Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bye bye 2015

I don't make resolutions, I don't start revolutions. I'm not reviewing the year or looking back either, that's for others to do and they're welcome to it. Anyway sometimes I chop vegetables for soup or stew or as a form of meditation and mind clearing, though next year most veg around here will be tastily and conveniently steamed in the new vegetable steamer. That's just a start of how things will be, I'm meditating over dropping the whole meditation thing though. I might just resort to simple medication.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Forces to be reckoned with

I'm with the popular view that the director of the new Star Wars film, "Return of the phantom force to be reckoned with and all that other geeky malarkey" had a pretty simple remit from the big boys at Disney. "OK, we have about $4 billion riding on this investment. Make a film for us and whatever you do don't fuck it up." I hope that he hasn't and I'll find out this afternoon when I finally get to see it. I suspect I'll not be disappointed, I go back all the way with this franchise as do most of my family and no doubt, come rubbish films, unexpected character deaths or the reemergence of old ones we'll stick with it. Turns out that Star Wars is for life pretty much.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Behind the times as ever, asleep at the wheel, up my own bahooki, etc. just discovered the Loog three string guitar project, concept and possible pyramid and finger injuring scheme. Naturally I'm there in mind, body and spirit. I would include soul if I had one but I think that I may have misplaced it in some previous post or accidentally sold it on to the devil or some other strange historical/pantomime figure. I might therefore become a Loog disciple or maybe even a heretic sometime in the year of our Loog 2016.

Of course all of this means something...

The Dead

Interlinked nonsense: Sometime this year I decided that "The Dubliners" by James Joyce was the greatest book ever written (albeit it's short stories but interlinked stories nonetheless) and that the "The Dead" is probably the greatest short story etc. etc. I still think that (and that). So despite the fact that we're damp and snowless those final paragraphs in "The Dead" still seem to resonate and reverberate nicely at this time of year. Nicely isn't a work you'd use to describe the effect of or the writings of Joyce, no not at all, but it works for me. Toffee and writing spring to mind. The cold and soulless moments emit a strange warmth and comfort and sense of common feeling and a sense of meaning for life and for literature. The other dead are properly dead too (despite what their website may say), the Grateful Dead; strange also to get back to liking their sometimes bland and insipid music, their irritating cultural position in some smoke filled American version of the world and their incompetency. Perfectly imperfect, that's what I must be pursing these days. Not even pursuing, more like falling into a black hole having been pushed or tripped up by some clumsy cat whilst searching for, there it in the dark. 

So there is no such thing as a dark night of the soul. It's just another trivial point on that continuous procession of stuff that you sometimes ride on, sometimes get trampled by and sometimes avoid in life's great (dark but with occasional flashlight moments) experience.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Post Christmas = too Decemberist

Now it's post Christmas and in this outpost of post Christmasness procrastination I'm being even lazier than ever about posting. That's because I'm way too busy with the seasonal stuff to think straight or straightforwardly. I haven't even seen the news or read a newspaper since I don't know when and I'm none the worse for that either. I did venture out today, not sure I'll try that again. Too busy, too frantic and too Decemberist.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Strange Christmas

When you're drifting, close on to the edge, outside of the law, far from religion and civilisation, bereft of beliefs and wandering a lonely road...or just living and existing in Fife then Christmas is a strange, disturbing time of year. (Thought not as bad as Easter). Really nothing makes sense, the meaning, the lack of meaning, the greed and industry and the pointless sales that precede and follow the great and misunderstood day. Anyway it turns out I do like raiding the fridge and pulling crackers, giving and receiving presents and so on. Maybe it's not so strange after all. So Happy Christmas, I'll say no more.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

On a break for Christmas

Well actually not on a break yet, have to work a bit tomorrow, feeling a bit like the fellow in the card above. Those Victorians really knew a thing or two about the Christmas message.

