Sunday, December 31, 2006

new word

I was reading an interesting article on the online guardian about people keeping a diary. According to the article, diaries are interesting when the writer is dead or the diary is essentially empty, since this is a record of a half lived life. In the article one of the writers uses the word: quotidian. I hate smart ass writers with their heads full of little used words. I have had problems with the meanings of words before. While I lived in Edinburgh, I once had a heavy cold, that made me hide in my dusty little bedsit until the fever left me. During my exile from the healthy world I read "120 days of Sodom" by Marquis De Sade. Needles to say this book didn't make me feel any better. I remembered the book title as "120 days of sodomy". This was not a particularly Freudian slip. At the time I was not really clear what sodom (or sodomy) meant. Somehow my mum forget to tell me about these things when I was growing up. Now I can just use google and wikipedia to look up new words. But before the web, sodomy was not part of my quotidian family life.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Brel CD

I don't want to be like one of those place snobs, but I always feel a lot happier being in a city. Sometimes, it is inevitable I have to accept being in a town. While I was visiting my mum for the holidays, I was in the music store (perhaps the musiczone) in the centre of Burnley. I saw a CD by Scott Walker called "sings Jacques Brel". Brel was a famous Belgium singer song writer, who wrote some fantastic disturbing songs. Brel gets covered a lot by English singers. I had searched a number of shops in Glasgow for this CD , once I had learnt of its existence. Technically I was in the shop to buy a present for my brother, but I needed to buy presents for myself as well. I particularly like track 7 called "if you go away". This is a fantastic sad song that is just prefect to play when a relationship falls apart. The first lines are something like: "if you go away on this summer day, then you may as well take the sun with you." It is so lonely. The trouble is, I am not sure I would ever get much of a chance to play it. I am more likely to hear, "if you spent more time cleaning the toilet, rather than listening to gloomy CDs this relationship would be in a much better shape." Or, "why can't we spend Sunday walking in the green hills, rather than staring at them out of the window in some self imposed exile from happiness. I am leaving now. Don't play that Scott Walker track when I am gone." I once got a CD of Brel singing. Unfortunately, he sang in French and the lyric is all in his world.


I speed read "User Interface Design for Programmers" by Joel Spolsky yesterday. This is a book about the design of computer GUIs. It is written in a clear style. Joel is famous for writing many of the articles on the site Joel worked for Microsoft for a while so he had many insights into the way the windows GUIs are designed. Still I see so many badly designed programs. At the start of the book, he notes that people are a lot happier when they can control and change their environment. Later he complains about programs with too many options. Life is full of compromises. Working with crappy programs tends to really me fu*k me off.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The face

As my book for travelling home, I choose "the face" by Dean Koontz. I personally feel that novels should not be over 500 pages, otherwise the novelist should be shot. This book was 649 pages long, but I vote that Dean should not be shot with glock for the length of his book. Although I enjoyed reading "the face", I don't feel that I know anything more about the human condition. Still, it was a page turner with a nice mix of violence and the supernatural.

Talking weird sh*t

I was talking to some people in the pub before Christmas. They all seemed to have crazy friends, who talked for hours about crazy stuff such as giant robots. At the time I suddenly had an idea to improve road safety. The next big thing in road safety will be air bags on the outside of the car. Just thing, do you really want to take the risk of hitting a child in a car. What you really need is an air bag outside the car just in case you hit a pedestrian. Most people would feel bad if they killed a child in an accident. I am sure a car salesman could get people to pay an additional £500 for outside airbags on their new car. Trouble is that sounds a bit weird and freaky. When I thought of it in the pub, I decided to keep quiet. I didn't want to appear strange and messed up, so I kept my idea to myself. But how many people have to die because there are not air bags outside the car.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some new music.

I worry that as I get into the old music, I will miss some of the new music coming out now. Will I have to read a book in 2016 about the music in 2006? Probably. Just to show I am keeping my eye on the new modern sounds, you can check out the ZX spectrum orchestra. I am not sure how to get hold of their music though. Cutting edge.


I have just finished reading the book "rip it up and start again" by Simon Reynolds. This books documents the postpunk movements between 1978 and 1984. As I have mentioned before, the TV programs about punk just concentrate on the clash and the sex pistols. But there were many other bands around then who were more interesting. I have only recently discovered bands such as wire and gang of four. I was sort of growing up then, but I seemed to have missed many important sounds. I expect that I spent too much time watching Top of the Pops and not enough time listening to John Peel. I didn't have much money, so I doubt that I could have really got into those bands. I was surprised by how many of the bands were influenced by books and cultural theory. Drugs, booze and massive egos, ended most of the bands in the end. Perhaps, like life fame should end after a short while. We can't all be U2 now can we? Here are some old bands I am going to check out: * The pop group * throbbing gristle (these guys are a bit sick though) * the residents * the blue orchids * raincoats People will think I am so cool when I name check these great old bands. Or maybe not

gloom and despair ect.

There was an amusing piece on the radio about "smiling in France". The presenter noted that it wasn't considered normal to smile at people in Paris. I don't know whether this is true or not. But the presenter walked around Paris for a while and smiled at people. People got scared and looked away. Whether the French do this, I don't know, but frankly it sounds a reasonable thing to do to me. When I was very little I was forced by my parents to live in the South of England. When we visited the southern village again, a lady in a bakery remembered that as a child I used to be gloomy and quiet. She tried to cheer me up by giving me pastries. This explains a lot. People complain that I don't smile enough and spend too much time talking about darkness, disease and death. Hey, I am just waiting for some free doughnuts. As I swipe the plastic knife against the blue vein in my arm, I am just just waiting for some jam and cream. Keep smiling for the insane and jolly.

Twilight Samurai

I watched the DVD for the film "Twilight Samurai" a couple of days ago. Blockbuster have a big section on world cinema, so I get to see how people get killed in other cultures. There are only two sword fights in "Twilight Samurai", but they were good ones. Most of the film is about a poor Samurai working as a clerk and falling in love. A good "chick flick" for women who like Samurai swords. More information

Sunday, December 17, 2006


On Saturday morning I ventured from the safe confines of the West End to go to the centre of Glasgow to buy a Christmas present for my mum. I was stopped by soneone who was doing a survey about alchol problems in Scotland. Now I had been out the previous evening for a holiday session and my head felt a bit thick, so I wasn't really in the mood to be questioned. The first question was "how old are you?". Oh my, god I thought I am not sure I can do complicated math with a Saturday morning hangover. I told her my age, but apparently they are only interested in people with drink problems who are younger than 37. So I am now too old to take part in a survey on drink problems in Scotland. Why? On reflection perhaps that had something to do with sperm counts. As I stood stunned the woman gave me a gentle tug on the arm as she stepped away and I was propelled into the tube station and totally missed the waiting arms of the scream pub next door.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Visitor Q

I just finished watching a DVD called Visitor Q by Miike Tahshi. What, wot, what was going on? You don't watch a Miike film with your mum, but still, it was fairly crazy by any standards. Perhaps in Japan this is normal. Anyway it was way better than the Segal movie on the digital channel. Still very disturbing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Being a sad person, I got really excited when I found that Lee Hazelwood had a new CD out. I only found who Lee Hazelwood was when I was impulse buying CDs in the Probe shop in Liverpool. The CD was Poet Fool or Bum / Back on the Street Again. I really liked his crooning sound. I suppose he is most "famous" for working with Nancy Sinatra. But he has had a long and strange career that involved him working in Sweden for a while. I am usually too scared to listen to Lee Hazelwood in front of people, just in case I might need to rearrange somebody's musical taste with a slight touch of my fist. The new CD is "Cake or death". I was really nervous that it might suck. I just heard a track on Mint on radio6. He still sounds good although he is ill and old. If he had been a "main stream" successful artist, it would have been dire. Somehow a life of non-success doesn't mean failure.

Davy Graham

I am listening to "folk, blues and beyond" by Davy Graham. Davy was an English folk pioneer in late 50s and 60s. For some reason, I always thought that the British folk scene in early 60s was very much about wearing woolly jumpers and singing traditional ballads in the folk club before they started the important business of a career. Graham's guitar sound is traditional, modern and still wild. Davy liked to travel and supported himself in many foreign lands by busking. I wish I could live such a life. Of course chemicals took his spirit in the end. I am pretty sure I heard him give an interview on the freakzone on radio6. He sounded like a tired broken man. but he could still play his guitar. I have been unable to find the track listings for Graham playing on the freakzone, so perhaps he is dead and he was reaching me from the beyond with more suggestions for CDs to buy. More information about Davy Graham.

Monday, December 04, 2006


There was an interesting article on working long hours in the guardian yesterday. I like the fact that it is considered normal for people to fall asleep at a dinner party. (Since I have had a student fall asleep in a tutorial I can well believe it). Sometimes I get into work and I put my head in my hands because I have got so much work to do. Then I get up and tell other people how behind I am on my work. Then at lunch I tell people how stressed I am with the over work. Then suddenly it is time to go home and I have achieved nothing all day. Well it is time to start for work. I hearing a howling gale outside that shakes the curtains. No doubt freezing rain will meet me as I walk out the door.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I started to watch a documentary about English punk bands. The trouble with these programs is that they only focus on the sex pistols, the clash, the dammned and a bunch of other bands who charted for a bit. I am kind of annoyed that they never mention postpunk bands such as wire or gang of four. They never talk about the American hardcore scene in the early 80s (black flag,..). Also I am fairly pissed that I was 38 before I heard of The Modern Lovers and Jonathan Richman. Richman was a pre-punk band that I really like. Perhaps the punk thing would be to read some more books, because I can't trust the TV.

