Friday, 28 December 2007

2008 is coming isn't it time for a change of direction.

Were you surprised when you first heard Benazir Bhutto was dead? I wasn't. The last time I was surprised by anything I saw in television was 1984, I was getting a major telling off for refusing to eat the food on my plate when the News at 6 came on and those first pictures of the famine in Ethiopia were seen. Talk about a sense of guilt.

I might also have been surprised at the living conditions of some of the orphans of Romania after the fall of the Chauchescus', but probably not to the same extent as I was when I saw those first images of bloated malnurished young children . I'm not surprised when I hear of some nutter with a gun going on a rampage in a US university. A society that believes in the right to bear arms to that degree you have to expect the odd nutter or three. To the same extent I'm not surprised by anything that humans do, and I certainly don't fear it either. I don't fear the extremists in this world no matter how much the governments and the news reels would like to project a feeling that we live in dangerous times.

As for the death of Ms Bhutto, I saw it coming. I'm not saying I'm psychic or had a premonition. If I were the type to be so blessed I might do the lottery from time to time, but I'm not so I don't. But the day Ms Bhutto said she was running for election and crowds were seen celebrating I knew that region was so fucked up that someone was going to want her dead just because of her popularity, and the chances were that they were going to be successful at doing it. She knew it too.

I don't know much about her other than that she was a very intelligent human being and had run her country on two previous occasions. For better or worse I don't know. I don't care either. I do care about democracy, as did she hence the reason she put herself in that situation. This world at this time needs more people with her bravery. The world is fucked up at the moment. Fear is rife. We need more people to stand up and say yes we should be scared but we should be more scared of not standing up to the fear and those who aim to spread it.

Fear is driving the world at the moment. What has been proven is that human beings will do anything. Anything. That's why when all those beheadings started in Iraq it didn't bother me. A lot of people were horrified, "Whaaaa, beheadings!" What, are you surprised? Just one more form of extreme human behaviour.

You strap on a gun and go strutting around some other man's country you better be ready for some action. People are touchy about that sort of thing. And let me ask you this... this is a moral question, not rhetorical, I am looking for the answer: what is the moral difference between cutting off one guys head, or two, or three, or five or ten - and dropping a big bomb on a hospital and killing a whole bunch of sick kids? Has anyone of our so called leaders given you an explanation of the difference? When you get right down to it human beings are nothing more than ordinary jungle beasts. Savages. No different from the people who lived twenty five thousand years ago. No different. Our DNA hasn't changed substantially in a hundred thousand years. We're still operating out of the lower brain. The brain that first crawled out of the jungle and before that the sea. Kill or be killed. We like to think we've evolved and advanced because we can build a computer, fly an aeroplane, write a sonnet, paint, compose an opera. But you know something? We're barely out of the jungle on this planet. Barely out of the sea. What we are, is semi-civilised beasts, with baseball caps and automatic weapons.

But despite that as things stand I am probably in less danger now than when the IRA were blowing up buildings in the UK mainland in the 80s. Why? Well the Irish Republican Army had only one target and that was that was anything that could be seen as representing British rule. Whereas the muslim extremists hate everybody that doesn't think like them. Their way of thinking goes much like this:

Do you believe in God?



Do you believe in God?


Do you believe in my God?



Do you believe in God?


Do you believe in my God?


Do you believe in my God and interpret the teachings in the same as I do?



Just about everyone can be a target but generally speaking the chances of any one of us getting killed is slim to non existent. Their hatred is so widespread that short of an extreme case of bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time we aren't in any real danger at all. Living in fear or finger pointing is playing into the hands of the extremists. Yet our governments today are probably spending more time and energy thinking up draconian laws, and spending stupid amounts of money on securing our building framework than they are on finding ways to deal with cancer. And for what? Some people want to kill us, big deal. There are always, and have always been nutters who will have an excuse of some kind to hate. At the end of the day cancer is a bigger killer and is a much more unpleasant way to die.

I've never been scared of a Muslim and probably never will be until the day I see one waving a burning Scottish flag and he/she is spitting in my face. Then I might think twice about speaking in my fast unintelligible accent of mine. I might want to stay quiet, not draw attention to myself.

I'm more scared of the Japanese than I am a extremist Muslim. Why? A few reasons really. Generally speaking its easier to tell when a Muslim doesn't like you. The flag burning thing is a bit of a give away. A Japanese man with a grudge would be somewhat harder to judge. They tend to be respectful people. They may think I want to slice off your head with my great, great, great grandfathers sword but because they speak a different language and, generally speaking, have too much respect to burn flags you might never know until your head is rolling on the floor by which time they will be on their knees praying for your soul. Which is nice.

I like the Japanese. I like a society that is respectful but if I were Japanese myself I would be ever so slightly pissed off at the world. I would be pissed off at the thought of all the rogue states that this world has ever had, and there has been a few, only one has suffered the effects of an atomic bomb, and not just once but twice. I might be tempted to plan my revenge but I'd be sneaky about it. I wouldn't burn flags. I wouldn't hide in a cave and spread hateful messages via old taped over 70s porn videos. I wouldn't have the worlds best equipped army with the biggest weapons that scare cockroaches. I would be really sneaky. I mean really sneaky. I would build trusting relationships with business by building the dinkiest coolest must have gadgets and just when everybody has got their eyes off the ball and listening to say Norwegian Wood by The Beatles a preprogrammed malfunction could blow up the ear drums of the listener. Or I might spread the delicacy of Sushi knowing full well that western society doesn't value apprenticeships to the same extent as Japanese society. In Japan it literally takes years for someone to learn the skills involved in cutting a fish or removing the poison of a puffer fish. In the West you'd most likely get minimum wage for such work, whilst a degree in Media Studies is valued far higher even though the number of people studying Media Studies by far outnumbers the jobs available in that field. By some miracle the number of deaths from raw fish consumption is fairly small in the West but it surely cannot be long before the Sushi bars of the world unite in the message that puffer fish is good and then that minimum wage mentality might bite us in the ass. Of course I'm being silly here.

What was my point? I can't bloody remember. Something about fear and the stupidity of it why we need people in charge that think a different way. I think. This is why I never got the good grades at school. The Japanese aren't scary. It was all a big exaggeration on my part. The Chinese on the other hand.....

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

My End Of Year A To Z Music List

Ok I realise that last year I tried this that I was somewhat over ambitious in that I didn’t really have a lot of time at this time of year and probably I won’t have much going spare again this year either. So I will name one artist only for each letter, and will do it back to front.

Not everyone is going to enjoy this type of post so what I will do instead of having 26 posts and boring everyone in the process I will edit this 1 post as and when I can so, so come back and check when you have the time.


And So we reach X & Y, which for some reason sounds like a Coldplay album. The problem with choosing a list of bands and artists by letter is its a totally illogical way of doing things. Some letters have way too many choices that make it almost impossible to narrow it down to just one, and other letters, like x and y, are a real struggle to even think of just one. But I've always had an illogical way of doing things and some sick twisted part of me must enjoy making life difficult for myself because I do it often enough. Anyway making a list this way is my way of making sure I don't just rehash the same old names that will make it on to other such lists.

So X, I'll choose X Press 2. Don't though rush out the album counter, I would only choose for two songs myself. Lazy would be my theme song if not for the fact that for a lazy ass I seem to be a contradictory stupid sod in that i'm also a workaholic that has this habit of unable to be able to say the word know. Despite that though i'm sure given the right circumstances I could be quite happy doing nothing for hours on end with Lazy playing somewhere in background. I could also spend too much time listening to Give It too.


Again not much springs to mind here, so my choice would be the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. For some reason they remind me of the 4 non blondes from the early 90s, and yet they don't really sound anything alike - my mind works in mysterious ways.


Last year, or maybe it was the year before I forget but it doesn’t matter much, I discovered the music of Camille Dalmais. She is somewhat serious looking in her album cover but her music is fun and experimental and I played both her albums way too much last year. Due to the discovery of Camille I wondered what else France had to offer and so this year I came across Zazie. I loved her new album Totem and so I instantly tried to buy up all the rest of her back catalogue, with little success I may add.

Her voice is quite simply gorgeous, and the beauty of it is you don’t even need to know French to enjoy it. I urge you to check it out on youtube or myspace, I don’t really use either of them myself but I’m sure it must be out there somewhere. If after listening you don’t like her too I can only assume you are a French hater, or have absolutely no taste whatsoever, or both. Not for me sitting on the fence.

Friday, 23 November 2007

A Wee Challenge For You - Yes YOU!

My posts are like buses, you don't see anything for a while and then two come along at once. I was planning on doing this one anyway, but the one before it was a random, last minute act of a desperate man. Lets just say you don't want upset a Canadian, sure they might act all polite but underneath they are a most impatient race.