This could be a tiny bird or a cartoon version of my good lady. Depending on how seasonally overcome you are you'll see what you want to see I suppose. Meanwhile here's a reminder that it's tea (drinking wine) time and some good career advice from the Guardian newspaper. Good to see that Mr Balls is putting his pension pot to good use.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

More Wobbly Weather

The view this morning: blasted by a warm but wet west wind, thundering against the house and battering rain across the windows. Suddenly the sun appeared and we set about delivering Christmas cards and messages of world peace, existential warmth and the meaningful rebirth of a new style of Scottish politics across our small community. Generally all of this was well received and we came away with some sense of our house not being the most untidy and cluttered in the area. Always a good if only temporary feeling. Next there was a feast of eggy bread and burnt animal  followed by a trip up town for some sanitised stones to prevent me and the cats from accidentally pissing into wardrobes and plant pots. Not long after that I started drinking wine and eating overage chocolate, now everything is looking a bit wobbly once again. Best to stay away from Twitter and eBay then.

Friday, December 18, 2015


It has emerged that only the third ever (known) photo of Robert Johnson has emerged. That's quite a bit of emerging. Now the myth and the magic can be revised just a little bit. I presume the picture was taken post the crossroads incident and that he had some kind of career thing going on at this point. It may prove that despite selling your soul to the devil you still show up in photographs and presumably also have a reflection. I know that I do.

American Friday

Well not really American, no pancakes and coffee, only mince pies and tea and rain. I did however listen to Grateful Dead's American Beauty at least four times, deliberately. Well it's either that or Radio Scotland's daily gibberish. It did get me thinking if there was/is such a thing as a ten track album with no bad tracks, nothing you'd skip or get bored with. Of course that in itself is a highly subjective judgement to make and while I can think of possible contenders it's not easy (obviously "best of" albums and compilations don't count) as even some of the so called classic albums carry at least a couple of also rans. American Beauty being a good example, firstly it is a seriously acquired taste and secondly it's patchy and just carelessly played here and there. I'm actually intrigued by just how much of the Dead's live stuff (not this album) is suspiciously out of tune for chunks of time and I'm not a person who generally picks that kind of thing up. I missed hearing that amount of detail back in the day, for some strange reason.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Playing a tune

The daily problems that come from having a short attention span: For me playing a song all the way through, properly and without mistakes or taking shortcuts is a bit like swimming a length in a long tepid swimming pool or running up a muddy hill or climbing some rock face. There, that's that said. Writing a whole paragraph full of meaningful words and getting them in the correct order is also a bit of an issue. Then to make matters worth some kind of picture has to be added so as to create some sensible frame or context. That is difficult. Then there are the spelling mistakes in emails that the spell checker misses because they are words but not the words I meant to use. Ugh.

Not what anyone thinks

Our mission to reseed (or even seed) nearby and hospitable planets has begun. We've approached this task with a stoical realism and a little bit of fanatical devotion (always useful). This mix has enabled us to at least get through the sorting and packing stage whilst better and more practical minds concentrate on building the starship. I'm sure you're familiar with the plan, the hijack, the execution, the journey, the conflict, the remorse, the realisation, the illumination, the scattering of the seeds (?) and then the end credits rolling. The good news is that the mission is on schedule to be completed by Christmas, a festival celebrated on many planets apparently, so we're on course. Watch out for average standards of space catering and areas of random turbulence on the trip.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Escape from Fife

Nothing to do with anything really just a big, wacky photo of Dali signing books.
A bit bugged to find that I've lost (finding v losing) a Grateful Dead CD. Lost of course in the worst way, I have the box but can't find the disc. Extensive and largely pointless searching has taken place and resulted in no result. I however find that getting across the Kincardine Bridge and exiting Fife by the only open door isn't as bad or jammed up as I thought. Whilst it's hardly smooth it's not a totally solid jam and of course all the picturesque abandoned villages along the way help the journey pass pleasantly. Only taken me two weeks to discover that. Roll on the glorious 5th of January when our engineering lords and masters promise to free us from the tyranny of wonky bridges and give us back at least four hours every working day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Festive around here

