Thursday, March 30, 2023
There's certainly been a lot of talk recently regards the finances and ethics of the Doune The Rabbit Hole festival. People didn't get paid, badly organised and so on. It seems we're now embroiled in the controversy in a small way. They featured us and our tent, bunting and towels in their email and on their website for 2023. Not sure what to make of this. We still had a good time there last year anyway 😳.
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Monday, March 27, 2023
Historical context: Stoicism is a philosophical position that originated in ancient Greece and has been practiced by many people throughout history, including notable figures such as Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus, both household names but not in every household. It is based on the idea that we cannot control external events, but we can control our reactions to them. By focusing on what is within our power to control, we can achieve a state of inner peace and tranquility, regardless of what is happening around us. Yes!
Real world advice: One of the key strengths of Stoicism is its practicality. Unlike some other philosophical positions that can seem abstract or esoteric, Stoicism offers concrete advice on how to live a good life. For example, it emphasizes the importance of developing self-discipline, controlling our emotions, and practicing mindfulness. These are all skills that can be developed and applied in daily life to improve our well-being, assuming you can spare the time.
You are important: Another strength of Stoicism is its emphasis on personal responsibility. Rather than blaming external factors for our problems, Stoical types recognize that we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. This can be empowering, as it encourages us to take ownership of our lives and make positive changes where necessary.
Seek a happy place: Finally, Stoicism offers a sense of perspective. By recognizing that external events are beyond our control, we can avoid becoming overly attached to material possessions or worldly success. Instead, we can focus on developing virtues such as wisdom, courage, and compassion, which are within our control and can bring lasting fulfillment.
Avoid wasting your time: Overall, while there are many philosophical positions to choose from, some of which are pretty questionable, however Stoicism offers a practical, empowering, and perspective-shifting approach to life that has resonated with people for centuries.
Friday, March 24, 2023
Sunny afternoons in the park. When I was young this seemed to me like the ideal way for a rock band to perform. Gear on a flatbed truck, pull up in a field and just blast through your set while stoned people mingle, wander and flop around the proceedings having the time of their lives. I did not consider the issues of power, sanitation, access, safety and security or the weather.
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Based on possible money saving veterinary advice I was out in the big bad world seeking a suitable laxative for an unwell cat. The vet said that it was best to go to a regular human pharmacist and buy a certain unflavoured brand. A small measure of this should "do the trick". I found it hard to locate stock of the item in (Puss in) Boots the Chemist but eventually came upon another pharmacist with some. Unfortunately I blurted out that I intended to use it on a cat (based on a vet's advice). Immediately the shutters came down and I was told in a fairly polite but firm manner that I could not purchase the product. The pharmacist lurking behind the shop assistant had overheard me say I needed it for a cat. "We can't sell medicines to you here if you are going to use them on animals, it's not allowed" she whispered.
I realized I'd now crossed over into another world, one where the secret rules of drug retailing are applied. I was unaware that this code of conduct existed but I could tell they wouldn't or couldn't give way on it. Feeling like some sort of mad, animal experimenting scientist I left the shop dizzy from the experience. Obviously there are many rules out there that I know nothing of when it comes to animals and medication. I was surprised that Brexit measures hadn't fucked over this obviously evil European derived red tape yet. I should perhaps inform Douglas Ross MP, the great Tory zoomer and idealist.
I'd no option but to go to the next local chemist and, without disclosing my true reasons, try to buy a pack. Fortunately they had stock hidden deep behind the counter and I managed to keep my mouth shut and the beads of sweat on my forehead under control. I should add that this laxative only comes in monster packs of 32 sachets. One sachet would provide about a dozen cat sized doses. So is the vet just having a laugh? And who the fuck actually needs that much laxative? Anybody need a life long supply of laxative?
The next problem is tracking the cat's whereabouts and wanderings in the garden to find out if it actually worked. Life is a constant struggle.
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
The abandoned (?) gatehouse to the old Victoria Hospital on Craigleith Road. Not really sure of the site's future, probably a catalogue of inner city type Cala homes (or some other similar reputable builder). Hope they can preserve a few of the trees and find a use for this building.
