Unreliable and possibly off-topic


Sunday, August 26, 2007

To the Partygoers

Dear Partygoers,

To those who came and enjoyed themselves sensibly, thanks for celebrating the Big Wan's 15th birthday. To you others, you're a disgrace to your families and have only sheep mentality. You're the ones who-
  • Stubbed out cigarettes in shoes, the sugarbowl and the sink
  • Tossed knives and empty beer tins in the laundry basket, two feet from a bin
  • Threw mango pulp on the wall
  • Strewed pumpkin seeds all over the house
  • Ate everything in the fridge
  • Vomited in a bed
  • Tipped a suitcase full of clothes into the garden, putting a hole in the anti-pigeon netting outside
  • Left hotrock burns in the carpet
  • Fucked off home at the the prospect of cleaning up after yourselves
What's that about? I gather that the Big Wan didn't even enjoy himself, having to spend his time patrolling to prevent worse behaviour. If only I'd known, sleeping badly next door, I would've first kicked your heads in, then told your nicey-nicey middle-class parents exactly what you did, then came around to your house and taken a shit on your beds. When I find out who it was, that's still on the cards. An eye for an eye.

Mother from Hell

PS Whichever of you little fucks stole the landline phone- how stupit are you? The handset only works within 20m of the cradle.

PPS Just discovered some more thanks for hospitality, with my neighbour's help- superglue in my front door lock, now knackered. We've had to kick in the door tonight to get home. It's a comfort to know incontrovertibly that what goes around comes around.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Holiday Vid: Pigs

This short section was filmed on holiday last month in Dumfries & Galloway.

It's of the farm pigs, from before we'd gained permission to feed them vegetarian leftovers. There's a period of conversation in which I explain to the wee wan that a wattle is a ...wattle.



Another week gone- and not a bad one. I've pleaded illness by letter to the Office Supervisor on the tax disc offence, which is more than partially true, and am waiting to hear back about the extent of my mitigation and their leniency. Hopefully the traffic police gods will be merciful.

This week, starting on the overnight shift on Tuesday night, I've been reading Gavin Menzies' '1421'. I'd hoped it would be along the lines of '1491', a really decent book about pre-Columbian culture in the New World, but no.

It's all about how the Chinese discovered the New World, Australia, the Arctic and Antarctic in voyages between 1421 and 1423, then the records were wiped out by succeeding emperors and mandarins. It's a great story, but the book is shite. Clues to its shiteness are a reliance on the word 'I' in the narrative and basic scientific mistakes. 'I' requested carbon-dating and was refused, 'I' found Tamil inscriptions on New World stelae, 'I' have been thwarted in my research... The scientific evidence is shite too. According to Menzies, 'Chinese genes' are found in American native populations and a 'Chinese speaking' tribe is found in Venezuala. The very idea of 'Chinese' genes is ridiculous, for all we humans are related and the colonisation of the Americas is presumed to have taken place by emigration over the Bering landbridge around 13 to 20 thousand years ago. The author is simply in love with the idea of Chinese superiority and technological sophistication in the mediaeval age, without regard to the fact that other technological advances were being made independently but contemporaneously elsewhere.

More evidence is presented via an argument of incredulity, that certain ancient sites in the New World are just too advanced to have been locally made, for the Chinese are the ubermensch and local technologies are retarded. I can't believe I'm persisting with this piece of nonsense, except to gather further evidence of its numptiness. I'm reminded of 'Chariot of the Gods', and not in a good way. It's going to the charity shop as soon as it's finished.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fringe reviews

I'm halfway through my Fringe activities, which this year smack strongly of gayness, for no known reason.

Simon Amstell (a youngish gay Jewish comedian) had a show called 'No Self' in which he discussed the break-up of a two-year love affair reflected through some reading of Buddhist texts and his experience of the Thai tsunami. He questions how to extend compassion to all when he feels compassion towards specific people and how to expunge his self when he's trapped in his own body and mind. Join the club, Simon! The Big Wan laughed a lot during this, partly through schadenfreude because two other comedians that he doesn't favour (Jimmy Carr and Justin Lee Collins) received the less compassionate side of Simon's tongue.

