haters gonna hate – even the shit i be proud of, yeah?



wild is the wind – david bowie

I don’t see what all the fuss is about wind farms. They provide cheap, clean electricity that will never run out. There are, as I see it, only two significant problems. Firstly, birds collide with the propellers and secondly, they’re created – in part – out of rare metals. Which our planet cannot continue to provide. A bit like oil, really.

To the second of these, so are our computers and cell phones. And our cars. And our CD/DVD/Blu-Ray technology. And our plasma screens. And our washing machines. And our microwaves. And pretty much anything else with a chip in it. And nobody sensible is asking us to relinquish our grip on any of these, are they? Plus these minerals are often mined in areas of conflict, funding weapons for people to wipe out other people.

And to the former, well, let’s go back to cars, shall we? Cars are responsible for a veritable genocide on wildlife – not just the flying ones, but the ones that walk on the earth or burrow in it.

Between 1951 and 2006, 309,144 people were killed and 17.6 million were injured in road accidents in the UK alone. We don’t actually keep figures for other species, what with homo sapiens being so much more important than all the others put together, yeah?

Let’s face it, the human race is doing a fine job of wiping out every other species on the planet – and when we run low on them, other humans who don’t have the common decency to look, dress or think exactly like us.

Personally, I find wind turbines beautiful. Where I work, there’s a wind farm on the outskirts of town and I can honestly say I love the sight of them as they loom up before me, turning slowly and gracefully against the sky. Or on a good day, like say November of 2014, tearing round and generating more electricity than Scotland actually needs. A surplus.

I first got into wind turbines when I lived in Bootle. There’s a line of them, right up the Mersey and it was the first chance I’d had to see them – in formation – in their natural habitat. To me, they add to a view, they do not in any way detract from it.

How many of those violently opposed to wind farms are giving up their cars, GPS, laptops and mobiles? How many of them turn their computers off at night or make sure their phone chargers are switched off when not in use? It’s NIMBYism, pure and simple.


shat out of hell – cradle of filth

Visiting Ipswich, I’m struck by the difference in poverty between here and Scotland. The burg itself is about the size of Kirkcaldy, the architecture reminiscent of Chatham in Kent. Long curved streets made of Victorian-era terraced houses leading to the central explosion of consumerama. I spotted an HMV and a Maplin, neither of which exist in Fife. There’s also a pedestrian precinct, implying there’s enough car ownership in the area to have to legislate against carbon monoxide and accidents.
When I think about south East England, I always imagine the black hole that absorbs Scotland’s oil revenue, but counting the empty shops like black and missing teeth, this place hasn’t seen a bawbee of it. Everybody I pass seems worn down, stressed, as if surviving itself is killing them. Colours are dark and dull like they’re waiting for a funeral to turn up and happen to them.
In the café, I’m served by Eastern European girls, thin and serious-faced. Outside the window, the rain comes down grey and diagonal, like cross-hatching in a Howard Chaykin comic.
In the HMV, another surprise. As I enter, I’m walking through full price CDs and DVDs, not bargains as would happen in Scotland. The shop is deserted. I don’t have to say “excuse me” once in the twenty minutes or so I browse. I drift back out into the rain, which has reverted to vertical.
When the skies clear, I explore some of the pubs, accompanied by natives. Southwold Broadside is a particular winner and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hobgoblin on draught before. I’m told the next night that the deserted pub we play pool in is Dani Filth’s local.
The more I examine Ipswich, the more I notice the bizarre juxtaposition of old and new buildings, as if, when cash injections arrive, old buildings are pushed aside by up-to-the-minute prefabs. The railway station is a prime example. A 50s/60s frame, dotted with the same identikit micro-shops that infest every other station in the UK.

video eyes – the bongos

If you’re a resident of Scotland, You’ll have voted by now. Finished your cereal and cast your X where you will, determined to either attain freedom and a science fiction future made of prosperity, universal happiness, silver foil suits and holidays on the moon, or in favour of more and better foodbanks for everyone and a tory/ukip coalition led by Boris Johnson and a particularly repellent smirking glove puppet. With a fag in its mouth.

The count will be kicking off at ten, with the first results due in around two. On my birthday. So, I’ll be up all night, wondering if the coming year consists of girls, farms, drugs and new blood every six months or whether it’ll be back to wanking off grumpy businessmen for soup.

In the tradition of Hunter S Thompson, trapped in a decompression chamber as Watergate unfolded and his dreams of Nixon roasted alive on a spit came true but outside where he couldn’t touch it, I’ll be in Liverpool when you read this. Either relaxing in a cosy L30 parlour with a nice malt or out in front of the house screaming at the drug dealers over the road to come out and fight – comma – space – you English bastards. We’ll know by daylight, anyway.

