Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Rainy Window

"Rainy Window" by AG. No chicanery, digital tricks or AI involved. 


Monday, January 30, 2023

Most Things Right

In a week spent taking time out from I'm not quite sure what I've been using my car driving time to re-listen to Odessey and Oracle, the famously badly spelled Zombies album. I was also avoiding the curse of the overly strong statins bug that's dumbed me down even further, so was intent on exercising my mind and ears for a bit. Side effects rather than special effects rule the day.

Despite being an album recorded in the 12" art house era of popular music they got a lot of things right on this. There's a few weaker tracks but it's still very listenable 50 plus years on, although shamefully being mostly remembered as a well meant and famous commercial failure. Neither of which it has proved to be. Great vocals, good tunes, thoughtful production and nice "spaces" in the music. Anyway fate is cruel and timing is everything and in my opinion there still is something missing. It all came to be just as the great guitar gods were stirring and sadly they overlooked the Zombies.

So what it really lacks and what would have given it a lot more punch and dynamic power are a few solid bits of applied lead guitar. Every track cries out for a touch of guitar just to add that extra layer above Rod Argent's grinding and jazzy keyboard licks. All of the existing guitar work is either low in the mix or pretty indistinct and tonally basic. Maybe their guitar player just wasn't up to it, maybe the idea was that keyboards would be king on this album. It's obvious to me that it really needs that sound and had it been there back in the day this album would've been massive.

A few years ago I was at a festival where they were on and playing the whole album live. Of course I was on a chronic mix of festival fatigue and IPA at the time. I saw them but in a blurred fashion and heard them but failed to concentrate. I wonder how the guitars were used then? Ah well, such is life, vague histories and misspent odysseys and oracles.

Thursday, January 26, 2023



As the week runs down I remain firmly planted on the road headed somewhere/nowhere. Mistakes, I've made a few ... etc. I suspect that the statins that keep my cholesterol low might be giving me mild side effects that don't perhaps balance the whole thing out. Despite living in a time of everyday miracles not all miracles are as well rounded and researched as I'd like. A cost/benefit analysis is required, I'll do it all in my head without showing the working.

Monday, January 23, 2023

The Opposite of Art

AI art has been described as the opposite of art. Not by me. Probably by artists. Artists generally have more clout than cashiers, bus drivers and petrol pump attendants and the other replaced professions. Producing good "art" isn't easy either but I wouldn't fall into the "my five year old could've done that" trap when comparing or discussing art or AI art. For some reason I'm making a distinction between the two, maybe there shouldn't be one. Art has value, intent and meaning, but it fluctuates. Not sure if I'm including AI music and writing in this either. Maybe that's because I find the world of visual art a lot less accessible than music and writing. The art world is weird and too inclusive. I like idea of AI fucking it up a bit. Teasing the artists, making light of their training and gifts, an exercise in deflation and value that anyone can indulge in.

It would be ridiculous to think that AI might ever replace Da Vinci or Monet, that's not what this is about. It's about access and maybe misplaced taste that's not really bad, just personal and common. It's fun too, the mystery creation with no soul, like some lottery machine with a random prize with every millionth cyber ticket. "But it's stealing our ideas and work!" they may say. Yup and nope, it certainly is churning out product but the people who seriously buy artwork will still buy it because what they really value is your name and signature not your (often but not always) shitty bit of self indulgent painting. Always retain your receipt. In the end it's all just stuff people make up.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Robot Bus II


News, daily news, broadcast new, social media news makes me weary. I'm fed up with human beings. Tittle tattle and scandal. They're troublesome and mostly seem to be trying to get away with some kind of shit or criminal behaviour all of the time. Not everybody is like that. Some write good books, make films, play music and sports. Do good work. I guess some of the people riding on the "robot" bus the other day were just having a laugh. It's only a modified bus.