The Bacchae was staged in a favourite rococco theatre, the King's, with a minimalist gyre-shaped set and some great pyrotechnics, costumes and cast. The Bacchae (female followers of Dionysus) were all beautiful and full-voiced black actors. I liked the music a lot. Dionysus (Alan Cumming) was dressed in a gorgeous cloth-of-gold kilt and waistcoat which reminded me very much of a dress I made myself in my early 20s. However, it must have been 30 degrees C plus up in the gods where we sat, and uncomfortably hot for a pale northerner like me. After 1.5 hrs without an interval I was close to passing out, so made my excuses and left. Themes that seemed to be developed were the mysteriousness and fickleness of women, family conflict, and dealing with capricious and jealous gods. It doesn't have a happy ending, I hear.

We saw the LadyBoys of Bangkok on Sunday with a group of friends after a particularly good Thai meal to celebrate Alex's birthday. I haven't been before but we were all well lubricated and enjoyed the double-entendres, immaculate make-up and costumes, lip-synching and cabaret. About 80% of the audience were large hen-type parties of straight women, which surprised me. Maybe we were a sort of hen party too- three straight women and a gay male couple. It was fun because we saw it in company, but after the first song, you get the idea and don't really need to see more.

On Thursday, the gay theme will continue with a visit to see 'Eurobeat', a staging of an ersatz Eurovision song contest. I met my last proper (cohabitant) partner at the Fringe, but somehow I sense that this is unlikely to be repeated this year. This is not necessarily a bad thing.


Saturday, August 18, 2007


A somewhat so-so week. Had a lurgy that made my throat sore, my bowels runny and my muscles achey. Spent a day and a half in bed sleeping it off with Her Catness as nursemaid. Still not 100%, but I'm sure I will survive. On Friday I got a £60 ticket for displaying an out-of-date tax disc on my car. Yes, I'd paid for and received through the post a new tax disc, but hadn't yet gotten around to taking it down to the car. Stupidity and laziness is no excuse! Last week, I dented the car and shattered the side-panel indicator when exiting a cinema carpark (after a crappy film), forgetting entirely about the pillar next to me. This will cost cash to fix, but more importantly time and inconvenience.

Then on Thurs the Big Wan lost my cashcard for me in the 10 mins between taking it from my purse and leaving for the hole-in-the-wall. Between us we spent 5 man-hours turning the flat over to find it, without success, so it's now been reported missing in action.

When I lose something, I try to recapture my actions, thoughts and movements around the time of the loss, but this doesn't work for the Big Wan. He put the card on the coffee table, then it's all blank. Possibly our neighbour with the spare key to the flat snuck in, bludgeoned BW over the head and made off with the card, or aliens abducted both him and the card. Sometime over the next few weeks, the now-cancelled card will surely show up in some obscure hiding place in the flat, and I will learn something of the mysteries of the Big Wan's thought processes. I've told him not to tell me if he finds it- it will only re-open the wounds- and just to cut it up and bin it. However, it's likely to be H-etc., my own hut manager, who will come across it first.

Lastly, I had an episode of Pie Rage last night uptown, after working my way through Fringe crowds to claim tickets without the card they were booked with. I'd visited the bookshop to pick up 'Catcher in the Rye' and 'The Epic of Gilgamesh' for the aforementioned Big Wan's studies and stopped by the pie shop for a couple of pasties for my tea. I may have been ever so slightly irritated by crowds, tourists and hassle already. There was a long and disorganised queue in the pie shop. A group of three young luvvies came in after me and proceeded to intrude on my personal space and sensibilities by standing too close and shouting in my earhole to each other about this show and that show, and how little time they had till the next performance. When it was my turn to be served, the lassie placed her order in a loud braying voice. I said, "Excuse me, I'm next" but she carried on, ignoring me. I screamed, "EXCUSE ME, I ASSURE YOU THAT I AM NEXT!" and both she and the worker fell silent and acquiesced. I think they could sense that I was a woman who would not be trifled with.


Sunday, August 12, 2007


Itt walks, Itt talks, Itt smiles! The Big Wan is restored to me!