But never mind that, let's get back to the purpose of this post. A week from now is St Andrew's Day, a day to celebrate Scottishness or all things Scotland related. We aren't very good at that in this country. The Irish have the leprechaun hat, tin whistle and top-of-the-mornin' chirpiness all sown up and they do it very well by all accounts. Everyone knows St Patrick's day. By contrast we in Scotland haven't really done a good job of selling St Andrew's Day. We could I suppose encourage people to wear blue, eat lots of shortbread, play the bagpipes badly and our drinks industry could follow the example of Guinness by selling barrel loads of drams but that wouldn't go down well with a lot of Scots. It's seen as cliché by too many people and so the day goes by with little in the way of celebration. That's a shame. It's time that changed. And that's where YOU come in.

We are all bloggers here, its probably fair to say that we enjoy that wonderful thing called language.

My challenge to you is to a write a blog post of 5 paragraphs (or more) in Scots. Why? Just because it will be fun and interesting.

You can write about whatever you like - social issues, injustice, humanity, politics, or something funny that you saw during the day. I don't much care what, as long as it is 5 paragraphs long and with every line written (to the best of your abilities) in Scots. And 5 full paragraphs at that, no cheating. None of the single sentence paragraph crap.

I know for most people outside of Scotland this might sound like an impossible challenge but I'm not seeking perfection. I'm not very good at speaking Scots myself, whenever I dared to as a child I got a skelp in the lug for my troubles for fear that I was going to turn into a ned. Looking at some of the kids around today I can see the wisdom behind that method of parenting, still I harbour some disappointment. Scots when used correctly can be quite a beautiful language. Some even consider it exotic. But that's going a wee bit far, that's just weird. However I will admit to it being entertaining.

So reader, care to celebrate St Andrew's Day? Are you up for the challenge? One post in your blog on the 30th of November, written in Scots? If you do decide to join in, whether you be from Rio De Janeiro, Papua New Guinea, Dunedin, Nova Scotia or wherever leave a comment here, so I can go have a nosey. And if you want to see my piss poor attempt from another time and place go here.

Remember perfection is not required, use the power of the internet and just have a good go at it. Have fun! Oh and I almost forgot - Spread the word - that way you can see you favourite bloggers' attempts too.

Tennis Is A Game For Cheats

At an early age I decided that tennis was a sport that was full of cheats. Like most sports that I hadn't played before I didn't really know the rules so when the ball went up in the air, racket made contact with the ball, ball went over the net, bounced on the surface and my flailing arms missed the return and was followed by the words
15, Love!

I wanted to shout out
15? Get real! 1! And don't call me love! Only old ladies call me love and they only get away with it because of their age. 15? Fuck off!
Of course being 9 years old at the time I didn't say it. Partly because I was a quiet and reserved kid but mostly because if I swore and my mother found out I would have been very, very dead but only after I had suffered greatly. So I kept my own count.
One - nil.
When the ball then went up in the air, hit the racket, went over the net, bounced on the surface and my flailing arms missed once again and I heard the words

30, Love!
I was beyond swearing, I wanted to deck him.

30? Fuck off! 2 - nil! And what's with the cheating and calling me love? Is that a distraction tactic? I can count you know!
When the ball went up in the air for a third time, hit the racket, went over the net, and bounced on the surface and my flailing arms were no where close to getting the return I at least knew what to expect. The cheating up until this point wasn't exactly subtle, it was taking a familiar pattern.
40, Love!
Now I was confused, completely thrown off track.

40? Who taught you maths? Surely you mean 45, and by the way its still only 3 - nil.
I quickly decided the game of tennis wasn't the sport for me, mostly because I wasn't very good. Despite that first game where I ran around like a headless chicken to no avail I was actually very good at getting points off my opponents serve but it was all pointless when I couldn't get any points on my own serve. Which was down to not knowing how to serve. The ball would go up in the air, hit the racket, go over the net and then hit anywhere on the surface that wasn't legal. This I could probably have persevered with if it wasn't for the cheating thing. When the people you are playing with can't keep count there just doesn't seem to be any point.

Years have since passed and over that time I've largely associated tennis with cheating & Cliff Richard, neither of which I have a lot of time for, so now that tennis is embroiled in the middle of a match fixing scandal I have to wonder why no-one in the game saw it coming.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Life Was Simplier And Much More Innocent When... could begin again with a quick wipe at your etch-a-sketch.

I have a feeling I am showing my age with that comment - for the younger readers think Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Give Me My Missing Sensibilities!

I'm generally one of those people who works better when working on a few things at one time than when I have to concentrate on just one task at a time. I don't know why that is. Believe me I would much rather be the type of person who was able to start one task, see it through to completion before moving on to the next thing. Why I don't work like that I don't know. I imagine life would be much less stressful and I could probably be lazier too and have more leisure time. Sadly I wasn't designed that way.

I'm not even designed that way when it comes to my free time. It's not been unknown for me to have 4 books on the go. That's easy though compared to what I've got myself into now.

Somehow I found myself writing a script. This despite the fact that I don't have any real confidence in my writing abilities or have any clue on how to go about writing a script - the idea was there it had to be got out. I tried to ignore it, but the fucker wouldn't leave me alone. No sooner had I started the writing malarkey, when another totally separate idea started to make its presence felt. Tried ignoring that one too, with as much success as before. So somehow in a matter of months to having never dreamt of writing scripts to attempting to write not one but two. I think I might have gone cuckoo.

It's one thing reading 4 books at once - after all someone did once teach me how to read. no-one has ever really sat me down and taught me how to write a script - I barely passed my English Higher at my second attempt - I have no clue what the hell I'm doing!

Luckily though I have found a partner for one of the scripts who has some sort of experience in this sort of thing - which is helpful. It would be much more helpful if they weren't from LA then I could get them involved in the second script. The second script which is actually the first (but lets not make this any more confusing than it has to be), has many international characters in it but the whole thing has a Scottish undercurrent to it so there is a lot of Scots dialogue to a) give it a sense of place and b) just because its funny. Trying to explain that side of things to someone from LA with minimal experience of living in Scotland I probably would bite of more than I could chew. I don't think I understand it myself.

I seriously suspect I am going out of my mind taking all this on. And what's worse I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that I am running out of things to blog about. I had planned on writing a very funny golf post until I stole it and put it aside for one of the scripts. A witnessed cafe moment promptly went the same way, as did a taxi story. Anything with potential gets put aside in the off chance it can be used for something that is probably not going to make me any money for years, if at all. The average ideas I'm left with I just can't be bothered writing. Physically I'm exhausted from the day job, mentally I'm exhausted from hitting my head against a wall of polyfiller - sometimes I just wish I could do one thing at a time!

I'm hungry - someone make me some banana pancakes.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

No Time To Write...

...a proper post. Lately I've had my best blogging ideas whilst nowhere near a computer and by the time I get home I either can't be bothered or just plain forget.

So instead of writing a post pf my own I have a question for you, yeah YOU, and I want you to answer truthfully and don't think I won't come running after you if you read without answering - you don't know me well enough to know that I'm not crazy enough to do it.

Here's your question, well strictly speaking its two, but they are related.....

What's the one thing you've always wanted to do during your lifetime? And when are you going to do it?

Sunday, 14 October 2007

The Finger

Someone showed me the finger today. In Glasgow! Of all places!

Imagine my surprise.

There was a man, he tripped, I laughed, he turned round and up went his middle finger. Like it was my fault he was a clumsy eejit.

Everyone else saw the crack in the pavement and walked over it. The man with the white stick tapped it and walked around it. OK I'll come clean there was no blind man but you get my point. Everyone else saw the danger, took steps to avoid it but not this joker. He trips, turns round and goes FUCK YOU, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE LAUGHING AT!

What happened to humour? People used to see the funny side when they tripped. When I was a a kid if you tripped, you laughed at yourself. You'd replay the incident, and laugh while everybody else laughed. Now people can't take a joke any more. Its no more 'look at me', now its 'how dare you laugh at me, look at my finger!'

Truth is at first I felt bad for laughing. It wasn't like a belly laugh, it was more an uncomfortable snigger that I did try to hold in. After seeing the finger though I was glad I laughed at the tosser.

But it struck me afterwards, who invented the finger? How come we know who invented the television but we don't know the name of the person who first used their middle digit to show their displeasure. And how come it took off? Did they try other things first? Was it like a trial and error approach to find some that that was universally approved by the masses?

And while we are it - who invented the kiss? Were they in any way related to the person who saw an egg come out of a hen's bum and thought I'm going to eat one of those? How come we don't know these peoples names? Surely these people have had much more influence on human progress than the first people to climb Everest or reach the South Pole......

