Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jack White's Telecaster

As it's too early on a Sunday morning to go out and do the noisy power tool joinery repairs I need to do so  I'll pass the time writing more of this pointless drivel. Jack White's Telecaster was OK, made a lot of strange noises and there's no doubt went down well with the Glastonbury crowd yesterday. I'd have liked it better in a natural finish rather than faded Toilet Duck blue, my own bad taste of course. He's good but hard to watch or listen to for anything more than a couple of songs, I feel a headache coming on by then and the urge to channel surf back to the World Cup. I've no idea why I can only take small doses of him because I should really be able to just get the music, whatever it is. However I enjoyed Metallica's set and watched the whole thing. I didn't really expect to do that. They did blether on about "nice" things and some incongruous hippy drippy ideals between their tunes, all of which are about death, poison, horror etc. Nothing makes sense these days, heavy metal bands trying hard to please, whatever next?  Strangely entertaining in it's own way though, like watching a piano tumble down Ben Nevis and their cover of Whisky in the Jar was just right.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Change has to be obviously; I think it was Donovan who came up with that lyric a long time ago. Change was something I reflected on yesterday whilst driving along in my stately and almost clean but battered old Volvo, tweed sports jacket on, grand daughters chattering in the back and Matt Monro's greatest Hits on the car stereo (even that kind of device now sounds dated - a CD player). I probably wasn't speeding either. Where has my former, inner wild child and socialist revolutionary gone? At least I was tempted to smoke a fag later on last night as we spilled out of a good humoured birthday party pub and onto the Edinburgh streets. The young lit up carelessly, giggling  and laughing. I just said no. Of course I'd only managed a pint of shandy and a bit of a Scotch Egg with a runny centre.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Henry Miller on getting old

"If at eighty you’re not a cripple or an invalid, if you have your health, if you still enjoy a good walk, a good meal (with all the trimmings), if you can sleep without first taking a pill, if birds and flowers, mountains and sea still inspire you, you are a most fortunate individual and you should get down on your knees morning and night and thank the good Lord for his savin’ and keepin’ power. If you are young in years but already weary in spirit, already on the way to becoming an automaton, it may do you good to say to your boss — under your breath, of course — “Fuck you, Jack! You don’t own me!” … If you can fall in love again and again, if you can forgive your parents for the crime of bringing you into the world, if you are content to get nowhere, just take each day as it comes, if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical, man you’ve got it half licked."

OK, I don't agree with every word but I do agree with most of the words. I think that is perfectly reasonable. There's more of his hokum and such stuff here. Sometimes I sit down and wonder just what it is I'm looking for and what everything means or might mean and why so much in life makes no sense whatsoever. Then I realise I'm sitting down and I'm feeling neither anxious or sad, I'm at peace with myself and I'm actually quite happy that way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fails to disappoint

Today: Fife looking onto West Lothian, a long way from Fargo.
I think it was the Daily Telegraph TV critic that said Fargo had "failed to disappoint", an odd turn of phrase really. It seems like disappointment might have been an expected thing, a natural phenomenon, what you get when you regurgitate film onto TV and in so doing stretch a premise or an idea into 10 episodes with a different cast and plot line but the same frozen location . Whilst Fargo certainly didn't disappoint it did fail to explain itself. It all was pointless, nothing needed to happen, it was cruel and absurd. As Lorne Malvo put it his way a number of unexplained times as he repeated "is this what you want?" I felt those words ringing in my ear in the final moments as the cold water and ice closed over the hapless Lester. Here was an ending that needn't have been, this is true of so many things and almost profound but nobody is really listening anyway. "I used to have such positive opinions of people..."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Painting garden furniture

A day spent reasonably well, at work for the first nine hours or so as is the custom here in the western hemisphere, then home and after some early evening sunshine, blood, sweat and spilled Cuprinol the ceremonial annual painting of the rickety garden furniture took place followed by massive amounts of ice cold beer to celebrate. Now I feel a bit...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

In praise of Shreddies

Before scoffing more bad food and over processed stuff, nature reminds us of our mortality via orchid flowers.
On rethinking the last jumbled up post I realise I'm no hipster. I lack the tattoos, the beard and a long list of other things, significantly I don't give a toss either. This is good news as it means I can now get on with the rest of my life without worrying about gaining and maintaining that particular stupid image, (me with that look). So it's back to concentrating on sorting a balanced diet involving wine and oil, understanding the mesmerising amount of options for Fender wiring systems and painting the slowly fading garden furniture. Before that some kind of second breakfast is required. It's necessary to fill a gap; earlier it was Shreddies and bananas, I have overcome the feeling of wanting to gag when encountering Shreddies, I'm free of that. It was partly a texture, partly an image thing. Turns out that mixed with a sliced banana they work well  as an early morning kick starter for the expanding man's digestive processes. Then the rumbles begin and you know it's a bacon roll you really need.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Home before the postcards

