Saturday, 28 December 2013

transcontinental race part 2


MELONS, TRUCKS & ANGRY DOGS - Epis. II from e r t z u i ° film on Vimeo.

in which the boys' motivation wavers. and you have to wonder whether the stelvio was an altogether wise route choice...

Friday, 27 December 2013

transcontinental race


MELONS, TRUCKS & ANGRY DOGS - Part I from e r t z u i ° film on Vimeo.

after last year's tour divide musings i've come across the transcontinental. how much do i want to do this!?

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

earth


earth. the gift that just keeps giving. be warned - the minutes just slip away....

Friday, 20 December 2013

chelsea davine


i came across chelsea davine on some news article about flags. quite how that happened but i'm glad i did. these are well worth a look. i've never used foil but on the strength of these i'll be tempted to try. the colour balance and effect in these is just beautiful for me.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

that room in the house you're not using?

you could do something like this....


dazzling and eccentric you have to love jee young lee's spaces which only serve to increase the desire for me an t (once we've actually got some time) to transform the inside of our house into some sort of hundertwasser inspired playground.

and, as is the way of it just as one source of inspiration pops us so does another in the form of sandy skoglund. i am loving the textiles in these

Monday, 16 December 2013

jessica dunegan


i'm always going to have a look at anything that involves work being done with a hairdryer. check it out.


Jessica Dunegan - Late Night Studio Visit from Jessica Dunegan on Vimeo.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

the bicycle


THE BICYCLE from Adam Neustadter on Vimeo.

once, years and years ago,i was asked to describe something personal purely from the viewpoint of sensation. i chose my bike. it went all very odd and psychological from there. this film does it better

if my head was full of ships



it would have to look something like this....

Thursday, 12 December 2013

make some noise



naturally my house is cluttered with instruments i don't have time to play and it#s been long since i got a handle on not getting any more. but, having a conversation about cajon drums the toher day, all that might change. poor neighbours....

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

martyn ashton



mad skillz on show yet again with chris akrigg and danny macaskill on hand to help him finish. he's apparently out of hopsital now, in a chair and a back support. all the best.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

meanwhile in tacloban


a month now since the typhoon and news has all but disappeared. fortunately there's blogs like a walk with my camera where the ongoing clear up can still be seen.

Monday, 9 December 2013

the ultimate small press


last year it was a derringer. this year how could anyone possibly not want one of these?

Sunday, 8 December 2013

women on bikes


Afghan Cycles Trailer from LET MEDIA on Vimeo.

The bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can't get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.

Susan B. Anthony

i don't usually have much in the way of politics on here but i do like anything that gets more folk on bikes, particularly more women on bikes. we may think we have problems here but these women are an example. i wish them well

Saturday, 7 December 2013

unicycle scotland


Voodoo Unicycles: Highland Tour from Beard Askew Productions on Vimeo.

post night shift sees me up at four, getting some work in while i'm choking for the sun to rise. why? just so i can get out and about. true, a balmy -6 at the moment but the sky is clearing and i'm never unaware of how lucky i am to get to do what i do where i am.

and not on a unicycle. but similar sentiments from this mob who are not so fortunate. they've got the mad skillz tho

but, just for arguments sake it does show you can take the boys out of the town but you can't take the town out of the boys. so i'm not super comfortable with all that 'the outside is a playground for townies' vibe. who's going to be fixing the wooden fence after they've been at it? sessioning a historic monument - moving rocks to make a gate for grinding? obviously i'm assuming they put it all back but all the same - not cool. and as for doing the rail on kyleakin - not too many emergency services up there and better things to be doing than fishing some idiots body out of the sound if it had gone pear shaped.

mostly tho i'm just being a bit curmudgeonly. looks a great trip,

Friday, 6 December 2013

out of context



i don't know who one direction are. or harry styles. but as an antidote to some of the social media nastiness that abounds these days this is hard to beat.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

lee jeffries


i was having a think  about that last post but more towards narrative in the image and it got me to thinking about lee jeffries. i remember being very struck with his images the first time i saw them. these days maybe not so much - looking at them they seem maybe just a bit too constructed, a bit too stylised.

but that's the thinking bit of my head talking. back in the day i used to take my camera into work to try and capture something of the old people. it was a tricky business! and yet looking at those old pictures (when i can find them!) i think i could say much the same - way too self conscious!

but i find it difficult to tire of portraits and when i do it's an indicator it's me who's tired! it's a signal thing, to be able to slow down, to take the time to look, to see a person as they pass by...