Saturday, 6 October 2007

A post for the Idiots (theres a lot of them about you know)

You dropped out of school because you’re smarter than everybody

I have 8 words for you “I’ll have a diet coke with that, thanks”

You ignore all the warnings, you light up a cigarette

Someday you’ll talk with a machine through your throat

Complain the sticks are killing you,

Like the packets from where they came didn’t tell you

You moan about the price of petrol and war in Iraq

But you gave Blair not just five but ten years

He didn’t even need to tell you jack, a smile was all it took

You wake up one day and you don’t have the skills

To get a better job so you’re stuck on the grill

You’re wondering why Pavel took your job

But you forget to see you are a lazy assed numpty

And you’re asking yourself 'how could this happen to me?'

Maybe because he works harder than you and he’s got a degree?

In a couple of months he’ll be speaking better English than you too

There’s no need to worry though, not when you can rely on welfare

You know that thing that entices Johnny Foreigner to come here

And I thought they came here to better themselves

Speaking of idiots, why are so many people surprised at the continuing decline of Britney Spears. This is the woman who married Kevin Fedex (or whatever his name is), hardly a ringing endorsement of her sense of judgement was it? Who knew Hit me Baby One More Time had a premonitory message within it…

Monday, 1 October 2007

All The Evidence You Need To Know Someone Is Missing The Willpower Gene

"Yeah I tried to quit for years" - yet here I am smoking a cigarette out a hole in my throat.

Was it wrong of me to think ... How much nicarette gum does it take to fill that hole?

Thursday, 27 September 2007

This Country Needs - Spray Officers

After 5 months of back pain I finally decided to see my GP a fortnight ago. Yeah I'm a stubborn eejit. I'll deal with pain for 5 months day and night before I finally decide i'm a deserving candidate for the attention of a doctor. I have a high tolerance for pain so I tend to measure my pain against the pain of those who are dying. Inevitably my pain usually falls short so rather than take up the time of a doctor I tsuck it up and eventually my body heals on my own. Usually. Only this time it didn't. I probably still wouldn't have went to the doctor's if it hadn't been for the night I couldn't get my jeans past my knees when I wanted to go to bed..

That state of limbo was the straw that broke my resistance and off to the doctors I went the next morning.

His advice, after waiting a week for the results of the x ray, get surgery, change career or risk back problems for life.

Great! I don't mind saying surgery scares the bejeesus out of me. I don't like the idea of people cutting me open and messing about with drill bits anywhere near my back no matter how skilled they are. So it looks like I have to change career and hope it gets better on its own through rest. Which in its own way is going to be fun seeing as indecision on the career front is just one of my superpowers.

With so many possibilities for a new career I thought it might be best to narrow it down a little so I took a moment to reflect on what I wanted to be when I was kid.

Yeah that will really narrow down the choices.

I first dismissed the career choices of Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Jesse James as a lot to live up to for someone who can't write, doesn't own a camera (I did , it was stolen) and is against the usage of guns as a point of principle. I then had a brainwave - I could be a fireman!

Completely forgetting for a second that back pain might get in the way of actual fire fighting my mind was on more important things like the positive effect having a uniform might have on my sex life.. I'm a guy, we think about things like that.

I doubt aged 4 and a half that I thought much about what fire fighting would entail. At that age I didn't give it a second thought about running up ladders into smoke filled rooms receiving the gratitude of bored fetishistic housewives because I didn't really want to be a fireman. I wanted to be a spray man! I just wanted to use the hose and spray things with it.

Thinking about it now there might actually be a need for spray men. after all this is a country that has Police Community Support Officers, who are essentially police officers but with out the wage, training or powers of arrest but they do get a uniform. Now if there is a need for such Police Community Support officers there is surely a greater need for Spray Officers. Spray Officers wouldn't need to be the trained in how to run up ladders or how to handle a smoke filled environment because they would be there to support those with such training. They would be trined to use a hose in less dangerous but still needy environments.

Spray officers could be the answer to a long standing problem for the Scottish Fire Brigade. Within a fortnight of the introduction of spray officers neds who up until that point thought that Friday night entertainment consisted of throwing stones or Irn Bru bottles at Firemen (and women), would be forever more absent spectators at Scottish fire incidents. You may think that would eliminate the need for the Spray Officers but you'd be wrong. After spraying the neds was done there would still be the lousy parents to deal with. There are a lot of bad parents in this world. Parents who put their own safety before the safety of the child, You know the ones. You've seen them on TV. The parents who are out in the street screaming hysterically that their wee Jimmy is still in the house. If wee Jimmy was yours or mine we wouldn't be outside screaming as to the whereabouts of the fire brigade, we'd be risking life and limb trying to get into the house, it would take 10 people to stop us.

Dammit to hell! Why did I have to do my back in! You have no idea how many bad parents I would take great pleasure in spraying half way down the street. That job would have an (almost) illegal amount of job satisfaction.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Life's Lessons Learnt #86754943

Don't Sit Down To Write A Script Whilst Suffering Back Pain

If you're going to write a script, it has to be good. It has to be worth the effort expended. The characters have to sound like real people talking. This is widely recognised to be hard work. Writing something down which sounds like a real person talking is the kind of thing that wins Quentin Tarantino plaudits. Quentin Tarantino is unlikely to sit down in front of his computer screen with the intention of writing a script whilst suffering from 5 months worth of back pain. Sitting in front of your computer screen and typing the words 'It hurts, it fucking hurts, I don't know how much more of this I can take! rarely makes good material for dialogue. Unless of course you are Quentin Tarentino.

Hmm, maybe he does suffer back pain....

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Blogging The Lazy Way

Are you feeling lazy? Me too. There are so many good reasons to slack off at the moment. But I'm feeling so lazy I can't even be bothered to give you examples on this. So you are just going to have to trust me. In such times, who can summon the energy to lift a mouse-clicking finger?
Naturally I have been slouching along the path of least resistance over the past few weeks. Coincidentally, I've also found myself on the sharp end of a few plans. All of them had one thing in common: they would have been twice as good if half as much effort had been lavished on them. This is because most of the preparation which goes into preparing your average plan is simply trying to account for all the questions a client may have but rarely ever does.

Blogging is a similar test which only the lazy survive. It's a Zen thing.

Rules for successful blogging include:

Keep It Short. Apparently there has been some research into the habits of regular blog readers. According to the people who know the results of this research, regular readers prefer short concise posts and would rather not use the scroll button on their mouse when the left button could redirect them to another blog with shorter posts.

Only make one point.
Isn't it a bit presumptuous to think anybody will listen to a lazy nobody like you make two?

Get your readers to do the work.
If it's a small group, ask them questions, start a discussion or group exercise. If it's a large group then invite them to actively participate in a silent way - for instance, visualise their favourite place, or the best meal they've ever had, or something else (if you're feeling on top of your game, this could be something relevant to your lone point). Sometimes it takes a bit of nerve to get this started, but as any pantomime dame will tell you, if they don't do what you ask them first time, all you have to do is ask them again. Readers love to feel important and it's less work for you.

Keep it brief
By now you can see that too much preparation simply creates trouble for blogger and reader alike. But it would be irresponsible of me to suggest that you step out in front of your readership completely unprepared. There are a couple of areas where your efforts aren't totally counterproductive, and I recommend that you concentrate on these:

Put extra effort into the first five words and the last five words If you start well and finish well, everybody will assume that the middle bit was excellent, too. This sounds flippant - and flippant it is - but it is amazing how far you can get on a good introduction. It doesn't hurt to end on a high either.

Produce quality not quantity
Dig up a single good one-liner, an excellent analogy or example, and perhaps one striking new piece of information. (Here's an idea - put one of them in your first five words and one more in your last five words.)

Use paragraph breaks Sometimes you may find fitting all your blogging moments of genius into that 10 word rule somewhat limiting and your posts may as a result stretch to two or more paragraphs. So please whatever you do remember and break up your paragraphs with an empty line. Don't worry no trees will be harmed in cyberspace with all those empty lines but you might just stop someone complaining about your paragraphs all running into one.

Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck You don't want to come across as having the education of an 8 year old unless of course you are an 8 year old. So check you posts for spelling errors. And don't accidentally delete half a sentence, or worst still half a paragraph whilst correcting one misspelt word. If you do so, your post won't make much sense and all your efforts in following all the other rules will have been in vain.

Don't mix and match garish background and font colours Your readers won't thank you for the migraines you induced.

Of course I break all the rules of blogging. I never was much good at catering for the majority so my final tip has got to be - Don't do as I do, do as I say.

Good night & good luck.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

A Conversation With God

Hello! Anybody out there? God ... are you listening? What happened? It's gone a little bit cold for the middle of September. If I were to put a sock in Richard Dawkins' mouth would you see fit to turn the heat of the sun back up again, not much, just a tad.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

I'm Starting To Believe In The Impossible

As a Scotland fan that is never a good thing!

