Thursday, 30 April 2015

For your pleasure...

Well, for my pleasure really.

Back in the seventies something happened. In a world where music was a seriously serious affair with bands like Yes, Genesis, ELP, and Sabbath taking themselves very seriously indeed, singing songs about strange worlds and orcs, along came Roxy Music. They were a odd mix of pop, prog, electronics, and film score, performing songs with clever lyrics and clever titles. Ferry warbled, Thompson thumped on drums, Eno mangled sound from tape decks, Manzenera made his guitar scream, and Mackay played ethereal oboe. All in all it was arty and experimental and exciting and they looked weird and cool.

To an arty schoolboy in his mid-teens Roxy were a revelation. They brought together all the things I loved - old movies, science fiction, the avant garde, surrealism, poetry, strangeness. They had it all and shaped the way I acted and dressed for a couple of years. I guess that Roxy was my Punk and like punk they weren't accepted immediately by the muso's. I remember Bob Harris saying on Whistle Test, after Roxy played a couple of songs, 'If that's the future of rock and roll, I don't want any part of it'. Well I did.

I loved them for the first two albums and then Eno left and it all fell apart. Roxy, the real Roxy, were no more and sadly drifted on towards the blandness of Avalon.

For a while though they set my world on fire.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Life is a minestone...

What if our universe is just a bowl of minestrone and the Earth simply a tiny particle of carrot whirling around in it?

The latest theory from those really clever astrophysicist types is that the universe has only two dimensions and that we add the third by reading the two dimensions and imposing a third, a little like the way holograms work. They say that in theory we are living in a hologram and that there are only two planes, not three, and certainly not four - despite what you might have seen on fifties television.

Imagine that. It would mean that the earth was flat, buildings would actually look more like the fake painted cut-outs used in Hollywood movies, and even our bodies would have all the dimensional quality of a cartoon character. Just where would our organs go without a three dimensional space to occupy and where would we sit if houses had no rooms to sit in?

Quantum Physics eh? You need the brain the size of a planet or plenty of hallucinatory drugs to understand even the basic theories, like relativity. Of course it’s all string theory to me – whatever that is.

Sometimes I wonder who comes up with these things and why they bother. Isn’t it enough to look up at the night sky and ponder the beauty and the mystery out there? Why would we want to explain it away and is it explainable anyway?

Other times I wonder if the theories these great minds impart aren’t simply taken up by the universe and, in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, ‘made so’ in some kind of cosmic game of predict and catch-up. That would explain how so many science fiction writers predict so many science facts before they happen.

Perhaps 10cc have got it right and life (and the universe and all that) is a minestrone and we are caught up in its cosmic soup. If so, then forget going to heaven because if they are right about life then chances are that death must be a cold lasagna served up with Parmesan cheese - plenty of black pepper on mine please Satan.

If you want to read more about the hologram universe theory then CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Cat and mouse...

It seems that the sunny weather takes it out of you, especially if you are a cat.

Luna has been enjoying the sun these last few weeks and, as is the way of cats, finding lots of nice sunny places to take a nap. Anywhere will do; the top of a wall, under the hedge, in a nice cat nest in the long grass, even in the open top of the chiminiere when the terracotta is warmed by the sun.

Of course she can't be outside all night, after all she isn't that sort of cat. So when the sun goes down Luna finds herself a nice comfy spot to sleep the night away. And what better spot than besides her friend Holly's giant mouse on Holly's bed.

Say cheese.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Snail trail...

Just because I can.

Frosty spring morning...

`Well I didn't expect a visit from Jack Frost this morning.

Just when you think spring has finally sprung winter returns with a vengeance. A late May frost this morning. It stayed around until the sun got high enough to melt it away, covering the cars with a rime of ice and withering some of my seedlings. Not many though thank goodness, and only at the front of the house as the back was kept snug by the red brick walls.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

My little dragon...

There are some inanimate objects that cry out to me more than others. Sometimes when I am walking along a beach a pebble or piece of driftwood will call my name and I have to pick it up, pocket it, and take it home.

I was in Southport yesterday and, as I wandered around one of the many shops, this little chap caught my eye. He was the only one of his kind that I could see in the shop and there was something about him that seemed to say ‘take me home. I want to be your friend’.

Well, what could I do? He’d reached out to me and besides he was in the sale at only a fiver.

‘Come on old fellow,’ I said as I took him out of the shop, ‘let’s get you home and find you a nice place to sit in the sunshine.’

So here he is, my little dragon on the red brick seat that I made him high on the wall of my back yard enjoying the sunshine. He doesn’t have a name yet, so if anyone wants to suggest one please feel free to do so.

Looks happy doesn’t he?

Friday, 24 April 2015

My Earthly garden of delights...

The daffs are still hanging on in there despite me spending a lot of time in Wales recently. Some of the smaller plants have suffered from not being watered, but the summer bulbs seem to be coming through and there’s plenty going on in my magic garden. Of course it’s only a small magic, but then it’s only a small garden and four walls do not a prison make. You can do a lot with walls, they are an opportunity not a limitation. They are like blank canvasses needing decoration, galleries awaiting art.