Psycho shop

There is a good selection of books in Oxfam on Byers Rd. I have noticed that second hand book stores near Universities tend to have better selections than other places. This sounds a bit snobby, but my theory is that University folk buy lots of books, that they later have to sell when they get too additcted to booze and chemicals. Just a theory. The book in question is Psycho shop by Alfred Bester and Roger Zelazny. Bester started the book, but it was finished by Zelazny when Bester died. Bester was a major inovating in the 50s and early 60s. He only used to write when he had emotional problems. Unfortunately, he must have found happiness, during the 70s and 80s, because he stopped writing, and he died in poverty. Bester's great novels such as "the demolished man" were way ahead of their time. This novel was very confusing, particularly as it took me three months to read. Also too much physics, I don't read science fiction to learn about the science of black holes. Still not a bad read. More information about Bester


Tesco are pretty good at tempting me with their displays of stuff. I can see why they make billions of pounds in profit. I was going to the store in the Maryhill shopiing center, when I remembered that were selling wind up radios. That could be useful I thought. I don't want to get electrocuted while listening to the radio in the shower. Also a wind up radio would be useful if civilisation collapsed and I couldn't rely on email. I could sit in my third floor flat while the mad dogs and crazy drugged zombies roam the streets in search of human flesh. The wind up radio would let me know when it was safe to go to the street level and resume a normal life of going to starbucks. I am not really sure that a third floor flat is high enough. From what I rememeber of the film "28 days", I would need to hide out in a much higher flat when zombies take over. If the troops in blue helmets come in their black helicopoters and take away our pound coins, I am going to need a way to listen to the resistance that doesn't involve buying batteries with those hated euros. The power of Tesco marketing is more powerful that my paranoid fantasies. I decided what I really needed, before I stocked up on survivalist kit, was a bath mat so I don't slip over and shatter my spine. I will get the wind up radio on another trip

feel the fear and do it anyway

I have just finished reading "feel the fear and do it anyway." by Susan Jeffers. This is a self help book about feeling positive. Normally positive people get on my nerves, and I have to restrain myself from giving a light knock on the nose with a heavy object. Sometimes I like being negative and depressed, so I don't need some bright spark telling me to look on gthe bright side of life. Hey, I would feel a whole lot better, if you shut the f**k up and got me another beer. Trouble is, being positive is not always enough. You can be as positive as you like, but you may never find out why the mass of the top quark is 174 GeV. I was particularly impressed with the diagram that shows what you are like in a relationship: ------------------- | relationship | -------------------- when the relationship is over the diagram looks like: ----------------------- | | ----------------------- wow. This makes so much sense. Obviously I read this type of book for a reason. Mostly to get poison out of my system. The film Donnie Darko is particularly good at destroying the "self help crowd".

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Vashti Bunyan

I am listening to a CD by Vashti Bunyan. The CD was made in the late 60s. The songs were written as Vashtil travelled by horse and cart to Scotland to live in a commune founded by Donovan. The journey took two years. She sounds so sweet and shy. Vashti dropped out of the music scene until a few years ago, when she suddenly found that her old album was fetching huge sums on the internet. That is the trouble with pop music. People no longer take two years to go from London to Scotlan, they are too busy and so get a plane instead. So they listen to Robbie Williams and feel cheated. More information. Some people are only happy when they are listning to a someone so obscure that only a few of the chosen few have heard of them.

Jeffrey Lewis

I went out to see Jeffrey Lewis play on Thursday at Kings Tuts in Glasgow. Jeffrey Lewis is a singer song writer from New York. This was one of the best gigs I have ever been to. He sang some songs that I had own. He sang a great song about meeting Will Oldam on a train in New York, that I particularly like. He also did a song about the communist revolution in China. At the same time he flicked through a big comic, drawn by himself, of the communist revolution in China. He did another song about some big brain. The magic of youtube allows you to see this song as well. The weird thing was that the Jeffrey Lewis band were the support band. I have already forgotten who the main band were. I wanted to get a T-shirt, but I know I would have some stupid joke about taking acid. He would then have muttered something about listening to the second album.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner

I spent the weekend at a martial arts seminar taught by Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner. Benjamin is part of the dog brothers system. (I don't do full contact stick fighting I might add). There was a lot of aerobic exercise that was also good for footwork. Over the weekend there was probably only an hour or so of teaching specific technique on "crashing". This is a lot less than other seminars I have been on, but that is good, because I usually forget most of the techniques taught at a long seminars. Benjamin's main fighting stratergy was "not getting hit." After watching a DVD of a fight at a gathering where one guy was knocked out with a stick, this seems a very good stratergy.

curb your enthusiasm

I getting soft as I get older. Some people have problems with horror movies. They can't stand the scary scenes. I have no problem with that. OK that is not entirely true, I do haved some problems watching people get tortured in new horror films such as "hostel". I am having problems watching some of the new comedies. The scenes are so painfull to watch, that sometimes I just can't bare to watch and frankly I have to turn the TV off and go and have a lie down. This is particularly true of shows as "curb your enthusiasm" by Larry David (who was one of the writers behind Seinfeld). I just watched an episode of "curb your ethusiasm" on a digital channel. I would describe why I almost turned the TV off during the epsisode, but I might get arrested if I messed up the review. I liked the motto behind Seinfeld "no hugging and no learning". So I don't understand why the TV show friends is so popular in the UK. There were some very cruel scenes in Seinfeld, but curb your enthusiasm takes things to a whole new level. This is progress I guess.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


About two weeks ago I went for a beer in the Western bar on the great Western Road. There were three old drunk guys at the bar screaming at each other. One guy with dirty white hair shouted to the bar "the first principle of special relativity is E=m c^2". His crazy old friends nodded and worked on the important business of standing up. I was going to correct the guy, but as my mum says you can't argue with drunks. After showing his expertise in Einstein, he then started to shout "what the f**k does it mean that a physical constant is squared." This struck me as profound, and not your normal drunk speak. What did he mean? Perhaps this was some subtle power counting argument about matching to an effective field theory. Or perhaps he had some deep insight to physical dimensions of quantaties based on string theory only having one scale. Feynman claimed that his noble prize work was based on watching somebody throw a plate at Cornell. I don't mind so much that the guy was loud, drunk, and dirty, but how can I respect the opinion of someone who doesn't set c=1 in their equations? At a table close to me some people were talking about their job installing kitchen units. Some people know how to have fun. As I left the bar, I thought I need a new way to unwind after work. I wonder if I will end up like that drunk guy? Will my only audience for my physics theories be the happy hour crowd?

Robert Altman

I was sorry to hear of Robert Altman's death. I used to regularly go to some arts cinema in Edinburgh to see films after work on a Friday in the early 90s. I saw "the player" a great satire on holywood. Also, if my failing memory doesn't fail me I also watched "short cuts". This was a movie based on short stories by Raymond Carver. The film made me feel ill, with the inhumanity in it. Tom Waits was good in it. I liked the way he walked into the bar and poured his money on the bar top to give to the bar man. I also thought that a great film put out at the same time called "Bob Roberts" was also an Altman film. The magic search capablity of the internet has told me that Bob Roberts was actually directed by Tim Robbins, a buddy of Altman. The last film by Altman is "Praire home companion". This a film about a long running radio show. When I lived in the US, I used to mildly hate this radio show. It was always struck me as being about normal decent folk, who I find boring. No doubt I will end up like them or wind up dead from my wild crazy lifestyle. I will probably go see the film though, but I need to see the film Nashiville more urgently. Obviously I liked the MASH film as well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

final Canada stuff

I am not sure why I spent so much time complaining about the rain in Canada, because frankly it is winter and rain is what happens in the winter. It was actually quite nice the last day I spent in Vancouver. I was carrying all my luggage waiting for a 20:30 flight, so a lot of rain would have been a bummer. My plan was to go to the beaches around Vancouver. After I got to the general area called a "beach", there seemed to just be a railway track with some industrial stuff near it. I am old fashioned a beach for me has to have like sand and a place to buy ice cream. I am sure there were beaches in Vancouver, but it seemed unlikely that I would find them with the crappy map I stole from the hotel. There are an incredible number of places to eat in Vancouver from every nation except perhaps Canada. People are very polite in Canada. When I was going to breakfast on Sunday morning, some guy asked me to punch some woman out, then he said "thank you sir", as I looked at him in a confused way. The 7-11's don't sell beer. In fact it was hard to find a place that sold booze to take out. Not that this is important to me, I am just making some observations. When I was lost, I did find China town. The Chinese arch in Vancouver is not as colourful as the one in Liverpool. OK, so now I have done Canada. When I got back to Glasgow it was raining.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I explore Canada for a day

I arrived in Vancouver on Tuesday, but then I spent the rest of the week in a long meeting, so I didn't get to see too much. Also it rained all the time. On Saturday we went for a drive out of Vancouver. We drove over the Lions gate bridge and took highway 99 out of town. The highway had some fjords on the left and some moutains on the right covered with big green trees. It had stopped raining, so it was all very Canadian outback and pretty. There wasn't that much evidence of people on either side of the road. We drove past Britania beach, although there didn't seem to be a beach there. We stopped at Squamish for a fish taco from a fast food store. Squamish was a one mall type of town. It didn't look as though there was any nightlife. After a two hour drive we felt that we had done Canada and it was time to head back to the bright lights of the city.


I am sitting in a cyber cafe in Vancouver in Canada hoping that the rain will stop soon. I know people worry about me when I travel, because I always seem to attract hurricanes ot earthquakes. Something very serious happened in Vancouver two days ago. It has been raining a lot and some mud and animal crap fell into a resevoir. So we are not allowed to drink any water from the taps. Water I can live without, but the bad water has also meant that many coffee shops no longer serve coffee, because the machines don't filter the water enough. Somebody told me that some people were so desperate for coffee that they signed damage waiver forms so they could get their favourite brew. Anyway the coffee is slowly coming back and I have not murdered anyone during the caffeine drought. Anyway I am OK.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Peter Hammill

Before I left for work today I look at the track listings for the freakzone on radio6. I saw a lot of tracks by Peter Hammill, so when I was in fopps I decided I needed a Hammill CD. There is something I like about the sound of the songs, that tells me that I need more Hammill CDs. He seems to have been around since the 70s. Perhaps this is just another case of me wanting to champion some obsure singer so that I can appear hip and cool to the Robbie Williams crowd. Still it has to be done....

