My Amazon Author Page

Find my Amazon author page via this link

"A Scottish Wind in the Willows on high end skunk."

"I enjoy Kate's stories..."
"A fun and spooky read..."

"The characters are so involving and
loveable that you do want them to really exist. It does read like you've
stumbled across someone's long lost diary from and alternate timeline/universe.
I quickly got into the story and loved every second of reading it...
total gem of a read by an author who deserves a lot more recognition."


SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE TO FIND LINKS TO ALL FOUR BOOKS

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Bill Hicks BBC Interview



This is a good one. "Can I recommend some jugglers, that you might like?"
Sorely missed.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Interesting recording re. RL Stevenson

Here's a link to the Robert Louis Stevenson website, and a recording of his step-daughter relating the circumstances of his death in Samoa, in 1894.

Bit morbid, but interesting all the same.

What a catalogue of work he produced. The one that lives especially vividly in my mind, is Treasure Island, which I read frequently as a child.
The Hispaniola, Squire Trelawney, Dr Livesey, Long John Silver, Ben Gunn.....Blind Pew, and the Black Spot...

I'm sure it's obvious to most people but I've only just thought that Golding's Lord of the Flies was Treasure Island gone mad really.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Quote of the day - from Coleridge's Frost at Midnight

...again...it is a lovely poem though.


"Or of the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in quiet icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet moon."

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

An even better Scots wurd o' th' day

Still on page 143 and I've happened upon an even better wurd.

Drabloch, n. refuse, trash, applied to very small potatoes and bad butcher-meat.

Gosh!

When does one ever encounter bad butcher-meat in Scotland? I ask you.

Scots wurd(s) o' th' Day - "Dow'd fish"


Continuing the piscine theme, today's wurd(s) is DOW'D FISH.


Dow'd fish, n. fish that has been drying for a day or two.

Fancy!

From page 143 of Chambers's Scots Dictionary, 1959 reprint of the 1911 edition.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Viviparous Blenny, or 'Dornicle'

Re. my earlier post featuring the Scots word 'dornicle'- I have now got round to Googling the definition given in Chambers's Scots Dictionary, viz. 'the viviparous blenny'.

It's a fish, basically, also known as the viviparous eelpout.
It is also the only fish which suckles its young. Who knew?

If you'd like to learn more, you can Google it yourself or look here.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Scots wurd o' th' day - Hecklepins

Today's Scots wurd is 'hecklepins'.

It's a word I use quite a lot. I used it yesterday and someone - a "blog reader" as it happens - asked me what it meant.
So, here's a helpful definition from Chambers's Scots Dictionary.

Heckle-pins, n. the teeth of a 'heckle'.

As in, "Ah'm oan hecklepins waiting fur mu results frae the doactur."

Or, "Ah'm oan hecklepins till ma gas bill arrives, ah'm fair puggled wi' it ye ken."

Hope that helps!

It might help to know the definition of 'heckle'.

Heckle, n. a sharp pin; a hackle, a comb with steel teeth for dressing flax and hemp; a thorn in one's side - v. to dress flax with a 'heckle'; to cross-question a candidate for parliamentary or municipal honours at a public meeting; to examine searchingly; to scold severely; to tease, provoke.

Find these on p. 256 of Chambers's Scots Dictionary, 1959 reprint of the 1911 edition.

As hecklepins is quite a well-known 'wurd', I'll give another couple, which I've certainly never heard of never mind used. And can I reiterate - I do NOT make these up.

Fisty, n. a left-handed person

Fissle-fisslin', n. a faint rustling sound.

Both can be found on p. 175, ibid.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Scots Wurd o' th' Day - Dornicle


Haven't done Scots Wurd o' the' day for ages, as I mislaid my Chambers's Scots Dictionary. But now I've found it again.
Today's Scots wurd is "dornicle". It's a noun, apparently. The definition given is as follows: "the viviparous blenny".
I'll be honest - I'm none the wiser, and I can't be bothered Googling it at the moment. Might have a look later on.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

New Flash Story just out on Shortbread Stories

My latest flash fiction piece, Set Meal for Two, has just gone live over on Shortbread Stories
It's about two nasty warring "thespians" out for a meal. You can, as usual, find it via that link or read it via the Shortbread widget on the right hand side of the blog.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Sailing - a peom from Geoffrey

Sailing - a peom.

I want to voyage westwards
Into the setting sun
I want to live on apples
And mushrooms on a bun.

