The say-something-even-when-you've-nothing-to-say policy is working quite well.

But I imagine you'll all get bored with it quite soon.

Apparently the Europe campaign has started already. Twice today people tried to give me a leaflet telling me why Scotland's better in the EU. So the rest of you aren't, apparently. You heard it here first1.

I didn't take their leaflet. Firstly because I doubt I'll find anything in a leaflet that I don't already know, and secondly because I'm sure they'll be coming through my letterbox soon enough.

Are you all familiar with Freegle? If not, it's another of these net things that's got a name with the same ending as another net thing so you know it's a net thing. Like happens with real stuff as well, like when Henry Ford was a big success with his cars so now all the car companies are called Tord and Lord and Bored and Snored and the like. Anyway, this is a mailing list, or rather a set of local mailing lists, where people give away stuff they don't want but which is actually still perfectly usable so they don't want to throw it away, and other people ask for things they could do with and definitely don't ever then just sell them. It's like eBay for cheapskates. I fit right in.

Anyway, someone's asking for books. Old books. Hardbacks. But just as decoration. I don't know if they're going to stick them on shelves or actually eviscerate them and make the spines into wallpaper2. I know they're probably not books people are going to eagerly be seeking out to read, but it still rubs me up the wrong way. As I've said before, bookburning is morally repugnant. We would never indulge in anything so terrible.

It's like the old records people ask for to "turn into art" (they're art already you little squit) or glue to walls. I've certainly seen some actually very good old records (if you like Acker Bilk, which personally I do) stuck to people's walls, and they looked in good condition too. Maybe I could find out what they care about and trash some . . . I don't know, vintage clothes, or dolphins, or something.

1:Not that I'm saying they're wrong, taken literally. It's the assumption that saying "Scotland" is going to work on me and "Britain" wouldn't, because of course we're all that small-minded.

2:Inevitably I've just started making up a mental list of people we could productively do that with. I can't help it. I wasn't even going to use the word "spine" and then it suddenly just slipped out by itself.
  • Current Location: Provan
  • Current Mood: awake
  • Current Music: Tiger Lililes - Banging in the nails

So I went to see The Assassin

It was pretty much exactly what I'd been told to expect - a slow film without that much plot but absolutely beautiful. Some of the indoor scenes reminded me of Peter Greenaway. Apparently the actor playing the assassin herself was down for one of the lead parts in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but her manager insisted that doing a Coke advert instead was a much better move.

This morning, though. A council truck has just driven up with a car on the back, lifted it into a parking space, and left. I have woken up in science fiction story, but I've read too many of these to know what's expected of me now. Should I be vomiting up food, putting it back into its packets and taking it to the shop to exchange it for money? Or when I get food will they give me extra money that I have to give to other people to persuade them to accept goods and services? Or is this by an author I haven't read?

If you don't see me again, it's because I daren't leave the house.

Oh, Pixies : one of the ads at the cinema was for some sort of boneheaded killing game-console franchise. It was soundtracked by a gentle piano version of Where Is My Mind. Presumably it's a comment either on the game or its players.
  • Current Location: Provan
  • Current Mood: worried
  • Current Music: Pixies. Where is my mind?

2 days and counting.

WRT the death of Antonin Scalia, and the obituaries and meconium thereof:

It has been so long since I linked to a vid here that the method is unrecognisably different.

Also, from the generally highly readable Crooked Timber, this fair and balanced piece on Scalia's practical philosophy of law and society, including links to extracts from the author's book "The Reactionary Mind".

I hope your VD was suitably itchy pleasant. I think the only things I've said to anyone all day were "Just these please . . . cheers . . . thank you" to the guy at the corner shop.
  • Current Location: Provan
  • Current Mood: Awake
  • Current Music: Alvvays - Party Police

I hope you're taking notes. There will be a short quiz next period.

Right. Anyone care to guess which relevant point the following records have in common? There may be a small prize.

Alice Donut - The Untidy Suicides of your Degenerate Children
Alice Donut - Pure Acid Park
Blondie - Eat to the Beat
Johnny Cash - A Hundred Highways (American V)
CNN - Copyright (3-track 12" - first release, I think)
Codeine - Barely Real
Creaming Jesus - Bark (EP)
The Cult - Love
Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Dead Kennedys - In God We Trust, Inc (Long EP or short album)
Dif Juz - Extractions
Idlewild - 100 Broken Windows
James - Seven
The March Violets - Natural History
Mogwai - Young Team
Mudhoney - Superfuzzbigmuff
Ruts - Grin & Bear It
Throwing Muses - Hunkpapa
Neil Young - Harvest
Warren Zevon - Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School

The Collected John G. Miller: 1990-1999 - a shameless plug.