Jeffrey Lewis

Hey Jeffrey Lewis is going to play Glasgow on November 30th. I have a ticket, you probably don't. Yaboo sucks to you and tough shit. My favourite Lewis songs are: The Chelsea Hotel oral sex song I Saw A Hippy Girl On 8th Avenue Williamsburgh Will Oldham Horror

unknown girl punk band

I went out to see a girl punk band at King Tuts last night. I have forgotten the name of the band and I lost the ticket. I enjoyed the show, but the place was so full. I am not used to going to gigs for bands I have never heard of and the place being full. The audience seems fairly old for a young girl band. I expect that the folks of Glasgow like their music and don't stop going out after they receach the ancient age of 21. Still it would be nice to get closer to the stage. Where are the young kids? Perhaps, there is some new sound that they are listening to that I don't know about. I don't want to be another loser who reads about the new up and coming bands in the Guardian. Where is the action? Perhaps I will try going to the Glasgow barfly again.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Romanzo Criminale

I went out to see a film called Romanzo Criminale last Monday. This was a gangster like movie set in Italy. A crazy gangs takes over the criminal world of Rome. Then it all goes wrong and everyone dies. The history of the gang is interwoven with the history of Italy. They had something to do with the bombing of Bologna railway station. Also the film sneaked in some shots of Italy winning the world cup in the 80s. I have no idea why those scenes were in the film. Also everyone looked so cool.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

inner space

Looking at some of my recent posts, it does look as though I am not having enough adventures. I am doing more reading (this is good), but somehow blogging about books is not regarded as exciting as visiting a foriegn city. My space has shrunken from the world to my flat. Rather than change this continual movement inwards, I have decided to move even less. Now I limp from my chair to the bookshelf or to the beer producing fridge. I want the future to hold only sitting in a chair. The solution to the paradox of more adventures but less motion is to sign up for second life. I have always found reallity to be a bit dull. Now I can move to a new reality. I would say that I could change reality but that requires paying real money. Inwards I go.

The Battle Of Algiers

I have wanted to watch a documentary called "The Battle Of Algiers" for a long time. This is a film about the struggle for liberation of Algiers from France. It has the cool picture of the French paratroopers on the front of the box. I was surfing the digital TV channels last night and suddenly found that the film was on and I had missed the first 40 minutes. I know I should have watched the rest of the film, but I was tired. The part of the film I did see was awesome. Some women were taking bombs to kill French civilians in revenge for an attack by the French on them. One year I told everyone that I was going to go on holiday in Algiers. After a small amount of web surfing I decided it was still too dangerous.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In search of stupidity

Last night I finished reading a book called "in search of stupidity" by Merrill R. Chapman. This is a book about the software industry after the PC. It documents a number of bad decisions made by companies you have never heard of (if you are fairly young) that let microsoft essentially take over. What I found depressing was the almost total incomptence of management in so many firms. Also some of the events I should have known about. I was writing code while netscape was screwing up the fight against mircosoft. I read about all the events and think what was I actually doing in the mid 90s. How come I am reading about this ten yeras later. Now that I regularly read slashdot, at least when the web2.0 stuff comes crumbling down, I will be able to tell "youngsters" about these hellish times. Perhaps the strangest thing is that various people tried web based calenders and spreadsheets then. This was totally impractical before cheap broadband. Now many of those ideas are reborn from google et al. and are starting to make more sense.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Slaughterhouse 5

I have just finished reading "Slaughterhouse 5" by Kurt Vongegut. I have felt for a long time that this was a book I should have read. I thought the book was going to be hard to read. Look I have no one to guide me. The book involves time travel, possible madness and the destruction of Dresden. So it has all the elements that appeal to a person like me (ok, apart from the destruction of Dresden in World War II, that was a bit mean and nasty). The emotion in the book didn't strike me as being too real, but I am not someone who is well known for sharing my feelings. People tell me this is a problem. So it goes.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The art of deception

I have just read a book called the art of deception by Kevin Mitnick. Mitnick was a legendary hacker who was such a bad person that he got himself banned from using the internet as well as some jail time. Sometime ago I read a book about various hackers who broke into computer systems and messed with the phone system. I have forgotten why he made FBI's most wanted list for computer crimes. It wasn't as if he was one of those nasty spammers. What I did remember was that at some Mitnick stopped his bad hacking ways for a bit and then ended up with a girlfriend, who he later married. He started hacking again and neglected his wife and stuff. As this is the only thing I can remember from the book, then this is bad. On the back of the book is a picture of Mitnick. He is wearing a suit and has that kind of expensive haircut that says I am en exec. I was appalled. This guy was a computer hacker. He should be wearing jeans and a T-shirt (just like me). However the book is all about how to break into computer systems. This involves talking to users (humans) and getting them to reveal passwords and other important data. Wearing a suit and having an expensive haircut was one way of getting into buildings. There were a lot of good tricks in the book. I have not felt so excited by knowledge since I learnt how to open a Yale lock with a credit card. I wonder if Mitnick is banned for life from using the internet. That seems cruel.

King Tut's

After living in Glasgow for almost 6 months it seemed about the right time to see some live bands play. I went out to the famous venue called King Tut's. It is a pretty small place with just a room above a pub. There is a quote from Hunter S. Thompson in the urinal. It takes me about 40 minutes to walk to the venue, so not so bad. There were a huge number of people wearing fancy dress in the general area of King Tut's. Probably something to do with halloween, but why then were people dressed up as pirates? The first band on where called Gents. They were a more arty version of the petshop boys. The lead singer wore a suit. They had a video playing as the backdrop for the entire set. This was really cool. I have not seen many bands play with clever videos behind them. The headliners were also a Glasgow band called Parka. The lead singer played the guitar as though he was on speed. I think I should get out more.

Friday, October 27, 2006

the design of everyday things

I have just finished reading "the design of everyday things" by Donald Norman. This is classic book about the design of things for "users". Donald complains about the bad design of things where you need to read many pages of the manual to know how to do simple things. He gives many examples of bad designs of things such as doors and water taps. The sections on computers are now very out of date, although his description of his ideal diary is getting close to the functionality provided by yahoo calender. The next time someone tells you to RTFM (read the f*cking manual) about some software, tell them that Craig says program that need manuals are wa*k. If they tell you to look at the source code, then give them a slap.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I watched a DVD called 36 on Saturday night. This is a great crime thriller from France. I liked some of the sleazy bars that the characters spent some of the time in. The sleazy bars I have been in Glasgow always have karoke and many old guys drinkinh whisky with their half pints. I never understand why people don't like watching films with subtitles, I have seen so many good foreign films recently.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Thed last year I lived in Salt Lake City I shared a flat. As far as I remember the TV mostly just showed the Seinfeld TV program all the time. This is of course a good thing. However, there are many epsiodes that I have not seen and the ones I have seen I need to see again. For some time I could buy the DVDs. However, I feel somehow that this is not enough. I watched some documentary by Gervais about "curb your enthusiasm". One of the writers for the Seinfeld series is the main person behind this show. I don't watch it that much, partly because it can be very painful to watch. In fact the show is on now on one of the digital channels, but I can't be bothererd to log off and watch. The main character is so ugly. Perhaps, I can be bothered.

Close to the machine

I have just finished reading a book called "Close to the machine" by Ellen Ullman. Ellen is a software engineer who owns a virtual company that writes code for people who want it. The book is a strange mixture of literate musing of being alone in an electronic world and about the joys of hacking code. Her company is a small start up with essentially no staff. If she needs people for a contract she hires some temps for a while. I particulary liked the parts where she is worried about being left behind in the software world. The ever changing world of computers and software takes it toll. There are also some good scenes where she is managimg projects and has to prove herself to a coder who is stick with a bug with his visual basic program. At some point, she just seems to lose the need to learn new things when a company come in with some new technolgy that she can't be bothered to learn. Luckily she gets a grip and carries on. Now that I have more free time, I feel bad because I still don't have time to learn about the latest fads, such as Ruby and schematron. It doesn't help matters when Amazon keep recommending books about the Ruby programming language. As Ellen notes the fear keeps us going, even when it is clear we are being out hacked. The book is also political. When she was young she was a communist and feminist activist. However, as she gets older she drifts more to Anachro-Capitalism and kindness. Perhaps as we all do. In the post I got a copy of the "the art of unix programming" by Eric Rayomnd. Even if I read this I am nore I can catch up.

Monday, October 16, 2006

wet patch

There was a US punk band whose name I have forgotten who played a song called "sleeping in the wet patch.". I went to see them play in Salt Lake City, but they didn't play that song. I was reminded of their song when I was about to go to bed last night. There was a wet patch on my bed. I looked to the ceiling, but there was no leak. Perhaps, a couple had sneaked into my bedroom and done the dead. The door on my flat is fairly strong, so I doubt that anyone could have sneaked in. Perhaps, some kind of witch or beast from a different dimension telported in. Seems kind of mean to despoil my bed with out the common curtesy of allowing me to watch. After some thought I decided that the wet patch was due to the towel I had left on my bed after my shower earlier in the day. The trouble with being a scientist is that occult always has to give way to the common place. Many people tell me that blogs are trivial and full of weak and bad writing, but it is clear that blogs sometimes contain a deeper Freudian truth.

