Diplomatic corpse


The Queen hosted a state banquet with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia today and eagle-eyed Jeana caught her feelings about this on camera.

Clearly “up for the cup” would not be the best description of her feelings about the ensuing lunch.

Maybe she’s been spending too much time with Pheelip.

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Would you buy a Chicken Chasseure off these men?


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Four of the handsomest chefs on the planet cooked a three course meal (with three or four choices per course) for 60 of the ladies of Holy Cross Parish on Saturday. Given that I was at it from 10 am to 11pm the day after the hedonistic Scottish Advertising Awards it made for a tough gig.

My dad did it for years, so I took his place this year.

But we made at least £500 profit for charity so can’t really complain.

At least we looked good.

Nae. Great!

The big HBO cheat


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I thought HBO was the real deal.

But, the more I think about it and hear other opinion I realise I am not alone in questioning the ending of The Sopranos. It is so open for James Gandolfino to have a change of mind and come back at ANY time in the next ten years or so, that it questions the integrity of the show that was a US TV institution.

All it would take to bring it back would be a quick recap of the last 2 minutes of last night’s programme – the assumed killer who decamped to the lavvy comes out and proves to be nothing other than a dodgy looking guy in need of a pee.

Half the cast is dead by now of course so that, on the plus side, solves a few continuity problems, but on the other means we need a new cast.

But, hey, it’s mafia – it happens.

So, here we go. Episode 1 series seven, 2015.

Quick catch up (in black and white, of course, of the last 8 years) and HBO are back on the go.

Workin’ for the Yankee dollar.

(Don’t do it Jamesy.

Screw their plan.)

 

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God speed? 1 mph


I love this story.

A medieval church in Heursford, Germany was to be demolished because a new coalmine was to be opened on its site. It’s obviously a lovely church and the locals must have felt very close to it.

 

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So, they though; we’re not letting a coal mine get in the way of our religion.

We’ll move it.

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So they did. They hoiked it up on the back of a lorry…

 

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And moved it down the road to the next town.

 

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God 1 – 0 Coal industry.

Bless!

cut to black


So that’s it.

The end of The Sopranos.

The family gathers in the Five and Dime. Happy for once. Tony leans over to change the track on the jukebox and the director cuts to …

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Goodbye.

Over and out.

No more Sopranos.

The best series ever on TV (they say) and it ends on a cop out.

Not good.

Not good at all.

Short changed I’d say.

Found out


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I had lunch with an old pal yesterday and he told me a great story. He’s an advertising art director and a few years ago he was making a commercial with a precocious young director. All went well until they were in the edit suite looking at an almost final cut of the ad which carried, for the first time, captions and supers.

Bob, (let’s call my pal that) said.

“Tarquin (let’s call him that), I’m not sure about that type face you know, how about we try a san seriff version”.

“I went to art college too you know!” He shrieked, over defensively.

At this point Bob thought, “Oops, might have a pretentious twat on my hands here” so replied inquisitively “Oh really?”

“Yeah, The Royal College of Art, actually.”

“Oh, what a coincidence, when were you there?”

“88”

“Me too, did you know John Smith, he was great wasn’t he?”

“Nah” he stuttered “never met him”

“Or Professor Brown, what a great teacher, everyone’s favourite”

“Nope, don’t remember him.”

“Her, actually”

“No , doesn’t ring a bell.”

“Well, you must know Sally Potts. EVERYBODY knew Sally, did a great typography class, and obviously that’s one of your interests.”

“I don’t know any of them ” blurted Tarquin ” I was doing film.”

“Oh. Right” A directional change.

” So, what did you think of Professor Plum then. He was a great leader of the film faculty.”

At last the truth came out….

“No, I didn’t know him either…Actually, I only did a film discussion group on a Tuesday night.”

“Shall we try Helvetica then Tarquin?”

Back of the net!

Shine by Joni Mitchell


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I love Joni Mitchell!

Fact.

Although, I feel I am too young to be this devoted.

After all, she is old enough to be my mother. That said, you can’t ignore class. The Beatles coulda been my Grandads; the Stones too.