I want my boat to sail and sail
And never spring a leak
I want to sail forever
And never have to speak.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Bloggered Off

I'm pretty busy writing other stuff, hence the lack of blog posts this week. Here's some of the stuff I'm working on at the moment.
Psychotweeter part three (part two is in the editing queue over on Shortbread Stories)
A short story which I hope to get done in time for a competition deadline.
A flash fiction piece which I hope to submit "somewhere".
And my Kindle. Hope to get my finger out and get that organised "soon". I must say the technology aspects are putting me off a lot, but I've had some excellent advice from others who've Kindled, and I'm sure I can manage it if I really knuckle down.
Therefore, I don't have much time to blog at the moment.

However, if anyone wishes to contact me to discuss using my finely-honed writing and blogging skills, fine. I'm delighted to consider anything, pretty much. Especially if I'm going to be paid. And if you aren't in a position to pay, then at least have the decency to be extremely grateful, don't take me for granted, and treat me with respect and appreciation. Oh and have plenty biscuits - the good kind. Otherwise, there is absolutely no way I'll want to be involved.
I will consider doing stuff for nothing, if it interests me sufficiently, but I'm well past the stage in life where I'm prepared to be a virtual "intern." It's just not worth it.

The Story of the Old, Empty Barn



It's not "we're all doomed!" but it's good.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ego? forget it.


I'm interested in tidal patterns - neap, high springs, syzygy and so forth, and was doing a search. "Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels, caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun, and the rotation of the Earth." (from wikipedia)
Oh - syzygy. Yes. Quite. Well, it will take your mind off the price of gas, mince, biscuits, apples - everything, really. For a while.
What price your tiny little ego? I mean, not just yours, mine as well...

Is Everything an Illusion, and do we have souls?

"Are we safe?"
"No, of course not. Nobody's ever safe. You know that as well as I do. The membrane between life and Death is as fine as the caul on a new-born babe."
"Here we are, sitting comfortably by the fire, just had our supper, everything secure..."
"That's all by the by. Security is an illusion. The material world, as we perceive it, is an illusion. We - and I use the term merely because I can't think of another at the moment - are a collection - a confluence -of energy particles in a condition of flux. In fact, the only permanence, the only security, is flux."
"Is everything random then? Or is there an overall pattern? Look at that piece of driftwood for example. You can see how it's been shaped by its journey through the world. Where did it come from? We can only wonder. It was part of a tree, obviously. But was it part of the trunk, or a branch that fell off during a storm? Was it uprooted by a landslide, swept down to an estuary by a flooded river, and borne far out to sea on a Spring tide?"
"And then washed ashore and left high and dry by the ebb, ready for us to gather for our fire."
"Is that random? is it coincidence, or was it meant to be? And it's riddled with termite holes. It supported life, even in Death - like the story of the lion in the Bible."
"It's still supporting life. It's keeping us warm."
"I don't want to burn it now! I've grown fond of it now that I know it better. It seems like more than just a piece of wood. It's got a soul. I don't want to see it burning up and turning into ashes before my very eyes."
"Happens to us all Geoffrey. Might as well bite the bullet and face it."
"Do you think trees have souls Tuppy? Do WE have souls, come to that?"
"Trees probably do have them. You've probably got one. If not your own one, then somebody else's. I've not got one - I swapped mine a while back, for some decent sausages, remember? I did a deal with Death. I was starving. Well, peckish."
"Do you regret it now, even just a little bit?"
"No, can't say I do Geoffrey. I didn't know I had it in the first place."

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Ladykillers "Such pretty windows."



Mrs Wilberforce aka Katie Johnson, and Alec Guinness resplendent in his wig and teeth. Marvellous.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Byron on Reviews



Anyone worried about reviews out there?
Here's Byron's take on them.
(It just occurs to me how much I hate that expression "take on such and such")
OK. Here's Byron's OPINION/THOUGHTS/WHATEVER.
As expressed in a letter he wrote to Shelley in 1821, following the death of Keats (I'm nothing if not hip 'n' happening.). I gather that Shelley must have informed him of the death, and also that it was hastened or caused by distress about bad reviews. Keats died of consumption, so, I suppose state of mind would play some part in one's ability to fight that off.
Bear in mind that Byron had recently described Keats' poems as a kind of "mental masturbation" and a "Bedlam vision brought on by too much raw pork and opium". ( see my post from a day or two back). Personally, I might take that as a compliment. But I'm not Keats, am I?
Just occurs to me - how much raw pork is "too much", exactly? More on that later. After I recover from an experiment with some underdone chops.
Anyway.
He writes to Shelley "I am very sorry to hear what you say of Keats - is it actually true? I did not think criticism had been so killing....I read the review of Endymion in The Quarterly. It was severe, - but surely not so severe as many reviews in that and other journals upon others.
I recollect the effect on me of the Edinburgh on my first poem; it was rage, and resistance, and redress - but not despondency nor despair. I grant that these are not amiable feelings; but in this world of bustle and broil, and especially in the career of writing, a man should calculate upon his powers of resistance before he goes into the arena.
"Expect not life from pain nor danger free,
Nor deem the doom of man reversed for thee."