Less than 18 months ago. Italy won the World Cup. They beat France in the final. They also beat the Ukraine in the quarter finals. Scotland didn't even qualify. Scotland hadn't participated in any major tournament in 8 years. As luck would have it all four teams were drawn together for the Euro 2010 qualifiers. It seemed at the time that the Scottish players may as well advance book holidays to separate destinations. That was until Scotland beat France in Glasgow, albeit with desperate defending and a somewhat fortunate goal. The Tartan Army started to dream the dream. Then Scotland to the Ukraine and Italy away from home. Scotland were still up there though in a four way battle for two positions. But for how much longer the French had revenge on their minds. Surely Scotland couldn't win in Paris?

They just bloody well have. What the hell is going on? That's twice we've beat the French.

We now sit top of the group. two points ahead of France and one point ahead of Italy who have just beat the Ukraine. So the Ukraine look unlikely to qualify and therefore can probably only act as spoilers for France and Scotland who they have to play. As is typical of Scotland they still have to do it the hard way. They may sit top of the table with 3 games remaining but they have still to play the Ukraine and Italy. Whilst France only have one hard game to play, with that being the Ukraine. Italy have only tricky game that being Scotland's final game of the qualifers which both countries will probably need to win.

I think I preferred it when Scotland had no chance. This hope thing is not good. Its possible Scotland could get 6 points out of 9 and it will all be for nothing if they can't beat Italy and France go on to beat the Ukraine. And yet that hope is still there and its saying 'You Know You Want To Believe - Go On, What Harm Can It Do?'

Tuesday, 11 September 2007


When I moved into this house I couldn't help but notice the wasps that congregated in neat little lines outside the bedroom window. After careful inspection I found that the cause of the gathering of wasps was due to the fact that underneath one of the slate tiles, directly below the window, was a nest. At the time I thought about getting in a wasp exterminator to do whatever it is they do but then I thought about living creatures and all that so I decided against having them killed. I instead though I would just put up with inconvenience of not being able to open the window for a few months thus allowing them to carry on their business in peace.
My reward came this evening. Whilst fumbling with the wrong key on the lock of the front door I felt a sharp pain on my leg. I looked down, couldn't see anything for my jeans, shrugged off the pain. I then went back to continue to try to place the wrong key in the lock when I felt a ticklish spot on my neck. I scratched said spot. Tried the key again only to notice dozens, and I mean dozens, of wasps crawling all over my arm. Before I had the chance to shake them off they all started to sting like it was some sort of coordinated premeditated attack.
The neighbours must have had a field day watching me run around the garden,waving my arms like a lunatic. I've got one forearm that's swollen so much that Popeye himself would be proud of it had he ate two can's of spinach.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

An Invitation That Was Enough To Make Me Glad That I Didn't Go To Art School

There are very few people in the world that I don't like. If I meet someone for the first time I usually try and find some sort of redeeming quality in their character no matter how deeply hidden it is. However with some people it isn't so easy to do.
Dougie is one of those people. He's an artist. Or at least he likes to think so. Any work I've ever seen of his has been utter crap. And yes I realise appreciation for art can be a personal thing but there is art and then there is taking the piss. In the case of his work, I would say an elephant could do better. In fact elephants have. But that doesn't stop himself from saying "Hi, I'm Dougie, I'm an artist" to each and every new person he meets. He used to be an Art teacher for East Kilbride High School until he got the sack. And the phrase 'those who can't do, teach, certainly rings true in his case. Yet every time you meet him he always tells you about his latest art exhibition he's holding in some out of the way place that you can't possibly get to.
Personally I would say he's less an artist than he is a scrounger. He's never got any money for anything. Now the scrounging, that truly is an art form. He'll get you to pay for anything he wants and you won't even realise your are doing it until you are handing over the money. He'll wear you down with stories you've heard a million times before in a slow monotonous tone that sends you to sleep and he'll do so whilst walking, crawling would be a more apt description. I'm not kidding snails could pass Dougie. Dougie, being an 'artist' doesn't have a time table to keep like the rest of us, so when he walks he walks very slowly, and just for good measure will suddenly stop dead for no apparent reason. But this is all part of a plan that he's perfected over the years. While he's breaking you with his stories and his walking speed he'll take diversions into shops and without once stopping his story he'll pick things up, go up the counter and say can you get this and suddenly he'll move like he hasn't done for at least an hour, meanwhile the shopkeeper is looking at you expectingly whilst you aren't sure if you've even got enough money to pay whatever junk he's just bought. I'm wise to his game now so won't follow him into a shop but others still get caught out.
As you can tell I don't like him much at all, I've tried to find that hidden redeeming quality but as much as it pains me to say it in his case I just can't find it. Dougie is not the type of guy I would spend any time with if I could get away with it but he hangs around a couple of friends like a bad smell so sometimes I can't avoid him. Today was one of those days. I was invited over to watch the rugby, the Scotland - Portugal match was on, it sounded like fun until I knew Dougie was going to be there. It was made worse still when there was a powercut at John's house and Dougie invited us over to his to watch the game. Its kind of impossible to say no when the reason we all got together was for the game. The amazing thing was he even offered to make us something to eat. This we had to see, this would mean he would have to spend money on us.
So we went over to his house. None of us had been there before. It was a nightmare. You've never seen anything like it. It looked ok from the outside. As soon as the door opened we knew we'd made a mistake than none of us were going to make again. You couldn't get in the door for canvasses, stacked about 25 thick, leaning one of top of the other, on both walls of the hall, leaving just a narrow passageway to get in the house. We literally had to place one foot directly in front of the other just tp inch forward, which was fun seeing as there was 4 of us. It was like walking a tightrope just to get to the living room, each of us trying not to put a foot through a canvas. And the smell! Trying to walk a tightrope whilst being overpowered by the stench of cats just made it all the more difficult. That in itself was a strange one, seeing as he doesn't have any cats. Your guess is as could as mine. Finally we reached the the living room, suddenly by comparison the hall was looking immaculate now. A bigger room meant more canvasses. There is a TV in this room? We couldn't even find a place to sit. Up to our knees in crap. Papers, paint, & brushes everywhere. Finally we found the couch, a 3 seater, of which all 4 of us sat. Along with the smell of cats there was another smell to be discovered, sort of sweet n sour n musty, none of us could quite work it out. We all looked at one another, without saying a word as if we expected to find the answer of the strange smell in each others eyes. And then we heard "Do you want anything to eat..." The three of us answered in chorus "No it's ok, I'm not really hungry, couldn't eat a thing." It was like 5pm I had worked all day without eating. I was starving but I would spend a month in the Sahara walking under the midday sun before I ate or drank in this place. I'd only been in the place 15 minutes and I was feeling the need to have my stomach pumped to get rid of the toxins.
And the game? Oh that was great. Squinting at a 10 inch screen, at times we couldn't even see the ball.
As soon as the final whistle blew we all quickly made our excuses to leave. Only trouble was we'd been sitting cramped on a 3 seater couch and our legs had given up the will to live and now we had the tightrope to walk. The smell of cat piss and that other sweet n sour delight had gone to our heads, as hard as as was getting in it was harder getting out. It was like Hotel California, you can get into the place, all be it with great difficulty, but don't expect to leave. Oh but the smell of the city has never been so pure.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Face Fit For Radio