An explanation may well follow.
Great festoons of mad lights and colours dance like a Frank Zappa sculpture while we look on, dazed and confused playing our internal musical instruments. Christmas is a load of happy nonsense that binds us up and sets us free, at times.
World, I forgive but please stop destroying yourself whilst humouring all the swarming masses of teeming masses of multitudes of masses that are amassing wealth and maintaining an unjust status quo all across your battered surface. Take us through the crust, suck us into the magna, take us back to when we were lost and drown us in the deep and non-biblical waters. That should fix things.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Urinal measures

The badly behaved cat that peed in the plant pot relaxes and repents after a long process of healing and psychotherapy. Bed still intact and relatively dry 24 hours later.
As I travel across this odd, unjust and often strange world I do from time to time encounter things that simply cannot be explained. Often I list them here.

I am well and truly seasonally adjusted enough by now. The presents and trees and lights have done their wicked work and I'm in that comfortable pre-Christmas coma, not knowing quite what to do next or quite where I am.  There are many working days ahead, some snow, some bad weather and some terrible television but I am determined to make Christmas No. 60 one of the least troublesome and most enjoyable. I'll be keeping my head down of course, dodging the bullets and steering clear of queues and inconvenience. It's a plan but it's doomed already.

Friday, December 11, 2015

V is for Very Naughty Boy

For a short week this one has taken too long, the high spot being the final episode of the underrated and possibly ignored "the Last Kingdom", it will return possibly with a revised title. Anyway I'm fed up with Trump, ISIS, the Forth Bridge and winter rain. Not that my feelings will make any difference to anything. Maybe it's that toxic mixture of frustration and futility that turns kids into terrorists and businessmen into fascists , maybe it's hormones, demons or bad religion. Maybe it's just the way things are and we're stuck in some universal loop. Of course looking on the brighter side of things today I did enjoy a decent and not too plastic Christmas lunch, a shorter commute and my first glass of life giving red wine in about a week. Tomorrow I'm on the road again as more grim winter weather looms over, but that is for another day.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Walking in the air

Whatever the circumstances and obvious errors there are leading up to the damage and closure of the Forth Road Bridge there's no doubt that the folks trying to fix it have a tough and challenging job: respect. In other news I've discovered that the cat did not take a dump in the flower pot, she peed in it instead. Let's just say that the passage of time and the (relative) warmth of the house does not help the situation.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Fifty Shades of Rain

I'm trying hard to remain upbeat and positive, chipper and on top but with a double two hour  commute in the blackest rain I've seen (at least this week) it's tough. The world may well be ending by degrees and our our small corner is teetering on the brink whilst numerous other countries have already tipped over the edge. I though it had tipped when I saw what I thought was one of our cats taking a bad weather avoiding dump in a flower pot by the TV. Turns out she was just striking some sort of pose. I'm no idea why but it fairly put me off my toasted cheese and ham sarny and I missed (thankfully) most of  a truly cringeworthy interview on the Channel 4 news with a complete dick-head musician (?) who's claim to fame was that he'd once led the Brian Jonestown Massacre. I'm treating myself to coffee and the last wee cake in a bid to revive myself.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Little rays of sunshine

I don't know how and I'm not sure how they do change things; by being awkward maybe? I suppose this is close to true but I'd like to think that non-conformists who express themselves with poor spelling, hygiene and bad manners don't change anything. It's likely that I'm firmly in the dull conformist sympathiser camp despite wishing otherwise, that's because growing older tends to lead me towards the path of least resistance and the pursuit of a quiet life, whatever that may mean. My chances of moving worlds or even nudging them gently may be numbered but I will not make that an excuse for despair or loss of purpose. Why only today good but normal things happened in various places; a corn bread & ham sandwich, milk bombs, laundry attempted and a spot of DIY tree lopping, the general avoidance of transport, printing out photos and framing them, wrapping birthday gifts, practicing wah wah pedal and removing cats from work surfaces. I also stayed out of the rain, spotted a piece of blue sky and saw some kind of thin moon in that same sky all whilst wearing some non scratchy, comfortable socks (as well as other types of clothing). A few more little rays of sunshine would have made it all perfect but then that might have been seen as conforming to some predictable and non-world changing pattern. 