I was down at Avalanche yesterday, for what thankfully probably wasn't the last time, and I picked up a collection of John Miller's comic strips. It's got loads of my favourites in it - Tongs!, Andrew J Wilson's World Of Evil Horror, Lesley And The Tumshy People From Space, I Stole Rod Serling's Cigarettes, and many more.

It turns out it's the middle part of a set, covering the nineties, with the eighties and post-millenial strips in other volumes that I now also have to get. Presumably Jack Kerouac vs Moth-Ra is in one of those others.

Have a promotional video.

It's been reviewed positively in Graphic Eye and The Comics Journal. I don't know if Avalanche have any more copies, but Deadhead are pretty much certain to - the three parts are here, here and here respectively. The publisher, Braw Books, also has a couple of others.

I'd list some more stories from it, but my dad's already borrowed my copy. Families, eh?

This has been a public information announcement.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: pleased
  • Current Music: Handsome Furs - When I get back
Reasonable and compassionate

A modest ecological proposal

'Spineless' animals under threat of extinction, say the BBC.

Well, frankly, I don't see what they expect us to do about it. Nobody becomes extinct these days except by choice, and if they aren't prepared to put their back into it and their nose to the grindstone then it's really their own lookout. When my ancestors were facing extinction on the African savannah, did they sit back and moan about it? No, they did not. They got on their bikes and drove Homo erectus to extinction instead, and I think there's a lesson for us all there.
  • Current Location: pfeifferstrasse
  • Current Mood: Awake
  • Current Music: Murmansk

Music and fireworks.

According to this and also to this, Tallis' landmark 40-part motet Spem in Alium is getting an outing on the Canongate in ten days. It's not often performed, and with beautiful timing I've arranged to be out of the country.

This doesn't mean you can't go. In fact, I'll be quite disappointed if none of you do. If you don't know what the fuss is about, read this and listen to this.

A choir and seven pieces (including, IMO, one of the finest pieces of music ever written) for only eight of your Earth pounds. Sounds like a bargain to me.

In other news, the being-out-of-the-country involves flying from Schiphol to Minneapolis tomorrow.

Today, Katla is restive. Probably it'll come to nothing. Probably nothing. Probably.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: nervous
  • Current Music: Skinny Puppy - Point

Being largely to do with the pronouncements of the yellow press.

Also, I was just in the shop and the Scottish Daily Abscess Mail had a front page story about how Scotland will be the first bit to have gay marriage imposed.


Obviously, while I'm in favour of people being able to marry who they want, I'm against anyone being forced into a gay marriage simply because they aren't in a straight marriage yet. I hope that makes the situation clear.

Edit: Should have known it was the Mule rather than the Excuse - it didn't mention dead princesses. Sorry for the inaccuracy, and for the inexcusable lack of a reason to despair at the Mail. I'm sure another will come along in a few minutes.
  • Current Location: pfeifferstrasse
  • Current Mood: appalled
  • Current Music: little keyboard clickings

The urine dance of the Zuni Indians of New Mexico

Some time ago a newspaper article - probably in the Manchester Guardian - mentioned Stewart Lee's book "How I escaped my certain fate", which I've just finished. Rather fine it is, too. Partly it's about his life and the progress of his career during the nineties, until it faltered rather at the end of the decade, then his involvement with Jerry Springer - The Opera in the early years of this century and how his his career recovered and developed afterwards. This is interesting enough in itself for what he has to say about comedy, and I should really go back through it and note all the comics he recommends for future reference, but it also includes three sections which are transcripts of his stand-up sets with extensive footnotes commenting on, expanding on, and on occasions apologising for, what he was saying. The material still had me holding my sides (which could be viewed as a drawback, he points out - shouldn't stand-up be trying to do things that don't work equally well written down?) but the commentary adds a lot. It's worth the price of admission on its own, I'd say.

In other book-related news, I've lent Charlotte my copy of Quite Ugly One Morning. I could tell by the delighted laughter the point when she encountered The Jobby.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: awake
  • Current Music: Oysterband - The early days of a better nation

Today's reading

I'm amused by the Grauniad's mention today of "William Gibson's Neuromancer, a radical and difficult work which has become the set text of the cyberpunk sci-fi genre."