I have a disease, I don't know what its called but I know it exists. I admit its a strange one and I might be the only one that has it but I have a disease that makes it impossible for me to say the word "No!"And it gets me into all sorts of trouble. I'm not someone who has a lot of free time on his hands so when someone asks me if I can do them a favour my head generally thinks 'No, not really....' but before it can finish that thought my mouth will blab out, "Sure! How can I help?" in a really enthusiastic tone while my head silently screams 'You idiot! You have a million and one things to do and you just had to say yes and add something else to the list.'
And so to the point, on Tuesday I was approached by a friend to do his shift on hospital radio tonight. I had no idea he did hospital radio. For some reason I was under the impression that the need for hospital radio had seen its day. I have no idea why I thought this, I just did. I was wrong. It's still going strong. And somehow I got myself roped into it tonight. Presumedly the other volunteer DJ's couldn't fill in so I was probably the last resort. In my head I was saying 'No, hell no,I know nothing about being a DJ. No, you've given me 3 days notice here. No, what the hell do you play to the ill and the dying?' But again I heard that voice saying, "Sure, yes, why not!"
So I then spent the next 3 days wondering what the hell I was going to play. The more I thought about it the more I cursed my inability to say no. ^The first thing I had to to think about when creating a play list was the fact that they was a wide range of age groups to cater to. That in itself wasn't too difficult, I have a broad ranging taste in music and can be considerate about not imposing my tastes on other people. However I have to admit that before this week I had never given much thought to the responsibility of playing music in a hospital environment. It's further complicated by the fact that in a hospital you have people dying, and others just slipping in and out of consciousness. There are certain songs you don't really want to play to such people like for example The Fugee's singing Killing Me Softly sprung to mind, just in case a sleeping patient comes around at the wrong time and mistakes Lauryn Hill for an angel that is suggesting it is a time to follow the bright light. Whereas Wild horses by the Rolling Stones might just give such a patient extra will to carry on, but then again it depends which part of the song they were listening to. Then you have to think about the nurses on late night bed pan duty so any thoughts of playing I Hate You So Much Right Now by Kelis or I Hate Everything About You by Three Days Grace can also be scored off to reduce the possibilities of an overstressed nurse going on a rampage and taking it out on patients. Not that I would played such songs anyway but with this thought pattern other songs soon had to be reconsidered.
As you can probably tell I spent 3 days thinking about this way too much but despite that tonight did actually run smoothly. As far as I know there wasn't an increase in the number of patients choosing to visit the pearly gates whilst I was on air. And a rather attractive Kiwi nurse did say that I have great taste in music and that it was the best show she had heard in a long time so that was good for the old ego. Less good was having to listen to my own voice. It's amazing how you can go through life not really listening to yourself, and it can be quite a shock when you don't sound quite like you thought. I may have the face for radio but I don't have the voice. Listening to myself tonight it was almost enough for me not to ever talk again. Of course, by tomorrow I'll probably forget, slip up and do just that but I know now that any woman who likes the sound of my voice and accent should be avoided at all costs for the simple reason she has no taste and is obviously not right in the head.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Question Of The Day

Why is it that the last tissue in a box twice as thick as the rest?

Answers in a postcard please.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

I Shoulda Been A Surveyer ( I Mean Survey Taker)

Once upon a time (a long time ago now) I was in a Town Planning & General Practice Surveying college course. I may as well have not bothered because on completion of the course I didn't bother going into either field of work. Although I found planning interesting, jobs were few and far between compared to the numbers who were being trained at the time, and surveying I just found boring so off I went into a entirely different career.
But looking at the papers this week, and every week for that matter, I can't help but think that an opportunity might have been missed. There is, judging by the number of column inches by the British press, a lot of work for survey takers. (Let's gloss over for one minute the fact that I studied as a surveyor in the building field as having no relevance whatsoever to the point I am making in this post.) It seems to me that with every new day that passes there are details to be found in our wonderful British newspapers of a new survey that reveals interesting or not so interesting titbits of modern life. This week's big survey that was in all the papers and even some news programs on TV was the Handbag Survey. Apparently, if the results are to be believed, women go through 111 in a lifetime. I have to admit to being a little sceptical of the results of this survey and others, seeing as I have never been surveyed at anytime or anywhere or know anyone who has, for this survey or any other. I also know that my own mother replaces her handbags every 3 months but would probably find each one would last 3 years if only she didn't stick half the contents of the house in her handbag every time she was getting ready to step out the front door. But I digress from one of my meaningless points, which is, who are these survey takers, and who are they surveying if they aren't surveying me, or anyone that I know. It seems to me suspiciously like they must either be surveying each other or more likely just making the results up and presumedle getting paid for it too. And for what? The vast majority of these surveys seem to have no real purpose.
I excel at going through life without real purpose and feel that I can easily do that kind of work. What is the next pointless survey going to be? The number of bras a woman owns? I could make a start on that right now. I know someone who claims to own over 800. I haven't seen each and every one of those bras worn (it's not that sort of blog) but still nonetheless, having seen the walk-in wardrobe that is bigger than my house and each item of clothing within colour coordinated, that and the fact that she has a great cleavage (ok maybe it is that sort of blog after all) lead me to believe that she could be telling the truth. All I need is a few more participants and I could find myself in a new line of work. Now who do I need to see about getting paid for this work?

Friday, 31 August 2007

Random Ranting

I don't know what I dislike more - my stubborn, pig-headed, perfectionist, I-can-do-it,-I-know-I-can-and-I'm-not-stopping-until-I-do! nature or computers (eh, any machines for that matter) that don't work. It's probably a close call.
The trouble with me, (well one of many but for now we'll ignore the rest), is I don't know when I'm beat. Now that attitude works well on the rugby field but not so good when broken electrical equipment need fixing. It can be a right pain in the backside to be sure.
Strangely when someone asks me if I an help them fix their computer I can usually do so without much trouble but when mine decides to act up it has to do so good and proper to such an extent that it had me pulling out my hair out for 3 days. As I suspected the power supply unit blew and needed replacing. I correctly diagnosed this within 30 minutes, but it took me the rest of the 3 days to work out that it also took the processor and motherboard with it.
It didn't help that it was the weekend and I had to figure out what parts might be broken and then find a shop open that sold the parts needed at a price I could afford. Easier said than done when this was the month I had to shell out for a new tax disc for the first time since Gordon Brown decided to help the environment (yeah right) by doubling the cost of registering a vehicle.
Anyway at least I have my computer working now. Well kind of. Now I'm left with a computer without sound because the speakers connected to a socket on the old power supply unit, and the of course the new unit doesn't have this socket. Why oh why can't anything technology be easy? Now I need to figure out if I just need new speakers or a new sound card, or (worse) both.

On a separate issue entirely - who shrunk Mars ice Cream?
I admit its been a few years since I've had any but when I saw them for sale at half price in Morrison's I suddenly felt the need to satisfy my tastebud's urge for soft ice cream and caramel. What I didn't realise was that somewhere along the way somebody decided to shrink them by approximately half since the last time I had the pleasure. Tasted just as good as ever but somehow it didn't feel as much of a bargain as I thought it was.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Punched In The Gut In Edinburgh's Botanical Gardens

Yesterday I escaped the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh’s Festival induced crowded streets with a two hour sabbatical in the Botanic Gardens. Whenever I’m in Edinburgh in August I usually spend some time in the Botanic’s in an effort to recapture my inner calm when I’ve had all I can take of the pedestrians who stop dead directly in front of you without any warning. There I expected to people watch in a relaxed atmosphere, where young kids torment pigeons & ducks and where big-kid-at-heart grown men attempt to feed tame squirrels. What I did not expect to find was yet another exhibition. I should have known better. Every possible square inch of the city seems to be home to an exhibition or show of some kind. If I’m being honest I’d had my fill of exhibitions for one day but I was drawn to this open air exhibition by the sight and sounds of those staring and discussing it with a hushed intensity.

Within seconds of looking at the first image of the exhibit called Hard Rain, I too was staring just as intently at it as the others. Forget Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth you won’t learn anything new there, its all been seen before and is largely only going to preach to those already converted. In contrast, Hard Rain should be shown in every school, as well as to every government official, whether national, regional or city, no matter whether they are elected or just a civil servant. That is if we are serious about wanting to change the world in a fairer manner and reverse some of the damage we are doing to the earth.

As an exhibition its made up of a series of photographs in response to Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. Some of the images you might have seen before, I certainly have but in no way did that take anything away from the power that these images had.

The concept of the exhibition, is devastatingly simple. Environmental photographer Mark Edwards takes the words of Dylan's apocalyptic song and illustrates each line with a single image. There is also a succinct commentary, calmly condemning "wilful, inane and immoral carelessness towards people and planet by both our leaders and ourselves". And that's it.

So how come I think everyone should see this exhibition, especially those who are in a position to change the way we do things? Well quite simply, because each image powerfully portrays a world gone desperately wrong. The overall result of the exhibition as you walk away from it is our shared responsibility for climate change, for poverty (both spiritual and material), for habitat loss and for the abuse of basic human rights. The message is that environmental and human poverty reinforce each other. Many sensitive and informed people are aware, to at least some extent, that if only through their consumption patterns they contribute to the raping of our environment and to appalling mistreatment of our fellow beings, human and non-human. These images, from many countries and many contexts heighten that awareness, and bring it into acute focus like someone punching you hard in the gut.

On a personal level this exhibition allayed some of my fears that I had in regard to the overuse, and manipulation, of images was taking away our ability to be shocked by horrible events,

The first time I can remember images that shocked me I was around 7 years of age. I had just had a lecture for not eating the food on my dinner plate when I turned on the news and for the first time in my life I saw the effects of famine in Africa. It was 1984, the famine was in Ethiopia, the pictures of those malnourished babies I can still remember today as well as the way they made me feel, I literally felt sick to the stomach. Since that day there have been many famines and the effect has never quite been the same since that first time. When you’ve seen and heard it all before you learn to switch off. Same as you can go shopping in the best parts of Glasgow and pass by the homeless man selling the Big Issue without giving him a second glance. It’s a learned response to something that we don’t want to see.

