Monday, January 29, 2007


impossible songs

impossible songs

On my own. Ali’s gone away to visit the Big Smoke on a working course, so for a brief period of time I feel alone and a bit rudderless. A whole evening to myself and how to fill it? There can only be one way to kill at least an hour in a painless pointless way. Firstly realizing that my natural habitat is, I suppose the normal everyday domestic environment and that my natural occupation within it is quite simply mindless pottering. So what the hang is pottering and where does it get me (or anybody)? So, some examples of my current “pottering” include the following generally unfulfilling, unsuccessful and wasteful activities:

a) Taking an unnaturally long time to empty the dishwasher and then putting things away in the wrong place.
b) Walking past yesterday’s news paper and beginning to read it and losing track of time.
c) Sitting fidgeting and looking at a pile of CDs and other things that need to be sorted.
d) Having to wipe the freezer because I forgot to close the door properly yesterday.
e) Picking up cat biscuits that have scattered for no reason.
f) Arranging a duvet and cushions on a bed.
g) Looking out of the window in the dark.
h) Running the bath because there is some black fluff there that must be sent down the drain.
i) Moving unopened letters on the worktop, realizing none are mine and then putting them back.
j) Deleting unused icons on the desktop.
k) Sorting out socks from the laundry basket and puzzling over the amount of odd ones there are.
l) Flicking through TV channels and not stopping at anything.
m) Fiddling with messages on my mobile phone.
n) Removing burned candles, picking at the wax and enjoying how it feels.
o) Looking at food in the fridge but not eating any of it.
p) Watering only certain plants, the ones that seem to me to be neglected.
q) Looking for the correct Alan key to adjust a towel rail.
r) Watching the final quarter of the Channel 4 News.
s) Taking empty coat hangers out of the wardrobe and putting them in a pile, then wondering what to do with a pile of coat hangers.
t) Standing next to a radiator to check if the heating is on.
u) Turning hyacinth bulbs to face the sun in a different way, ready for the next day.
v) Sucking a mint.
w) Re-reading used post-its and deciding which ones are not important, then doing nothing with any of them.
x) Searching for my driving license (reluctantly).
y) Listening to a 1571 phone message and deleting it.
z) Sorting the trash for recycling but in a half hearted way.

The pottering part of the evening is finally over…whew!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


The other Datoka building. The one in NYC featuring the Lennon's old place. Photo taken by me from a tour bus roof in October 2005.

impossible songs

This week's things

Visiting other people’s websites it a bit like trying to cook a meal in a strange kitchen. You open one cupboard expecting all the packets and herbs and seasoning and you find the cat food. Open another and you find glasses when you wanted a cloth and some dish towels and so it goes on. So is this my best / only thought from what has been a busy but not wholly satisfactory week?

Well one thing I did learn was that putting a mike inside an acoustic guitar (that is mounting it within the sound box) and then putting a delay and distortion effect on the pickup provides all sorts of wild sonic opportunities. A lot of gaffer tape also seems to help. Anyway a young chap at this week’s OOTB had the technique for this down to a fine art. He’d really mastered hammering on with his left hand while thumping out a rhythm with his right, combined with the subtle use of effects and some dexterous use of the OOTB PA (thanks to David O’H) he produced a brilliant and unique sound. One performance on Jools Holland and he’d be a superstar. Didn’t quite catch his name but I’ll check out the review during the week.

The black build of Dakota: What has South Queenferry got in common with New York? Well it has to be our very own Dakota Building, which has just sprung up light a giant black and blue liquorice allsort in Tesco’s own shopping trolley back garden. How very strange. Overlooking the A90 with its permanent road works and the rooftops of Frankie and Bennies, the golden arches and NHS 24, it’s the perfect spot for a quiet weekend. I guess that on a clear day you could probably see Dundas Castle or the scaffolding on the railway bridge. So what kind of clientele will this fine building attract? Mark Chapman look alikes? Confused tourists on the 39 Steps walking tour of Scotland? Trailer trash refugees from Fife? Rejects from the ill-placed, ill conceived Orroco Pier or just plain folks like me who yearn to drive up in and stagger out of a very dirty Bentley? Perhaps they’ll send us poor locals a voucher for a free cocktail.