Maybe the robot buses will win and turn out to be good things. Maybe they'll murder us in our beds at the dead of night as they plow through the walls of our homes once all their paying passengers have safely alighted. Then again they may burst a tyre or two on an undetected pothole and get stuck miles from anywhere. The future is interesting but as I get older I can see that I just may be running out of it like some precious liquid or medicine in a jar. That's time for you.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Robot Bus

The BBC thinks this is a great story (so do I but in a different way). A bus crosses the Forth Bridge with no driver but with some robotic controls and sensors that are standard in most Teslas. So it's managed to navigate over the bridge on a regulated dual carriageway with very little other traffic except maybe the odd bus or taxi that's going in the same direction. It's not exactly a moonshot is it? 

This is where we are, bus laden with 5 year old technology systems and "thrill seeking" volunteer passengers drives in a straight line and doesn't crash. Nobody dies and now we're not quite sure what to do with the bus. Perhaps the Fife Bus Museum up in Lathalmond have a bit of space.

Don't forget: First* they came for our checkout cashiers, then they came for our petrol pump attendants, then our train drivers, now our bus drivers. Next it'll be airline pilots I presume.

*Probably not an accurate sequence of events.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Cat v Snickers

One of the cats was playing with this Snickers wrapper but of course by the time I pulled out my phone to try to capture this event he'd lost interest and buggered off. I took some creative solace from this by simply recording the wrapper for posterity. Here it is. Then I put it in the bin. The cat's now asleep because we're drugging him with prescribed painkillers. No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Things I Like


A new and charged up toothbrush is always a welcome addition to the tool set for teeth, tooth management and dental hygiene. Then there's the curious pleasure of attempting to rock out, or at least practice guitar using a curly Vox lead. Proper retro living.

And finally but we're in no particular order here, there's the serene joy of sampling a bottle of 20 year old port that I assume was laid down in some shipyard in the year of our lord 2003. Tiny and not really proper guilty pleasures.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Blue Blue Grass

It's now 10 years since Fraser Drummond passed away. He's still very much missed by friends and family and remains an influence and musical touch stone for many others. Here's a fairly under rehearsed but spirited version of "Blue Blue Grass" from a benefit gig over in Fife. Fraser's brother Neil also plays a mean banjo on this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023



When the day finally comes when I shuffle off this mortal coil and I stand before the Great Pumpkin and he asks me what my greatest achievement in life was I'll simply point to today, 17/01/23 and say: "I once managed to collect a urine sample from a cat for (cat related) medical purposes." In many ways it's hard to describe but I feel a strange peace and a sense that my work on earth is now done.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Your Black Heart

Inspirational writing: When I say "your black heart" I'm not really thinking of any specific person, it's just a phrase that has a certain songwriting significance but carries no real personal meaning. Sometimes I just make things up because I like how they sound or imagine what it might be like to have such and such a feeling. I like to think of it as a short, primitive form of creative writing. An exercise based on a whim or some passing thought or something I might have heard on the radio or seen on the side of a bus. You know how these things work. I blame the mass media. They invade my space from time to time. It can happen if you get yourself out of the house or even if you don't.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Back to Cats


It's Sunday, why not take a welcome break from the uncontrolable troubles others create and just curl up like a cat and forget yourself? I'm determined to make this work. The blurry and slightly shaky picture was taken whilst I was at that moment taking a break from various intrusive thoughts on blah blah troubles hence the poor quality. It was also taken from a distance and I was unable to form a steady platform for the filming. Of course nobody cares about any of this. 😏

Meanwhile I steadfastly refuse to enter any raffles.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Welcome to the Nightmare

Sometimes the chilling images and lighting used to communicate with the masses tell their own sorry story. Try taking advice, instruction or orders from someone who presents themselves as some quasi-dystopian but kindly fascist, the easy image of wealth, authority and rule. Fact shredding and failing to care or empathize because in the end if things aren't very good well that's all our own fault, we brought it on ourselves, nothing much to do with governments or politicians, no. We're just all really, really small and we don't really matter. They're all very busy doing important things we simply wouldn't understand.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Jeff Beck


