in my slimmer days


I am inedbted to Doug Cook for spotting and sending me this. It’s a recruitment ad for the very early days Leith Agency. I was an account man there at the time. The shot was taken from an award winning press campaign (I was the account handler) for The Edinburgh Club.  The original ad that the photo derived from featured an exaggerated ‘before and after’ comparison. Naturally, I was the ‘before’.

Anyway the Leith recruitment ad was essentially saying we want account handlers who are prepared to get their tits out.

It worked.

I left six months later to set up 1576 with Adrian and David.

That’ll teach ’em to give me a public profile!

Here it is at a more browser friendly size.


For Will…

This blurb is from a youtube descriptor of Can’s Monster Movie which Will tells me is their masterpiece…

“On first hearing Monster Movie’s relentless grooves (especially Yoo Doo Right & this, the album’s opening epic) I was smitten with ‘The Can’ – convinced I was listening to some eternal music that the Greek Gods used in keep fit classes. The interplay between drums, bass and vocals is astonishing here and all due respect to Malcolm, Holger & Jaki…… Footage taken from an early 1970s LWT anthology horror / thriller series called ‘The Frighteners’. In this Mike Hodges episode, a father appears to kill his baby, then wife…. But not all is as it seems. Cruel, madness-inducing drama is inherent in the imagery as well as Mooney’s singing – one of my favourite vocal performances of all time.”

Judge for yourselves.

This is from Monster music too…

“Can was a musical group formed in West Germany in 1968. One of the most important “krautrock” groups, Can had a style grounded in the art rock of bands such as The Velvet Underground, with strong experimental and world music influences. Can formed in Köln in 1968, comprising bass guitarist Holger Czukay, keyboard player Irmin Schmidt, guitarist Michael Karoli, and drummer Jaki Liebezeit. In the autumn of 1968, the band enlisted the creative, highly rhythmic, but unstable and often confrontational American Malcolm Mooney, a New York based painter (who in fact had never sung before), with whom they recorded the material for an album, Prepared to Meet Thy Pnoom. This first album was rejected by their record company, and was not released until 1981, under the name Delay 1968. The band decided to record another album of original material from scratch, which later became Monster Movie, released in 1969. Mooney’s bizarre ranting vocals stood in contrast to the stark minimalism of the music, which was influenced particularly by garage rock, funk and psychedelic rock. Repetition was stressed on bass and drums, particularly on the epic “Yoo Doo Right” which had been edited down from a six-hour improvisation to take up a mere single side of vinyl.
Mooney returned to America soon afterwards on the advice of a psychiatrist, having been told that getting away from the chaotic music of Can would be better for his mental health

If you’ve got this far you will acknowledge that ingestion of forbidden fruits were commonly associated with the appreciation of Can’s music.

Contrasting recent reading choices

I have recently rattled through this…


But I am ploughing through this at quite a slow pace…


Interestingly, both of them are, in different ways critical takes on the merits of extreme socialism.

Balzac and the Little Chinese seamstress is a delight. A wee gem recommended to me by my sister Jane. It’s a slight thing. More a Novella than a full blown novel and tells the story of a pair of Chinese teenagers sent from their middle class and educated family homes in Chengdu to be ‘re-educated’ in the mountains of Mao’s culturally revolutionised coomunist state in 1971. This could be a heavy political vision and in under the surface it is, because the story centres around forbidden fruit. The forbidden fruit of love but more importantly of knowledge, and in particular of reading western novels, chief among them the works of Balzac.

But it never gets bogged down in politics and instead turns into a genuinely delightful tale of love and learning.

Highly recommended.

As is David Peace’s GB 84. The more I read Peace’s work (1974 and The Damned Utd so far with 1977, 1980, and Tokyo Year zero on my shelves for future consumption) the more I believe that he is among our greatest British living writers.

This one focusses on the miners strike of 1984 from many different perspectives with a plot that is extraordinarily dense; that’s why I’m ploughing a bit. (In truth he might slightly have overdone it on the dense stakes.)

It’s a big book in every sense but it shares the narrative approach that he used so brilliantly in The Damned United. (Incidentally the movie is now in post -production with the extraordinary Michael Sheen – the Queen, Frost/Nixon – in the title role and Timothy Spall as Peter Taylor.)

The ‘cast’ is huge and the drama brutal (it feels like a dense movie unfolding before you with every character shrouded in film noirish shadow) but it is gripping, electric, brutal, uncompromising and deviant.

Who are the good guys (not the police, that’s for sure) and the bad guys (everyone)? What’s the point? (Pride). What drives mankind? (Lies corruption and power. And beer and fags.)

It’s as hateful as it is admirable and it shows that David Peace is untouchable in his portrayal of grim, working class life.


the new Forth Crossing

The latest twist in the new Forth Crossing saga is that the light railway link is to be dropped, thereby saving £2.25bn in construction costs, and it has been proposed that the structure will be a triple tower cable stay design rather like this, the Florida Sunshine Skyway bridge. Only without the sunshine.