Enron -- the smartest guys in the room

I just watched a great documentary about the collapse of Enron. The film was called "Enron: the smartest guys in the room". This was a huge oil and gas company that collapsed very quickly when it was found that the senior execs were cooking the books. Anyway it was fun to watch the suits in action. Needless to say many of them were good friends with the Bush father and son. I was particularly impressed to watch the enron people screw California out of electricity. California had twice as much capacity as demand, but the Enron people made money by creating an energy crisis. When the CEO was a student at Harvard he was asked "are you smart?". He replied "No I am fucking smart". There was one really smart senior executive who liked going to strip clubs. He left way before the company collapsed with 250 million dollars. Smart, but evil.. A proper review.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

book of blood

When I moved I found that a huge collection of books that I intended to read, before they were buried under a huge mound of dust. One such book was Clive Barker's book of blood IV. This is a collection of cool horror stories. I am glad I finnally read this book. I wonder what Clive Barker is doing now? I could try google, but do I want to find that he has disappeared to a not so private hell. I can't be bothered to follow and investigate. I enjoyed the book, but I just don't feel the need to get tortured for it.


In the book "the human zoo", Desmond Morris notes that it is important to fell under some pressure to do things, otherwise you find that you get nothine done. When I first moved to Glasgow, I was quite tired from the long move so I didn't push myself, so I din't get much done. After I imposed some deadlines, I found myself doing things, but my stress levels went up. I find that if I want to start crying when I walk home from work then I am probably trying to push myself too far. I was thinking that I need to take up some kind of hobby to keep the stress beast at bay. One thought was gardening. This is meant to be relaxing. But first, before I can start my new hobby, I thought I need to buy some new tools. So I went on ebay and bourght a machete. When I look out of mt third floor flat I see a couple of trees stuck in the concrete of a Glasgow tenment block. They are some clumps of grass stuck in the concrete, but you can never tell when weeds take over. My sword was stolen when I lived in Liverpool, so I feel I am owed some really sharp gardening equipment.

human zoo

Someone recommended that I read some Desmond Morris. I started on the "Naked Ape" and I have just finished "the human zoo". Morris applied the lesson of zoology to humans. He notes that you can understand humans better if you compare people in a big city to animals stuck in the zoo. I enjoyed the book, but some of the latter parts seemed a bit preachy and based on early 70's hippy prejuidice. I was sitting in a Glasgow coffee shop reading the book, thinking that people who looked at the book I was reading, may of thought I was one of these intellectuals. However, as I was thinking this in a sort of smug way I noted that I was actually reading about the number of farm workers who had sex with animals. Umm, I should have read some Dan Brown.


I just happened to walk into fopps in the glorious West End of Glasgow, when I saw a cheap CD by Christy Moore. I used to listen to Chrisrty Moore a lot when I lived in Edinburgh, maybe 15 years ago. A couple of years ago he was playing a festival in Dublin, and I really wanted to see him play, but there were some problems and the show got cancelled. The CD is great, so I am going to have to go back and buy the other two cheap CDs. Christy Moore is an Irish folk singer whose voice makes me feel relaxed. Talking of folk, I was watching some TV program about the folk movement in the UK. It was a history of the folk revival in the UK. (This was when folk was hip before Dylan went electric in the late 60s). One band called pentagle was called Ewan MacColl's worst nightmare, because they were folk without the political edge. As much as I love Ewan Macoll, I am going to have to listen to some pentangle. In some sense getting old means getting less political and wacking someone around the head when you seen them reading a copy of the economist. Part of the problem is that I feel honour bound to listen to the "freakzone" on radio 6 every sunday. Amongst other things Stuart is trying to build support for people like Vashti Bunyan, Davy Graham, and Bert Jansch. Does he think I am made of money? On the TV program, I actually liked pentangle play. Sorry dead Ewan. When Stuart gets these old broken folk singer in to play, they can still can play.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Departed

I went to see "The Departed" at the local cinema. This is Scorsese's latest film. Jack Nicolson is in it as a fairly insane crime boss. I wasn't sure whether to go and see it because it is a remake of "infernal affairs" a cool Korean film. This is a great film, with hard core violence and humanity.

CD buying rules

I went into Fopps in the West End of Glasgow to buy a Richard Hawley CD. I saw Richard on TV, so it seemed like a sane thing to do. Then for a variety of reasons, involving me dropping a CD on the floor, I ended up with "speak for yourself" by Imogen Heap. When I lived in the US, my rule was I had to buy one CD by someone I had never heard of for every CD I wanted. If you don't have rules then you become like some staid Beatles fan listening to the White album for the rest of your life. Well rules are mean to be broken, especially when you move back to the UK, and CD prices are £14. Anyway CD prices are low again in the UK, so perhaps I should reinstate my rule. The thing that convinced me to buy the Imogen Heap Cd was that the first track was called "headlock". I thought I had found another angry chick singer. The sad thing is that the CD doesn't do anything for me. Still, maybe next time ....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I did enjoy listening to Camera Obsura play. They are a local Glasgow band, but I did manage to pick up a CD when I was living in Liverpool. But somehow I was surprised by the Organ sound. I also liked the band who played before Yo La Tango. Looking at the list of bands they could be "Broken Social Scene". I will investigate more...

gang of four

I am not totally sure, but I think I saw the gang of four play on Sunday. They seemed to have an angry postpunk like sound. The band had a huge amount of energy. I have already forgotten why I started to listen to the gang of four, but it was a really good set. The singer hit a microwave oven with some kind of bat as the precusion section of one song. It is really bad that I only liked the "old" bands play at the festival. It is not clear that I can stand in a field for 6 hours listening to music. I did seem to be able to cope with pounding beers, but my legs really hurt the nexy day.

more festival stuff

So it rained a bit last sunday while I was at the festival. It wasn't real hard rain, but just spitted for a while, just to let everyone know that with fun comes pain. The last band I saw on Sunday was Yo La Tengo. I thought that a long time ago that I had listened to and perhaps even owned a Yo La Tango CD. I wasn't really expecting a ballad based singer. I thought that Yo La Tango were some kind of interesting indie pop band, but the guys seemed to be a coldplay like clone. I never really understood why anyone liked bands like Coldplay. Wimp assed crap. This opinion is based on the fact that I have never managed to listen that long to a coldplay song. My record is maybe ten seconds. I did manage to listen to Yo La Tango a bit longer, but it is not wise to block your ears while walking away from a fsetival in am empty park, when you know that you still have to walk through two underpasses and over a motorway before you get to some Glasgow high rise buildings. Umm, now that I look at the band listing, I now think that the lats person to play was Antony and The Johnsons. And actually the band that I liked who were second to last were Yo La Tango. This makes more sense. Perhaps the review would have made more sense if there were like programs to but and I had not drunk so much beer. Still, I would like to point out that I still think Coldplay suck-- I didn't get that wrong.

indian summer

I spent Sunday at the indian summer festival in Glasgow. This was held at victoria park that is on the outer edge of the West End of Glasgow. My review of the bands is going to be confusing mostly because I didn't see any program for sale, so I was a bit confused to who was playing. Look if youy want "facts" read the NME (or perhaps not). The festival link is here. I will post my review after watching the last episode of Tinker, Taylor soldier spy on TV.

the naked ape

I have been at my my mum's house to help her move. On the journey from Glasgow I read "the naked ape" by Desmond Morris. This is a zoologisrt studying humans and putting them in context of our animal relatives. Very insightful. Modern life is not so different to animals fighting on the planes.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

the jage letters

I have just finished the book the yage letters by William Buroughs and Allen Ginsberg. This is a book of letters between Burroughs and Allen as they search for yage in South America. Yage is some kind of vine that is used as a drug. When Burroughs first finds and takes it, he starts vomiting and almost ODs. Scoring yage didn't look to be so much fun, but I guess that these things have to be experienced. I now want to travel in South America, but I doubt that it is very safe. I should do more research than watching the film city of god. (None of the yage letters is set in Brazil). The junkies in the 1950s were very literate, almost stylish.

Indian summer

I am spending tha weekend at a summer musical festival in Glasgow called Indian Summer. This a two festival in park fairly close to where I work in the West End. The weather behaved itself. It was drizzling in the morning, but stopped when the bands came on stage. I am beginning to doubt whether I am still an Indky kid, because some the bands didn't to to much for me. The headliners were the "yeah yeahs". The lead singer was cute, but the sound was too happy for my gloomy taste. Of course I enjoyed the fall play. They had an angry intense sound and Mark was in good form. The audience liked it as well. I gave my thoughts on the fall to a microphone for radio6. I don't think I let Mark down, but I had drunk a large quantity of beer (just in case it started raining). I did spout conventional plattitudes. I am going to enjoy today's bands more

Friday, August 18, 2006

I am going to allow Keanu Reeves to ,live

I have just been to see the film "a scanner darkly". This is the film of the book by Philip K. Dick. I was worried that Keanu Reeves would be bored and totally fuck this film up. I would then have to go round and give him a bit of a slap. Any way Reeves was on fine foem. As many of the reviewers have noted a large of the film is about stoners talking bollocks to each other. I can't help feeling that they are having a better time than me. It was first time I had been to the Grosvner cinema in the West End of Glasgow. There was a lonely corridor that I walked down. No one to take tickets. I was on my own at the start of the film. At the end of the film, I saw a couple in the half darkness huddeled together in a profesional manner staring at me. I walked back down the lonely corridor and out from the bar into the soaking rain. The puddles glistened and I walked over the bridge to my flat.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Being number one

I was explaining to my mum that even although I hadn't produced any grandchildren and that I don't have a full time job, I don't see how I can viewed as a failure because my web pages are at the top of the google rankings for "mcneile". As I was looking down the rankings I saw some very disturbing wikepedia enteries. The entry I worry about the most is that of Hugh McNeile. I am told that Rev. Hugh McNeile was an ancestor of mine. There will no doubt be some vast christian consperancy of people linking to his page that will knock my pages from number one. What hurts the most is that there is already a big statue of rev Hugh McNeile is St Georges's hall in Liverpool. The dude is dead. Why can't I be number one on google. I will take my fall from google grace with good cheer. Certainly no one should worry when the inevitable happens people will come into work and see a pool of blood seeping under my office door. When the door is kicked down, they will pull my blood stained finger from the screen where my lifeless corpse points to my web pages being second on google Perhaps I should set up a MySpace page for Rev Hugh McNeile. If he was a friend of Bryon, he probably liked chicks.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I have been playing with the LASTFM site. This is a social networking site where the software records what you listen to. Then other people can suggest similar tracks. I am still learning how to use the site. I am listening to what lastFM describe as a hardcore station. Umm, the first band was called Mr Bangles.....


