un-limbo’d


So, US congress reluctantly votes to bail out the world economy by getting tax payers to pay for Wall Street’s greed.

Meanwhile in the UK, the Labour party nationalises Bradford and Bingley witn taxpayers’ money.

Any thoughts on who lost out in all this greed?

Here’s a clue. It wasn’t anyone in the City or on Wall Street because lost jobs or otherwise, they’re all right Jack.

Freakzone


Is it just me or is Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone not the best programme on the radio.  There is ALWAYS something new and interesting to hear.  He’s not afraid to play 30 minute tracks every now and then.  He is knowledgeable, likeable and tasteful

6 Music.  Every Sunday at 5pm.

Tune in or drop out.

Scary Movies


Ria had a couple of pals round for a sleepover last night and we all watched ‘House of Wax’ which is actually quite scary. Well, Paris Hilton’s in it for a start.

Basically they were crapping it.

Actually Ria tells me Paris Hilton isn’t scary at all.

“She’s just a tube!”  Allegedly.

Edinburgh Doors Open Day


Jeana and I went into ‘Big Edinburgh’ yesterday and saw some great places including The Drumsheugh Toll which plays host to The Edinburgh Society of Musicians who have a nice line in humour in their signs.

This was at the bottom of the stairs.

And this was at the top!

Recent Listening – Teddy Thomson


I saw this guy supporting Lucinda Williams at The Barrowlands in Glasgow last year.

I thought he sucked.

Acoustic Guitar, no band, huge venue, privileged son of Richard and Linda Thomson.

No chance mate.

Then he brought out this.

A middlebrow, tuneful box of magic.  It’s fun, it’s bleak at points (but only if you consider suicide bleak). It rock and rolls, but it’s pop.

Get off ya ass and buy it.

OK

Recent listening – Glasvegas


It’s hard to write about phenomena that are gestating in your back yard.

Glasvegas are Scotland’s latest phenomenon and with with some merit.

My mate Iain, who should have no real connection with this band (he said ageistly), has been quietly raving about them for a year or so.

He was right.

Much has been written about the Spectorish ‘wall of sound’ they create and the similarity to Jesus and Mary Chain. Well, for a start I can reveal that they are as far removed from Phil Spector as I am.

What is intriguing about the production of this record though is the sheer intensity of it – that’s the ‘wall of sound’ I think reviewers are referring to.

But it’s not the volume or the depth of the music that creates that, so-called, wall, it’s the relentlessness of it (for instance there are actually no start and stops between tracks – it’s just a fuzz.)

This is a big and important aspect of this record because it makes it epic.

The vernacular in the vocals are well catalogued but this is one of those rare records (I suppose like White Stripes and Foo Fighters) where actually the drumming is the essence. And the wall.

It is tribal, incessant, preternatural. It is what drives the record forward.

Plenty folk have had their say.

I approve. It is, for me, a much more interesting breakthrough than the flim flam of Franz Ferdinand which has most certainly not stood the test of time.

Current reading – Engleby by Sebastian faulks


I think he might be a) dodgy or b) misunderstood.

I think he might be a) dodgy or b) misunderstood.

I have to say, to start with , that this is probably the best book Jeana has ever recommended to me (and purchased for that matter), but I don’t want to get too carried away with it in case it doesn’t deliver.

The fact is; I am on page 112 of the paperback and I am gobsmacked.

It is hilarious. But so, so black.

Anyway the reason for writing this post was not to review the book (that’ll follow) so much as to recall something that had completely left my consciousness. This was brought explicitly to life on page 112 of this wonderful novel – the running out of money in Student Unions in the days before cash machines were commonplace.

Oh ya bugger! How harsh was that?

This book is set in the early 1970’s, but I studied, sorry read, at Stirling a decade later. Nevertheless, the issue was the same.

Would the bar staff cash a cheque so one could get a last round in? Could they? Could they? Will they? Oh thank God. They will.

Two black and tans and a bottle of Nooky Broon please…

(Review will follow.)

Grays School of art


It was Amy’s first ever University recce today and so off we set to Aberdeen to see what Robert Gordon’s Art School, Gray’s, had to offer

On the way the car hit a momentous odometric milestone.  It had a certain integrity and symmetry to it.

Well, that's lucky.

Well, that's lucky.

On arrival I paid a visit to the Gents and discovered a really nice piss of art.

On the way home we overtook more great Scottish vernacular art.

What a creative day.

Off to do battle


Like a Farquar to the slaughter.

Like a Farquar to the slaughter.

It’s the annual South Queensferry boys outing this weekend in St Andrews.  Three very testing courses lie in wait; Drumoig, St Andrews -The Dukes and Ladybank.  The chances of topping the 24 in our party are remote to say the least.  But I shall, as ever, make an effort.

Hey ho.

Ryder Cup Day 0ne


Well, as predicted the Yanks are kickin’ ass.

Faldo can’t either pick OR manage a team and AZ is the total opposite.  And their dander is up.  I think it could get messy.

