Unreliable and possibly off-topic


Tuesday, June 14, 2005


To top her her splendid perversion of the 'Lion's Crotch' for the Lion's Haunch, Nini has asked whether my healed earring hole had been 'skeptic'.


Botanic magic

Sunday, R and I had a slow tour of the Botanic Gdns, while she listed Latin names to me. We were too late for the full splendour of the rhododendron display (although it blooms later further north). However the Mecanopsis (blue Himalayan poppies) were out. The Chinese Garden has filled out beautifully since last year, with flags and irises encroaching the water-run to the lily pond and pagoda. The vines are now coiling round the trees, both species hanging lantern blossoms.

It was a 'monkey's birthday' that day, so we were sheltering under trees one minute, and basking in full sun the next. At the cafe, we occupied the seat rejected by others because of its overhanging sycamore's high transpiration rate; spraying on customers a fine shower of viscous, sugary rain. It didn't bother us, but both our sunspecs were later gunked.

* Expression from ex-mother-in-law, raised in Edinburgh. Means four seasons in one day.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Culture jams

After a late night at the Bongo Club, a perfect early morning activity is to record for posterity some recent favourite graffiti and landmarks. There's full daylight at this latitude at 4.45 am, currently.

First, for Sau, Shelley's plaque at 60a George St. Here's the 'before' pic of this sadly neglected memorial to Red Shelley and his first wife, Harriet:

And here's the 'after' pic, following a good quarter hour of elbow grease and a half bottle of Brasso. Note the reflection now showing up, and that the lettering has become black. A passerby asked me not to wiggle my bum at that time in the morning, while I was polishing (smiley), but I was putting my back into the task:

And some of my favourite recent graffiti.

On Brighton St, near the Medical School:

Outside Word Power bookshop, West Nicholson St:

Also on West Nicholson St:

Mystery and zoology in one graffito panel on West Crosscausewayside. Is the red critter a chipmunk, squirrel or skunk?:

'Make Capitalism History', in close-up and a wider shot, stencilled on both pillars of Bank of Scotland at Holy Corner:


Sunday, June 05, 2005


It's been a bit slow on the Ionetics factory floor lately, and management admit production is down. The workers have taken control of the means of production and implemented a 3 day week. No, not really- I wish. Just busy at work etc.

So what's new? Well, the Antony and the Johnsons album 'I Am a Bird Now' is entrancing and somewhat holy, filled with mourning. I'm a sucker for torch songs, like those of Brel, Scott Walker, Maianne Faithfull, and these are exquisite, particularly 'Bird Guhl'. Smash recommended this, and he was right. Marc Almond (another torch singer) made his first performance following his near-fatal accident in a duet with Antony in London in April. Antony and his Johnsons are playing in Edinburgh on the 30th June, and I'd love to hear that voice live, but am coming off a plane from San Diego that morning. I think I may buy myself a ticket, just in case I'm up for cabaret on the night.

The programme for Patti Smith's Meltdown festival (featured in ?Tues Independent review) has some line-up. My colleague has booked tickets to see Patti Smith play 'Horses' on the 25th, my all-time favourite album, with John Cale (who produced the original). However, I will be away in San Diego, and will miss this landmark reunion, 30 years after the fact. She's also playing with Steve Earle one night, again one I'll miss.

I will also be missing the one-day workshop run by the Botanical Gardens on identifying British wildflowers (June 25th) which R and I had long planned to attend. There seems to be a lot happening here at home at the end of June, when I'm away. However, I will be back for G8 at the beginning of July, and the kids are wanting to make their voices heard then too. I'll have to get them busy designing and plotting.

My friend D has been visiting for a long weekend while attending my ex's wedding, to my and kids' pleasure. The kids had key roles in the ceremony (chief bridesmaid and best man), and clearly enjoyed themselves. As for D, she has managed the difficult task of continuing to be a good friend simultaneously to me, the ex and our kids. But I'm glad she chooses to stay with me when she's up from London.

D (whom I've known for 27 years) and I took an (in)famous tour of Gareloch maybe 4 years ago, and I'm having a longing towards this area again. Inverewe Gardens too.

Achiltibuie and Gareloch are calling to me again, and the midgies can't put me off. I'm now armed with Avon 'Skin So Soft' products, which I have proven in n=1 experiments as empirically effective against these little blackfly bloodsucking bastards. The greenery of flora, mosses and ephemeroptera this time of year is head-buzzing, with waterlilies breaking out in every little hill loch, late Highland lambs acting stupid, and dragon- and damsel-flies darting among low-growing bog flowers.