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
A design and style icon, a fully functional timepiece, an item that may just survive when all else is failing. Just a pity it isn't powered by clockwork. Time just keeps moving on and so does Casio. You can get them for £7.50 brand new, no messy set up or charging requirements. No need to tether it or find a good signal. No steps to count. Classless and ubiquitous. They still sell three million a year and there's hundreds of millions out there on wrists, in sock drawers, pockets, deep in bags and rucksacks and quite a few in landfill or at the bottom of the sea. Sustainable? I doubt it but certainly practical and affordable, maybe even cool.
Sunday, March 19, 2023
There was I thinking that the ultimate noodle took place one February morning when I messed around on the Am Pentatonic scale for about two hours to some pseudo Pink Floyd drum pattern as a kind of guitar fingering exercise and soul searching activity. Slide and echo, slide and echo, you'll never go wrong with slide and echo. Turns out the ultimate noodle is a lot more straightforward to achieve and only takes four minutes or so.
Friday, March 17, 2023
Loan House, (No.10 The Loan) was/is a Georgian manor house in South Queensferry, built in the 18th century. It appears to have been the magnificent home of a wealthy family. It had an elaborate frontage, an opulent interior and lavish gardens but by the mid 20th century was well and truly run down and dilapidated. The reasons for this are unclear. War, pestilence and the economic downturn?
The house was also badly damaged by fire before being renovated in the 1990s and converted for office space that is still in use. The pictures/words above and below are not mine but misappropriated and abridged from the web and form part of an "Edinburgh Ghost Stories" blog and narrative. I missed out a few unhelpful "details" that go along with the tale.
The ghostly monkey story whilst gruesome and shocking strikes me as a good pub anecdote that may well have been spun as a way of explaining the fate of the Loan House and it's fall from grace. In Scotland any kind of fall from grace is seen as worthy of twisted gossip, grim speculation and macabre celebration. Add in a murdering and belligerent monkey out for revenge on a cruel human and it just takes care of itself. We really enjoy that sort of thing. That's all you really need to know.
Thursday, March 16, 2023
Taken early this morning, this blackbird is pretty badass looking and I admire that. Maybe the wet weather bothers him, maybe he just doesn't care. He's not shy about posing for the camera either, he was well documented in this session and in a few others. Just don't get on the wrong side of him. You might get a nasty peck with that long beak. You could lose an eye if you're not careful.
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Beach combing along the shores of the Firth of Forth, at the forefront of Scotland's backwaters. I sniff oxygen and a distant chippy. A certain sense of the immense curvature of the planet, the far awayness of the untouchable sky, the silly clouds, the jelly white sun, the plastic waste and sludge between our toes. Images spin around in the head. "Why did we ever evolve away from wearing socks and shoes?"
I wonder if that might be some future thought transmitted back by some future person and I've just received it like a late postcard or a spam email. Perhaps they don't go outside in the future? Too messy. The things we make and believe are all set into the concrete of our forever world. No they're not and neither are we planetary royalty, we're just quite small really.
Monday, March 13, 2023
Rainy: Apart from a brief stint of motorway driving and operating heavy machinery (in a bank but not robbing it) most of today has been rained off. Simple as that. Too much surface water. Water does not belong on the road surface either, according to those in charge of traffic sign messages.
Phoned the Vietnamese restaurant, they have 13 items on their menu but only have chicken curry available. Chicken curry isn't on the actual menu. The conversation ends abruptly.
Phoned the Chinese restaurant. Their kitchen is over capacity. I can hear some shouting and obvious turmoil in the background. I imagine chefs hitting each other with frying pans, there may be other types of mayhem afoot. The food will take an hour I'm told. OK I say, I can wait an hour. I hope nobody was hurt in the fracas.
In the new sandwich cafe the hottest sandwich is simply called "Spicy". Look out for it. Apparently it's a seven on a scale of ten. I had a Rogue, no spice just pickle. No heat but nice flavours.
It's all the fault of Brexit, the fans of Bon Iver and people who should know better.
Sunday, March 12, 2023
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Things in this country are very annoying at the moment: When every day seems to consist of riding out some kind of unpredictable media storm it's important to take some time out and just clear your mind and maybe listen to a purring cat or the pitter-patter of rain on a window glass. Circumstances are unavoidable and there to be suffered but mostly survived. We can do this. Self medication comes in many forms; time spent with loved ones, relaxing with some well chosen TV content, slowly sipping wine, Vietnamese food, a good book and so on. Pressing the internal reset, hitting the factory settings program button. Meditating on some constructive mantra such as "don't let the bastards grind you down" etc. set to whatever slow tune you like. Be confident that you're on the right side of history and be sure not to allow "them" to write their version. Here endeth ...