I took them to win by anything from 17 – 11 to 19.5 – 9.5. I might have underestimated.

Is it just me or is US TV’s coverage simply the worst ever?

Cutting away before holes are complete. Next to no replays. Nothing to help you know what’s going on.

And as for the ‘strips’ who thought to give both sides virtually the same clothing.  That doesn’t help does it?

For those of you watching in black and white both teams are in grey.

2008 prize at the national portrait gallery


I was rather taken by this excellent portrait which is shortlisted for the above prize. It’s by Hendrik Kerstens and it’s of his daughter, Paula. I think it’s beautiful in that it looks like an old Dutch master but with a disposable carrier bag in place of a starched white hat.

Great.

And I think it should win.

Here’s the other three shortlisted Portraits

Lottie Davis’ Quints

Catherine Balet’s Ines Connected with Amina

And, Tom Stoddart’s Rupert Murdoch which has a strange but beautiful sadness about it.

drum roll


My blog was read by its 200,000th viewer this morning. Thank you one and all for indulging me.

The stats are actually a little more interesting than that.

2006 – 1,112 views (but I only started in the October. (I was doing a whopping 17 a day daily average)

2007 – 31,812 views (87 a day on average)

2008 to date – 167,289 views (637 a day)

Getting there.

see how anoracky you can get?

See how anoracky you can get? These are my actual stats.

I actually don’t know if, contextually, this a lot or not. I see blogs that have millions of views. But it’s interesting that when I signed up I was about the 600,000th WordPress blogger. Less than two years later there are 4,151,192 at the time of writing.

For those of you out there that blog I think we have to offer a word of thanks to WordPress. Their service is astonishing, the improvements are endless, they are informative, thoughtful, thought provoking and fun.

I love WordPress I have to say. (And I’m clearly not alone.)

A superlative deal. Well that’s great isn’t it.


Nice to know this guy (Chairman of Lloyds TSB) thinks it’s all good business. That HBOS has had its heart and soul ripped out and that Scotland has lost one of its key businesses. Nice to know he’s concerned about his staff, BOS shareholders (and not the City Slickers, I mean pension savers.)

Nice to know he cares.

A superlative deal?

Wouldn’t you think he could have contained his glee for a day or two?

Wouldn’t you have in his shoes?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “BBC NEWS | Business | Thousands face …“, posted with vodpod

Too much gloom


There’s been far too much negativity out there of late. So, as I was trawling through the 5000 channels on my Sky box tonight, I was delighted to stumble upon this.

The greastest ever movie opening sequence (apart from Saving Private Ryan).

I think the chaps will, on the whole, approve.

I bring you… Barbarella.

Great idea.

Great music.

Great typography.

(Crap film though.)

You’re owe me now.

Ryder Cup


My mate Tony says Europe has no chance and for one fundamental reason…the team hates Faldo.  That’s good enough for me.

Oh, and the Yanks love AZ.

That is another scary factor against us.

I’ll be wagering on US for a big win but for Sergio to stand proud (4, or more, not decided yet, points).

You read it here.

What’s more…

It’s in America

They’re better than us.

We’ve had a good run. (And it has to end some time.)

They hate us.

Darren Clarke got snubbed by Faldo.

And so did, love him or hate him, the second best Ryder Cup Player of all time…Colin Montgomery.

For the record Faldo hates him.

Haunted by chuck Palahnuik


I’ve, literally, just finished this book.

It is an extraordinary rollercoaster.

The first chapter “guts” is as outrageous as anything you will ever read and, I’m sorry, but it’s no more than a  test and the rest of the book is just a very long and grotesque filler until the denouement, which is about death.

Kind of lacking in subtlety.

It really is a great big shaggy dog story and I have to congratulate Mr Palahnuik for finding the time to write 400 pages of crap but to reel me in throughout.

Quite remarkable.

My Advice?

Avoid at all cost.

And yet.  It intrigued me.

So, Sarah Palin can do no wrong?


Think again.

This is the biggest political rally in Alaskan history.

And the only reason they are out on the streets is to say they DON’T support Sarah Palin.

They should know.  She governs them.

]

Read more here.

Man, never would you have thought Alaskan politics would be even remotely interesting.

The US Merchant bank crash


For years, we ordinary people have relied on merchant banks to protect our pensions.

We’ve assumed that the preposterously rich executives who take home bonuses that would feed whole working class families for YEARS could do their jobs properly.  We assumed they could follow economic indicators and act accordingly.  We assumed that the 150 years’ experience of Lehman’s firm (and others like them) would result in effective decision making.

And we made all these assumptions because the people who work for these organisations all earn immoral amounts of money.

We were, of course, wrong in these assumptions.

The folding of Lehmans and the similiar demise of Merrill Lynch on the same day today is a disgusting slight on the attitude that wealth, ridiculous wealth, creates in our society.

I feel sorry for the support staff who were merely doing their jobs.  The fat cats (around 25,000 of them) will simply lick their wounds and wait for the cream to come along again.

Your and my pension?

Whatever.