This week I have also visited Birmingham, Freuchie, Elgin, Aviemore, Edinburgh and Dunfermline. Best cup of coffee? An 8.00AM regular latte in Aviemore, a motorway service centre without a motorway and masquerading as a highland village.

Big Brother is a pain in the arse, it’s official. Mind-numbing, abusive to all including the viewer, vacuous and superficial and painfully exploitive. I don’t care who wins or what happens and I’m avoiding it as much as I can because it is like opening a box of chocolates and when you start…

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Postcard from the edge of Freuchie

impossible songs

impossible songs

A bit of a day in Freuchie

Random events and notions:
Waiting on a delivery from John Lewis
And reading a newspaper
Wondering if the clouds are friendly or full of snow
And where they will go later
Hinges without doors and handles still not fitted
Horses standing stiff and chewing in the field opposite in grey cold
So will I look out of this window in ten years time and if so who will I be by then?
Shifting circumstances and chances that led me to today
Waiting on a delivery
Typing with two fingers to log these slow words
No New York diary or glamorous location today but..
Just still and noiseless with whispering traffic
Trapped in potential living space.
Buddha is hidden in a cupboard incase he offends workmen
And visitors who may not share our legatorial beliefs.
His eyes seen only the closing door and a thin shaft of occasional daylight
His is a secret tribute to the world’s religions and the many meaningless pursuits that surround them.
Bags of plaster
Drinking a mug of soup because it still is January around here
Neighbors are possessive about their car parking spaces no doubt and harbor many puzzled thoughts about the threats we pose for them.
Old gentlemen in their winter hats walk dogs
Funny noises emerge from a lazy central heating system that is unsure of how to react to a human presence in the house as the system slowly warms.
Friendly drafts sneak in for chilly conversations with ankles and fingertips,
Then the retreat to the warmth and are absorbed into the smell of fresh paint.
Will we retire here and vegetate over some mutated internet and look out onto the fields and hills with reluctant bones and aches and things that make movement difficult?
A wee walk to the shop for some essentials and a delivery from Tesco every Thursday.
People make incorrect assumptions about you once you are over fifty, then again they do that anyway regardless of your age.
The friendly joiner drops by with many keys for a door that as yet is not attached to any house – remarkable.
The neighbor cut the grass one time, it has stayed short as a reminder, now we must walk upon egg shells and grass clippings until we know them better and they know that we are reasonable people who pose no threat. Human relations are very often quit ridiculous and for no reason. Are we North or South Korea in this relationship? How far are any of us ever from burning cars or building barricades, drawing lines in the sand and putting up posters to remind the others that this tiny space is ours? Anyway none of that for the time being.
It’s nearly lunch time but I’m not hungry, the Maca is working already.
The furniture delivery men arrive at 1215. After much scratching of heads, puffing and sweating and hard labour (due to the tight staircase) the large brown boxes and beds are checked and upstairs awaiting assembly some time in the future.
Time to go home.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

White fluffy dog

impossible songs

impossible songs

White Fluffy Dog

I realised today why I don’t like putting our white fluffy bathroom mats into the washing machine. It feels a bit like shoving a big dog into a washing machine and that to me is not a pleasant thought. This must be why I tend to avoid the task or seem to see it as a lot less important than the other packages of laundry work. For some reason I do enjoy throwing socks into the gaping mouth of the washer however, that reminds me of how you feed dolphins.

Food Supplement

We are now undertaking non-clinical trials of the food supplement “Maca”. No it is not some Beatles tribute product nor a drug made from recycled maracas. It is a South American root synthesised into a small magic pill and it has many “special” properties. These trials will last for one calendar month and a full report will be published at the end, my eyebrows are starting to sprout already, I hope Ali does not become infected in this same way.

Corinthians 3 – Rome 0.

Ok, we’ve had one and two and read them both (well bits of them), now we have Paul’s third letter to the Corinthians. A fine, if rather small piece of theological study and brimstone that we can mull over during the long winter nights. This letter was originally rejected by the spiritual / political council that convened in Rome in the third century to decide on and design the packages of writings that would go onto form the modern bible. So Third Corinthians was cut, edited, condemned and consigned to the biblical dust bin, along with numerous other failed pieces of theology and gospel orientated works ( an early example of the “difficult third album syndrome?”).