The BBC linked to a Times story about the 100 top web sites. As part of the comments, someone noted that they look at Julian Copes's web site for new underground music. So I checked out the site. Julian recommended the band "Vincent Black Shadow" as an album of the month. I am ashamed to say, that I looked up "vincent black shadow" on Amazon. I know that I have probably failed you for my lack of committment to underground music. Amazon found, a band called "The Vincent Black Shadow". But the the is different. I clicked on the link that Julian provided and his band provide tape and vinyl, and are below Amazon and myspace. I felt so ashamed. I frankly don't see how following Julian Cope's album of the month is going to get me laid more, still onward we must go. The Vincent Black Shadow is some kind of motorbike. How is this related to the vincent white lighting that Richard Thompson sang about? But what do I do about the amazon listing for the "The Vincent Black Shadow". One of the track listings looks cool. What would Julian do? Perhaps "The Vincent Black Shadow" are cooler than "Vincent Black Shadow". I have seen Julian Cope play at the student guild in Liverpool. He is the man, but for five pounds can I go wrong? There was a film where the woman split with a guy becaue hw used "my child" rather than "our child". Can we fall out over "the"?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

In search of excellence

I have just finished reading the book "in search of excellence" by Tom Peters and Waterman. This was about the besr run companies in America during the late 70s and early 80s. Some of it is sort of dated. They really like the IBM that made mainframes, and are also very enthusiastic about the IBM sales force. I remember that many people hated IBM because the sales force would sell computers to the IT managers, but the people who used the machines hated the systems. This book was meant to be very influenciable, but after it was written many US companies started to downsize their workforce. Another thing they got wrong was "pringles". One of their favourite companies had developed pringles crisps. They originally lost money. I am actually scared of pringles crisps because if I buy a tube it usually lasts about 2 hours. So I fondly look at them (as well as Tesco vodka) at the supermarket, but usually don't buy them. I can't believe somethibg so addictive is a failure.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

music hunting

Soem songs I hear on the radio just haunt you. I still remember hearing Kevin Coyne play "keep on cycling " on the John Peel Show. Some of these tracks live with me for a while, but at some stage they need to be found and played. One track I heard was about Syd Barret. The band went for tea at his house. In ths past I would have to search for these things. But now google is my friend and the band istelevision personalities. Flushed with the success of that I looked for a song with the chorus "if I had an Armalite Rifle". I now think this may have been the the gang of four But I can't find the track on itunes...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

post Moscow

I am back from Moscow. I would have blogged from the hotel, but the people at the cyber cafe never seemed that happy when I wanted to use their computers. The guardian has an article on visiting Moscow. Personally I was looking fowrad to talking to some gangsters and watching a drive by shooting, but alas I never saw any part of the Russian criminal scene. There was an hour comutte from the hotel to the conference site. I had to go on the Moscow metro. The escalators seem to go down for miles.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I am going to Moscow next week for a physics confernce. One very important question is what to read during the trip. If I can get a copy, I am going to read: The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. I think I am ready. There is a great review on Amazon that starts:
I'm not one to entertain myself reading boring books told by some dodgy loner while I got a DVD player. But this is an intellectual book. It's a story told by an author who's been through a lot, mentally and physically, so what he writes he can back up with experience.
The last time I was in Russia, I read Memoirs from the House of the Dead. This freaked out the person who very kindly guided me around Moscow

Some spirtual stories

To win this Templeton prize, I am going to need show some proof that I am a deeply spirtual person. Here are stories of my tangling with religon during my disolute life. When I was young my mum went through a stage where we some of the family were forced to go to church. Something to do with moral devlopment. About the only thing I can remeber about my church going days is a sermon by the priest that goes something like this. Some dude went to church on Sunday and then went for beers in the pub. In the church he put his beer money in the collection pan, and kept his collection money foe the pub. His friends in the pub, after the service , told him he should go back and ask for his money back from the priest. And the guy went "what the church gets, the churchs gets". Even at 12, this sounded like a weird sermon. What was this message. This event was before the time of ATM machines. I have thought about the spirtual meaning of this for many years. As I hit twennty, I realised the real point of the story was that the church will steal money from drunks. I very rarley step inside a church these days. Note that I am pretty sure that this priest went crazy and was kicked out. This didn't seem to trouble anyones faith, but then what would. OK, I can see the Templeton foundation being too happy with the last story' Let me try another slice of my life. I was on a plan in the US. The plan had landed and we were waiting to disembark. A kindly old preit with white hair said to two college girls he had been sitting with, "good luck with your exams". My heart started pounding, and I clenched my fists. The people in fron of me, looked at me in a strange way, as I almost pushed in front of them because I wanted to hit the priest. As I was walking on the runway, on the way to the terminal, in the bright sunshine. my heart rate hit normal and I was calmed by my cold sweat. Where this rage from, I don't know. I am not as rational and in control as I think. Perhaps, my final story will be more suitable. I was at a physics confernce in Durham. This was held in a theology college in the centre of town. I was in a seminat watching a talk. A priest walk in to the room. He was fat and rudy from fine College claret. His study of theology had not diminished his fondness for the meat tray. He stood there for 10 seconds like some confused dim witted peacock, then walked out secure in his faith and stupidity. I thought "what a dick". I had obviously grown as a human being because I didn't want to do him any violence. Umm, ok storty three gives me something to work with. I will have to change the ending though.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Steven Jesse Bernstein

For reasons still unclear to me I stumbled on Steven Jesse Bernstein. Sometimes I find things by reading a review or some bastardised history. In Bernstein's case I just got a tape in a record store because I liked the cover. When I searched on the web and Amazon maybe a year ago, I could find no information about him. Another lost hero. The magic of wikipedia and myspace, his legacy lives on. I have both tapes "a sad bag" and "prison". "A sad bag" is apparently rare. I used to play it a lot late at night, when I was geting depressed enough to sleep. My favourite track is "the man upstairs." I played this to someone I cared about, to their total lack of interest. I guess it is no fun to share your own self inflcted private hell. I like the nerdy picture of Steven on myspace. from wikipedia I learnt that he used to read poetry with a live rodent in his mouth. How cool is that! No wonder he opened for Nirvana.

Monday, July 17, 2006

books by sir john templeton

I see my very good drinking buddy "Sir John Templeton" has written some books. They look a bit like vanity publishing to me. If my spirtual facard is pierced, I may need to do some serious sucking up to get my hands on the prize money. "I really really enjoyed reading your book. I was deeply moved". (This this is just a little white lie -- I don't want to hurt his feelings). Here is what amazon stock. I can get one of his book for 14p. I am not sure I can face reading it though.

The innovators dilema

I have just finished reading "The Innovators Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen. This is a business book about firms trying to market new technology. Big firms listen to their customers, but miss new markets. The products developed for new markets eventually take over the older established markets and the old companies go bust. The arguments in the book make a lot of sense, but then it is still hard to know what to do about it. That is a being a bit mean to the author, who does offer much sensible advice on how to sell new things.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

more radio stuff

I am listening to a new (for me anyway) radio station called resonance FM. There was an article about this station in todays on line gaurdian. There is a jazz show on at the moment. At least I think it is jazz show, some of the tracks are almost white noise. When I lived in Kentucky I used to get a lot of cassette tapes from a label. This was the first time I heard the mountain goats and Simon Joyner. I really liked "paste" who was a guy screaming with a guitar. Either past or one of his buddies would just turn up at gigs and not tune, but scream, rant and power through the set. I thought past were awesome, but he seems to have vanished. Life is so cruel to creative people. Amazon can still sell me some new Simon Joyner CDs.

bishops and rings

To win the Templeton prize, I think I need some kind of spirtual laser. I am not really so sure how to build one, but I have a plan. I am pretty sure that when you meet a bishop you are meant to kiss the ring on their hand. Either, you have to kiss the ring of a bishop or you have to kiss the ring of the mafia chief. I always get those two mixed up. The plan is this. I will meet a bishop, perhaps in Marks and Spencers buying some salad. I will pretend to kiss the ring on his hand. As I put my lips on the ring, I will clench the finger in my mouth and suck the ring down to my stomach. My hope is that bishops have better things to do than stand around waiting for me to crap out his ring. Given the decline of christanity in this country, he is not going to send round some goon soldier priests with rubber gloves to watch me as I take a dump. The rubies and diamonds fom the rings will help me create the sprirtual laser. At this point I get a bit stuck. Perhaps, I will shine a torch on them, or hit them with a hammer. A spirtual laser would help me see other worlds or even the goodness in bad church going folk. Google didn't give me any information about to make a spirtual laser. Perhaps, I will just sell the rings. I worry more that I get so excited that I bite the bishops finger off, and run around the store while chewing it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I talk no more

I have found that I need to talk a lot less, now that I have this BLOG. I no longer need to talk to my coworkers about beheadings. That part of my personality is chained safely within the confinds of the blogosphere. I have started to tell people about some adventure. Such as "well there were 5 of them with guns and machetes, and all I had was a can of iron bru, but did I waste those f*ckers". I usually get as far as "there were 5.." and then the other person says "read about it in you BLOG". I no longer need to say anything. My valuable breath is saved. (Ok, this has probably happened twice) Soon, I will not need to speak at all. If people are not interested in my views, they can simply rip the wireless keyboard from my rotten fingers. Did I Ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk?

