Sunday, July 31, 2022

Saturday, July 30, 2022


More archived material that's been set alive/alight/akimbo by the wonders of last century's flickering technology with some low-fi works chugging on in the background. It also features an actual slice of silence we imported from Japan in a can from a vending machine. Something that you can quietly enjoy or even speak over if you're inclined towards that sort of thing.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Things of Very Little Importance

A sympathetic rendering of a fretboard minor pentatonic musical scale schematic, executed in the bucolic style by the largely unrecognized and unknown early 20th century French artist Pierre L'Jambon (1871 - 1919).

L'Jambon famously said: "I rise early each working day and paint furiously or perhaps very carefully according to my mood. My juices are exhausted by lunchtime so I stop. Then I succumb to the French traditions of bureaucracy and guilty ritual and smoke, drink, snooze and ponder for the rest of the day. I neither look up nor down or think of paint or composition as my mind wanders and stutters across an absurd world. I consider all of these fleeting and perishable things to be of little importance."

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Inner Wings

Been connecting with my inner wings recently (easier than the whole third eye turmoil). That's the inner wings on a tame Volkswagen of course. The dark and mysterious place where all manner of unwelcome road crap ends up stuck between the body and the liner and weighs down your ride nicely. It's all damp and contaminated and likely to eat through the fragile body of your car at any moment. It was a perverse joy cleaning them out, hosing down the muck and collecting it in a nearby skip, then painting them with special paint designed to withstand a nuclear attack but maybe not a mild Scottish winter. We'll see. Having said that I can remember when cars didn't have inner wings and just rusted away and died by the roadside, invariably just a few days after you'd bought them from a "reliable dealer". 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Dr Strange was a Doctor

They called this the "Silver Age" of comics (1960s) with the "Golden Age" following on shortly after I presume. Not sure I agree but our history is unreliable.  Anyway young Steven Strange first got into magic after getting a Chad Valley Conjuring Kit for his 7th birthday. It was a slippery slope from there into what some might call the dark arts and then eventually becoming Sorcerer Supreme. Sorcerer Supreme was a level of magician skill not really possible with the Chad Valley kit. There also was a decent magic kit that the glove puppet Sooty promoted, I'm unsure as to the educational merits it had. I suspect again that it was set at less than Sorcerer Supreme level. "Izzy Wizzy, let's get busy" was the only famous incantation I learned as a youngster.

Seems to me if our toy industry had any vision at all they'd have raised their game back then and added a bit more spice to the conjuring box. Mind you a visit to Woolworths might have been quite risky during the party season. Some households and Scout huts might have experienced real damage as a result. So we remain a backward country for two reasons: mind control and social strangulation from a class conscious education system and our dismal failure to promote the use of magic and sorcery as a means of making your way in the world(s) and so destroying slimy despots and corrupt political opponents.


I often think the modest cod, the oddest of god's odds and sods.

To cross a line you shouldn't cross but maybe you don't give a toss,

And loss is all you know.

It's reprehensible to moan, to be alone and on your own.

The things you have you'll never own. Just moss upon a rolling stone.

Your fishy cover has been blown.

(With some slight apologies to Spike Milligan).

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Hints of Blues

"Hints of blues on a china plate."

"There's a spinning wormhole in a phantom galaxy". The message came up on my phone this morning in the news feed. I'm unsure as how to react. Is there a clear and present danger? Does it make the various climate, economic and political perils we face seem trivial in comparison? I dare not respond and click on the story just in case my day is ruined. A bundle of huge astronomical facts and some well intended speculation will collapse on me and I won't be able to deal with them. That's how I face up to things, by not facing up to things. Sound familiar?

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Perpetual Darkness


No one really knows what causes your perpetual darkness. It could be due to the sun setting, clouds obscuring the sky, or even a power outage. Regardless of the cause, it's a state of mind that can be felt on certain days. Most people associate perpetual darkness with the night, but it can also happen during the day. It's a state of mind that can be quite eerie, and it can make you feel disconnected from the world. Some people might find it relaxing, while others might find it oppressive. It's all a matter of personal preference. I tend to follow the sun, all the way across the universe and back.

Perpetual darkness refers to the lack of daylight that occurs at certain times of the day in any place of the world. It means the absence of any source of light for a certain period of time that can last from a few minutes to several hours. The effects of such a phenomenon vary from one place to another depending on the location and season of the year. In general, perpetual darkness is associated with a feeling of loneliness and detachment from the world. For this reason, some people choose to experience this phenomenon by living in the countryside or in a rural area where there is controllable exposure to natural sunlight. Others might prefer to seek professional guidance by visiting a therapist who can treat disorders such as depression or anxiety disorders that are commonly associated with this phenomenon. Perhaps not for all at this curious time in history. You could have simply overcharged yourself on the credits of happiness.