It does make you wonder how well things work when they are designed by committee and what the group dynamics and motivations are. Of course believers view this gathering as an inspired group of serious and visionary individuals carefully considering all the elements and listening, at each turn of the page, for the small voice of God in order to vote a passage in or out. I guess to doubt the validity or integrity of the exercise is a pretty heavy form of heresy or even, in extreme cases blasphemy. If you imagine you were god and wanted to provide your people with written guidance and revelation, how would you go about it? Would you pick a group of odd ball power brokers in third century Rome for such a task? Personally I can’t think of any time in history when you could expect to get a bunch of trustworthy, upright and honest people together..”after all, we have all fallen short...”

Jack Kirby

impossible songs v jack kirby

impossible songs

Jack Kirby

Norman’s comments (Steve Ditko) drew me back to the artwork of Jack Kirby, a contemporary of Steve Ditko and another founding father of modern comic strip artistic style and conventions. Staring for long periods at Jack’s artwork is bit like listening to Sister Ray by the Velvet Underground over and over again – mad, wild, splintered, and extreme and a real sensual onslaught. I’m thinking mostly about his Fantastic Four material from the late sixties as it featured huge chunks of machinery and equipment, often floating in other dimensions or exploding in some universal entropy-like state. He really was a great and imaginative draughtsman and whilst Steve Ditko concentrated on a dark, surreal and film-noire inspired world, Kirby built huge and unwieldy constructions, bleak and expansive landscapes, tortured mindscapes and depicted the graphic hell that is the likely centre of the comic strip universe. Of course I can't ignore the Silver Surfer, particularly now that I am one.

HMS Daffodil

(Photos of HMS Daffodil afloat in 1945 and as a sunken wreck on the seabed close to Dieppe harbour in Northern France.)

HMS Daffodil

The kids are working on school history project centred around World War 2, so in order to help them get original material I googled up some of the details of my father’s WW2 service. He was in the navy from 1939 till 1945, and saw action on European waters and all over the Mediterranean; he was involved in three shipwrecks.

He died aged fifty five when I was nineteen, while I was in an “out of order” portion of my life. We were not as close as I’d have liked (or as he’d have liked) and he seldom spoke to me about his navy exploits on minesweepers and auxiliary craft during the war years. Looking back now I am starting to appreciate what, for him as a twenty year old, it must have been like to be caught up in a war, which for him was long, unglamorous and unrelenting.

His best friend and over a thousand other men were killed in the sinking of HMS Hood some where up in the cold North Atlantic. I don’t think he ever really got over the loss and like many of his generation remained tight lipped about his feelings. Often, when I’m moaning about some trivial incident in my life, I’m stopped in my tracks by the thought of how he must have been affected by the loss of the Hood and as it turned out, the Daffodil.

HMS Daffodil was a converted Channel ferry; a real rust bucket built in 1917 and used as an allied transport for D Day and beyond. On March 17 1945 at 11pm she struck a mine just north of the harbour wall at Dieppe, she sank the next day at 5am. Nine men from the Daffodil’s small compliment lost their lives. Thankfully my father survived, retaining his own quietly held memories of the incident and what was no doubt a night of horror. He had already survived an earlier sinking in the Channel when a crew member on the “Vindonia”, a trawler converted for mine sweeping. Records are vague but I think that one foggy night in October 1944 she was cut in two by a large American cargo ship. He was also involved in another similar sinking incident earlier in the war but I don’t know any of the details.

The wreck of the Daffodil is now popular with divers as she is apparently relatively easy to find and safe to explore, sitting 20 - 24m deep on the seabed outside of Dieppe harbour. Her sister ship “Train Ferry 2 “ (T.F 2) lies a few kilometres away at Point de Ailly following her destruction from a shore bombardment sometime in June 1940. These ships were built in Fairfield’s Yard in Govan, Glasgow between 1914 and 18.