Monday, 2 December 2013

mind the detail


me, i always like something i can look at and just be dazzled by the complexity and general trickiness of the work that's gone into it. so i was loving kirsty mitchell's pictures from the first instant. when my daughter was wee and i used to take her round the galleries we used to love making up stories form the exhibits. we'd have been enthralled by these!

and then we could've ramped it up to a whole new level with kris kuksi! i'd want to spend a day in his studio just to find out where he gets all his stuff from. it brings a whole new meaning to the word assemblage.


my daughter used to ask me - could you do that? the things i tended to like most i absolutely couldn't. but sometimes we'd try anyway. she tended to be a bit self conscious about the process but what i liked best was the look on her face as whatever it was that i was doing emerged out of the paper.

these are a bit like that. in the detail you can see the work and seeing the work, me and t at least, see that feeling you get when you're just lost in the making of something. lovely!

Friday, 29 November 2013

that'll be the winter coming


i may have failed to post any autumnal pictures but now, with the morning temperatures down to a balmy -6 this week, this sky is the sort of thing i've been coming out to scrape the ice off the car to. and handy these phone things, not least because it turns out that the camera on my phone is better than the wee olympus thing i bought only three years ago. i can;y get used to it tho - i need something camera like!

and onto the bike. even allowing for weather i should be well over the 5k mark for this year which, allowing for a couple of months off for weather, injury and wedding isn't bad. true, i've discovered that i am actually beginning to get slower but also that i'm not that much bothered. the ability to stop and look about rather than beasting it with the head down is to be welcomed.

to avoid winter bike injury i've dropped the seat 3mm. this has improved things but i'm uncertain my winter boot cleats are just right. along with the slowing of pace there's a definite slowing of getting over hurt so i need to get this done properly. i've even had the mtb out tho both of those have needed extortionate repairs. i feel my lbs isn't my friend right now!

Friday, 22 November 2013

pat perry


havin a wee flickr odyssey this morning and came across pat perry. loving the illustration. loving the photography. nice to see someone getting out and about in the world of people.

Monday, 18 November 2013

joel cooper

i can tell you one thing i'm not good at and that's origami. i found an origami dragon at work the other day and could barely touch it in case it unfolded. joel cooper takes it up a whole other notch and confuses my head even more. he's even got an etsy shop which is good as i love a thing i can't make...


Friday, 15 November 2013

wangechi mutu


if it's new things to look at i'm looking for it's not usually the guardian i'm looking at but this week has proved me wrong. not least with the pictures of wangechi mutu, who i;d never heard of before. at first glance they remind me very much of chris ofili's last outing, but these seem even more full of colour and texture. I would love to be standing in front of them to get a proper look!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

timm kölln


it's no surprise that timm kolln has been employed by rouleur. his style of cycling photography seems to suit their brand of elegy for the two wheeled - see his pin holes pics of the stelvio for example. and, after enjoying the tour of the arctic earlier this year, it was a pleasant surprise to see him popping up in the guardian with a new series based around that race.

you might not, or then again you might, find these pictures on his website (that substitutes quirky for useability) but even if you can't, and especially if you like your cycling, it's worth flicking thru the pages

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

eating the lunch


Noma: Staff Meal on Nowness.com

one of the things i really enjoy about being at the restaurant in sweden is having lunch, or breakfast before the fishing, but mostly the lunch. it's not like we have to work for it - t's brother is far too hands on for that! - but it may be that i get to fetch some ingredients or maybe wash some dishes (supervised mind!).

after that we get sat down on the deck, usually there'll be some family members about, sometimes one of the waiting staff. being summer the sun is shining and we'll have a good old banter over the food before getting stuck into service. it's great and this video about noma shows that no matter how big the restaurant staff food is always important.

then it's off to do the tables - i get to do this now with a minimum of checking. i wish i could say i was less pernickety than t's brother when it comes to my own work but i'm not which is only one of the reasons why it's such a joy when i get to be a less than effectual kp and get fed for my troubles!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

pretty vacant


i'm pretty taken by rietveld architecture's pretty vacant which appear, for me anyway, to evoke a whole lot of rood screen musings. it's made from blue foam but how they had it cut i don't know. what i do know is i'd be loving getting a hold of a load of blue foam and getting into something like that!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

reading the book

not so very long ago i was mulling about in that increasingly rarest of things - an actual bookshop - (true it was a waterstones but i've since been in the watermill in aberfeldy a couple of times but these days beggars can't be choosers) when i came across the pike, a biography of gabriele d'annunzio. oh, i thought, that looks interesting and put it on my to do list. a few weeks later and here's lucy hughes-hallett winning the samuel johnson prize with that very book.