Perpetual darkness is a state of mind that can be felt but only on certain days or when I say so. Oh how we laughed.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday Quickly

About time: This particular week Friday seemed to fly by. It was supposed to be the same length as any other day of the week, but it just seemed to go by too quickly. I was confused, and couldn't figure out why. I thought it was strange that Friday would change without any warning, and I couldn't help but wonder why. Friday had developed a peculiar personality without any warning. Those other dull days just couldn't quite manage to do that, I suppose. It was written yesterday.

Maybe it's just something that happens sometimes, and we can't really do anything about it but it still seems strange, and I can't help but wonder what could be behind it. I may just have to live with the fact that now Friday can change on a whim, and I can't always predict when it will happen. But at least it's a kind of new normal and we can just go about our drab little lives as usual while Friday sweetly or menacingly runs riot in the background, or is it the foreground? Perhaps some evidence will emerge, either after the past or before the future.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Old Man Shouts at Pharmacy


Another "old man shouts at cloud" style post mostly using tiny writing.

Since Covid the world has changed. One particular part is now almost unrecognizable. The Pharmacy. Now there are crawling queues, shortages, puzzled customers, and disgruntled OAPs, confused staff and a general air of disorganization. I have to say it's also mainly the Lloyds branches. In my limited experience it's a real mess of a business.

Companies in customer facing retail like Screwfix and Argos seem to be able to handle multiple orders and a quick and accurate stock turnover far easier than the pharmaceutical world can. The staff seem lost and honestly uncaring at times. What is the problem? Supply lines? Staff skills? Have we just given up? OK it's mostly potentially dangerous drugs and medicines they're issuing, nobody wants mistakes but with modern inventory software and verification systems how difficult can it be to smooth this out?

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Animal Art

It's usually pictures of lazy house cats here so I've decided to broaden my horizons and be a little more exotic. I've no idea what's going on in the piece either.

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Other Summer of Baccara


A weekend outing to a local pop festival: We were there, hot, wet in the rain and as baffled as ever by the bizarre line up bingo we were taking part in. By that I mean I seldom seemed to see who I expected to see, program changes and happenstance simply conspire against the fragile plan. Neither did I expect to join in with a few thousand other mad folks in singing along to (a version of?)  70s euro pop divas, Baccara. They were received in truly heroic fashion by an eclectic mix of Scottish Ska devotees and as they might have said in the old days of music journalism, "the fans went wild". It's all true.

In the "luxury" toilets they actually had this stuff available for use, once a Twitter hit and now a real life trope and no doubt a shock to anybody indulging in substance abuse. That's all I really want to say about the toilets.

A Saturday morning hunt for coffee found me at the Churros van (the queue was the smallest). There was a lot going on; of course queue anxiety and shortage of coffee cup lids (I'm carrying them a long way back to the tent), some staff meltdowns inside and out of the van and the surreal experience of my part of the queue snaking across a Leslie Riddoch lecture in the marquee next door.

Our lovely tent: a reasonably sized base camp from which to explore the site. Of course we've all moved on from flashy tents and huge camper vans now. I does seem that the most desirable fashion accessory these days is a dog, preferably an exotic breed with a decent bark. It used to be hippie kids or unicycles but now it's dogs that rule as their owners struggle on. I suppose the other essentials are a gender confused friend, a talented acrobat who'll amuse bored audiences and somebody quite over weight who just dances to the point where they require an ambulance. A lot of festival attendance centres around people watching and spotting as much of the actual music is pretty dull to be honest.

My final study: an early morning tree set with a broken couch and various bits of old furniture and deck chairs. People just land there, have a drink and smoke, read a book and then move on. A metaphor for all of life itself. We'll probably be back for more of the same next year. Bollocks to Covid and the Tories etc. and who cares who is on the bill anyway.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The Suchess of Duffolk ...

... and the Yuke of Dork. I am not in awe or in fear and trembling of the aristocracy. This mostly because we live in the present day* and also that I'm not fan of things related to glorifying, upholding or recognizing the aristocracy in any form. 

Aristocracy is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class, namely the aristocrats. The term derives from the Greek aristokratíā, meaning 'rule of the best'. 