Yesterday we visited the "Anne Frank + You" exhibition in Kirkcaldy. Ali’s sister (Kate Brown) has been busy behind the scenes of this event, coordinating and organising what is a stimulating and thought provoking look at intolerance and prejudice then and now. The display and tableaux on the death camp at Auschwitz, featuring testimonies and many photographs, is particularly touching and disturbing. The viewing made me remember once again the friends of my father who sacrificed their lives on the Daffodil in WW2 and how they were playing their own small but vital part in securing a future for my generation and beyond.

impossible songs

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Steve Ditko

impossible songs

Steve Ditko

As a child my favourite cartoon illustrator was always Steve Ditko. His artwork, like many childhood things had vanished from my conscious mind until the other day. Ah! the mysterious seas that the brain trawls into and the fields it ploughs over. I never did grow up into any kind of expert “Comic Book Guy” thankfully, by the time I was fifteen reading comics had gone for me and I moved on. In a way though a legacy of half-baked artwork stayed with me till my early twenties (I drew comics for fun) before I completely abandoned my day-dreams of being a comic artist. Anyway Steve Ditko had an odd, always developing, angular style that concentrated on expression and drama. In many ways his drawings were not really very good, they were distorted or contorted but had that biting edge of pen and shadow of ink that really made them different. I don’t know what happened to him later in life but his early Dr Strange, Spiderman and Iron Man works for Marvel were light years ahead of anything that DC Comics could produce and still look great today. Ok, maybe not compared to Pixar’s material but it all seemed great at the time. Judge for yourself and Google the man.

impossible songs

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The magic of a carpet

impossible songs

mona lisa, mona lisa:

by Matt Munro

impossible songs

Carpets are ok but I wouldn’t want to live in one. Funny how lying on a carpet gives no sense of permanence or feeling of being settled the way that lying on a couch does. It seems that there are some places where you are never quite at home, never quite at rest because these places are somewhere else other than somewhere where you can easily feel at rest. The places where you feel most settled? On a Bed, a couch, a chair with feet up, on a kitchen chair (with arms), the driving seat of your car, a good office chair, an aircraft seat (?) and a sun lounger. The spiritual and comfort incorrectness of a carpet cannot be helped I guess, of course a flying carpet would be a different matter altogether.

South Queensferry Arts Festival: An amiable meeting last night at the Two Bridges saw the start of a new committee, a good mix of art, drama, professionalism, comedy and rock n’ roll. I particularly enjoyed the guilty pleasure of a pint of lager shandy (a drink I have not tasted since sometime in 1973) and about six blue sweets from a Quality Street tin. The lager was a wise precaution, due to my now rampant paranoia following last week’s speeding ticket and the thought of what else may happen; the sweets were simply because I was greedy and hungry. (I think Ali ate about six also).

Spent this morning looking at things, and then recycling things, putting them away and forgetting about them or putting them in rubbish bins. This afternoon I set fire to the remainder of them in the fireplace while Ali lit some chocolate candles. Then in a sudden spurt of unexpected but very necessary energy I put together a funding bid proposal for OOTB. Doing it was tough but once completed and emailed to a certain Mr Renton I felt truly relieved. Only one other to complete and a set of minutes to type.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Flanders Moss

impossible songs

impossible songs

It’s (not so) grim up North

Best and worse things about January? Hard to say when you are suffering from sunlight deficiency syndrome, seasonal boredom and enjoying a healthy and bracing buffeting from large amounts of unmanaged air moving across the surface of your home planet. I wonder when the next power cut will arrive.

OOTB put on a decent little event last night, the usual mix of the eccentric and unexpected in the Cannons’ Gait dungeon. Jim Whyte’s revamping of the raffle ticket, making them actually interesting and good to look at was a master stroke. I felt a bit of a dullard for failing to even think vaguely creative thoughts about them at all for the last eighteen months. Now the money is sure to roll in...

A cup of tea is always welcome. I’ve been drinking tea this week; at times anyway, I don’t feel any different so what’s the big deal?

Salads are good because you can eat them when they are cold so you can take your time and enjoy the eating experience. Unless of course you are eating a chicken salad and sharing the house with a cat who seems to suffering from cabin-fever and is acting like a cabin-fevered mad cat obsessed by a compulsive desire for chicken. I ended up eating my meal standing up with the cat clawing at my leg whilst he ignored the Tesco meaty chunks in his own dish.