Hard to feel sorry for the England team (or anybody who gets beat at a football match). Anyway good to see the Messiah chose to be with those mortal fans in the main stand and then decided, as part of the divine visitation, very briefly to walk amongst them. Oh how they sang and partied.
I'm not sure what hipsters look like, what they do or where they go. So when I found myself in a bleached wood and chick pea cafe in Aberdeen I felt out of my depth. There were devices and teapots everywhere. Ugly people beautifully dressed, hip staff in black and conundrums played out all across the menus like entrance exams into some strange organisation. I didn't choose wisely. After the order of soups, breads, sausage rolls and salads c/w expensive juice in rat-proof cans it was cake time. "Four pieces of carrot cake." I said, squinting at the selection and nibbling on random samples and crumbs. "You are being boring" retorted the waitress like some female Jeremy Paxman interrogator. "You need some flour-free brownies." I was unaware of that and have been so for most of my life. I gave in and took a selection of their wares back to the table. It was all fine, in fact pretty filling and substantial. Lunch, queer cakes and modern jazz. Maybe I am an old hipster after all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Black and white cat

Reflections in a marble worktop, born from primal volcanic fires and the magma from the centre of the earth a million years ago. Almost perfect and generally regarded as indestructible, just take care not to place a warm teaspoon upon the surface. Terms and conditions apply.
Tigger the cat, the local pussy bully and general bad, streetwise boy. He's wild, crazy and a little mysterious. He cares little for the World Cup, what we're having for tea, trivial affairs  of state and today's Daily Mail headlines. He's above and beyond all that, he's on the roof, on the windowsill and prowling around the garden. He's watching. He may not like cheese, he may love it, we can't be sure. He's probably watching you right now. Look out. He's watching me.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Queen's Baton

OK, I'm done. I cannot take anymore. I nearly cracked in 2012 over the ballyhoo for the Olympic Torch but the Queen's Baton has now pushed me over the edge. Have we all lost our fucking marbles here? Are we now under Cameron's benign nothingness transported backwards and  living in the 13th Century or the Dark Ages or something? How is it that a plain, inanimate object, a stylised golden baton in fact, can inspire crowds, lead baffled celebrations, hysterical responses, bring out brass bands and hot dog vendors and cause inappropriate expense and media attention across the so-called Commonwealth. Are people so desperate for some spiritual experience that they'll gather together and blindly follow this tin wedge of an item on it's busman's holiday across the globe and bits of Wild West Lothian? 

Well yes of course they will. You almost expect the sick and feeble, the poor and the infirm to be wheeled out by grinning social workers and activists so they can bathe in it's quasi-religious presence and so be inspired to compete in running, jumping and swimming competitions or more usefully be divinely healed and freed up from their compulsive personalities and attention seeking demons. It's just a gold stick FFS and this is the twenty first century. Stop acting like Saxon morons with pitchforks and straw sucking village idiots and take a good look at yourself. This is a meaningless charade that only exists to promote a puerile sporting competition, eh? OK, now I'm really done...back to the World Cup and a tin of golden, chilled to perfection lager in front of the TV.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pictorial fillers

Cut a hole in a 2ft thick wall and...put in a window. 

Sad dog in the floor.
It's Father's Day today so I'm not doing much apart from laundry and sandwiches, so here are some pictures with which I will fill the space.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tough Mudder 14

Just being a simple spectator at Tough Mudder is hard work. This year they seem to have imported a particularly fierce and sticky mud and spread it everywhere; from Dalkeith to the TM finish and back again, so spattering the countryside. Last year there were complaints that there too little mud (?). Anyway after a strong family challenge involving just running like mad at every obstacle our team completed the course, wet, muddy and happy. I came home knackered, sore feet, tired legs and collapsed (almost) on the couch. They of course ran 12 miles and took part in some risky things along the way, maybe I walked about 5 but in heavy clay and muggy weather, I'm not getting any younger it seems. I never new that. Now I'm home at last, two cold beers and a limp chicken curry later all is once again well in my tiny unmuddy world.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Deja Vu