Friday, March 10, 2023
There is no easy shade, from the spiked beliefs we made.
The ground too dry to till, the sounds too sharp and shrill.
The heat is all we breathe, our footprints all we'll leave.
We find no explanation, in this merciless location.
We're simply lost."
a short poem by Benjamin Nutter.
Thursday, March 09, 2023
"The Director General of the BBC once asked me if I could please grass on one of my mates who'd said that the recent actions of the British Government were a bit like those of the Nazis more often than not."
So what are we really paying for when, as required by law, we faithfully pay our TV licence fee these days? I'm genuinely not sure, mostly because in order to preserve my sanity I don't really watch much* of it's actual output ... hmm.
*OK I watched Traitors and Gold recently 😳 but not the news or any of their heavy political bullshit propaganda.
Whilst it would be the perfect wheeze, I've decided once and for all that I'm not going to buy a ridiculous old Bentley Coupe with a V12 engine and all the trimmings. I'm simply not that sort of person nor do I have the actual capital expenditure to rashly purchase such a crazy thing. There are far better things to do. I'm also often affected by buyer's remorse, a deep and peculiar pain I'd prefer to avoid. So I'll have a simple and suitably fragile vintage Ford Ka instead, nothing special except that it's sporting a glossy black finish covered in some seasonally dirty road salt film. This isn't a picture of it either, that would be giving too much away.
Wednesday, March 08, 2023
Football, what else? Postponed from January 2nd Dunfermline Athletic finally had a go at Falkirk at home in a top of the table clash. We've been waiting for this for too long. Away fans were welcomed with the usual derision and a banner inspired by one time local heroes Big Country. We have complex, poignant and difficult to explain memories here in Fife's least backward corner. A few watery eyes set in older heads greeted the banner being unfurled. The Section North West guys are pretty adept at rising to the occasion week after week, their passion is inspirational. Best not to mention the flying coffee cups and the hail of smoke grenades though.
On the pitch the first half was a messy affair with neither team playing at their best. The second half was quite different; Dunfermline dug in and started playing their more elegant and intelligent game ending as the winners by two goals. The first of which, mainly due to the angle from which I saw it and the amount of actual football crossing the goal line, will remain a strong and vivid image from an exciting and gripping evening. Falkirk were not the side I expected, less physical and less able than previous Falkirk teams. We're now (relatively) safe at the top of the table. A full moon and the sparking pair of Jupiter and Venus looked down on us. For a brief moment all was well in this fragile world.
Tuesday, March 07, 2023
It started as a question but it very well might be a statement*. Of course the statement and question could be applied to any country/city/town etc. I suppose it all stems from a natural thought process that makes me think: "Scotland, there's something wrong with it/us but I can't quite put my finger on what it might be. I have a few ideas and theories but ..."
Monday, March 06, 2023
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door
Only this and nothing more.” - Poe.
Sunday, March 05, 2023
Nearby, almost at touching distance, we have magnetic tiles spelling out indie band names in the style of a sixth year classroom exercise that never does take place. I'm going with Eye Glue to be the most successful possibly securing a sponsored tent gig at Glastonbury in about 2025. I'll be standing at the back, tapping my feet, proud as a scrambled egg and sipping IPA from a plastic cup. All with a fair wind etc. etc.
Further away is the town clock complete with two additional crows perched on the back of the rooster that tops the weather vane. The crows come and go, often retreating to their home in the nearby Burger King car park. The rooster, being mainly made of wrought iron remains still even in high winds. It's not a great shot but the best I could manage under dull weathered Sunday afternoon circumstances.
Thursday, March 02, 2023
The Bird Buddy hasn't stirred up too much interest from the local avian population. It has been competing with three other feeding stations in the garden though plus there's not quite as many wild birds around here as usual, a worrying trend which I hope changes soon. We have had one consistent visitor though, this rather handsome chap, rudely categorized as a European Robin. If that's the case I certainly support his EU rights and I'm glad that the birds have opted out of the whole Brexit farce. They're much too sensible for that sort of thing. I am envious of their skills and feedoms but I don't much fancy living the lifestyle.