Hmm... he's got a point - but he's being just a teensy wee tad on the harsh side, I'd say. One of the critics had described Endymion as a work of imperturbable, drivelling idiocy. Someone else who sounded like a towering snob had advised the non-Eton/Harrow educated Keats to abandon poetry and go back to his work as an apothecary.

All very well for his Lordship, swimming up and down the Grand Canal with his club foot and all.

So - if anyone derides my - or your - work as imperturbable, drivelling idiocy, just remember - they were wrong about Keats.

The genius of Colette


My all-time favourite writer is Colette.
I love how she lived her life, and I love that her writing - and she was so prolific - reflects it.
I don't really like the Cherie/Colette Willy stage. I love her later work though, when she'd broken out of that first stifling marriage. I say stifling, but perhaps what came out of those years of writing servitude was the development of her own superb writing discipline.
I have a couple of favourite stories. One is The Kepi. I'm totally fixated on the ageing female at the moment (being one myself) and for me this encapsulates a certain stage in life that cannot be glossed over or denied. The thing I like best about Colette is that she doesn't flinch.
Another favourite is her novella The Cat. Colette writes superbly about cats and they feature in many of her tales. She doesn't anthropomorphise, but they are just as important as characters in her stories as humans. In The Cat, a woman becomes furiously jealous of her lover's cat. And to be honest, you can understand why. Can one be too "fond of animals"? Personally, I think not, but many people would disagree, and in this complex tale there is a distinct whiff of the unsavoury about their relationship. The cat is also a symbol of his lost childhood and independence and his uncertainties as he hovers on the brink of family life. The woman will never possess him until the cat goes. And the cat, Saha, has no intention of letting that happen - not while she knows she is still loved.
Here's a quote. "Alain looked up; nine stories up, in the middle of the almost round moon, the little horned shadow of a cat was leaning forward, waiting."
"A small shadowy blue shape, outlined like a cloud with a hem of silver, sitting on the dizzy edge of the night..."
"...at the age where he might have coveted a little car, a journey abroad....Alain nevertheless remained the-young-man-who-has-bought-a-little-cat."
"Saha's beautful yellow eyes, in which the great nocturnal pupil was slowly invading the iris, stared into space, picking out moving, floating, invisible points."

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Rick Wakeman - Excerpts From The Six Wives Of Henry VIII



Aaarrgghh! I said I'd post more prog and for me this just screams PRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In a very loud voice.
Actually, it's not that bad when you listen to it (it gets unbearable after 3 mins. though - you have been warned). Well, not quite as bad as you'd reasonably expect given the size of his "equipment", the length and weird silkiness of his hair, and the *gulp* cape. I think Wakers now lives on the Isle of frigging Man and likes a game of golf FFS.
Rock ON!!!!!

Another quote of the day - Byron


Presently re-reading Byron - A Self-Portrait, edited by Peter Quennell.
It's a brilliant read. Really fresh and entertaining. It's a collection of letters and diaries, and is never, ever dull. You get accounts in his own words of the famous drinking out of a skull, the menagerie, the countless love affairs, Shelley's death, the lot.
Here's an interesting excerpt from a letter he wrote to legendary publisher John Murray.
"Mr Keats, whose poetry you enquire after, appears to me what I have already said: such writing is a sort of mental masturbation....neither poetry nor anything else but a Bedlam vision produced by raw pork and opium."
Raw pork??
And "I have been reading Grimm's correspondence. He repeats frequently, in speaking of a poet, or a man of genius in any department.......that he must have une ame qui se tourmante, un esprit violent. How far this may be true I know not; but if it were, I should be a poet "per excellenza"; for I have always had une ame, which not only tormented itself but everybody else in contact with it; and un esprit violent, which has almost left me without any esprit at all.
Great reading.

Quote of the day

"The word is not the thing, but a flash in whose light we perceive the thing." (Diderot)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Ramble On - Led Zeppelin



The ultimate autumn song. Leaves are falling all around, etc..
Far, far better band than the Beatles, in every respect.
Compare the present day Robert Plant to McCartney. I think I need say no more.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Friday, 9 September 2011

Shortbread Stories

My flash fiction piece Stupid Stewart is this week's featured story over on Shortbread Stories. I'm very flattered and pleased. Very grateful indeed for all the support from the brilliant folk over there.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Monty Python - Nudge Nudge





I LOVE this sketch. Know wot I mean?

Ronettes - Be My baby





This is a fantastic clip - knackered just watching it - ooh me back. Superb girl band - they knew what they were doing. None of your Simon Cowell shit.