This exhibition though, brought Ethiopia 1984 back into the present here and now. A written line of Bob Dylan’s song and a single silent image had a power all of its own. It is as if he, and Dylan, take us by the hand and lead us to the many dark places we prefer not to know about. Edwards, a superb photographer, is aware that in our daily lives, and through our democratic political systems, "we pay attention only to the short term, the visible and the nearby".

You see a picture with the Taj Mahal in the background, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, but in the foreground, by the edge of the River, lies a human corpse, half silted over, with a scabby dog nosing it. Just beyond the dog, on a sandbank, stand three vultures, waiting. Its masterful photography that you don’t really want to look at and yet at the same time, as you head takes it all in, you can’t pull yourself away from it.

Edwards's pictures are about the destruction of people, animals, plants, forests, oceans, rivers and communities and about the destruction of dignity and hope as well as of life. That is why they are each so disturbing.

If you are in Edinburgh I urge you go and have a look for yourself. You’ll find it in the Botanic’s, just outside the Palm House. If you aren’t in Edinburgh then you can still see it for yourself in book form, ask you local library for Hard Rain by Mark Edwards.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Life is simple isn’t it?

On Friday I reached my third decade. I’ve been on this earth just a few hours less than the King of rock n roll has been off it. I don’t much go in for the contemplating big life moments but seeing as I have free time and can’t think of anything else to blog about I might as well look back, assess, and once its all done not give it a second thought or learn a damn thing.

Life all happens by chance. Through no choice of your own you are born. No-one thought to ask you if you wanted this. You just come kicking and screaming into the world. The kicking and screaming may end on day one or you may choose to continue it right up until adulthood. In the meantime you learn what the world is all about, you get educated, and you choose subjects and courses that will probably have no bearing on your future. You choose a job that doesn’t pay anywhere near enough compensation considering the idiots you have to work with. You choose yourself a girl and settle down. You choose to fuck like rabbits, or sloths, or something in between, or abstain completely. You choose to buy your first home, which involves choosing a mortgage from the 1000’s available on the market, each more confusing than the last. You settle on a mortgage that rips you off of money that you don’t yet have. You have your wife and your house now you choose the impossibly big television with the even more impossibly big price tag. You choose your 100 channels that you will never ever watch. You choose your 3 piece suite from DFS that doesn’t even get in the front door. You choose your friends, or if you are a soft touch they choose you. You lose a few along the way and find them again on Friends Reunited or Facebook only to remember months later why you stopped talking to them in the first place. You choose to have a family which turn out to be the most selfish inconsiderate brats that man has ever known. You choose to not end it all and grow old. You watch as the devil spawn finally move out and make their own fucked up choices which you pay for with your bank account. Your pension that you chose sometime earlier doesn’t mature like it should have. You have to sell the home that you spent years of endless Sundays doing up just right. You choose to move into a home, only to find the neighbours have problems with incontinence. By now you are even more of an embarrassment to the brats that are continuing your gene pool, so they choose never to visit. You die, but not before you have to choose burial or cremation. Life is simple.

Or at least it should be. I’m up to the choose a girl part. This is where it has become tricky, essentially because I’m a picky bugger. I have no right to be this picky but because its my life and no-one else’s, I am. If the girl doesn’t have the right kind of smile it will probably take something special for me to give her a second look. And if she does have the perfect smile I will on most occasions come over with self doubt and find excuses as to why she wouldn’t be interested. Like she doesn’t laugh at my jokes, it could never work. Or she laughs too hard, it would never work. But if by some miracle she has the perfect smile, eyes that can make a man melt, and I ignore the self doubts and find the courage to take a step into the unknown and she laughs just right 18 months can go past in a flash. In that time I’ll find out she’s as gorgeous a person on the inside as she is on the outside, super intelligent too, can speak seven languages. She gets me, she really does, and as a special bonus she can cook great too, meaning I’ll never starve. You’d think this would be my perfect woman. So would I. Except when it happens. There must be something wrong with her, she has to have bad taste, I mean I look like my father, I barely get by with English and can just about cook pasta or a stir fry. What the hell does she see in me.... Bad habits are hard to break.

And then there is the job thing. I’ve been doing the same thing for 9 years which is for me a long time to do anything. I’m very good at what I do but there lies the problem, The challenge factor is no longer there. I’m restless. I need something new. I just don’t know what. I want to do so many things but probably none of them for the rest of my life,

I’m beginning to see why I don’t do the contemplation thing, its unhealthy to think too much, I’d need therapy. I think I’ll go back to the caring less, laughing more approach I took before. If that fails, I can always take comfort from the fact that the television will be a simple decision as I largely don’t much care for the latest technology.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Apologies To Irvine Welsh

In an effort to get through my period of writers block, I'm going to try to break it by, well, writing. I'm sure it could be written more eloquently another time but what do I care, it's not like this blog makes me money. I don't make you read it.

Anyway this post may well become a series, if I get the inspiration....

It's Shite Being Scottish

It's shite being Scottish, we’re the lowest of the low, the scum of the fucking earth. We’re instantly recognisable wherever we are. It's not because of the jimmy hats. Or even the linguistic adventure that your ears suffer when we talk at a hundred miles an hour in an accent and dialect that you can’t comprehend.

You can be on a beach in Majorca surrounded by multiple nationalities and still you’ll recognise the Scots who just arrived fresh from the airport. It won’t be the blue and white face paint or the Rangers and Celtic tops that will give them away. It will be the Scottish complexion. We aren’t a dark skinned race, we aren’t even white skinned. We are pale fucking blue skinned.

After a couple of hours of sunshine that pale blue skin will go through a change. While everyone else on the beach will be developing a tan if they hadn't already got one before they arrived, the Scots on the beach will develop a milk bottle white complexion.

Few Scots’ ever develop a tan, a proper tan like the rest of the world’s population seems to manage with ease. We go from pale blue, to milk bottle white, to, on those rare days of summer when the sun is visible all day and we descend on Kelvingrove Park like locusts lying on every blade of grass, to lobster red. That’s right pale fucking blue to lobster fucking red. The day after the sun shone all day long, Scots men everywhere will be out, wandering the streets of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, or wherever, bare chested, as if proud of the fact they are no longer pale fucking blue but lobster red.

And the Scots’ who use the tanning salons, and there are a lot of them about. They’re worse. They aren’t pale blue. They aren’t milk bottle white. They aren’t even like lobsters. They’re Orange! They look like they’ve drank too many litres of Irn Bru.

Disclaimer: This post was written in jest, it was not meant to be taken seriously, no Scots should be offended by the Its Shite Being Scottish tag, if you were offended you need to get a life.

Go on, join in the fun, make your own Its Shite Being (insert your nationality here) post.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

When Writers Block Makes Your Blog Die A Slow Death Resort To T-Shirt Humour

You can blame Just A Girl for this post and me having nothing better to do at 7:48 in the morning.

You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a Scotsman.

I like that one for the streets of Edinburgh during the month of August. I might even sell them myself next year, and if I can get everyone in the Royal Mile to buy and wear one I might be convinced that the profits should go to charity. Of course I'm more likely to get a 100 punches in the nose before that happens but life, risks and all that.

I have a head for business and a Scotsman for sin.

Now if only I could convince my neighbour with the chocolate eyes to wear that one.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Wormholes & Shotguns

One minute I was on a Scottish mountain contemplating how despite the rains best efforts it was really quite a nice place to be. Then suddenly the peace was broken.

There’s nothing quite like a man dressed in army style camouflage, complete with balaclava and shotgun, coming towards you on a quadbike, at speed, to break up the solitude and serenity of your spot on the mountain.

I was tempted to run for my life, whilst in a state of confusion over how I had come across a wormhole that had taken to me to a different time and place. Having passed no signs that said ‘Keep Out! You Are About To Enter A Militarised Zone’ I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how I had ended up in the 1970s and had come across an IRA stronghold whilst walking up Ben Lawer on a very wet Sunday in the year 2007. ‘Act normal’ I was telling myself while my deeper instincts were to drop to my knees and pray. Surprisingly I didn’t ask God to save me one last time, instead I heard myself say “Afternoon!”

Afternoon? WTF? I know I was brought up to be polite but that was neither the time nor place for general courtesies, not when some nutter with a shotgun is approaching on a quad bike and there are no witnesses around. And yet apparently it was, instead of stopping and taking aim, he drove past and muffled (the balaclava was still worn) an “Afternoon” in my general direction.