Flanders Moss. The flattest place in Scotland, if you ignore the hills.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Winter Changes

Fife's hills in the distance.
impossible songs

impossible songs

The winter has stripped back all the leaves from the trees. Now the view from our window is clear (well clearer) and we can see the far away hills over in Fife. Perhaps not quite obvious in the photo but believe me they are there.

Loch Lomond and the great warming

impossible songs

impossible songs

Loch Lomond and the great warming

Stopped of for a late lunch break by the banks of Loch Lomond. Jeremy Vine was on the radio discussing carbon footprints, the issue of increased airline traffic, Chelsea tractors and the like. On a mild day with the loch extra full of water and the Duck Bay Marina car park flooded (as it has been since 1972) it all seemed a bit too real. To make matters worse I was driving a Landrover and wearing a suit. Some expert was talking about no longer flying but using “surface transport”. Now that she’s been all over the world, flying I presume, she’d now rather not now and is advocating ferries and trains and public transport be used to cross Europe for holiday trips. Clearly she’s never had a normal job with fixed holidays or holidayed or travelled anywhere with small children. Pity help us if she is typical of the policy makers.

Much as I’d like to get more enthused over green issues I can’t. I just remain ambivalent and undecided about things. Snooty, green, stereo-typical activists just back from their gap year spouting impractical suggestions don’t help sell them. It seems to me that say (if or when) the Gulf Stream fails and the ice (cream) age looms up on us, somehow a solution will be found from man’s endless stream of clever/dumb ideas:

a) Replicate the Gulf Stream with a giant hair drier from the Equatorial regions that pipes heat up to Europe.
b) Use the hydrogen in the ice to generate heat in our “ice cities”.
c) Colonise the moon.
d) Colonise the sea bed.
e) Build giant eco-bubbles that we can live in.
f) Move to Australia, nothing seems to be happening there.

All in all it’s a bid rough to blame all this on Easy-jet and Ryan-air the poor, greedy workers all wanting two weeks in Tenerife and a long boozy weekend in Prague now and again.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,

A nondescript week. That awful week when holidays are over, work resumes, money has evaporated, a speeding fine and the cold grey winter biting at your ankles and nether regions. The only bright spots this week have been Dunfermline’s freak but welcome cup result against idiot Rangers and a couple of decent reviews for us on Garage Band. Other than that it’s heads down and get by.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Not a Stone Roses T Shirt

impossible songs

impossible songs

2007 the year of James Blonde.

Friday: The surgical removal of a Christmas tree from a house is never easy, and so despite many careful measures a huge mess was made everywhere. A vast, new green carpet forming an ambient path of natural waste products from the lounge to the back door and beyond into the countryside was created. I have not informed SEPA yet. A passage from Macbeth springs to mind. The Hoover was red-hot but thankfully did not give up. On a brighter note myself, the twins and grandson number two, played a number of jumping games, ran along corridors and in a nearby McDonalds drew some pretty decent pictures of monsters in crayon.

Saturday: A visit to rainy Manchester via Mazda Lear Jet to see baby Thomas and his proud parents. What a good baby he is. In the afternoon (after a sleep in of sorts) we visited a load of what I used to call “head shops” in the artistic quarter of the city. It was good fun and thankfully nobody was injured by my vast golfing and unsuitable for city centres umbrella. We also went on a bus, ate cakes, were shut out of the Chinese Art Gallery and for a brief time were captive passengers in an1988 Nissan Sunny listening to Radio 4, not your normal Impossible Songs day. We had tea in the Led Zeppelin pub (or somewhere in Chorlton, Old Trafford) a haunt of Badly Drawn Boy who apparently lives next door. I’d recommend the fish pie as it contains lots of fish. As per Friday we all drew monster pictures during the early stages of the meal.

Sunday: Returned home in the small hours through a rainstorm that started near Preston on the M6 and didn’t really end, ever. The cat, who has been AWOL for a few days, welcomed us home in the usual clawy, clingy way and then we slept as best we could. A late breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs and toast (Ali style), mulling over John Lewis bedding options and getting rid of a hundred unwanted emails. Outside the wild birds are feasting and the deer are winter grazing in the nearby paddock. The time now is 13:15. Goodbye.