Conclusive proof that humans (well this one) are stupid and learn nothing from either mistakes or experience or the searing pain of a fresh knife wound. I cut my finger in the same place cutting a tomato today, just as I did yesterday. To be clear whilst the same place was also the kitchen the precise same place was my left index fingertip. Darwin; you are kidding with that theory of natural selection and adaption! it was however a different knife but still from the same set. Maybe the lesson is to eat fewer tomatoes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tomatoes and blood

It's great that as part of a balanced diet tomatoes can help beat cancer, they are red and taste pretty good. Some people even say that they are a proper fruit, like a banana. What's not so good is when you slice one up using the brand new knife set for the first time and you think, as you cut, "wow, these new knives are great, so sharp, so easy, they make this job a pleasure, how did we ever get by without this set of knives?" It's just at that moment, you're hungry and ready to eat the salad you are preparing when the knife slips and Oops! it's now a finely chopped index finger tip you've got there. I'm also observing that the older you get the longer it takes for the bleeding to stop and that finding, unwrapping  and applying a sticky plaster is nearly impossible. 

Monday, June 09, 2014

Wee Heavy

Get it over with: 100 days to go before the referendum and we have a fine excuse for more media inspired terminal fuckwittery. Some badly constructed arguments, wishful thinking punctuated with the occasional bout of honesty was on display with ill matched and expert talking heads...just talking (SKY News I think and then BBC News from a rain soaked and desolate Dundee). I listened to other bits of it on Radio Scotland this morning, it was a tough call; people were asked to phone in their questions. The trouble with that was that the Scottish public didn't seem to realise that when forming a question you have to construct a phrase or sentence that actually asks somebody something and that they, by way of a return provide an appropriate answer to you. God bless them but they just phoned in and babbled on, ranting about the economy, saying they were voting no (because there's not enough information (?)) and whining about pot-holed roads, nukes or the Royal Bank of Toytown. FFS, let's raise the level of this please.

Beer Heavy: No it's not an invitation to urinate 5kg of golden liquid into a poly bag nor is it a short but portly gangster type. It's a beer called a "Wee Heavy". My dad was fond of it, not sure it was brewed by Belhaven in his day mind you. I was just thinking as I sipped on a cheeky wee glass of red plonk how my drinking exploits and tastes might have compared with my dear departed old man. I'll never know, I've already lived a lot longer than he did, not sure I've drunk more alcohol though. He'd have voted an emphatic SNP yes by the way. He'd also have burned Catholics at the stake, given the Black and White Minstrels a Grammy and branded any man found drinking lager as a "woman". At least I turned out OK.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Blissful existance

A good, fruitful, peaceful weekend comes close to ending with steak and salad. I'm not sure what was really achieved however, a mix of household, family and domestic events ran seamlessly into one another. You look around and Songs of Praise and the Canadian Grand Prix are on the TV and the sun is creating that spectral glow that tells you it's slowly setting just beyond the Kincardine Bridge. It's all good but inside I feel just a little conflicted and contradicted. I'm sure it will pass once I set myself up in a more universally Karma-centric position and start listening to ancient music on vinyl and less to the shrill cacophony droning and  looping inside my head.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Special fish

I've got those Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, Marilyn Monroe in a potato sack, John Mayall, can't fail, blues. 

(A curse upon Sky Arts, the past, BBC4, the future and everything else related (almost).)

 I've got the special fish, slightly pished, Holy Grail, Scottish Rail, give it all back, Fleetwood Mac (again), Scalextric track, blues.

Fallen out of love with the trams, don't give a damn, flooded bogs, dirty socks and bungee jumping daughter's blues.

Or maybe not.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Ariel - my favourite font

Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's driving up to the wrong side of the petrol pumps, maybe it's getting to the middle of the supermarket and thinking "what is it I really came in here for?" It could be the endless voxpop messages about other people's wonderful lives, here, there and everywhere. Perhaps it was entering some dumb on-line competition (Yeo Valley Yogurts) hoping to win a VW camper and finding that's it's an instant win...which means that it's an instant lose for 99.99999% of the entrants. Then you drop a carton of their yogurt product in the floor and it promptly explodes. Maybe it's thinking you should really be doing something better with your time than searching for tiny pots of paint in toy shops. You drive around in the sun, windows down, fumes coming in. You forgot you had A/C. Then for no reason you strongly suspect that all the items on Ebay are really price fixed and corrupted by some huge on-line cartel of sellers based in China. After that you watch a funny video about cute and stupid dogs a friend loaded onto Facebook. Well they're a friend but you haven't spoken to them for six years, paths not quite crossing etc. Then you start to fantasise about cauliflower cheese but you eat cheesecake leftovers instead. Then it's time to sit down and try to figure out something on the phone but no real progress is made. After all that I enjoyed another simple snack...