Cake of the Week - the fudge doughnut



This week's featured cake is the fudge doughnut. This one was purchased first thing this morning from the local bakery. It was wedged behind a metal support in the glass display case, and the shop assistant was unable to dislodge it with tongs - she had to fling them aside and resort to "bare hands". Age isn't a measure of codgerliness but this lady was well on in years - even older than me by quite a long way. I would happily nominate her for "codger of the week" - my next feature.

I seem to have survived with no ill eff-e-e-e-c-c-c-.....................





Monday, 15 August 2011

Gravy of the week - Bisto beef.



This week's featured gravy is Bisto (beef flavour).
It's extremely tasty.
Why sweat over a pan? That's never a pleasant thing to do under any circumstances.
Simply Boil a kettle and make Bisto! Then pour it over your spuds or chips or sausages or all three - and if there's any left in the jug just drink it for afters.
Then get one of these blood pressure-o-meters and marvel as the needle zooms to undreamt of heights.
Not that I'm saying that there is a connection between Bisto, salt levels, and high blood pressure - no. Not at all. Bisto is a tasty beverage-cum-condiment and an asset to any gourmet's kitchen.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Name this tune in one


#Err...#......got it yet?
Here's a clue. It's nothing out of the "hit parade". Hit parades for the last twenty nine years actually. There you go.
Here's a two and a three. #Err...err....errrrr........#
Prize is, as ever, a year's supply of pork scratchings made from real pig, but this time instead of all the bristles being removed by my own gnarled arthritic fingers, the pigs were waxed. Much simpler.
Pinky favoured the vajazzle so mind your fillings.

Is Life Worth Living?

"Geoffrey?"

"Yes?"

"Pour us a snifter and chuck us the baccy will you? It's gone ten."

"OK. Wait till I get off the bog first."

"JUST HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!!!" interrupted a familiar voice. None other than the Ghastly Dr. Wilson. Covered in seaweed and stinking of sewage as usual. (why is this? I cannot be arsed explaining, but it's All There in previous posts....) Sticking his head in the window without so much as would you mind or a by your leave.

"Oh for -"

"What the Kentucky Fried Chicken are YOU doing here o Ghastly one? Lovely to see you and all that," lied Geoffrey, as he carefully replaced the lav seat and forced a smile.

"I'm here to save you two utter wastes of space from yourselves. Don't have that drink. Put that baccy down. Pop the kettle on and make some hot water instead. Don't have that bacon and egg sandwich. Rather, have a plate of cracked bulgar wheat with a splash of miso, raw garlic and a steamed macadamia nut. If you stick with that regime through the week you can treat yourselves to some Barleycup and an organic sultana each on weekends. Maybe a carob bar. Mind and go for all these cancer tests as well. And don't forget your five a day. Or your compulsory forty five minutes of aerobic exercise."

"Will we live to a ripe old age then Doctor - if we do all that you say?"

"Well you'll avoid the sanctions."

"Sanctions?"

"If you don't adhere to current medical thinking, we'll shoot you. Simple as. You've no right to be alive and taking up space on the planet if you can't take a few simple steps to protect your own health."

"What about pleasure? Cutting loose? Letting go occasionally?"

"Some might take issue but personally I see nothing wrong with having a prune instead of a sultana at Christmas. Surely you can't complain about that! Look at me! I'm a picture of health. Okay, I'm bald, I've got a bad leg, a paunch, piles, hammer toes, gout, halitosis, gingivitis, and chronic flatulence but otherwise I'm the best specimen you're likely to see round here."

"But you're only 27."

"And your point is?"

Geoffrey and I exchanged glances, then nodded.

"Do you have the gun on you now? for doing the shooting part."

"Oh no! a-hahaha! I have other people to do that - nurses, for example. They get £28 a head plus an hour's annual leave. No - I'm a doctor - my role is to cure, never to kill."


No gun, eh? We were safe enough. It was time to unleash the Wheechie Net.

"Press the lever please Geoffrey."

WHEEEEEEEEEEEECCCCCCHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suddenly the Ghastly Wilson was bundled into a sturdy net and wheeched or "drawn" upwards and sidie-ways by hi-powered rope attachments towards the handy catapult which we have installed beside the house for just such eventualities.

"PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEyoinnnnnnnnGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!" catapult twangs.

"SPLAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" The Ghastly Wilson is launched bay-wards, where the ever-hungry, snapping jaws of the orca await.

"Nom nom nom.................."

"Heh heh heh. Bye bye Wilson! What were you saying about cracked bulgar wheat?"

Treble brandies all round.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah?

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..........................