Editor's Note

impossible songs

impossible songs

A level playing field

Despite a comprehensive course of liquorice allsorts my testosterone levels continue to increase. This manifests itself in extra hairy eye brow hair and small yellow facial spots. All very annoying and slightly distracting for members of the public. In desperation I called upon the kangaroo god to see if there was anything he could do to help my condition. I figured he’d be free, as the process of creation seemed to have settled down now with only the occasional mild explosion occurring from time to time.

The trouble with gods is that the can be a little hard to contact at times, they may require rituals or complex communication procedures of some kind (even sacrifices) or they may be just plain indifferent about the issue you want them to deal with. There are many other reasons why they don’t engage with their people but I can’t be bothered to list them.

Anyway the kangaroo god is beginning to appear to me to a bit like some kind of character out of the Simpsons. Moody, unpredictable, hostile at times and to some extent preoccupied with himself. I guess that much of this is due to the way that the Cinderellas have continued on in worshiping him (generally speaking for doing nothing useful or measurable) when I don’t think he really deserves it. There is no easy way to have a rational chat with the Cinderellas about why they worship him, they just get emotional, stamp their feet and go into a silent huff at even the hint of any kind of disagreement over what they do.

So while the Cinderellas tried to maintain some control over things with their ultimate threat of some “silent treatment”, I decided to pop around to kangaroo god’s office for an impromptu visit. When I got there and after quite a difficult journey I may add, I found that he’d gone out to lunch. I couldn’t resist a wee peek around his office and at the things and papers on his desk. Generally in the universe things seemed to ticking over nicely albeit a few laws needed some minor editorial work. I had a quick read of a few papers but didn’t try to dig for anything. I was a bit worried that one of his minders might arrive but I knew that security had never been his strong point. One of the weaknesses of his regime was that way that people kept stealing his material, second guessing his initiatives and at times making him look silly with their “superior knowledge” and apparent anticipation of planned universal events.

One paper did catch my eye however, I read with great interest how apparently low-value property in the Balkans, the Middle East and the Indian Sub-continent was being acquired by one of the kangaroo god’s business partners for “development”. Just as I was getting to the juicy part in walked the minister complete with his black saxophone case and music stand. His wife trailed along a few yards behind puffing, wheezing and complaining. “Have you an appointment?” the minister asked me. “Well no, but I do have a complaint” I answered. “I think” said the minister, “you’ll find that kangaroo god has a full schedule for the afternoon, the Cinderellas all have appointments and he has important documents to sign. Good afternoon!”

I seems my face does not fit around here anymore. I retired to a nearby park bench and watched as kangaroo god came back from lunch in his stretched Hummer, complete with solar panels. The Cinderellas began a clumsy worship dance whilst submitting requests for new furniture and the minister played exerts from Carla Bley’s “Escalator over the hill” on his golden saxophone. Suddenly and for no reason I felt alone in this predominately black and dark universe.

Editor’s note: This material has slipped in from the Fairytale Management pages. A thread or a splinter may emerge from there at some point in the future.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Lost gloves

impossible songs

impossible songs

A primitive fantasy view of creation

A coach load of Cinderellas find their way into the picture. Their steps are tiny and insecure because of incorrect footwear. The trap has been sprung and despite their best efforts to stay on their feet, a strong wind from nowhere blows in and fells them like young trees crippled by weak roots. For a short time it seems like the end, they see no future or purpose, but elsewhere other plans exist. They recover, get up and quickly pass through a scented and flowered gateway.

The kangaroo court and their kangaroo god tell no lies, they only make educated guesses about life and it’s many meanings. A fuzzy note hangs at the end of the minister’s saxophone, a shame that he never did learn to play it properly. His wife is fat and lazy but has demonstrated some basic skills with the sliver and tin anniversary flute however. The children are mixed, that’s really all you could say about them.

The Cinderellas form a line and march into the court. The senior kangaroo tips his hat and the policeman takes scribbled notes. Everybody eventually finds the correct seat. The minister says a few words and the service and subsequent trial begins in earnest. The cat is first to speak but his comments are drowned out by the minister’s frankly crazy saxophone playing. No one really minds this but the tea is already stewing in a nearby pot. A stranger gets up and addresses everyone with a tale of exclusion, deliberate personal shunning, control and talking on and on behind the backs of others. Although it is clearly an allegorical piece aimed at the assembly themselves, it flies like a stray missile above each head. “Perhaps later on, some osmosis or something will occur”, thinks the stranger. (Of course this never happens).