It's so nice to be sharing the household with a human bean again and not a zombie! In celebration I'm taking him to see Simon Amstell next weekend. We love his smug, self-satisfied bullying of the panel on 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks', but should be prepared for a more intellectual routine at the show. We will try to act our ages instead of our shoe sizes. Also, I snagged the last two tickets in very bad but cheap seats for the Festival production of 'The Bacchae' at the King's, with Alan Cumming, for R. and me. It's by Euripides, don'tcha know, but will have a black gospel Greek chorus and Alan in a fetching gold skirt. Daniel Kitson is sold out (sadly), though previously he and I had hit it off in a conversation about hot squaddies from Colchester. R. may remember this...


Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Just in case anyone thought I was exaggerating about the Big Wan's flight into teenage moodiness, here are the photos from the SeaFari. He's Cousin Itt on the right.
Wish I'd gotten a photo when we visited the beach at Kirkcudbright, all exposing our pasty bodies in swimwear except for him. He was dressed head to toe in goth black, without a single square centimetre of skin exposed, extended supine on the beach with a black hoodie over his face to prevent any interaction whatsoever.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Samye Ling

Rob asked for some photies of Samye Ling, so here's some I took when we visited. There are better ones on the Samye Ling website. Samye Ling is a Tibetan Buddhist centre near Eskdalemuir in the Galloway uplands, set in meadows and woodland.

1. The Temple from outside: this doesn't do it justice. Couldn't photograph inside, but the ceiling is beautifully painted with dragons and birds, hung with silks and paintings, lined with a thousand gilded Buddhas of all sizes. Sitting at the back in the tourist seats, the room was redolent with incense and the sound of monks and nuns chanting in counterpoint.

2. Motorised prayer wheels turning incessantly. Is this cheating? Probably not.

3. Liberation Gate. Lots of animal symbolism, which I wished I could read.

4. Green Tara statue, near the herbal garden. Pictorial stories around the base, including a car, a cityscape and a demon being unleashed. We stood back from this admiring it while a nun walked clockwise around, not wishing to disturb her observations. The nun widened her orbit and kindly included us within her circuit.

5. Nagarjuna statue in the lilypond lake. The wee wan tells me that the cobra protecting him is a spectacled cobra, and I think there's a legend that the spots are the Buddha's fingerprints.

6. Damselfly at lakeside. You have to look close for this, but they were darting all over the surface of the lake and the lilypads.

7. Prayer tree hung with ribbons.

Unfortunately I didn't photograph the beautifully kept food and herb gardens, which have a blue-headed statue of (I think) the medicine Buddha, nor the Peace Island with its altar lined with keepsakes (including expired credit cards, a dead sparrow, dogtags, badges).


Friday, August 03, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggety jog

It's been a lovely week away; mostly warm and dry weather, big watercolour-washed skies with cloud formations, good food, beaches (if mildly radioactive), gardens, woods, animals both wild and domesticated, and a pleasingly home-made adventure playground at the farmstead (not banned to adults).

I didn't take any photos of the farmstead at Barncrosh, which was an error. This is their fourth time there, so one starts to take it for granted. But we spent at least half of each day here playing, reading or smoking according to whim. There's maybe eight holiday flats within the farmstead, almost all with kids in tow and for the first time the kiddos split up- the Big Wan camping out all night in the wood with the trio of bigger lads, their fires, poo-holes and Ray Mears, the wee wan hanging out at the trampolines and the flying fox with the smaller ones, including Annoying Jessica.

Most evenings I was out at dusk to admire the aerobatic house martins scooping up midgies on the wing to deliver to their nestlings hidden in beakerware nests under the eves. The binoculars came in handy for this, and for watching the seabirds on the Fleet estuary. The wee wan and I spoiled the seven pigs of the farm after gaining permission to feed them vegetarian scraps. They needed to sleep cuddled up together in their shelters when it was sunny and hot and also when it was damp and drizzly, which covers much of the time. But the porkers got to recognising the smell or sound us coming down the lane with a carrier of leftovers, whether potato and carrot peel, wilted salad, baked potatoes, or (on the last day) dhal, rice and naan. You've never seen such a squealing and oinking, collective scramble and rush to a gate! Most of the soowees are odd tortoiseshell spotted types with long attractive ginger lashes, but the seventh is a huge Vietnamese pot-bellied sow- Big Pig- probably the weight of all the other oinkers combined. She doesn't seem either to act or be treated by the others as different, but given her mass we made sure she got more than a straight share.