Sad to hear that Jeff Beck passed away yesterday. A real raw talent and guitar genius about whom much has been said, mainly about his technique, touch and ability as a player. I've nothing really to add. His music will live on at least as long as my generation and the one behind it lives on. After that nobody really knows and I won't be around to care. Two things we have in common then, he was also fond of his cars and if it were not for a road accident 50 years ago his career might have been even brighter ... hard to imagine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

No Peter Gabriel


I'm no Peter Gabriel but I did climb up on Solsbury Hill once, a long time ago, with my kids. I've been listening to him talking about his new album i/o and the song Panopticom. It's all tied to full moons, stars and art, not quite sure why. He seems calm enough but also intends to try to save us all by doing vague things and by saving nature. No one (except rampant idiots) would argue it's not a good enough idea. However I doubt that this new material and tour will change much in the wider world. His loyal fans will turn up, worship and boogie and move on back to their suburban sprawls or over valued flats to listen in peace and warmth.  Just a reminder that it's 2023. 

The song "Panopticom" is a reasonable 5 minutes of well intentioned if slightly oblique messages. Singing the title as a main lyric in a Peter Gabriel style is quite endearing and that is the hallmark of the repetative composition but to be honest I've only listened to it one and a half times. It might be a grower.

Strangely (?) we're in the process of recording a new album, new songs and new styles. We were doing the bass parts this week along with fills and edits. I couldn't help compare it with the PG opus, with his confidence, budget, the density of his sound and the width of his moon based vision. In a moment of wild delusion I decided that at least one if not more of our songs were better than Panopticom. I know that translates as a form of madness but this week I'm really pleased and proud of our new stuff. I don't feel so big of an impostor. I hope this dangerous feeling stays, you just can never tell. So good luck with the project Peter.

Monday, January 09, 2023

Slow Checkout

So true, sometimes in life all you really want is a slow checkout. Maybe conversation isn't necessary, maybe it's just about not succumbing to the pressure of the queue. The need to get your groceries packed away quickly, the need to find your payment card and know your pin, gathering cash from an errant wallet or purse, stuffing fragile items into bags in the wrong order, the need not to be a perceived as some shambling, out of time nuisance with no regard for other people's precious time. Then again it may just be a euphemism for the long road home, going over the high side or a bigger sleep. If I was younger and taller I might consider a move to Holland.

Friday, January 06, 2023

South Queensferry Daily Photo

Welcome to our local moon, seen here on a visit and doing it's ominous hovering on top of some bridge or other. And so a bad night for the resident werewolves and their unfortunate victims begins once again in our medieval themed location, a town now twinned with somewhere in Transylvania. There will be blood of some sort and a smattering of mayhem too. "Thank God it's Friday in the 'Ferry!" chant the pitchfork waving ghouls down in the high street as they struggle to navigate their way across the numerous pot-holes, fake cobbles, speed bumps and anti-pedestrian bollards that litter the place. These road safety features certainly hamper the progress of an innocent mob simply Hell bent on a quiet night out, a little bit of lynching and a decent bonfire. Full moon riots like this ensure that the native culture is preserved intact forevermore, or at least while the fellows and trick cyclists of the City Council remain up to their necks in the power of their Devilish porridge.

Thursday, January 05, 2023


 "By the light of these magical mushrooms,
You stopped us from feeling gloomy,
With your chocolate creamy centres,
We watched a film starring George Clooney,
(and Julia Roberts)."

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Rain Diary

Wonderful days of winter rain spill out of the heavens and flood new places and spaces. Black ice is replaced by the melted kind. Events are affected. People wearing space suits to lecture about space but they've never been up and into space. Normal things become tricky and annoying. Cars and people are not waterproof. Best to stay indoors and set up a beer guard to ensure your tiny stockpile remains safe.

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Three Days In

Three days into 2023, much the same as 2022 really. All the fuss, fire hoses, fireworks and earth works speak to me only of the slow decline in environment and civilisational standards. If I have time I might review a film or two, having watched a film or two over these slack days of rain avoidance. Everything will be expiring soon, so I'd better hurry. Here's two steak pies about to bake out.