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Yes - Starship Trooper



Prog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The first Yes album is their only listenable one - in my opinion. Chuck another log on the fire and let's have some more nettle beer. We're not 65 yet!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Scots wurd o' th' day

"Bumfuck" - v., to cough loudly and suddenly in front of a horse. As in, "I got such a fright when you started bumfucking that I dropped my bananas. Can't you gargle or something?"

Scots wurd o' th' day. Bumfuck.

I'm lying of course.

It's "chitterie-chatterie", n., a piece of bread eaten immediately after bathing. As in, "I'm starving after that hip-bath - throw another lump of coal on the fire Isa and pass us ma chitterie-chatterie. Bung some crowdie on it if there's any ben the hoose."

That one IS genuine - from page 83 of Chambers's Scots Dictionary, 1959 edition.

Or

"Dorty-pouch", n., a saucy person. As in, "We dinnae hae nae dorty pouches in this hoose, ken."
From page 141, ibid. as they say.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Reader kweschunnare no. seven

Here we have reader kweschunnare number seven - this one's from my good friend Axle (real name Aloysius St. John von ...well you know the rest). Because he's one of my closest friends I've allowed him the liberty of getting the kweschuns in the rong order, AND "going on at extreme length". Also, he was good enough to provide a number of his own good photographs of St Kilda which I've blogged a couple of times (click on "St Kilda link" under this post), and, I forgot his birthday this week.......deep shame. Axle also knows more about Coronation Street than anyone I've ever encountered. "Insanely comprehensive knowledge" and "obsessive fan" spring to mind. Pat Phoenix is his all-time favourite, I think.


Anyways, heeeeeeere we go again. As usual, all comments in italics are my own.


1. Fave time of day? No specific time but any day that ends in "off" or starts with "holi"! but I do love watching a beautiful sunset or rise.


2. Fave smell? Definitely NOT Pseudomonas Pyogenes! (yeah - I didn't ask what WASN'T - oh never mind!!) Hope I've remembered the term correctly!! when I was a student nurse (oh my god...) an old woman had a large gangrenous bedsore which was basically a hole, which had become infected by the aforementioned. The smell is something I'll never forget! absolutely horrendous! (thanks for sharing Axle) Smells that I really like are tobacco and pipes, coffee (even though I have never smoked and rarely drink coffee), bread in the oven, autumn bonfires, and not sure if I love the smell but "have to" smell the pages of new magazines and books (not every single one of them!!!) The smell of Shield soap and another one with an appley fragrance - can't remember what it was called or if they are still manufactured remind me of when I stayed in a nurses' home in the summer of 1980.


3. Fave film and or film star. I don't actually watch a lot of films but pretty much enjoy anything with Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn in. Others are Schindler's List, Sound of Music, Shawshank Redemption, Shirley Valentine and The Deerhunter. Also love the British kitchen sink dramas of the 1960s, such as the likes of A Taste of Honey, Saturday Night Sunday Morning, A Kind of Loving, Spring and Port Wine etc.. Very much like films about historical events, especially within last 150 years. Having said that, I'm not a fan of most WW2 films or Westerns.


4. Fave footwear IN LESS THAN TEN WORDS. Not sure about this one; I mostly wear trainers and have a pair of walking boots (16 words so far...) that I really like. When I was about thirteen, I had a pair of platform boots that I thought were "great" - black "wetlook" with purple "platforms - it was the seventies and purple and plum seemed to be very much "in"! Totally forgot this was supposed to be under ten words!! (....................)


5. Fave music? I have a very wide taste in music - it depends on the mood. Not a huge modern jazz, heavy metal or reggae fan, although I like a lot of the classics of these styles. Some acts/singers I really like: Abba, Annie Lennox, Aretha Franklin, Adele, Alicia Keys, Andy Williams, Anita Baker, Antony and the Johnsons - so anything beginning with "A" then!! Will that include AEM (sorry - REM??!!!) I like a lot of songs purely for nostalgic reasons even if not particularly great songs, or they might just be good to dance to (very fond of disco) and I have to add that I'm PROUD to admit no DECLARE my love for Eurovision!!


6. Fave food? Some (Kate!!) might expect this to be fishfingers as this is the highest extent of my culinary skills, but I do love a good meal even if it sadly has to be cooked by someone else. On the menu at my work I think my favourite is Chicken Chasseur. I love a roast dinner and puddings such as rice, semolina, tapioca and custard (I never knew this??? I feel a bit sick...) Really like fish or chicken and chips. Also really like parsnips and Pink Lady Apples.


7. Fave book/writer I don't read much fiction or have a favourite author but I enjoy biographies and books on social history. As a child I loved Enid Blyton, especially one called Shadow the Sheepdog.