which is great for her but commiserations for the rest of the shortlists, all of whose books i'd like to be giving a read. yes, including the one on margaret thatcher. sue me! it got me to thinking how much i miss browsing about around a bookshop, those chance finds you come across. true, it has to be said that a very small bit of careful googlemachining can provide the same, and possibly more, but sitting bashing away at a keyboard provides none of the same tactile sense.

in the interim i was up at the aberfeldy festival,. the poetry thing i was doing was packed - all manner of folk, all ages, all sorts. i was particularly impressed that they'd got a bunch of the local school kids in to do a group reading. which got me to thinking about a recent comment of noel gallagher's - that reading fiction was 'a waste of fucking time'. while it's just the sort of asinine statement that seems to constitute gallagher's career these days, constructing a false opposition between fiction and non-fiction (i can't bring myself to go any further beyond that!) and facilitating an 'argument' that has no good reason to exist rather than ask the deceptively complex question - why are people reading?

all of which got me to thinking about neil gaiman's recent statements on libraries and reading



i loved what he had to say about the escapism of reading. for me it never mattered whether it was made up or whether 'it had actually happened' so long as what i was reading took me somewhere i hadn't been before. imaginatively or intellectually it's all one. certainly as the years have gone by i find that reading is the one area in which i'm markedly more tolerant now than i was when i was younger. and, as a consequence, i'm far more inclined to be asking - tell what's good about that, than dismissing something because it was too mainstream/no canonical/not cutting edge enough. so young and yet so opinionated! lol

so far in scotland we haven't had the same pressure on libraries as south of the border but we shouldn't fool ourselves that it isn't coming. people just aren't using them. speaking to librarians where i live i find that i'm in the top two per cent if library users and i'm hardly the frequent flyer i once was. they tell me that less than ten years ago getting the mobile library around a circuit of the district took two days. now it takes an afternoon. then, it turns out, most of the people who go to the library aren't taking out books at all.

the reasons for all of this are many and varied and interesting. the great shame is that libraries and, i would argue, reading in the wider sense are under threat as never before. i can, just about, handle the loss of bookshops but i'd be bereft if the public library was to disappear. my earliest memories of books are of going to the library, the excitement of getting in the car, of being able to get a book, open the covers and vanish.

so one day soon i'm going to take a trip to early 20th century italy and meet gabriele d'annunzio. i'm guessing i'm not going to like him much but i'm looking forward to the journey. then i'll visit some graveyards, think about bees, romans and maybe even take a once around afghanistan. yes, noel, stories all and very much only a version 'of what actually happened'. more reading will reveal….more.

i read some advice by some writer somewhere recently. read, she said, read everything. can't say better than that.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

vlad tenu


i haven't been down to london for a wee while but if i had have been i would've been getting me to see some of vlad tenu's work. i was surprised to learn he was an architect but, that aside, there was a something that put me in mind of bronwyn oliver. never a bad thing...


Friday, 1 November 2013

botanical imagery

as the last of the flowers are disappearing into autumn tow sets of pictures appear to remind me of summer


camila carlow's images are just lovely (tho obviously i wouldn't advocate going out and ripping up plants to recreate them!). it strikes me tho that anatomical illustration (for wont of a better word) seems to be of far more interest to the likes of carlow and various textile artists than visual artists these days.

a few years back i was in the louvre (?) and coming across a gang of camera wielding folk clotted around whatever work it was they wanted to tick off their i have seen list i noticed that just down the corridor there was a wee collection of arcimboldos. i'd been seeing these images since i was wee and suddenly here they were, ignored by everyone else! i've always had a soft spot for them and am loving klaus enrique's recreations as a result


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

lou reed

i could say lots of things about lou reed. about the person who, when  i was seventeen, introduced me to the velvet underground and then nothing was the same. who said later, one day you were there and then the next you'd left us all behind. i remember listening to venus in furs and hallucinating polar bears moving in the ceiling. i remember being in some art students flat listening to the gift for what seemed like hours and leaving just as the police arrived and everyone got arrested. being in stinking hole in the ground punk clubs, getting attacked, cleaning the blood out of i's head while listening to berlin.

the new york i knew from the velvet underground was long gone by the time i got there. but i did see lou reed in the park at a spoken word reading for the new york album. it was great but it wasn't the velvet underground. but, by that time, neither were we. i don;t know anyone from those days now. i lost touch with i years ago and the only other person who would recognise the me of those young years is long dead.