I dispute that they might be 'the best'. They are to me just 'other people' born into powerful or influential families, not necessarily totally bad but not necessarily very good either. The accidents of birth, breeding and the random powers of fate have a lot to answer for.

*That counts for very little really.

Monday, July 11, 2022

How to do Nothing

I understand some people get worried about kids who spend a lot of time all alone, by themselves. I do a little worrying about that, but I worry about something else even more; about kids who don’t know how to spend any time all alone, by themselves. It’s something you’re going to be doing a whole lot of, no matter what, for the rest of your lives. And I think it’s a good thing to do; you get to know yourself, and I think that’s the most important thing in the whole world." 

Robert Paul Smith from "How to do nothing with nobody all alone by yourself."

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Incredible Shrinking World


Back in the days of Charles Dickens a Yorkie Bar was nearly the length of a fully grown Pitbull's back. Nowadays it hardly measures up to a cheap Biro pen from the bottom of a drawer. I blame rampant capitalism and those heartless leverage buyouts that seek to boost shareholder dividends but only ever in the short term. This is no way to run an economy or a confectionery firm. What a time to be alive. 😕

P.S. Every time I type Charles Dickens I also want to type Daryl's Chickens right beside it but in brackets.

Saturday, July 09, 2022

The Loneliness of the Lorne Sausage


More action from the occasional series on nuanced sausage performances that are slowly veering into the spectacular in domestic cookery situations. We don't do the mass market, fast food, bistros or other types of commercial eatery. No selling out. The best action is often/always found on the home front, where meaty legends end and hurried breakfasts begin. We're here to document the dances and shapes created by creative sausages wherever they may be found. This particular move is known as the "vertical ascent" and is based on a Scottish mountaineering and camping tradition from the Glen Nevis area dating back to times beyond the Highland Clearances.

Looking for a creative dance slot in the Edin-B Fringe if anybody's chucking sponsorship money around for artistic shit.

Friday, July 08, 2022

Sympathy for the Troubled

More  of a ramble really: As a confused teenager I recall thinking that it must be cool to have some kind of mental breakdown. This was inspired by the rock star experiences of folks like Syd Barrett, Brian Jones and Peter Green and some movies and novels that I'd also taken in. The fame and the burden of genius bearing down upon you, a few drug experiences and down you went. I imagined it was some kind of temporary state and they would return, fully formed and powered up once more. The fans would go wild. After a while I saw that real life is different.

I knew nothing of mental health problems and little about the damage that drugs can do.  It was only later when friends or acquaintances actually journeyed over this "high side" that I began to understand that most people were not tough and/or resilient and that bouncing back from troubles and addiction wasn't a given. 

Why am I writing this? I've no idea, I was just sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon thinking how daft and innocent I was as a young man and how life is a long process of learning. Some people are good at learning and do it quickly, others struggle, some just repeat their mistakes over and over. Some go under and are beyond rescue, but how sympathetic and supportive can you be when people don't seem to or want to learn and move on? Of course if a mental illness is serious then you can't just learn your way out of it so I'm not comparing life lessons with that.

At least I've made it this far without doing anyone any serious harm (?). I suppose, what with all the media and news activity going on, I'm thinking of that human stain BJ, eternal Prime Minister in his own head and a man incapable of taking responsibility. He's a damaged and dangerous individual but I can't feel any sympathy for him. He's had all the privileges and opportunities, set out on a shiny silver plate in front of him, on easy street all his life and he's still a first rate cnut and always will be. So, moving on ...

Thursday, July 07, 2022

When Cats Retire

We all get old, it's a fact that most people would agree on even if you think the earth is flat. It follows that if you live long enough and are inclined that way you might just manage to retire. It's a fairly odd concept in many ways but is a reality for older folks; folks like me. In parallel to my own aging our cats are aging. I'm unable to explain retirement to them as they've never really been employed apart from a ten or twelve year slot they had catching mice, birds and bees and presenting them to us as gifts in exchange for bed and board, supermarket chicken pieces and various types of sachets of slimy cat food. That's the extent of their careers I suppose. Mind you they've provided a good detail of company and emotional support and some periods of light entertainment too. I should add these in for good measure so they've got some pension credits to cash in. It's a love thing.

So their hunting season has stopped, they're way too slow and inflexible and they sleep for about 20 hours a day. They don't know it but they've retired and their once wild and wide ranging habitat has shrunk to the confines of our leafy garden landscape and, most of the time, the inside of the house. They are firmly in the "care home" stage and we've become their twitchy carers. We always were but now it's a more acute relationship. Meds twice a day administered in Liki-Lix, seriously long naps with bodily functions and moods under close observation, puzzled meow interpretations and the occasional visitor they can either sniff, cuddle or avoid. 