I’m guessing he was off to cull dear or something. At times having an overactive imagination can make you feel mighty silly.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

For The Competitive Amongst You

The Sunday Herald is looking to find Scotland's best blogger, if you want to take part all you need do is is a write a blog titled 'My Modern Scotland' and submit it at There's even a prize of a writing masterclass up for grab's although when you consider the like's of William McIlvanney and Alexander McCall Smith have already taken part, the winner might not need it.

I like the idea, but would be a little overawed in such company so I doubt I'll submit anything however its an interesting topic that could have some interesting interpretations so I wouldn't mind seeing how a few of the bloggers I already read handle the challenge. If I get any inspiration of my own in the upcoming weeks I may well post my own version here.

Sunday Morning Walk

A morning walk in the rain - Free.
The Sunday paper s- £1.30.
Keeping the papers dry on the way home by putting it underneath your jacket - Also free.

The look of the 3 Chinese girls as they walk past whilst you prevent the papers from falling down - Priceless.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Its Not A Good Thing When Your Own Words Can Be Used Against You

Sometimes I like to pretend that in my finer moments residing on this planet of ours that I am an intelligent human being. However events of my own making usually quickly unfold to break that spell of delusion. This afternoon is a case in point.

Whilst working at home my cousin came round to raid the fridge, as he tends to do, and also to distract me somewhat from my work (also something he likes to do), granted today my mind wasn't on the job and I was quite able to find suitable distractions before he arrived. However eventually I had to get some work done and so I left the house for a couple of hours leaving the cousin inside to raid the fridge some more. This a day after spending £45 on food isn't exactly a genius idea but at least food can be replaced. Leaving the pc on with the homepage set on this blog and coming home to find cousin reading the November archives is an act of stupidity that cannot be undone or so easily put right.

Now a part of me would like to think that he was reading for its articulately written with not a word wasted or just because its a mighty fine read but lets face facts here I write about nonsense and with my lazy eh-can't-be-bothered-checking-for-typos-missed-0ut-words-or-accidentally-deleted-half-paragraphs attitude I don't do a very good job of it either. So even though I gave him my best poker faced expression when he turned his head away from the screen, I know the sneaky devious little bastard knew it was my blog.

Now, due to my own stupidity, I'm having to wonder if there is any material on here that would be grounds for blackmail. I have to admit to not thinking too hard about this (mainly because I don't want to know any different) but as far as I can remember I've never mentioned names nor sexual conquests, or lack off, so I should be safe. Yet doubts persist about the grounds of that belief.

Just in case I have some forgotten incriminating wordage on here I have to start using my noggin in developing ways of possible payback. That's right cousin if you are watching, to steal a line from the men with the moustaches, I have your number!

Blatant Blog Promotion & A Little Begging Too

Misssy has started a new blog Celebrity Llitigation and what it needs is a few more ghost writers, especially of the fairer sex to even things up a little. So if you've got time to spare - check it out. It might not be as satisfying as finding the cure for cancer or finding the mathematical solution to Third World Debt but it might be more fun.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Speak You Fool, Quick Before They Read Your Mind

I only moved in this house just over 3 weeks ago and within 4 hours of being here I had two new customers. To this day I don't know how I managed that. As a businessman, I'm not that great at blowing my own trumpet. I don't do networking and to be honest I probably wouldn't have a business that has lasted for 9 years if it wasn't for my first few customers recommending me to others and that behaviour continuing on throughout the years. But I didn't have any customers out in this part of the country and I didn't know anyone until I moved here. So its a mystery how this happened. I guess I just got lucky. I got even luckier that one of them only lives a few doors down, so the fact that they can't actually run away might mean that I get paid by this couple promptly which seems to be a rare occurrence these days.
I originally met the man of the house and we talked for a good couple of hours about what he was wanting. He has a beautiful two storey blond sandstone house with gorgeous big tall windows and a garden that has great potential but has been a little neglected over the years and really the house deserves a garden to match. The guy has money, ideas of his own but is willing to let my creative side go wild. So in essence its a great job for me. Within minutes of leaving I was already thinking of possibilities. A few days later I went round again to measure up and take sketches and basically play about with ideas I had rolling about in my head. It was early in the day, I wasn't expecting anyone to be there but I knocked the door anyway and I was surprised when his wife opened the door. We hadn't met each other the first time I had went round so I had no clue what she looked like. She's gorgeous. Whilst I was busy introducing myself my head was thinking 'Oh my god, those eyes, they're like rich dark chocolate getting melted down in a pan for a gooey chocolate cake that should be illegal to digest - quick, you've stopped talking say something before she reads your mind!' I think I managed to pass the test of speaking before it became obvious.
That should have been the end of it. From then on in any time we met it should have been easier. Not a bit of it. We've now met 5 times but despite the fact that I now know what she looks like and it shouldn't take me by surprise I find I have to prepare myself for that first meeting of the day and still I get lost in those eyes. Its ridiculous. I can't be alone in this. There has to be someone in your life that has the same effect.

Monday, 30 July 2007

My Poisoned Fingers Ode To A Bad Day

Warning: You may not want to read this post and I would urge you not to bother wasting your time, this is just me getting a bad day off my chest so that I can move on to normal programming and not sound like an even more foul mouthed version of Billy Connolly.

Fuck you, thieving bastard who visited in the middle of the night whilst I was out enjoying myself. Fuck you, for breaking the window on the side of the house, fuck you for helping yourself to the £200 I didn’t manage to get in the bank on Friday and fuck you for taking the camera too. Fuck you!

Fuck me, for not getting round to organising the house insurance yet. Fuck me, for not finishing work earlier on Friday so I could have put that money in the bank. I guess I can forget about treating myself and a friend to the Connect festival now. Another year older, same old fucking stupid shit. And fuck me, for not leaving the camera under the seat of the van like I usually do. Somehow it was safer there, who fucking knew? Fuck me!

While I’m at it, fuck Hotpoint too and their washing machines built to last days after the guarantee runs out. I really didn’t have the time to deal with that breaking down this morning, of all mornings, nor the time to look for the receipt. That proved only to be a fucking waste of my time.

Fuck the blow out on the left front tire. Fuck the pot holes on the badly maintained roads. Fuck the politicians who want to build new motorways hen they can’t even find the money for resurfacing the roads we already have.

Fuck you, Bank Of Scotland for charging me £70 for not processing £64 worth of Direct Debits. Maybe if your staff hadn’t closed the door on my face at 4:58 on Friday I would have had that 3 pounds and 28 pence extra in my account that I needed. No wonder you changed your company motto from A Friend For Life to Giving You A Little Extra. However may I suggest it you change it once again to Giving You A Little Extra Stress, because that would be more fucking accurate. Damn right I’m fucking pissed off, that’s why I’m writing this post but afterwards I’m going to feel better for it, then I’m going to write a nice letter and demand my money back. And damn right I’ll be getting it back because I am not a man to be fucked with today. I’m not in the mood to sit back and fucking take it anymore.

If anyone did happen to read that. I hope they didn’t bother analysing the lines above it wouldn’t have been worth the effort not when I said fuck 21times.

Normal programming should return soon.

It's On Repeat #4

I feel the need for a me moment so its time for music pimping.

This is a semi-regular interactive post where I share what I'm listening to at the moment of writing and you share what you are listening to. It can be old favourites rediscovered or new bands that nobody but you as ever heard of, there are no rules other than one - share your love of music.

Obviously having bought tickets for Angus & Julia Stone they music featured regularly but I've talked enough about them so I'll move on to the others.

Bell X1, I'm a big fan of this band mainly because they don't get the as much radio airplay as they should so noone spoils it for me I therefore get to listen to them under my own terms but it was only whilst I had Mediamonkey playing random songs that I rediscovered the song Just Like Mr Benn a beautiful song that I should have been playing more ovften but somehow had neglected.

Whilst crawling along on the M8 motorway last Monday I was glad to discover that I had a copy of Love Generation Club Mix by Bob Sinclar ft Gary Pine on cd. 2 solid hours stuck on a motorway on a hot summers day is not my idea of fun, its days like that I need something to chill me out. If you can stop yourself from joining in the whistling in this song, then you can't possibly be human. Why? Because I said so.

On the same cd I found Chains by Che Fu & DLT. Unless you are a Kiwi or an Australian you probably won't find Che Fu in your local music shop which is a shame because a lot of his music deserves to be more widely listened to than the American hip hop that is available.

With all the floods in England in the previous week or two CCR's Who'll Stop The Rain kept coming to mind but this past week I've been playing Looking Out My Back Door a song which for some reason always reminds me of the Dude in The Big Lebowski.

Born In The 70s by Ed Harcourt. Good lyricist whose songs I enjoy but this song holds more appeal than most of his other work. Probably because the first few lines of this song could almost have been written by myself if a few words were changed here and there. For example my name isn't Ed and I wasn't born a few days before the king was dead but a few hours afterwards,

Water May Walk by Devendra Banhart wasn't weather inspired, it was played just because I can.