Jimi?

Well, he’d just be a badly influential uncle.

Joni is pure and utter class. And she has ‘classes’ of fans, her folk fans, her Jazz fans, her in-betweeni fans.

I’m one of them. The inbetweeni.

And this is one of those albums. Closest call in her past life? Hejira!

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The album opens with a two chord piano riff that takes your breath away. It is possibly the perfect opening stance. Two aces in a Texas Hold ’em.

The song (well it’s an instrumental) recalls a beautiful summer day and it is the best piece of music I have heard this year, bar none. The fact that it is instrumental is, I think, a brilliant holding device because how will Joni sound when she finally sings after a self imposed ten year retirement from the music scene?

Growly, gruff, mature, wondrous. That’s how she sounds.

The album is self assured, beautiful and flawed. Her 21st century take on Big Yellow Taxi that is the centrepiece of this great album doesn’t work for me, because it lacks the youthful rebellion of its inception.

‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling is given an interpretation that I think comes off, just.

But, overall, if I was 65, retired 10 years and making a comeback, this is how I’d like to do it.

Think Eric Cantona Playing for Man Utd in the Champions League and scoring a hatrick.

Then again. Think Joni Mitchell at the top of her game.

5 star. No doubt.

And, you know what. This confirms that Canada is music country of the year. If you are in any doubt check it out here.

Punching above our weight once again.


This is incredible.

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Scotland’s highest ever FIFA world rankings. And look who is only two places above us.

Incidentally this is the population rankings of those above us.

1 Brazil 187m

2 Germany 82m

3 France 64m

4 Italy 59m

5 England 50m

6 Spain 45m

7 Argentina 39m

8 Romania 21m

9 Netherlands 16m

10 Portugal 10m

11 Czeck Republic 10m

12 Scotland 5m

13 Croatia 4.5m

And of the 7 teams below us in the top 20 only Uruguay is smaller in population terms.

The top 9 European teams become number 1 seeds for the World Cup qualifiers. We currently sit 11th.

Bring on Italy.

Talking of ranting…


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It’s easy to criticise. Believe me.

However, I have reason to do the opposite. We bought a Brabantia bin a couple of years ago. It cost a few bob but it broke under suspicious circumstances.

Anyway, Jeana went to Macro to buy a new one, ‘cos it’s a great bin.

While she was there she spotted that they had a 10 year guarantee. So, rather than buying a new one (she was in an odd mood) she phoned Brabantia and explained the situation.

“No problem madam, we’ll send you a new one.” They said.

It arrived today.

No receipt, no questions, no bother… just outstanding customer service.

I rather think I may never buy a bin from another bin-maker in my life and I would suggest you think likewise.

 

Signs of life


We (the Mrs and the comatose daughter who had been on a sleepover the night before) went to Luss today for a wee birl in the car.

So that was a nice wee carbon footprint top up.

But it was worth it, because I saw this cracker.

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I assume it is OK to swim away from the Pier because to swim at it must pose some sort of threat.

Must be quite delicate…

Lying cameras


I like this shot I took of a tree yesterday on the 5th hole of my golf course.

Although Tom wasn’t so sure, because I was playing golf with him at the time and he had a 60 foot putt for par…

But he made it, so whatever…

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I posted it on my Flickr site.

My mate Doug saw it, downloaded it, and improved it massively in Photoshop, but I couldn’t save his version on my computer as I don’t have Photoshop.

So, I had a bash at improving it on the proprietary Canon stuff.

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It worked. And goes to show how you can turn nicely composed (if I say it myself) photos into nicely executed ones.
But wait till you see Doug’s version.

C’est Magnifique!

Recent listening


Not much has cut through of late and recent purchases have been a bit disappointing but suddenly, like buses, two come along at once.  I am a staunch Richard Hawley fan so with his much anticipated fourth release, Lady’s Bridge, hitting the record Shops in August I was down there like a rat up a drainpipe and then rushing home to a mildly excited Mrs G exclaiming my love for her with a selfless present.