Meanwhile in heaven the kangaroo god is very angry. It appears that his morning slice of toast was not quite the correct colour, “Damn you all” he whispers. He also receives a letter from a small boy asking why it was, being a god; he chose for himself the form of a kangaroo. This is a puzzling piece of correspondence, especially when it comes along so soon after a badly coloured piece of toast. Naturally it goes on to the middle pile of letters, in the middle of the pile.

We take a short break and enjoy the beginnings of a pleasant discussion in the panelled corridors. One Cinderella is unsure whether it is best to “Do as I say, not as I do” or “Do as I do, not as I say” or Do as I do and do as I say”. The other Cinderellas are deeply troubled by this whole line of thinking and don’t want any further controversy so they refuse to enter the debate. The minister is grinning and touching his saxophone, he has a twinkle in his left eye. A bell rings and we all return to the main hall, as you do.

The kangaroo god smokes a cigarette, stretches out and rests his feet on his highly polished desk. Today is the seventh day, depending upon where you began to count. He starts to daydream and thinks about increasing the wages of the cleaning ladies and how that might influence the economy. Then he changes his mind. It is still the seventh day whatever. Creation is a tiresome procedure at times.

In court the proceedings drag on, everybody is bored by the affair but no one would dare admit to it. At lunch the Cinderellas sit together and read glossy magazines about cars, make up and celebrity lifestyles. Some discuss how they might spend a young princes’ fortune on wild shopping sprees, retirement homes for their parents and holidays. (They forget they are all orphans). None of them seem to realise that as a member of a royal family and the ruling circle they may actually have some serious responsibilities. They just think an easy marriage into money is the straight answer to their vacuous and unformed questions. They are not prepared for what lies ahead of them, they are simply smug, self centred and stuck in the belief that their fairytale script will come true in due course and on their terms.

An unwise man once said “the kind of thing that annoys me is the kind of thing that would not annoy even the kangaroo god himself, if you were driving around in a fancy car”. After that there was a good deal of swearing and some actual punches thrown, behaviour which was quite unheard of. Some Cinderallas burst into tears, others tore up their magazines and others simply stared ahead, wide eyed.

As luck would have it most of the girls did meet handsome young men, some of whom played football and some who were property developers. Alas there were no princes to be found amongst them, despite extensive testing and the taking of samples and specimens. Contrary to popular belief a number became happy for a time and a small percentage for ever after. The remainder settled into their uneasy marriages and took comfort in collecting shoes and ornaments and buying large books to place upon chunky coffee tables.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 and all that

impossible songs

impossible songs

New Year

In the picture a falcon hovers above my head at Myers Castle, Auchtermuchty. A great start for the 36 hour long New Year party we attended there. We participated in falconry, clay pigeon shooting, snooker, music, dancing, listened to pipers, ate endless fine food and drank good wine, rainy dog walks, watched DVDs and fireworks, saw storms and enjoyed good humoured and hospitable company. The kids had the time of their lives as the adults boogied and blethered in the magnificent surroundings, Scotland’s hidden treasure? I think we’ve found it.

The rich drama of life of course never ends even during holidays, news of unmentionable things filtered through but we took them in our stride and bounced back as you have to. A power cut however had torn a black wound across West Lothian and when we returned home from Myers our stone cold house had been cut off for 24 hours, as had the nearby villages. We made a few calls, had a few thoughts and returned to the warmth of Fife for few hours of couch life, TV and chat with my oldest son and his wife (and grandson) and a Chinese carryout.

Highlights of the weekend:

Ali’s 15 out of a possible 20 at clay pigeon shooting (just don’t argue with her anywhere near a loaded gun).
Joe winning four out of four games of snooker on a full sized table (don’t put your money on the table).
Liv’s treasured trinket turning up, under a leaf on a muddy path half a mile away, a day after being lost (don’t ask).
Very small children running, jumping and repeating everything you say.
The power coming back on, just as we were about to give up on things at five past ten last night.