Yes my garden is small, but even so I think I’ve managed to create a bit of peace full of interesting questions and I like nothing better than to sit out in it on a sunny morning. I’m sitting in it now listening to the little fountain in the pond and to the insects buzz among the flowers. If I try I can ignore the planes overhead and the call of the builders down the road. It’s my small world of tranquility and I know every inch of it. Sometimes it makes me feel like God, a small insignificant garden god; like my red Buddha on the miniature mountain climbing the wall by the pond.

It’s a place full of quirks, eccentricity and spells, of stone cats and pottery hares, psychedelic snails, rocks and pebbles, bits of driftwood hanging from the walls, old hanging lucky horseshoes, moons and hearts, time-caught butterflies, piles of deceased snail shells, bird boxes without the hope of a nesting bird, silly faced frogs, hidden gnomes, rusting keys, and my friendly single silent fish. But most of all there is peace. Peace and love and fun.

I guess you’ve guessed? I love and am delighted my garden.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Leslie George Edward Johnston...

I haven’t written anything for my blog in a while. To be honest it isn’t that I don’t have anything to say it’s just that I’m not sure I know how to say it. I had to write something this Saint George’s Day though. Not about Saint George, but about my cousin Leslie who died last night.

I can’t say that I knew Leslie George Edward Johnston very well. He was ten years older that me and by the time I was old enough to know him he was pretty much grown up. To me he was a shadowy figure sometimes spotted in the distance, always moving, tall and spider-like in a good way. He had two sisters, Mary and Linda, and a brother, little Ian - called so because his dad was also called Ian. His mum, Lena, was the fiercest woman I think I’ve ever known, and to be honest most of the time she scared me.

Leslie painted. I saw some of his pictures when I was a boy. Scandalously he painted his wife Fran in the nude. It was a good painting and I didn’t think it scandalous at all. But our family was like that and we lived in a small market town where people still went to church sometimes.

I think I only saw Leslie about twenty times as I was growing up, only once since my teens. I had no idea where he was, what he was up to, or what he did for a job. But today when my cousin texted me to tell me the news I felt a deep sadness. Leslie was the last of his clan. Big Ian, Lena, Mary, Linda, and even little Ian - who was just a year older than me – all died before he did.

That’s about it. The only picture I have of Leslie is the one in my head. I know that he painted, and I like to think he painted all his life; even painted a picture or two of himself maybe. In my mind he will always be that tall, long-haired, rushing glimpse of a shadow – a bit of rebel, a man who liked a drink or two, a man who felt beauty and art.

I may not have known him, but I think if I had I would have liked him if I had.

After all he painted his wife in the nude.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Candles, wind, whales, and more candles...

Without wishing to set a tune off in your head, it seems to me that we all live our lives like candles in the wind. Not that we have much choice, the winds going to blow whether we want it to or not. Of course, just how long we glow for before we gutter depends on the strength of the wind. A breeze might keep us alight, but a gale would snuff us out in an instant. Even so, we all give out at least a little light along the way; some more than others, but finally we are all taken by the dark.

It’s not something I think much about. Musing on my own mortality is one of those subjects that can wait until later, much later I hope; but it’s always there at the back of your mind isn’t it?

Apparently we are the only creatures on this planet that are aware that we aren’t going to be around for ever. Just how we know this I have no idea, but maybe the rest of the animal kingdom are aware of the end, just better at dealing with it. I’ve heard tales of whale graveyards where those mighty creatures go to end their days. If they decide they are going there, then surely they must have an inkling about what they are going there for.

Of course whales were once hunted and killed in their millions and made into candles and lamp oil. Lighting your house at the expense of all those magnificent creatures seems so wrong. It can’t have been a clean light can it?

And with that thought, I’ll sign off for today. Have a good Easter.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

April Fools' Day thoughts...

Another April Fools’ Day and, as they say, ‘there’s no fool like an old fool’. This year for once though, I wasn’t tricked by my wife. Truth is, she forgot that today was April 1st. So, no repeat of the leaking toilet scam (a cracker) or the snake in the garden that had me chasing around with a long stick in hand. I remembered, but my call to inform her about the massive gas bill we’d received was nothing compared to the time she poured eggs all over my head (a long story). Besides, massive gas bills seem to be the norm nowadays.

Yes, there's no fool like an old fool and these days I don’t seem to mind being an old fool, I quite enjoy it. I’m so foolish that I spend my days doing foolish things and wasting my time doing pretty much anything I want no matter how silly. I’m able to do this because I haven’t always seemed to be as foolish as I am now and I spent a lot of my life pretending that I wasn’t a fool at all, but a serious chap with something worthy to say. Not that I think I fooled anyone really – once a fool, always a fool - and really I’ve been fooling around most of my life.

 I seem to have got away with it though.

So today was spent thinking about making some sort of graffiti art on my garden wall at the side of the house. It’s a gloomy tunnel and it needs something to liven it up; something amusing, something to bring a smile to the lips. I have a couple of things in mind, but you’ll have to wait a while before you see it. For one thing it needs to stop raining and hailing; today really has been a bitterly cold April day.

Anyway, fool or not it seems that I have found my personal crock of gold – fools’ gold perhaps, but at least it’s mine.