Several months ago, I booked this holiday, convinced that there was about as much chance of home rule for Scotland as one of our pandas giving birth to the baby Jesus. And it going on to win the X factor. With a medley of GG Allin songs. This was my ‘naw’ insurance. In the event of the foodbanks winning, anyone I could’ve been drinking with will probably suggest demolishing a public building. Or Jim Murphy, whichever was the closest. (Your own team might gently toss the occasional egg at you so that you can play the martyr in the union press. Ours might be travelling a bit faster and look a bit more like paving stones, bumface.)

So I figured I’d at least keep my job and avoid being smeared with pitch and set alight to brighten up the nawbags’ arrogant celebration.

The media have been pissing me off mightily throughout this campaign, spewing Better Together’s pathetic propaganda and alarming the very people most likely to benefit from Scotland’s oil by not freezing to death in the winter ahead. Nick Robinson’s blatant fib that Alex Salmond hadn’t replied to his question last week was the final straw. Or was it covering the Orange Order’s march to Easter Road when Hibernian FC were playing at home, but missing out the spitting on children in hibs tops? Or claiming only thirty-five people surrounded the BBC’s building in Glasgow on Sunday? Difficult to say. As Raymond Chandler almost said, above a certain point, all bullshit is equal.

Win or lose, who fancies boycotting the media for a bit? With the mainstream media content to lie to us (in clear contravention of the BBC’s charter – and your license fee) the real news in this campaign has come from social media. Why should I pay a quid for a newspaper when there’s more hard information floating around Facebook and Twitter? Mind you, the Herald on Sunday did actually support independence, so we can still do their crossword at the weekend.

So how about it? Let’s stop buying their papers, let’s stop watching their appalling programmes and punch them right in the money hole. Even if we do win, everybody will be falling over themselves to stress how much they wanted this, like all those South Africans who were ‘always’ in the ANC all along. And I for one, tend to respond to being patronised with a Vegas throat-stomp.

thank christ for the bomb – the groundhogs

I lost my rucksack – on a train, this time. Tablet PC, charger, a couple of pen-drives, glasses, ear-plugs, headphones, a bunch of leads ‘n’ cables and general shit. I really am getting stupider.

The Queen of Swords drove me to Dunfermline, where the guy we spoke to was seriously helpful, then to Edinburgh, where everyone was extremely helpful. Unfortunately, the train containing my bag was, by then, almost in Dundee.

We hung around, ate food at each other and asked again. Still no sign of all my worldly goods.

This morning, I tried lost property once more. Nothing. Which must be great news for al qaeda cells everywhere. Stuff left on the overhead luggage racks will be ignored all the way into not one but two major population centres.

As the Groundhogs almost said, Thank Christ for the cloud. Everything’s backed up – including all my passwords (gods bless you, evernote) so I was able to reset all my passwords right away over my phone so nobody could buy a house or a car off the play store without my knowledge.

It’s looking like I’ve seen the last of my objects. Bad, but putting a positive spin on it, when I replace the tablet (and the thirty-two gigabyte memory card) I’ll be getting a bigger faster better one (which’ll no doubt take a sixty-four gig card).

It’s Like the glad game from ‘Pollyanna’. No matter what happens, it *could* always be a little worse, so why not focus on the positives?

The worst thing about all this is that I didn’t get any writing done yesterday. Out the house at 09:30, not back home until 22:30, too fucked to do anything more than an episode of ‘Nurse Jackie’ and bed. And by ‘bed’, I mean ‘unconcsiousness’ not ‘juicy scene from ‘Juliette’ by de Sade’.)

I caught up with the writing this morning. In fact, I’m only one hundred words behind where I ought to be today. And I’ve installed Kingsoft office on my phone, so I should be able to keep going tomorrow.

I have a few days off starting in a couple more days. Some of that time’s going to be devoted to rnr, but the rest will be spent slaving over a hot keyboard.