Obviously I'll never again need to feel hopelessly outclassed when people earnestly discuss Ulysses or Gravity's Rainbow.

Also, this article in the world's most august scientific journal debates the claim that the budget spent on the Human Genome Project has produced a 141-fold return for the (presumably US) economy in the years since. If true, this would imply that my wages from that period benefited the wider world to the tune of at least tuppence ha'penny, which I'll have to mention the next few times I'm asked what I've been wasting my life on.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: flattered
  • Current Music: TV21 - Ticking away

Commercial failure

The highlight of the day is when the BBC engineer, who has no idea who Albini is - thinking he is just our pal invited along to give a second opinion - commends the American on his technical proficiency, asking if he has ever considered a career in the recording industry.

Yes, I've just finished Luke Haines' book Bad Vibes, and very good it is too. He's just as acerbic as you'd expect from the records, although he does occasionally and grudgingly concede that a few people aren't actually as worthless as he'd believed from their work . . . and it turns out there are a number of people he likes and admires. He also manages to phrase this in ways that don't leave it being too much of a disappointment.

In other news, Beltane went percussively and is now descending into its periodic fit of navelgazing, Anna Calvi's album's very good and people are worrying too much about the lack of AV, which everyone campaigning for would by now be wanting to replace with STV anyway.

Haines claims, incidentally, that during the week before Lady Di's funeral (the time when I wrote A Certain Email) Albini gave him a present. Two presents, in fact - a copy of Candle In The Wind, and a shiny new hammer.
  • Current Location: Pfeifferstrasse
  • Current Mood: pleased
  • Current Music: Balloon - Lafayette
Reasonable and compassionate


I have apparently been whistling "Civilian" to myself for about the last four days. Charlotte is starting to get a little annoyed.

("Show more" under the video on that page for lyrics. There doesn't seem to be an actual video)
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: malicious
  • Current Music: Wye Oak - Civilian (whistled)
Tags: ,

Question for Edinbuggers:

What is the relationship between Khushi of Broughton Street, Khushi's Diner of West Nicolson Street (site currently down for some reason - it was fine yesterday), and Khushi's of Victoria Street (closed for rebuilding after a fire, still), Dunfermline and Stirling, and formerly of Potterrow, Lothian Street and Drummond Street?
  • Current Location: Pfeifferstrasse
  • Current Mood: awake
  • Current Music: entryphone, cooling fans, meows

A broadside from inside the greenhouse

Someone should point out to Joanna Lumley that you're officially old once you start complaining about the morals of youth and that things were much better in your day.
  • Current Location: Pfeifferstrasse
  • Current Mood: amused (for the wrong reasons)
  • Current Music: REM - At my most beautiful

Heaven Born and Ever Bright

I should really use this thing more, but I don't really have much to say at the moment.

However, I'd like to point out this article about this record, which is a collection of covers of Cardiacs songs to raise money for Tim Smith, who a couple of years back found that a night out seeing My Bloody Valentine can be a literally heartstopping experience. It sounds quite good value to me, if you're into that sort of thing. Which I am.

How odd. The autodetect thinks I'm in Weymouth.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: calm
  • Current Music: Fugazi - Shut the door

Help me, ackurssed intartubes, you're my only hope.

A friend of mine just posted this:

"A transgender FOAFOAF in Glasgow has been put out of her housing and is apparently living rough (and in this weather!). Suggestions of trans-friendly resources are welcome as apparently she's been given the cold shoulder by a few places she's tried."

Anyone have any ideas on who she should be speaking to?


The Orbital Mind Control Lasers will make the National Rifle Association "sensible".

Saw this nice post from solipsistnation last night. Laughed. Particularly recommended for roleplayers, airsofters, and anyone else childishly militaristic.

Also . . . Illuminati, anyone?

Later: Oh, also . . .
  • Current Location: craigmillar
  • Current Mood: Cheery
  • Current Music: cooling fans

Good God.

There are certain things you don't expect to come across over your morning cup of tea, and a press interview with human rights lawyer and all-round hero Gareth Peirce is among them. I haven't been so surprised to see such a thing since . . . Oh, Nigel TufnellBlackwell appeared in the same place nearly ten years ago. If you read one tendentious politically-motivated jeremiad today . . .
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: pleased
  • Current Music: Swans - Eden Prison