Back in the 80s I didn't much like Morrissey and The Smiths, the music was far to melancholy for me back then but I musy have grown into a miserable cunt myself since then because The Smiths are being played more and more lately, especially Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours. Could be worse I suppose it could have been You Have Killed Me, that would really have me worried.

Heavy Boots
by LA's Cold War Kids is a late entry to the list. With the lyrics 'heavy boots, for crying out loud, heavy boots are caught up in the crowd' I have no idea why this song appealed.

Thats it for number 4, because I have other things to take care of. I am also still technically challenged and have no idea how to stream songs on blogger, however I am willing to share them via Pando if anyone wishes to listen but only on the understanding that if you like the song that you support the artist by checking out their other stuff.

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Just Let It Go

At 5ft 8 and a bit i'm a short ass but sometimes I feel like my arse is at nature's perfect height for kicking. Some mornings aren't worth getting up out of bed because no matter what you do everything turns to crap.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

I should have worn steel toe cap boots

The gig was good, very good. So the rush of blood to my head on Friday was a good thing. My live music withdrawals have been satisfied for at least another few days.

It always amazes me no matter how many times I have been to King Tuts in the past how I somehow manage to forget, in the time it takes between visits, how intimate that place is. But I swear it seemed smaller tonight somehow. Probably the woman with the beehive hair (think Amy Winehouse and you should get the picture) helped in that regard, especially when she stood in front of me. Unfortunately she was no Amy Winehouse. Amy is mostly all hair and has very little in the way of bones. I couldn't say the same for this woman. She had very large feet that seemed to be drawn to my left foot. I'm glad she wasn't wearing heels because being stood upon about a dozen times with flat shoes was painful enough as it was.

Less painful was meeting Nicola, who was in my class at school. We hadn't actually seen each other since we left school - 13 years ago. That means I'm going to be 30 next month. Where did the time go?

Saturday, 28 July 2007

I'm Back!

£125 poorer.
And 20 days later after setting it in motion I finally have broadband again. That's British prices and British efficiency for you. Do the Germans have this much trouble when moving house? I think not.
Anyway I'm back online, that's the main thing and there's no need to bitch and moan about it, what is done is done.
So moving on.
I can be a bit of a numpty at times, especially when I am overworked, overstressed and suffering from musical entertainment withdrawals, like yesterday for example. I found myself in Glasgow walking along St Vincent Street at lunchtime with hunger pains in my stomach urging a refuelling pitstop - King Tuts seemed as good a place as any to eat. Whilst there I discovered that Angus & Julia Stone were playing on Sunday night. Angus & Julia Stone were introduced to me by an Australian friend about a year ago, seeing that the brother/sister duo were playing on Sunday reminded me that this friend of mind hadn't yet broken her King Tuts Wah Wah Hut's cherry yet (keep your mind out of the gutter its Glasgow's Mecca for music lovers). This was despite having promised her that I would take her there when she moved to this country. She has been living in Edinburgh for 2 months now and I have failed in my duties as a host but moving twice in 2 months is apt to lead to distractions and in my defence I haven't seen much in the way of live music for some time now however as I was eating I decided to address this and promptly bought 3 tickets, one for myself (of course), one for the her and one for her flatmate (see there was no reason for your mind to be in the gutter). I don't even know her flatmate but I thought its a bit rude not to buy her one too and I'm nice like that (sometimes).
In my haste, I forgot I might want to ask first then buy the tickets if required. I also forgot I had no internet access. No mobile phone seeing as I deliberately misplaced it years ago (I don't like them) and a new home telephone number that noone was yet familiar with. So after eating lunch a quick run down to the nearest internet cafe was required to send an email regarding sunday night and an instruction to get in touch by telephone with an answer of 'yes we'd love to come' or 'sorry we can't, other plans have been made and we really need more notice in future -eejit' or something similar with that delightful etiquette they have in the land down under. It was only after doing this and getting home from work about 9 hours later that I realised the line that I paid £125 to install had a fault and that I couldn't send or receive any calls.
18 hrs later its now working again but its now only 26 hours until the show starts and still no word about my friend's availability. Not good. Its not about the money. £7 a ticket is hardly a bank account breaker. I'd just like to go out and enjoy some good music but I'm not going as Jimmy-no-mates. So that could mean some lucky sod gets free tickets if my friend doesn't claim them first. Anyone want them?
What, you've never heard Angus & Julia Stone? Never fear. Download Pando, then download the attachment below, on it you will find 2 songs, that's right not one but two, and you can decide if you want to take up the free tickets of course if you live in Canada, Brazil, the USA or anywhere else outside of the central belt of Scotland it might be too late for you too but the offer is there to tease you anyway.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Its On Repeat # 3

This is a semi-regular interactive post where I share what I'm listening to at the moment of writing and you share what you are listening to. It can be old favourites rediscovered or new bands that nobody but you as ever heard of, there are no rules other than one - share your love of music.

Thirteen Senses is in my opinion an underrated band, some bands get more radio airplay than they should and others as a consequence don't get as much as they deserve. When was the last time you heard the track Do No Wrong played on the radio?

Bongo Maffin. If you haven't heard of this band do a search now. It's a South African band and there music takes me back to 1989/1990 when Soul II Soul were huge in the UK. For some unknown reason the song Amadlozi reminds me of Soul II Soul's Back To Life.

I'll be honest I don't know much about India Aire, I came across some of her music by accidental discovery but I like the way she keeps it simple. There's nothing flashy about Can I Walk With You and yet I could listen to it more than I probably should.

With all the rain we are getting this summer and no money to go travelling I have had to resort to music to give me the feel of summer and with that I've found myself playing Johannes Linstead and his Spanish guitar. Mango

Lacuna Coil, sounds like it should be the name of a gorgeous sexy B-movie Italian actress, but enough about my perversions, its not, there are instead a band that make some beautiful music, Cold being an example.

I've been told that Tiny Dancers are a great band to see live, I cannot confirm or deny haven't not seen them myself yet but I do recommend I will Wait For You

I've heard rumours that Sons & Daughters have a new album coming out this year. About time too. Its as good an excuse as any to play Monsters once again.

Grandaddy's Nature Anthem has been played way too much this week, and for no reason really. Do I need a reason? OK, OK I'm a hippy and I'm missing summer since it disappeared in April, shut up.

With me being so close to being homeless this week it was time to pull out Willy Mason's Hard Hand To Hold This boy has got a talent with words that should see him have a long career.

Anyway I'm moving in two days, so if you comment it might be a week or two before I can respond in some way. My apologies in advance.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Any room under the stars?

This house hunting malarkey is too much like bloody hard work, I think I might just buy myself a tent and be done with it.

Now where to pitch it.....

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Ironic, Don't You Think?

The 8 people arrested for the attempted terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow at the weekend worked for the National Health Service. They came here and got jobs that involved helping people before trying to kill, maim, and injure others. Does anyone else understand the logic?
Is this in the new terrorists handbook? Its ok to kill x amount of people as long as you've brought in x amount of babies into the world, you can injure x amount of people as long as you have been able to perform x amount of successful heart transplants. It must be like carbon offsetting for terrorists. Osama has spoken My children go forth and kill but please remember first offset the damage you are about to do.
I have to admit to being a little simple in the head at times, I've never been able to get my brain to understand terrorism but there was two things I could recognise and that was the two breeds of terrorist.
The first generation of terrorist had the know how to make a bomb and plant it somewhere that it was going to do a lot of damage but had the intelligence to walk away before the timer went off so that they could watch the havoc unfold. The second generation of terrorist had the ability to put a bomb in a backpack, or some other carrying device, get on a bus, train or aeroplane and blow themselves up. This generation was just as angry as the first but they have some morals, and couldn't live with what they did. I think I understand these two breeds of terrorists. 1st generation - mean angry bastards who want to kill and watch and kill again, 2nd generation - angry? - yes, want to kill? - yes, having done so can they look mother in the eye? - no. If only their brains weren't splattered over an area the size of a football pitch and you were the forgiving sort you might want to give this type of terrorist a hug and tell them anger is good but hate is unhealthy.
This new type of terrorist has got me confused and I can't work out what it all means. This new breed doesn't seem to be all that clever, they can't seem to follow through with their plans. You know something is wrong with the world if you can make a hero out of a London traffic warden. Worse still they can't seem to make up their minds if they want to commit suicide or not, it really should be quite a simple decision but they seem to have this halfway house thing going on. Masterminds? Not likely. Inept idiots more like it.
Where are the terrorist recruitment agencies getting these people from? And is the British National Health Service this desperate for medical personnel?