8. Have all of the above ever converged? Doubt it but probably a lovely thought till the briefest waft of Psuedomonas ruins everything!


9. What kweschun would you like to ask yourself? Why have I forgone Question Time to do this, and why do I keep in such close and regular contact with Kate?


10. Bowels in, or bowels out? Not partial to a prolapse thank you very much! though "contents" always "out"!!



Phew!! thanks Axle - very enlightening. I knew most of that lot, but not all. Thanks very much for doing it - and for being a really great friend over thirty years - and so sorry for forgetting your birthday. I must be losing the plot. My own answers will appear over the weekend sometime.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Reader Kweschunnare

Axle Snailbotom, as I explained earlier, is terribly slow. So instead we have Maz, who is a shopkeeper from the West Midlands. I knew that she would provide some interesting answers and I wasn't disappointed.

Kweschun one. What is your fave smell? The smell of the ground after rain has fallen wants me to get on all fours and lick it - sorry if you're underage and reading this but you gotta learn some day!

Kweschun two. What is your fave music? Anything I can sing to...if it's too hard to learn it's normally rubbish anyway.

Kweschun three. What is your fave film and or film star? PS I Love You Gerrard Butler. That man wants ME! It's sad, soppy and definitely crap but I like it purely because it's shit! Can I just add that Mr Bean is an idiot so I like him too.

Kweshchun four. Describe your fave item of footwear in less than ten words. I have no shoes - I'm Indian!

Kweschun five. What is your fave time of day? I have a crush on a certain somebody who buys a morning paper - when he/she/him/her/they/all/everyone come in at 7am I go all weird and pathetic but I look forward to 7am when I'm guaranteed to have some kind of weird fungus growing on my nose or in it growing out

Kweschun six. What is your fave food? Burger and chips...I don't know why I'm fat...it's a bitter world this is

Kweschun seven. Have all of the above ever converged? I'm sure I dreamt once that I was eating burger and chips off Gerrard Butler's face on all fours at 7am with.. no stop I can't go on!!

Kweschun eight. What kweschun would you like to ask yourself? Do you enjoy behaving like you're at the end of your life? (loads of swear words in the middle)

Kweschun ten. Bowels in, or bowels out? Oh I don't know -is this a trick question? So that's Maz from the West Midlands - thanks Maz! cracking answers - thanks very much for your time.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Biscuit of the week - the Toffee Dodger


I can't recommend this biscuit highly enough.

I bought it as it was on special in the Co-op - sorry, I can't remember exactly how much they were, but they won't have been dear as I don't care for the Jammie Dodger, and only cheapness would have lured me into buying anything similar.

The problem with Jammie Dodgers is that the jam is just too hard. They're far too chewy. The Toffee Dodger on the other hand is like a round Twix without the chocolate, except the biscuit has a nicer texture. Some might see no chocolate as being a drawback - I don't. Sometimes you just don't want a chocolate biscuit - it's too much for you. You just want a bit of sweetness that isn't too cloying.

There's also a heart-shaped hole in the centre, where you can see the toffee. What more could you want from a biscuit?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Kind review in Northwords Now

"Kate Smart's blog could never be described as 'run of the mill'." Nobody could have given me a nicer compliment. "Kate clearly demonstrates how blogging can be used to great effect." Bask!

Many thanks to Tony Ross for this really kind review in the current edition of Northwords Now.
I'm absolutely delighted to have been given a mention, never mind anything else.

Tony's clearly read the blog, and "gets it" - which is brilliant. Yes, most of it could be described as "flash fiction", but I haven't thought of it that way myself. I'm just pleased that posts such as "Desperate Dan's Testicles" , the "Heartache Removal Service" - which is an on-going concern by the way - and the "Mind Muck Removal Device" have been read and appreciated.

To find out more - just click on the links below this post - or, find 'em on the list of links down the right hand side of the page.

This is encouraging me to put more of my work out there - somewhere...I'm rubbish at sending stuff away. Anyone thinks I can write anything specific for them and wants me to do it - give me a shout. (lazy...)

I'm well aware that this blog isn't everyone's cup of tea - or bottle of gin, even. So, I'll say, once again, how much I appreciate the readers who have kept me going with this over the past three years. Without your generous support, I would not have continued.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein



I must admit I've not watched this all the way through (heard one minute of this, you've heard it all basically - and be warned - there IS a drum solo), but I couldn't resist posting it as it is a classic of its kind.
The blurb underneath sez it all - feel Rock's majesty.
Good grief.
This is the kind of thing that gave me a terrible pre-hangover headache in the 1970s - can feel one coming on now actually...and check out the clothes! blimey...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Malcolm Tucker - A Tribute to Brilliant Swearing



This one's got "fuckitty bye" and "leaky fucking mingebox" on it....oh! don't watch if you're offended by foul language...
The thing that makes Malcolm Tucker so funny, rather than boringly offensive, is the build up and the context - you don't get build up or much context here - but anyone who's watched In the Loop or The Thick of It will know anyway.
Peter Capaldi - I love him but where does he find all that rage? and how the FUCK does he manage to keep a straight fuckin' face by the way?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Scots wurd o' th' day

Back to Alexander Warrack's Chambers's Scots Dictionary again.