Thursday, July 13, 2006


One neat thing about Glasgow is that is different to many places in England. It is just the little things, like wondering down a street and seeing so many people drnking iron bru. I also like the nice friendly can of tennents lager. It is all very tastfull, a yellow can with a frindly big red letter T on the front. It is brewed in Glasgow. Not so strong, a mere 4%, but this is Scotland, if you want extra kick, then you drink your beer with a whisky chaser. Umm, the letter T, what does it make you think of? Originally, I though of T as in "The", but now I think T as in Templeton. It is a good omen for my quest to win the Templeton prize. Perhaps, the brewery would like to sponsor me.

King tuts

I finally found the king tuts venue in Glasgow. This was my third attempt to find the place. I was getting ready to a get a GPS on ebay. Now I just need to see a gig there. I would like to go and see Lach play on the 23rd of July, but I am going to a conference then.

District 13

I wnt to see the French film District 13 at Glasgow cineworld. When I got the ticket, it took me a while to understand what the woman at the till asked. I finally worked out that she was asking "do you know this film is subtitles?" What was she trying to insuate, that IU can't read, or I am just some kind of dumb guy who just watches action movies (OK that part is true). This was a film, where hearing the actors talk was not so important. There was a lot of really cool jumping off buildings and jumping downstairs and over cars. Lots of shooting too! It is good to see a good foreign film. I feel sophisticated. Poor Jackie Chan is no longer the master of running and jumping

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Syd Barrett

So Syd Barrett is dead. Another hero gone. Kevin Coyne died recently. Only one of my heroes on myspace is still alive. Like many people my age I got into Pink Floyd from "the wall", but as I got older and things seem to get stranger, I was more and more drawn to Barrett. When I was growing I spent my first (and last) clothes allowance on buying the two solo albums of Barrett. There is something about the voice. Perhaps, I am another loser, who worships the myth of insanity. Oh well, I still need a copy of syd playing "Vegetable Man". The Jesus and Mary chain version is not enough. I once heard a radio interview by Malcolm MacLaren who wanted Barrett to produce the sex pistols. When Syd replied the radio went shhhshhshs, so I never got to hear what he said. On some other radio show they interviewed his brother in law who had power of attorney for him. I once heard a song where they go round for tea at Syd Barrets house. Part of lyric goes "hw was very famous once". Syd is still famous among the few that know.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bible cake

For a mere 22 pounds I can buy "a bible cake" from Greggs on Byers Rd. This may be worth the cost, but my body rejected the shiny white cake, even as I queuned up for my morning bacon roll. I hope that when I win the Templeton prize, I am not served "Bible cake", because they may have to force me to eat it and then I would puke it back up. This would not be so good at a fancy prize awarding cermony. Even in these times when the church is slowly sinking into the swamp of oblivion, I find my repulsion for all christian things somehwat excessive. Perhaps, I am possessed by a minor demon. That would make some sort of sense. I don't see this as an obstacle to winning the Templeton prize for joining science and spirituality. Still the explanation is too common place.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I am not totally sure that I always need to record every CD I buy, or DVD I watch in this BLOG. On the other hand, when I win the "Templeton prize", someone may want to write my biography. This online diary will be a useful resource. I can't decide who the best person would be to write my biography. I was thinking of asking Harold Pinter. Or perhaps, Salmon Rushdie would be the man to write my life history.


I watched the DVD "good night and good luck" last night. This was the back and white film about a TV journalist who went after Joseph McCarthy. It was a very clever film with some mighty fine acting. I never felt that the top journalist was ever in any danger of being smeared and destroyed. Although the lesser people around him were in danger of losing everything. At the end of the film, Munro gave a speech about how mindless entertainment on TV wsa kiliing the medium. I even thought about this as I watched a documentary abot Gram Parsons, who was one the first country rock people. When he died, two of his drinking buddies stole his body and set fire to it in the desert. After that I watched the avengers, that show is being repeated using the magic of additional digital channels. This evening I am going to watch "dead or alive" a DVD directed by Takashi Miike. So I have learnt nothing from watching "good night and good luck".

Thursday, July 06, 2006


To try and improve my blogging I am reading "Franz Kafka: Letters to Milena". before BLOGS, there were letters. I still remember when I found Franz Kafka's "america" in the local library in Knutsford. I was hoping that my writing would turn more outwards, rather this strange and crazy persuit of inner sanity. Kafka is fairly self obsessed. He is writing to woman, but it is clear that Kafka is shielded from normal emotion by a wall of words. Here is a quote from a letter by Kafka
Writing letters .. means to denude oneself before the ghosts, something for which they greadily wait. Written kisses don't reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts.
Cool, eh.. I was going to look up what "denude" means, but as I copied the lines from the book, it became clear. If at work I write "unquench", then perhaps I am allowed to use denude at home. I am losing faith in myself, I will look up up "denode" later.. Kafka says
It occurs to me that I can't remember your face in any precise detail. Only how you finally walked away between the tables of the coffee-house, your figure, your dress, these I can still see.
Kafka dude, you are telling the chick she has an ugly face. Also, what is this "finally" word telling her. Gosh, if I could spin and weave these words into mighty tales, perhaps I too could be arrogant and rude.

King tuts

I did plan to go to King Tuts (music venue) after the film last night. However, I couldn't find the place. I had sketched out a little map, but somehow I couldn't find the street to turn off. This is the second time that I have failed to find this venue. One of the particular joys of Glasgow is that the same street will change its name. Of course I could have taken an AZ to the gig, but frankly that wouldn't be too cool. One day I will find tbis mythical venue. The sound of roaring guitars will meet me and I will know I have arrived to where the sound is.


I wnt out to see the film "fearless" with Jet Li at the Glasgow cini-world Wednesday evening. I would like to point out that, that I had a piece of dust in my eye at the end of the film. I was definetly not crying. This was a peroid piece film set in 1910. Jet Li was a Wushu (kung fu) fighter who by arrgogance ended up killing a master. He hies in the country and comes back to help fight for Chinese honour. I am no expert on this, but it was like a slightly lower budget version of "once upon a time in china". In fact he may have been playing the same person "Wong Fei Hung". It was much better than Jet Li's western films. As I got home they were showing "the one" on channel 5. This did nothing for me when I saw it at the cinema. Too much wire and CGI.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Glasgow radio

After a wee search I have found another internet radio station. This is one is called radio magnet. It is based in Glasgow and has a number of DJ based shows in different styles. I started listening to the indie show. The DJ managed to last one track before he played local Glasgow favourites: Camera Obscura. I would enjoy looking for new stations more if "real player" sort of did what it was supposed to do. I shpuld never have upgraded. Perhapsm I should read the help file.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Now that the goal of my life is winning the templeton prize, I can finally enjoy watching the "supernatural" TV program. It is not mindless entertainment, but actually useful background viewing for some top quality essay for the Templeton prize. Umm, while I think about it, there were many x-files episodes that I missed as well.


I think my relations with the opposite sex would improve if I was more sensitive. So I read the SCUM manifesto by Valerie Solanas. Valarie is famous for shooting Andy Warhol. I think it is fair to say that Valarie hates men. SCUM stands for the Society for Cutting Up Men. I am always disapointed that this type writing is not crazy enough. Here is a quote:
The male is completly egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of emphasising or identifying with others, of love, friendship, affection or tenderness. He is a completed isolated unit incapble of rapport with anyone. His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the service of his drives and needs
As I told you not so mad. If only Valerie had seen the football players in the English team crying on Saturday, then perhaps she might have changed her mind.....

Gideon's bible

I spent Saturday night in Aberdeen. In the room, after doing important Saturday night things like watch Dr Who, I thought I should do thinking about quest for the Templeton prize. If I want that cheque for a million dollars in my pocket then I am going to have to focus many of my waking hours on becoming spirtual. Since I was in a hotel room I thought I would look at the bible. I saw a black leather book on a bookshelf in the room. This is meant to comfort people in some way that is apparentlt better than providing free shots of whisky. As I moved towards the bible I started sweating and limbs felt numb. I just couldn't get close enough to pick it up. I felt a deep revulsion to the leather bound book. I didn't try very hard. About twenty years ago, I stopped going into churches and cathedrals. Obviosuly, before that I never used to actually go to any religous service. I am talking about entering a church as a tourist. I don't feel well going into churches. Luckily the hotel room had many mirrors, and I could check that my reflection was still. I don't think I have been bitten on the neck recently, so I am safe on that front. I could just be mildly christianity. I don't think I am any kind of Damion like figure. Dogs either bark at me or come up wag their tail and lick my hand.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Training for the Templeton prize