“It’s not for you then?” was the curt response.

Suffice it to say it was, on first listening, a major disappointment.

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None of the texture of Coles Corner; fewer great songs; or so it seemed.  But believe me when I say this dear reader, “This is a grower of exponential force.”

I won’t bore you with the track listing details as they are meaningless unless you’ve heard the songs (so why do music critics always do that?) .

Taken as a whole the album does indeed have fewer peaks and troughs than the glorious Coles Corner.  It’s more evenly paced and textured, but it still has a huge range of emotional intensity, magnificent arrangements and drop dead melodies.  This is a great album by anyone’s standards and he deserves the success that has long eluded him.

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Singer songwriter, Stephanie Dosen grew up on a Peacock Farm on Wisconsin (Stop right there. Ed) To say she is off the mainstream is a bit of an understatement as the following quote demonstrates.

 “I know it sounds completely wacky” – but, you get the feeling that strange is her way. “I’m kind of a random person: I follow little white rabbits down holes,” she says. “I let the thing be what it is. I let things grow. I’m very much a gardener, I’m not a builder. I don’t construct things, I just sow seeds and let things grow, out of my control.”

Whoa.  Not good.

But wait, stay with me.

First things first, her album A lily for the Spectre (I know, I know) is released on the same independent label as the peerless Midlake. That’s a good start.
It’s singer songwriter material and has been compared (as usual lazily) to Kate Bush.  Yes, she sings in a soprano voice but the comparisons stop there.  More appropriate might be the comparisons to Liz Fraser but these are wide of the mark too.

The nearest reference I can give you, and I think it’s a good one, is Espers. (whose Espers II is another grower).

It’s all a bit ethereal, but there is a time and a place for that and, for me there are quite a few of those.  Cooking, working, chilling.

Admittedly it only has one gear and low torque but who needs torque when you’ve got great cruise control (tedious analogy.  Ed)

Buy it.  Buy it now.

Thanks for the recommendation Pat Rodger!

The nation holds its breath


For Scotland to qualify for the European Championships from a group that contained the world number 1, 2 and 8 whilst we languished in a post-Bertie Vogts world was unlikely; to say the least.

But today Scotland ground out yet another astonishingly characterful and, at times, beautiful victory.

Talisman Faddy looks world class every time he pulls on a Scotland Jersey.

The likes of Hutton and Scotty are immense.

The only numptie on the pitch today was Gary O’Connor who got needlessly booked in the final seconds and misses the next game.  Given his attitude towards Scotland I think we all need to question whether or not we will really miss him.

This picture sums it up.  No question Alex McLeish has had his detractors in the past, particularly on a strategic level, but there is no substitute for experience and I, for one, think he is maturing into a great manager.

 

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Happy days.

Awards night – the results


Well. We won. We won big. We won the Grand Prix for Scottish Power and we won the Overall Effectiveness Award for Edinburgh Leisure. The rest don’t count.

We had a whale of a time though.

We all looked very respectable at the start of the night. Even me!

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And it was a lovely drive through to Glasgow.

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The venue was great.

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And then we started winning…

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And picking up prizes…

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But some folk still weren’t happy…

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Some people are just never happy…

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Some resorted to leching (even if he was only leching at an elbow) .

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Some were just Plain silly.

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But the clients were happy.

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And in the end, time was called for number 5…

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Awards Night


Going to these awards tonight with 60 Watt.

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We’ve got seven nominations, so we are quite hopeful. From my own point of view I’m up for the Overall Effectiveness Award with a paper I wrote for 60 Watt’s client, Edinburgh Leisure.

This is the venue. Hope the mince and tatties don’t go over the side!

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40 years of iconography


One of the greatest iconographic images of all time was created by Jim Fitzpatrick in memorium of Che Guevara’s death 40 years ago today.

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It’s a perfect image and the photographer who took it has a Flickr site that tells you much of the story.

Worth a look if you’re interested. Here

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It’s better than this, but look what it has inspired…

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This too…

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And allegedly Andy Warhol simply ripped it off and passed it off as his own…

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