Amazing book - or "tome". Today, it's fallen open at page 252, where there are any number of words worth a ponder, and most of which I've never heard before in my life. Think I'll choose -

Haukum-plaukum (adj.) - every way equal. Not quite sure how you'd use that one. Would it be as in, he's haukum plaukum to the task, or maybe the twins' mince 'n' tatties were haukum plaukum? If anyone knows, please tell me.

Another one. Hauselock, Hausslock, n., The wool on a sheep's neck. That's easy. Thon sheep should be ashamed o' itsel' - its hauselock's desperate oan a trim.

I'm now getting curious about the roots of words. The dictionary has a pretty good introduction - which I'm only now glancing through. First thing which catches the eye is "Up until the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Scots called their language 'Inglis', which is the northern form of the primitive 'Angelisc'." And "Gawin Douglas (c. 1475 - 1522) is the first writer of any importance to use 'Scottis' as a term for his 'tongue materne'." (tongue materne! get him!)

H'anyway......one must get on.

More later.............

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Spike Milligan lines

Read the first ever Goon Show script last night. Now I know I said that I don't like the Goons, at all, but there ARE some funny lines in it.

For example.

"...worry turned me grey...which gave me a peculiar appearance as I was bald at the time..."

"I paid the fine with trembling fingers but...they wanted money!" (my favourite I think)

"...now tell me the first race you ever won? / The Old Crocks Race in 1892. /But that was before you were born! /Do you imagine it was easy for me?"

(to a car mechanic) "Have you put the bonnet on? / Yorst, and I don't arf look stupid in it."

"My name is Porridge, Sir Harold Porridge. For months my team had been digging for the lost tomb of the greatest of the Pharoahs, King Tutankhamen......For two years we dug every inch of ground - then finally we received a cable from the Egyptian government. It said simply - "Stop digging Hackney Marshes - try Egypt!"

All written by Spike Milligan.

Leonard Nimoy - Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town


Just jaw-droppingly unexpected...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Spike Milligan

Still browsing through The Essential Spike Milligan, compiled by Alexander Games (4th estate). Mixed feelings about Spike. For me, 25% of the time (maybe more...) he was prolonged-belly-laugh funny. The rest of the time - well.
Was eager to see the TV programme last night called "I told you I was ill" recorded in 2002, I think. Tributes are usually not my cup of tea, and this one was particulary awful - so bad I switched it off.
I don't really like the Goons - possibly put off by that awful footage of Prince "grovelling bastard (according to Spike)" Charles doing his cringey Bluebottle voice.
There are also large swathes of material in the book which to me seem incredibly racist. You're not supposed to say that about Spike Milligan, but there it is.
It's not Spike's fault Prince Charles was a fan. But still.
There are however several pieces in the book which are just stand-back-in-awe brilliant - The Flasher (II) being one, and The Singing Foot being another.
He also writes brilliantly about the war, about life around and after the war, and about his mental breakdown.
He writes with an uncomfortable honesty and a humour born of despair, which is often too raw to laugh at. I can't simply dismiss him as racist. I need to find a context - an excuse maybe...if there can be an excuse...
The thing that gets me, is when he writes about being battle-fatigued "...this was a time in my life when I was very demoralised. I was not really me any more."

more later

Monday, 7 March 2011

Fancy new-fangled music

Previous post - Dundee band The Creeping Ivies. Primitive garage rock - great stuff.

I'm hoping that Tuppence will listen to it and perhaps "move on" from his ghastly prog rock phase.

He's rebuilt the moog, you know. It crashed over the cliffs after the last debacle at his gig at the Puff Inn, if you remember (probably not, and I can't say I blame you...). But there were some tin cans left over after he constructed the CHeaSe-Buster, and so he decided to weld them together and make another Moog. Sigh.

I think he's on for the Puff Inn again this weekend. Oh dear.

The Creeping Ivies - Shake It Up

Sunday, 6 March 2011

More Chic Murray

More Chic Murray lines from Robbie Grigor's invaluable "Just Daft - the Chic Murray Story" (Birlinn books)

"Just bought the wife a Jaguar - great investment, it's just bit her leg off."