Monday, December 07, 2015

Bring back the bridge tolls


Good to get away from the dark heart of an isolated and bitter Fife where brother strikes against brother and move over to the country's alternative capital...err...Glasgow. Here there are festive fairgrounds, free flying balloons, mixed icy drizzle and various coffee bars and branches of Nandos. People scurry with purpose and shout friendly and regionally adjusted abuse randomly. There is a European Market similar to the one in Brussels and everything is reasonably priced at at least a fiver. Even Buskers are on the living wage.  It's just like Fife but it's also a place where nobody moans about broken bridges, traffic management solutions and the fucking crowded trains.  I'm sure there are a few more underlying problems however. My journey home was a triumphant "stick it to the man Mad Max roar" across the Kincardine Bridge in the firm's Mini Cooper. I later found out that said road had been reopened for use by the general public about an hour previously. Start the revolution without me and bring back the bridge tolls.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Well that was eerie

It's not often, even in these last days of the planet earth the you come upon a flooded and naturally closed motorway. Going north to Aberdeen we encountered this and followed a lengthy detour in the wake of the mild sounding but rather nasty Hurricane Desmond as he poured rain onto the UK. As we passed by we saw that Glenfarg was a mess of blue lights, hose pipes and a lot of angry water close to the road and unfortunately in some people's homes. Our return later and after dark was a bit more scary. The motorway had reopened but all was not well, they were busy closing it again but only on the the northbound side. For me then, travelling south all I saw was a couple of cars, lights on and stationary in the northbound lane facing the wrong way. Uh Oh. There then followed an eerie  twelve miles of being the only one going south and nobody coming north in the rain and high and exposed in the bleak mid winter hills. At any moment I expected to hit a wall of water, a heard of stray deer or just plunge into some great sinkhole. Well that didn't happen, we just drifted further down this ghostly road to see the serene silence of Fife where once it joined onto the formerly busy but now redundant Forth Road Bridge. All quiet on the Southern Front for all the wrong reasons.

Some say "Big Ben", I'm not so sure.

Friday, December 04, 2015

FRB and the fractured links

I for one am relaxed about the closure of the Forth Road Bridge. I'm not so sure we ever really needed it anyway (and what have engineers ever done for us?). Stupid Scottish steel from the nineteen fifties. OK the roads will bung up a bit and tempers may fray but we're avoiding contact with the whole Edinburgh Christmas Market/skating rink/big wheel/New Year rabblerowsing serial sham that is portrayed as some kind of glorious festival. Here trapped in Fife we can enjoy an endless supply of Brussels Sprouts, turnip and Puddledub buffalo sausages whilst the rest of the world struggles with trying to enjoy itself. The drawbridge has been drawn up, we're stuck here in a seasonal siege with (let's face it) nothing to lose. Citadel Fife I salute you. Just wait till we get a touch of snow. The Kincardine bridge is the next to fail.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Munchy Box

I don't eat this kind of stuff but other people do.
I'm content to keep a safe distance from (most) social media at the moment, just in case I say something I might regret. It's all down to one thing or another and the avoidance of controversy. I certainly don't consider this blog to be social media either. It's more of a lonely dumping ground for tiny thoughts, quick impressions and a scatter gun selection of images that just might remind me what I was doing should I happen to look back in a week or two. In many ways I should have outgrown this by now or become more honest and outspoken. I've avoided both paths and in the process managed to get myself as lost as a postman.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Jean Liotard

I was fortunate enough to get a close look at this man's handiwork, much of which is currently on display in the Royal Academy. A remarkable talent, a curiously successful businessman and one of the most enigmatic and unrecognised figures in art history. And he worked mostly using pastels...