i travel – simple minds

It was a quarter to eight when I checked the weekly staffing rota and noticed that the next member of staff would be coming in at eight-thirty, not nine. I busied myself getting ready half an hour faster than I would ordinarily and lo and behold! My opposite number, a young woman I’d never clapped eyes on before, arrived at 08:20. I asked whether she needed a long handover or anything and when she said no, I explained that there was only one bus per hour from work-to-home and it was at half-past the hour. I was at the bus stop – with all the detritus from a sleepover in a foreign town – for half-past and on the bus by 08:35.
I whiled away the time, watching the countryside speed by, yittering on twitter and listening to the Nocturnal Emissions’ ‘Dyskinesia’ LP. I was at home for 09:05. It was only when I stuck my hand in my pocket for my keys, I thought, “Christ, these have put on a bit of weight.”
I’d not only come home with the work keys, but my own would have been hanging on the wee hook where these should’ve been.
I climbed the three flights to HQ, only to discover #3 offspring wasn’t in. so began the trudge – still carrying all my bags – all the way back to the coalface.
At the bus stop, I was surprised and delighted to learn that the next bus back to work wasn’t until 09:50 (sigh) there was a bus as far as Kirkcaldy in about five minutes. A text. My new colleague, asking shyly if I knew where all the keys for the house were as – silly her – she couldn’t find them. I was composing a suitably contrite reply when the phone rang. It was her.
I explained the situation – while welcoming her to the wonderful and terrifying world of my career-stupidity – and that I was on my way back, telling her I’d be there by half-ten at the latest. She seemed pleased with this, my bus came and I watched all the same countryside pour past in reverse order this time.
I got out at Kirkcaldy bus station and ten minutes later I was on another bus, texting my colleague and waiting for the driver to smoke up and start driving.
I was back at the coalface for 10:15, did the John Le Carre thing with the keys and stopped my colleague, who was apologising for ‘being so much trouble’. I explained that I was looking forward to the day when my senility reached the heights of incontinence, when it would become someone else’s problem. I headed back to the bus stop.
I caught a bus back to the bus station, where I self-medicated with coffee and a massive apple turnover in the hopes I’d be violently sick as that was one of the few mishaps I hadn’t so far experienced today.
I caught what would have been the 10:33 from work, home. It was much like the 08:33, except two hours later and with the countryside going the right way round again. My phone was almost dead, what with all the use it’d had since I originally tried to leave work, all those hours ago. I started reading Sara Gruen’s ‘Water for elephants’ and had to stop as my eyes were filling with tears and my nose was clogging up. Nothing to do with my day-from-hell, more because it was bringing back the film – and this was just the prologue and the first couple of pages of the first chapter.
I stared out the window like a dying time-traveller, unsure by now whether I was watching the countryside unfurl in reverse order or not.
When I got home – at 11:15, I was surprised to find #3 offspring, still festering in his pit. Apparently, he hadn’t noticed me banging the door and shrieking his name like a damned soul, two hours previously.
Oh, if only we’d had safe and reliable contraceptives available in the 1980s. Or, as my own parents used to say, in the 1960s.

ultraviolence – metal urbain

I’m abroad. In deepest, darkest East Ayrshire, where the natives couldn’t care a whit nor a fig for my bibles OR my syphilis-encrusted blankets. I’ve had a long lie and spent today writing, soundtracked by the ‘Yol’ soundtrack, Be-bop deluxe and the Fall. Having just finished another novel (okay, the first draft of a novel!) The emphasis this week is on rnr, long lies, early nights, music movies and ultraviolence.
I arrived last night and immediately went for a curry before returning home to watch most of ‘LA confidential’ and crashing out. This is post-novel burnout and it’s actually not too bad.
Today’s writing has mostly been for my new Scat’s Excretainment’ blog which is coming quite easily (for now). I started with a few fuzzy ideas which kind of joined up and thus far, writing it has been a pleasure.
All I need now is a committed dose of endorphins to clear away those brain-cobwebs. A savage beating would do nicely, thanks.

people are strange – the doors

Walking around Edinburgh, experiencing what Robert Sheckley called ‘metaphoric deformation’. Basically, when we go somewhere unfamilliar, we see people we think we recognise. Then we do a double-take and realise it’s a complete stranger.
The first time I remember experiencing this was in Leeds, September of 1979. I was seventeen as I drifted around the city for the first time, I kept spotting faces of people I knew, looking again and it wasn’t them. This happened repeatedly, surprising me every time.
To be fair, the weekend before, half the pub I’d been in were all hitching down to Leeds for the Futurama festival, but on the day, I was the only one nutty enough to actually attempt the journey.
Fast-forward to 2006, when I moved to Liverpool. Strange town? Check. Spotting familiar faces? Check. Not who I though they were? Every single time.
The following year, visiting Edinburgh, I began mis-seeing the familiar among all the strangers in what was once my home town.
I realised a couple of years ago, that since I left Edinburgh, I haven’t put any roots down anywhere. Liverpool never felt like ‘home’ and, in the couple of months I spent back in Edinburgh, neither did that.
I drifted over the bridge to Fife in 2010 – for no great reason, really – and just sort of remained there. I live there, I work there and because the two are so far apart, I spend a lot of time on buses going through countryside and small towns. The Person I’m terribly fond of lives at the opposite side of the country which necessitates three trains and a long-ish journey from my place to Hers. I feel no more or less ‘at home’ in the wee town I live in than I do in Hers.
Maybe none of us really ‘need’ the familiar. Deprived of it, our minds fill in the gaps and give us – albeit fleetingly – split seconds of that sense of the ordinary and comforting. It’s entirely possible I won’t ever put any more roots down as long as I live.
And, strangely, it’s not a glaring absence in my life. Just something that I remember from time to time and makes me nod my head a bit before I file it away under ‘vaguely interesting things’.