While in Aberdeen I picked up "the virago book of spirituality" and a book of pictures about the freemasons. I am not totally clear in my mind, how reading a book on the freemasons will help me win the Templeton prize, but it has some coll pictures. The book on spirituality is probably more useful. It is a collection of articles about inner peace. I may actually finsih this book, because it is not so dull. I might have to some candle staring to fins some kind of inner peace that I can market as an "experience" profound enough to win the Templeton money. In the same bargain bookstore I can get books on magic and the occult. I may have to face the possiblity of casting spells or a hex on some of the other people going after the prize money. I don't see anything in the rules of the Templeton foundation that does not allow the use of black magic. Anyway I am sure that will not mind if I help my case with the black arts -- as long as no one finds out about it

long weekend

I have been feeling more and more burnt during the last few weeks. I needed a break, but the Russian's have my passport, so I took Friday off. On Friday I went to see Lake Lomond. This involved getting a train to Balloch. Many times when I have visited Glasgow, someone always end up going to see Lake Lomond. So I decided it was my turn to view Lake Lomond. Given the hight cost of trains and hotels in the UK, I have been going to Europe for a holidays. However, as I got off the train, I rembered another a reason that I don't take many holidays in the UK. Rain. It was raining when I got off the train. It wasn't raining too hard so I thought I would trudge on. I usually don't bother with any of this map business, so I wondered around for a bit and found some water. Thedn I saw a cruise ship set off, so I followed that for a bit along some path. The rain was getting heavier, but I thought I would press on follwoing the path by the lake shore. The countryside is very different to the city. There are no coffee shops where a person can have a breather. In fact I hardly saw anyone at all. More rain fell. After a while, I got bored and turned around back to the station. I saw some map and to my relief found that I had indeed been walking around Lake Lomond. So another box ticked, and I headed back to the city for some Japense food and a flask of warm sake. In Glasgow the sun shone on, as the city welcomed me back in my wet and dirty country clothes

Thursday, June 29, 2006

how low can a person go in spin theology

In my quest to win the Templeton prize I have invented the field of "spin theology". This is where I use spin systems to model the Universe and provide a framework to answer questions in theology. After living in the US, I know that one key theological question is the treatment of abortion. I don't know, and more importantly I don't see how to make any money out of the abortion issue. In my first plenary in the confernce on spin theology I will draw attention to the issue of abortion in the subject. Open questions are good in a virgin field.

outwards to Aberdeen

The last couple of weeks I have not being out much, so the BLOG has been a bit insular. I am horrendosuly burnt out and need a holiday. Normally, I would book a flight to Eastern Europe and spend a couple of days exploring a new city. However, I am going to a conference in Moscow next month, and my passport is hopefully in the Russian embassy waiting for a visa stamp. So rather than going to Poland, I am going to spend the weekend in Aberdeen. Oh, the fun I am going to have. The magic of easyjet and ryanair tells me that I am probably going to spend the same amount of money to go to Aberdeen as Poland. Still, the fun I will have. Fucking visas.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Many people think that because I love eating sausage and chips that I am not some kind of master chef. Well, maybe but I have been experimenting with creating new types of food. I thought I would start with a cocktail. So I have created "deep tennents mars bar". This is a glass of tennents lager (local Glasgow lager) with a mars bar, a vitamin pill ( because beer is bad for you) and a pill my mum gave me (because pills from mothers are good for you). Anyway yummy.

More radio

I have just been listening to a underground/alternative station based in Dublin. The station is XFM Dublin. I like the DJ chit-chat, but I am not so keen on the music. Although it is mostly stuff, I have never heard before. The search continues.

templars and the templeton prize

I have been thinking about this Templeton prize all wrong. The solution is clear from the name. The Templeton name is very similar to the Knights Templar . The names are close. Coincidence, I don't think so! So the point of the Templeton prize is find the holy grail! The previous prize winners didn't understand this. They were just fooling themselves. The ultimate prize is clearly worth more than a measly million dollars.

Templeton prize URGENT

I have just seen the rules for the Templeton prize. Nominations are due on July Ist. That is this Saturday! Too much to do before then. Oh well, I am at the start of a ten yera campaign to win this thing. Looking at the procedure: Nominators should consider that the Templeton Prize is not awarded for good works per se, but for originality in advancing ideas and institutions that have deepened the world's understanding of God and of spiritual realities. The Prize judges will ask:
[1] What has this person done that was entirely original? [2] Was this contribution primarily spiritual rather than primarily humanitarian? [3] Did this unique contribution result in an appreciable acceleration in spiritual discoveries?
I have invented spin theology. That is very original. So I will have point 1 covered. What the fuck does point 2 mean? My guess is that you don't get thuis prize if you a good person, by giving to charity or working in soup kitchens. That would be regarded as "humanitarian". So I have to continue being mean and self centred, but I just have to cultivate my spirtuality. No problem, if I wanted to help the world, I would be trying for a Nobel peace price , just like Blair did when he ordered the invasion of Iraq. I will have point 3 covered because in 2000 years theology has achieved nothing. Just a bunch of old people trading quotes and insight they gained while they had a good crap. Spin theology will allow theology to be discussed on a scientific level. So progress will be much quicker. I can almost taste the cash.......

Johnny Cash

I have always liked Johnny Cash. I am an outlaw after all. However, the American recordings were so awesome, that I had to own all of them. Trouble after the film last year Cash was everywhere. OK, everywhere might be going a bit far, but they always seemed to be playing Cash in the DVD section of Virgin in Liverpool. Cahs used to sing to me personally, as I sat in the semidarkn gloom of my flat. His broken old voice soaring above the slow rythmic clicking as I opened and closed a lock knife with one hand. My other hand being on whisky duty. Anyway I am tempted out Cash CD buying retirement by the release os some of Cash's last recordings before he died. The new CD is "A Hundred Highways: American V" The trakc they played this morining sounded good, though his voice is more broken tha before. The CD is released on Monday. I probably will not get it then.

Monday, June 26, 2006

More thoughts on the Templeton Prize

What struck me about the Polkinghorne book was that we need a scientific model to answer some of the theological questions. Note Polkinghorne is previous winner of the Templeton prize (you see I really am training to win the dosh). It does seem pointless to add some random quotes from some theological texts and mix in some modern science. Emerging theology from a simple tissue of lies. Umm, maybe not. To answer questions such as can their be free will with all powerfull God, wde need a spefic model where these questions can posed and answered. Yes, this is reductionalism, but what else can do. Randomly qoting from previous theology texts has noi produced any progress (or big book sales) in understanding God. That will have to be some simplications. I am thinking of a simple spin system, such as the Ishing model. Human beings would be modelled by an up or down state at a lattice site. God would then be a magnetic field. God is all powerfull, because he can flip spins. So something like the Ising model. So questions of free will could be discussed in terms of whether the all powerfull magnetic field can always flip a human being (modelled as a spin). I also want to the model like Conway's game of life. Then I could do a presentation, where two blobs come together and then three blobs leave - that is normal birth. But once in the model, one blob just comes from a single blob. See, that is the birth of Jesus. Umm, I am not very good at this type of model building. I have just checked on a physics site. Search Results Search titles in `cond-mat' in all years (1992-2006) for occurrences of `God' (0 matches) : Sorry there were no titles/authors containing the term God using the search criteria specified. You can return to the searching form by using the BACK option of your browser.
I have just invented the field of spin theology. That must be worth something! I do worry that this may be hidden somewhere in: "A New Kind of Science" by Stephen Wolfram.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


This digital radio thing has been a revelation. I never thought I would ever listen to music radio again when John Peel died. Although in the last years of the John Peel show I didn't listen much because the show was at the time I was watching TV/DVD in a booze addled haze. So when I found radio6 I was amazed. I could listen to a music show at breakfast without wanting to vomit or burn down the radio station. Top of the pops is gone, all we need now is get rid of radio 1, and its clutch of Moyles like tossers. I like most of the shows on radio6, except the one by Russell Brand. He just annoys me in a way. Somehow he should be on radio1. I can't felp feeling that him and his "witty" chums are going to take over radio 6. The magic of the internet is that I am no longer forced to the radio 1 crowd of DJ training to be a talk show host. For the last hour I have been listening to 3WK Undergroundradio. So far there hasn't been a DJ at all on the show. There are a few adverts, but mostly on a Sunday at least. No DJ at all I am in heaven! I will probably explore some online radio stations.


It is becoming clear to me that I am not going to win the nobel prize in physics, so I am going to have to rethink my career path. However, I dco think that it is possible to win templeton prize.
The Templeton Prize is awarded each year to a living person to encourage and honor those who advance spiritual matters, including research in love, creativity, purpose, infinity, intelligence, thanksgiving and prayer.
The prize is worth over a million dollars. Jesus, I could party, drink lots of fancy liqueur, and get the pick of many women with that kind of money. I like the idea of travelling first class. The stewardess would say, "more wine? Oh the wine is a bit cloudy. I will open another bottle for you." I would graciously reply ", thanks there are some Profs. in the economy class. Perhaps you could let them have the cloudy wine in a plastic cup." I have the humlity and humanity to win the prize I just need some angle to jump over the opposition. Umm, this is going to be a tougher than I thought. I only go to church for funerals. Hopefully, people close to me will not all start dying so that I don't become a regular attender. The only time recently I have felt spirtual is when I am holding a sword. One problem is that the templeton might see this blog entry and think that my reasons for winning the prize were not hounourable. I might be OK, because I doubt that I will get the money, until I am fifty. But I have to start to thinking about this now. I have read "Confessions: Confessions of St.Augustine". St Augustine liked to party and had a mistress, before he was saved by christanity. He seemed quite a fun guy before he entered the church. If the Templeton foundation see this entry, I will just say, I was lost then, drinking too much (oh busted) and depressed (sad but true). But I have chnaged, because I have seen the light. It might work. It is what everyone else does.