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The fragrant game of nil

Unseen until today.
Mathematics and absurdity – my two beliefs.

When I gave up on low level doses of chocolate, drugs and religion I had two choices, well three if you count going back to religion and sweet stimulants. My choices were a)greed and anxiety or b)guilt and absurdity. Naturally I chose the latter and despite some pretty poor days I have not regretted a single day nor any randomly absurd incident. Then to add to the general tableaux and chaos a cloud of mathematical theories fell randomly into my head and inside jacket pocket. Despite my lack of understanding I immediately knew that these mathematical solutions lined up perfectly with my own view of the universe (viewed from the inside as opposed to the outside). Supernaturally I grabbed them with both hands and have neither looked forward or backwards since. The arrival of a proper solution always brings serenity (says I), you can quote that if you like. In a nutshell then Applied Maths tells the believer lots of useful things but the unbeliever a great deal less. If you don't believe then I can't be bothered to explain any more, so my message to you is just go and lick the insides of a can of tuna. 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Listening to Arcade Fire (via a Kindle) is almost an interesting experience, but not quite. Never an early adopter of anything (except Knausgaard and junk foodstuff) it's taken me years to get round to listening properly to these multi-skilled indie kings and queens, all critically acclaimed and award winning musicians etc. What do I find then? It's really a musical soup, ongoing like an eternally simmering, occasionally stirred vegetable heavy pot of gloop, played honestly, sincerely (I assume the words must mean something) and with enthusiasm. After about three or four portions of soup, I'm looking for a change, that doesn't come, just more soup which eventually becomes an great murky ocean. There's no bread or a bit of titivating cheesecake either, nothing to vary the dynamics of a menu based on being as soupy like as you can be. Clearly this convinces and pleases some, (it's not unpleasant) but not me. It's just relentlessly homogenized breed of modern music, phrases and fills and english words, not high on melody and construction. Probably (and I'm not really familiar with their stuff either) it moves across and into the grim Mumford & Sons universe. You can see this self indulgent gene out there in singer/songwriter land, a common problem. They get a hold of a minor chord and just wont let go. Their goal seems to be to paint the world in the drab colours of their self tortured post-student souls, the assumption being that their audience needs to hear that primal howl and moan; now in Arcade Fire a whole band of ethnically uncleansed instruments goes with it and that makes it all credible in a phoney way. So all the songs are seriously worked on and worked up and performed (eyes closed) as intensely because it all means something, something which I think you could sum up as being; soup.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Out and about in Edinburgh

Toxic building syndrome – or whatever you do don't take on a pub as a business venture. The prospect of running a live music venue is dangerously appealing...maybe one fine day when the pension kicks in.

The sound of the trams, it's a friendly clang, a bit like when Vic hits Bob with a frying pan, twice in quick succession. Day three and no known fatalities so far. I did see one old bloke get close to becoming that particular awkward statistic. "There were no bloody trams in my young day...or were there?"

Here's a van I liked, nothing to do with toxic building syndrome either, but TBS  seems to happen a lot in London (the BBC; hygiene breakdowns allegedly resulting in shrill or overly loud examples of TV presentation) and the Home Counties, occasionally it spreads north to urban areas such as Manchester or Berwick upon Tweed. Today I'm carrying undercover investigations to see how that pearl on the Forth of Firth aka Edinburgh Town is fairing. All the signs so far are good but what awaits us when we wander away from the whirr and clang of the suspicious and elitist tram system and the skirl of dangerously over exposed busking bagpipers? Rumour has it that the firing of nuclear tipped shells from the one o'clock gun was considered in the sixties and during the Miner's Strike. I doubt if it was technically possible but it's a juicy news story and a believable lie. Some say that the gun may well be trained upon Bute House in dawn's early light on the 19th of September. Lots are already being drawn for gunner's duties that day.

Sunday, June 01, 2014


Tigger c/w breeze blocks.
It seems that we are the parents your parents warned you about.

Here's a video to not quite provide any actual proof of the validity of the above statement or so I allegedly might think in some safe, risk free and non committal way.