Why not read the novel that started it all? 1919 (inside)

A love story – on home-made acid – narrated by someone first used romatically, then set on fire, by the blue peter team, capering around the pyre like wrinkled vikings.

break up to make up – siouxsie and the banshees

Off for a week’s holiday. I’m writing this on the last day of term. A few more hours and I’m heading west to pick up my beloved Owner and Goddess and we fly out to Dublin a matter of hours later.
Long-distance relationships are weird, but I’ve had so many now, I think I’ve ironed out most of the kinks (except the good sort, obviously.)
We find ourselves still (after eight months) on our best behaviour around each other. This is a positive. Familiarity is so far off it can’t breed consent, let alone contempt. Neither of us has seen the other unshaven and hung over – at least, not enough to see a pattern there. We’ve both (I feel) prioritised making the time we have together, **ALL** quality time. So far, this has worked.
This arrangement also leaves both of us plenty of time to focus on our respective jobs, offspring and lives.
On the downside, parting always feels like a scab being torn off slowly. Our first night apart has, for the last few months coincided with a sleepover at my work – talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous! Waking up in a single bed, without the Boss-Lady, sucks.
Over the last few months, we’ve managed more or less every second weekend together, which has been great.
We’ve also managed several holidays together (this’ll be our third). Holidays, just as with normal people, are great – an absolutely artificial world, one with no jobs, kids or grandkids. Long lies, time on our hands and money in our pockets. Y’know, like in FemDom pornography? We’re neither of us billionaires, but we *can*, through work, build up shared time off, where we can get up to no good without external influences.
As with the psychedelic experience, these times aren’t sustainable. We can do it for a few days, once every couple of months, then come back down to earth and make more time and/or money to have another one.
It’s not perfect, but what relationship is?
This way, we come together, recharge our respective batteries, then pull apart and get on with all the mundane daylife things – and writing.
For my writing schedule, this relationship works a lot better than being stuck in an enclosed space with someone day in, day out.

Why not read the novel that started it all? 1919 (inside)

A love story – on home-made acid – narrated by someone first used romatically, then set on fire, by the blue peter team, capering around the pyre like wrinkled vikings.

when i was a man and you were a woman – john foxx

It’s weird, being back in Liverpool after so long. I got into Lime Street, walked down past Clayton Square to Central Station and the memories rushed back up like a dodgy kebab.
I grew up in Edinburgh, only moving away when I was in my mid-forties. Now, when I visit the place, I start to drown in memories. Show me a pub and there’s a fifty-fifty chance I remember an event that took place there. So many streets have embedded memories; someone who lived there, an event that took place there, something someone once told me about the place.
Liverpool’s like that for me now. Walking past pubs, remembering specific nights, bus-stops where particular conversations happened. And the platform on Central Station, waiting on the Kirkby train to get to Kirkdale. The night of the John Foxx and Louis Gordon gig, July 2006. We were bunnied on really good acid when the horde of wee girls got into an altercation with the station staff. As the train pulled away, one of them swung a WHEELCHAIR at the window of our carriage. It was over so fast (in a slow-motion kind of way) pulled off behind us and the massive CLUUNKHH! as it crashed (presumably harmlessly against the doors. We looked at each other. The air around us was filled with tiny sparkles and I could taste them each time I breathed in.
“That never happened, right?” I said to c, my voice slow and thick and heavy as a planet.
c looked at C. C looked back at her.
“What didn’t?” They chorused in their wee scouse accents, wee innocent faces now fixed on me.

Wandering around the city centre, I’m amazed at how much of it I’ve forgotten. I walked into Bootle – no problems, it all looks the same. But the city centre? A few landmarks, that’s it.
And, with me living away from cities for the last three years, it all seems so crowded and frenetic – people shoving everywhere, shops spewing distorted musics into the huge pedestrian-jam I’m thrown around in. It’s like being in the matmos. Less than twenty-four hours back here and I’m already thinking – at least part of the time – in a scouse accent. Actually, it’s more of a Kirkdale accent, which is how I learned to speak scouse when I was in my mid-forties.*

Why not read the novel that started it all? 1919 (inside)

A love story – on home-made acid – narrated by someone first used romatically, then set on fire, by the blue peter team, capering around the pyre like wrinkled vikings.

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