday's game have their aches and pains this morning and probably don't care much about the scores. They put a shift in, just like a team member at McDonalds or a Russian soldier and now it's all about the next one and a bollocking from the manager. Just you against the universe, that's everyone's fate.
Coffee, pies and concrete.
Saturday, March 05, 2022
Friday, March 04, 2022
Thursday, March 03, 2022
Bad news everywhere, I know I sometimes don't help with the opinions I share. So here's a lovely picture painted by one of my grand daughters. An unusual piece of colour, composition and white space. There's a lot of original thought and maturity in the detail.
Wednesday, March 02, 2022
Tuesday, March 01, 2022
I see no reason why Ukraine should not be allowed to join the EU, there's a fairly obvious space opened up recently. British dumb-fuckery still abounds. Strange how some close at hand didn't appreciate the opportunities at the time but as things slowly unravel it's a little clearer who has been calling the shots and who has been played. I can still recall those words from my youth, "I wonder who they are, the men who really run this land..." Evolution is a slow and unpredictable process. Painful at times too.