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Climate change

Now that the great and the good and delusional have gathered in Paris to discuss global warming and how best to engineer global cooling our nearby neighbours have responded in their own sweet way.  By neighbours I'm referring to Ineos far away across the river (that's about a mile). They've turned up the petrochemical flare to around eleven on the dial. We can hear the roar, we can almost feel the heat and perceive the message to be "A Merry Christmas to one and all, don't worry, whatever you decide we're still going to do whatever the market's demand". If only all that excess of sound and fury and fire and brimstone could be channeled into something other than industrial fireworks.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Life is a piece of cake

Well it can be. Monday according to the calendar and various other expected events now and at last last week is over. Still alive afterwards after numerous escapades, travels UK wide and snow that looked bad but finally came to nothing. In the midst of this a song was actually written, a slightly disappointing Dobbies dinner consumed and more recurring theme TV watched and despite all the tension and action almost immediately forgotten. Unlike the lovely cake. I've also realised I don't really need various bits of social media to survive but I lack the heart, soul and resolve to cut them off. That's probably because I'm too lazy to embark on more of more meaningful things in life...this week. Maybe next.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

That's entertainment

Or that's intertainment, a new and potentially meaningful word that may have something to do with:

internet-attainment, international-attainment, interweb-attainment, internet-entertainment...and so on. Some possible current examples:

The Last Kingdom
The Vikings
Fast n' Loud
The Bridge
Inspector Montablano

...I have no better ideas at the moment.

Hair like Adele

Cat dreaming and in the dream experiencing a deja vu; this may be a good example of parallel universes scientists say. Tea cup (that is a banana in a parallel universe) for scale. Meanwhile everybody it seems either wants to bomb ISIS or just have hair like Adele Atkins. Me, I'm somewhere else on all this but I'm feeling the benefits of two pints of Guinness, some fricasseed squirrel and seven wholesome hours of trouble/dream free sleeping.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The unbearable lightness of bicycles

Nothing to do with Christmas, this is bicycle art.
The grey cold continues, following in our tired footsteps across the path of months and on beyond the black hole of consumer heaven Friday to the wet weekend and beyond. At this time of year there's a powerful urge to just run and hide. Christmas is coming upon us like some dreadful, greedy disease that we must pay homage to or suffer. There's no such thing as doing Christmas on your own terms, it already chokes the life out of you well before December 25th. The sales pitch, tunes and tinsel get in your head space generating a blizzard of bi-polar conflicts. That's really just another day destroyed by our own need for self destruction and the frenzy of not missing out. Who needs bombs when you can spray this festive confusion on your enemies. We in the west are so sorted that our imported and distorted festivals deserve exporting to those who don't know any better and can't fight back. Future civilisations will look back on this and scratch their heads or possibly their bottoms.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Hot rails to Hell

Well no hot rails this time just a nice JB Humbucker, not quite what was planned but nonetheless another project and planning and design opportunity. Thankfully after some masterful work, pole climbing and standing in puddles by BT the phone line has returned to full serviceability so the Internet connection can be fired up. Life without it all? Strangely tolerable, like the nineteen seventies or thereabouts. The lesson learned is that if need be life can be lived successfully off-grid. Maybe I have a new ambition.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Random Access

Photos from around London, posted in Glasgow. Just me keeping my hand in and touching the virtual world over a coffee and a donut. One day all of life will be like this or at least feel like this. The cold of November and the warm remembering of a clunky internet connection shrouded in white noise. So if I haven't got time for this them what have I time for? The only answer is a foolish one, close down all systems, bide time and stare into the horizon. Soon it'll be April 1st (well not soon but soonish) and another braver, newer world will open up. Of course it may be that I'm simply dreaming all of this...