simple pleasures

When I told my mother about new flat, her some what casutic comment was that "are you going to have lampshades this time." My first feeling was no way, that doesn't quite hardcore enough. There is nothing like watching the slow movement of a naked electric light bulb in a bleak white washed room to control feeling. As it happens my new flat has lamp shades and that gives the rooms a homely feel that too my surprise I find pleasant. The picture shows that view from my third floor flat. The next picture show another view. Those green things are called trees. When I stare at them it makes me feel restful. In the distance I can see the hills. I know that I can escape to the hills, when I need to free the stess beast. Someone was complaining to me that this blog was "mundane". An online dictionary, tells me that "mundane" means: "Relating to, characteristic of, or concerned with commonplaces; ordinary." Yes, it is an ordinary well adjusted post. Trouble is, at some stage I will get bored and I will slip back into the life of bare knuckle boxing matches and gun running.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I have been reading the book called "science and creation -- the search for understanding" by John Polkinghorne. John was a theorist at Cambridge, but chucked it in to become some kind of priest. With out wanting to sound mean, the field he was in died with the birth of the standard model, so joining the church was probably a smart move. The book is a mixture of science and theology. I didn't really feel that there was a good synthesis between the physics and theology. The study of theology involves quoting large passages from obsure theology books. If you get in trouble, the writers mumbles somthing about "faith" and then another big quotation. The main thing I learnt was that the moto of the Royal Society of Science is "Nullius in verba". John translates this as "no more talking". I translate John's translation as "shut the fuck up." The latin does sound more classy. The book cost me a pound, because the previous owner had marked it with their questioning pen. For example, the phrase "the anthropic principle" is underlined with the question marks. Pretty good commentary.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The apprentice

I just finished reading "the spprentice" by my good buddy Sir Alan Sugar. This is the spin off of the reality TV show where contestents try to win an executive position at the company called Amstrad. Yeah, like many people I thought Amstrad used to make computers, and then went bust. Apparently there are still around making varous things. In a typical English way the company does OK, but it is not like they are google or anything. The book has useful advice on marketing/people issues type things. Not really a good book for a technology start up. Yiu are more likely to hire Sir Alan to do the marketing rather than to come up with new creative ideas. As he admits, Alan doesn't haved a good feel for software. I think this TV series is causing science departments at UK universities all kinds of problems. I see the vice chancellors watching the TV program, trying to learn how to be an "executive", but their partners are nagging them to do the washing up. Later as the VC stands at the sink with his frilly apron on scrubing dishes, he is thinking "I will show her how powerfull I am". So the next day, the VC goes to work and orders the head of the physics department into his big plush office. The head of the department enters the romm. The VC glowers at him, points his finger and says "your fired and I am closing down your department too". So my theory is that physics and chemsitry departments are getting closed down because VCs can't afford dishwashers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Being cool

I have been watching more of this season's big brother TV program. I don't always watch with the sound on, because I am not that interested in what they are saying. I can't help feeling this is the cool crowd -- that I was never allowed to join. I was never that interested in that type of crows and they never noticed me. One male contestant said to another "what were your first impressions of me?" When I was younger I would have said "I thought you were a dick," and then hope they didn't ask "so what do you think of me now?", because the wrong answer to that type of question tends to sour friendships. In a book on soft computing issues, it noted that it takes a lot of work to be cool and this doesn't leave time for much else. This strikes me as true from the small amount of time I have watched big brother. Anyway beeing cool takes work. In my new flat, I having to decide what DVDs stay in boxes and what gets put on shelves. I find that I am choosing titles that in my opinion my impress someone. (It is clear that "the toxic avenger" and "the killer nun" DVDs are not going to make any vistor think I am a cool cat. Here is a quick list of cool DVDs: 1 "Battle Royale" (kids killing kids in this game) 2) "Memories of murder" ( great Korean police story. I didn't understand the end) 3) "Violent Cop" (The cop in question is a total nutter, but I am trying to walk the same way as him). 4) "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" (stylish Korean film) 5) "Audition" (insanity on film. I never date womwn who have been involved in ballet because of thuis film). 6) "Babycart at the river Styx" (This film convinced me that one day I could become a parent. looks easy enough). 7) "Unforgiven" (There is just something I like about this film, even though it is not as intense as the asian stuff.) 8) "Shaolin soccer" (The greatest film about football ever made).

Monday, June 19, 2006

The last templar

My faith in satire is shaken. Even the southpark movie could not stop the second gulf war. The fantastic book Focault's Pendulum by Umerto Eco did not stop the templar rollercoaster of crap books. I finished "the last templar" over the weekend. It was a page turner as we say, and much better than any Dan Brown stuff, but still I did wonder how I ended up buying the book, (Ok, it was advertised very high up on the amazon home page). I liked the pre-ending where they were at rest on a small island, but I didn't see the need for another chase scene. Also, the hidden templat document was lost to the world, because the "heroine" wanted to marry the catholic FBI agent. What about the truth? It also shows a fairly deep lack of understanding of the academic world. As long as they wrote their papers in journals, rather than calling press conferences. No one would have noticed. I have read what the king of France wrote about the templars when he started to lock them up. I thought it was very funny and over the top in a camp sort of way. My own book on the templars is based on the phrase "as drunk as a templar. The secret documents of the templar knights will be their bar bill (that is where all the money went) and a line of very twisted sex toys. I like the idea of the two scholars looking at the diagram in the secret templat document, that six people have died trying to find, and saying "but what is it for", while their street savy guide giggles. I was planning to have a gullible American author, perhaps called Han Grey, get confused and believe everything told him. But, the sex toy angle? Opus Dei. Perhaps I have misjudged the great man. (I don't want to get sued).

Sunday, June 18, 2006


As I slowly unpack my stuff, I keep finding books I had forgotten about. I have a reasonably large collection of books on martial arts, although I have not trained for a couple of years. I also found my tonfa. I don't really know why I got these. I never trained in a system where tonfa were used as weapons. So I am not so sure how to use them. An important aspect of self defence is looking cool. If I get attacked my masked burglars, I expect that they are more likely to die of laughing, while I try to hold the tonfa in a way that I can give them a proper smack. Its not clear to me that learning some karate kata will help me out.

I am such a faker

After proudly telling people how many boxes I needed to move my books from Liverpool to Glasgow, I find that I have filled one bookshelf with unread books. I did know that I hadn't finished many books, but in my shappy flat in Liverpool, the unread books were scattered over the various piles of read books. It just looks so bad when I have a large bookshelf full of unread books, starting down at me and judging me when I open a beer or watch a DVD. I am such a faker on the book front. Also, the cult band the nightengales played on 31st May in Liverpool. If I had been more organised, I would hgave arranged things so that I could have seen them on the last night I was in Liverpool. But alas, I lacked comittement to the cause. The nightengales were a very important late 70s and early 80s band that John Peel supported. I recently got nightengales CD at the same time as I got the artic monkes latest. I mostly played the nightengales. I am a faker on the music front. When I was in Glasgow to looks for a flat, I could have arranged things to see the film about daniel johnston, but went for a curry instead. Lack of comittment again. I am an all round faker.

Glasgow barfly

I went out to the Glasgow barfly on Friday night. It is different to the Liverpool barfly because in Glasgow the bands play downstairs, while in Liverpool they play upstairs. Although going to the barfly is meant to be about seeing new cutting edge bands, perhaps the venvues should all be exactly the same. Brand management and all that. Anyway I drank way too much, so getting home was a bit of a challenge. If people want to know what living in Glasgow is all about then I can say that it involves going up and downstairs. This is reelated to the barfly post, because as usuall going to the toilet involves going up two flights of stairs. I don't think I have been up and down so many stairs before I came to Glasgow. Perhaps, the scots like to relive their highland past lives. I think they have taken in very hard that Scotland are not in the world cup. So we all have to go up and down stairs os that the Scotish team can qualify in 2010 for the world cup. The band I went to see called "Vincent Vincent and the villans". Can't say they did much for me. Perhaps, the beer and stairs had done me in.

orange order

Yesterday I was sitting at home watching a DVD, when I heard drums and whistles from the road outside. When I told someone that I lived on Maryhill Road, then told me that this is a road used in the marching season. When I looked out there was the orange order march going down the road. There were about 50 to 100 people and a bunch of old dudes, that my memory want to mislead me in saying that they were wearing bowler hats. I am a very lapsed catholic, but still, I thought I better make some effort. So I was just about to open the window to throw an empty beer can at them, when I listened to what the band where playing. They were playing oki-cokie! I don't know much history, but I am pretty sure this is not a traditional protestant marching song. For some reason, I always thought the orange oredr were religous bigots, but clearly if they play good honest karoke music, there are clearly sweet innocent people. Perhaps, I should join and I could join them in a joly sing along.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I read something on slashdot about companies using myspace profiles to screen job candidates. People who put on their profile that their hoppies include "smoking big pipes of weed" had problems getting interviews. I can believe that youngish people in human rescources are looking at myspace profiles to screen people and probably prove to upper management that they are cool and hip but still sensible (and keeping the hipper druggie crowd from upstaging them). Luckily I read about this in a book my Esther Dyson maybe about 5 years ago. The book by Dyson was called something like "release 2.?". It had a lot about the importance of online presence. I am very carefull not to say anything controversial on this blog.

my football song

As football fever sweeps the nation I can now releal that I too have an idea for a football song, even though I know next to nothing about the game. Also I don't actually have any lyrics-- just a concept or two. This football song is sung like a captain beafheart or the fall. The song starts with me rambling on that "Liverpool needs to be united.". "There can only be one". So that is the idea behinf verse 1. Verse 2 offers a solution. "I am going to burn down Goodison Park" to help Liverpool unity. " I repeat this a couple of times. This is the second verse. Then the third verse gets a bit clever. I sing about how some nice scousers take me in their car to the ground with a boot full of petrol. The journey takes 40 minutes. I burn the stadium down. Verse 4 starts with me getting up the next day. In fact, I had been tricked and I had accidently burnt down Old Trafford instead. The song ends with the happy people of Liverpool being united by the scorched ground of arch rivals of Man United. Even sitting in a third floor flat in Glasgow 200 miles from Liverpool, I can't help feeling that I would get beaten up when I start to sing the seond verse. Fair enough I suppose, but Liverpool is meant to be the capital of culture. It would make a chnage to another boy meets girl type of song.