"My wife's a red head - no hair, just a red head."

"A man went into a pet shop and asked to buy a pet wasp. 'We don't stock pet wasps.' 'Well, how come you've got two in the window?"

"Looking at the obituary columns, it never fails to amaze me how many people die in alphabetical order."

"Did I know him? Of course I did. I was in the actual firing squad that shot him.' 'Funny, he didn't mention that.' 'Och, he was a quiet lad really.'

"Nothing's worn under the kilt. It's all in perfect working order."

Chic was in a few films and did a fair bit of TV work. However, he had a couple of bad breaks when the Royal Variety Performance he was scheduled to be in, was cancelled due to the Suez crisis, and when his American agent was killed in a car crash just as he was setting up some appearances in the U.S. which could have been crucial to Chic's career.
He was very good friends with Billy Connelly and got along well also with Spike Milligan, who described him as 'one of the top comics in the world.'

Friday, 4 March 2011

More thoughts on Chic Murray

The thing that puts me off Chic Murray is the tartan connection. By and large, I don't much like Scottish comedians. (that sounds like the beginnings of a Chic Murray joke...) and I can't stand tartan kitsch unless it's completely ironic and having the total guts ripped out of it.
Scottish comedians of a certain type and generation, that is. Loathe Hector Nicol, Jimmy Logan, Duncan Macrae - all the White Heather Club and Hogmanay stuff.
I've been looking at some Youtube footage of Chic. What puts me off is the audience. My parents' generation. Reminds me of horrible Hogmanays with leering drunken men and everybody stinking of whisky and three sheets to the wind. Usually some Andy Stewart or Calum Kennedy blaring away in the background. Oh what fun. Not. I hate it for its hypocrisy and its misogyny.
So in a way, I prefer to read Chic's stuff.
I don't think he was that keen on the tartan crap himself, but hard to escape it at that time really. Personally I'd like to have seen him with no canned laughter and no tartan AT ALL - just the jokes.

Some Chic Murray quotes

All from Robbie Grigor's book about Chic Murray, "Just Daft" published by Birlinn books.

'Unfortunately, at the AGM of the Unspeakably Shy Society (Rutherglen branch) nobody was able to attend.' (possibly my favourite, as I can identify...)

'I don't care if he was the head of the Light Brigade. There will be no charging here!'

'If something's neither here nor there, where the hell is it?'

'In the Olympic village, a man wearing trainers and carrying a long stick, was asked by a stranger, ' Are you a pole vaulter?' 'Nein. I am German. But how did you know my name is Walter?'

'I was making tea in my pyjamas. I must remember to buy a teapot.'

'Ah! but what have I got up my sleeve? A broken arm if you're not careful.'

'She wasn't all there. But I thought there was enough to make it interesting.'

'I got on a bus and went upstairs. The conductor asked for my fare. 'A single to the west End please,' I said. 'We don't go to the West End,' he said. I said, 'But you've got West End on the front of the bus.' He said, 'We've got Persil on the back of the bus but we don't take in washing.'

'That boy needed a good hiding. So I took him away and hid him where they'll never find him.'

'I walked into the bedroom. The curtains were drawn but the furniture was real.'

Loads more. Like I said before, the monologue The Nose is the funniest thing I've ever read.

Best £14.99 I've spent in a long while.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Salty snack of the week


Salt 'n' potato based snack of the week - Pringles Xtreme Smokin' Ribs.
They are disgusting. I should know - I ate quite a lot of them, before I decided....
Belch.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Scots wurd o' the day

Well there are three ackshully.

First off - "Shallmillens" n. meaning fragments. "I seem to have sat on a packet of Hobnobs and now I'm afraid they're in shallmillens. Gutted. Serve me right for keeping them in my back pocket."

(Blimey I'm a bit tense today - post just dropped through the letterbox and I about jumped out of my skin.)

Secondly - "Strang-pig" - n. a vessel for preserving urine as a lye. "I'm off down to Ikea to get another Strang-pig - thon one's no' hauf sprung a leak."

Thirdly - everyone knows this one but I'm putting it in as it's one of my favourites - "Stravaig" v. to saunter, stroll; to go about aimlessly and idly. "I've spent my whole life stravaiging about and whit's wrang wi' that? You got a problem wi' me?" *nut*

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Scots wurd o' the Day

Leafing through Chambers's Scots Dictionary again.

Today's wurd - well, I can't decide.

I'll have two.

"Dementit". Duz wot it sez on the tin. But I think it sounds way better than "demented".

'Ye're drivin' me fair dementit wi' yer sprauchlin''.

Second wurd - "Demellit", which means hurt, or injured. A new one on me. 'Ah'm fair demellit efter thon barney we hud so ah am.'