Social activities are rare as are the once spontaneous playful moments. No more chasing feathers on sticks, laser pointers, climbing up the curtains or clawing at tapping fingers. They like to sit on the arm of the couch or on the table (as above) and just stare into space. I often wonder what memories they might be reflecting upon or be reliving. The chases, the hunts, the take downs and stake outs, the rooftop walks and their nightly safaris deep into the undergrowth. Their first puzzling frog encounters, crunchy warm mice, snow carpeted all across the garden, hiding from rampant toddlers and from their own capture prior to a vet visit or even worse a fortnight in the cattery when we were off to Florida or somewhere that you can never quite describe to a cat. 

In cat years they're heading well into their 80s but they don't actually look too bad. It's the high protein diet and the lack of economic and cultural pressures coupled with any awareness of mortality. If they were human they might be considering running for American President, completing all the Munros or playing the main stage at Glastonbury right now. Well that's not going to happen, to them or us. Retired is retired but it's also something of a non-specific and abstract state of being. All a bit "do not go gentle into that good night."

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Sniffing Petrol


When the economy is regularly giving you a kicking all across the board and we remain rudderless in the storm what is the point of even the most basic of research into price variations? Sometimes seeing things as they are, in other words having some "knowledge", isn't really all that useful. There are a few things you'd just rather ignore, like the crazy price of petrol. Here's where you can compare prices if you dare. It's hardly a revelation and is arguably pointless as there's no real difference between suppliers. 

I had expected BP to be more expensive (though our actual local BP and Shell stations don't figure on this list and they are only about half a mile away) but it's in second place ahead of Tesco. Why don't their automated pumps show up a saving? Anyway I quite like the fruit and bakery departments in Morrisons but it's over at the Gyle, all potholes and bus lanes too. One day we'll all have EVs I suppose and we'll worry about the prices of charging as we grapple with range anxiety and software upgrades. Until then it's just buttons.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Queensferry Daily Cruise Liner

In an unexpected plot twist summer has arrived, albeit in an often dull and blustery fashion. Along with that come the baffled cruise passengers who hardly set foot in the village before being bussed off to the capital city to get fleeced by whatever red hot tourist spot they're dropped into. I don't envy them the pain of it all, the fudged history, the tartan tat and the uneven pavements. Meanwhile all local roads are blocked off by sets of marauding alien traffic lights let loose by the Russians and determined to choke and harass any unwanted transport whilst unpopular building works progress and budget midweek weddings and funerals run amok. Good times!

Random summer observations: 

Those accidental phone photos of your feet as you cross the cobbles.

Waiting for a fresh brew of coffee while standing in line with six hefty cyclists in their sweaty lycra outfits. 

Looking up into the clouds and trying to predict when they might part in biblical fashion to reveal a watery sun so you can sit down and enjoy it's glow for a few minutes. 

Yesterday's litter still strewn across some bumpy car park awaiting the arrival of a pack of crows currently distracted by the activity at the drive through. 

Anticipating the walking directions of oncoming elderly pedestrians in order to avoid a collision.

Wedged open pub doorways that are somehow quite unwelcoming.

Never being really clear how much an ice cream will cost and how much extra a 99 might be.

Noisy school leavers in their 2022 sweat tops simulating the movements of a family of apes, swigging Monster but  unsure what direction to run in and quite who to shout at. 

A couple upstairs in a busy bus who decide it's OK to sit separately on both the left and right front seats. 

Trying to enter the chip shop but there's a wall of Just Eat and Deliveroo carry bags and there are angry voices rising from behind it. 

Any news website trying to make sense of the shit show that is British politics. FFS.

Monday, July 04, 2022

Sweet Bird of Youth

Sweet Bird of Youth and a Graffiti Cat: A tiny gif one of my grand daughters kindly sent me via her swinging, trendy and super dooper smarty phone equipment. Nice. One tiny gif deserves another, I'll see what I can round up and capture in the lands of the digital Serengeti.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Unholy Marriage


A short essay on the significance of labels: Supping warm Guinness from a cold Tennent's glass doesn't affect the taste or the alcoholic content or the level of enjoyment. It doesn't affect anything of meaning, it's just a not very thoughtfully selected glass holding the contents of a tin of beer. So there's my position on labels, products and life in general. I may also hold other views at different times, according to my variable moods and general outlook. Don't say I didn't warn you.