my favourite lou reed story tho? is the one i thought about when i heard he'd died and the quietest of all. me and my mum listening to transformer as we did the dishes. her favourite album of all of mine she said and the one we listened to when it was just the two of us. this will be what i remember when she too, is gone.

there's lots about lou reed all over the internet but, seeing as i've got a post about him germinating here's neil gaiman

jose romussi


me and t are always going to be up for some sort of textile mash up so i was rather taken when i saw the above by jose romussi. i can't help but feel there's more he could do with this in terms of the embroidery work - or maybe that there's a collaborative project for an embroiderer in here somewhere. either way he's worth checking out and making your own mind up

Sunday, 27 October 2013

cancer pictures


one of the things i'm always battering on about to the folk at work is to remember that there's a person going on behind all the shenanigans at work. they don't always respond well, in part because a lot of the people i deal with are such car wrecks that compassion seems to stop at the door. what they don't see is the what i do with them, with relatives etc in the aftermath.

i'm always looking for wee reminders for them, something to try and lift them out of the clinical environment and see things from the patient perspective (this is tricky because the one thing that's in ever shorter supply clinically is time). so i was really taken with angelo merendino's photographs of his wife jennifer's journey with cancer.

so much is recognisable but there's so much else that we, in hospital, never see let alone get the time to sit back and take time to look at. true, i'm never going to be a fan of language like 'battle' and 'fight' but there's a veracity in these images that makes me stop and pause.

last year when t was in hospital this was what it felt like - to see her dressed up like one of the people i look after, not to be clinical any more but to be a 'relative' (the confusion that blurring of boundaries caused!), to listen as t fashioned her own narrative in an environment that had only existed for her in stories.

there's many, many blogs around that chronicle people's experience with disease. these, it seems to mean, are an under utilised resource for clinicians and the wider public. far from the cloying realm of 'help' books these tend to show the day today lived experience of disease either form the perspective of the sufferer or those round about them. not the easiest read or easy to look at but a means to treasuring the days...

*the blog associated with the above is worth checking out. also the charity associated with sales from the book sounds like a fine idea.

Friday, 25 October 2013

things i'd paint in my garden

not the best of days today as 'work' we had done on the roof results in the last 24 hours of torrential rain being deposited from the roof and into our kitchen (don't ask!). i think maybe this is the final straw for this house and maybe we'll consider a move next year.

and, like one of my previous houses, that got me to thinking about what i'd like to be doing round about the garden. walled, enclosed spaces are ideal for some outside images, maybe some thing like these...



it would have to be in a space where only we could see it - even down here in the south if we were to paint our house the 'wrong' colour it would cause a stir that would put the shenanigans around our garden to shame.

which is a pity as a more colourful, more interesting urban landscape would be rather lovely i think.

more of these here and here. i'm also pleased that next time i'm in london i can get on a bike and be shown some wall based loveliness

Monday, 21 October 2013

so long, see you tomorrow

if there's one thing that gets me thru the ironing prior to returning to work it's having a listen to radio 4's a good read. sometimes it can be just too easy to take a septic turn towards radio 4, especially if you have to listen to a lot of it, but there are other times, times maybe when going back to work feels likes smacking myself in the face with a door again and again and again, when the sound of predominantly white middle class people jabbering on about books seems to hit the reset button just right.

today t was busying herself with some business type stuff, i was ironing, the fire was on and the neighbours cat had just departed after his afternoon visit/sleep. i had been amusing myself to arlene philips and harriet gilbert's response to jocelyn lee esien's choice of prisoner to the streets by robyn travis. kind of like your sparky granny or that aunt/neighbour of a certain age who drags you out to stuff when you're really too young to understand it but who becomes a model of a certain type of behaviour as you get older. something like that...

anyway that all goes on and the next thing harriet gilbert lays down her choice, william maxwell's so long, see you tomorrow which she's never read!!! while i've kind of got used to being in a club of one on the maxwell fandom thing (i know only one other person who's read him and she got him off my shelves) some where in my head i'd taken it as a given that the likes of gilbert would've read this.

sadly no. now, harriet, read all the rest, even the chateau. you won't be disappointed.

i've been thinking about maxwell recently, esp after treating to to a meandering monologue comparing him to richard yates whom i'm more or less at the end stage of reading everything. maybe it was disturbing the peace that did it or maybe it was blake bailey's wonderfully detailed biography but i found myself pining for the more lyrical qualities of maxwell. as i've said before i like this approach go getting all the books, the letters and the biographies and ploughing thru them. it's an effort, exercises the head no end, but totally worth it.

maxwell tho, should be more read. for certain.

as for yates, a good read did the easter parade away back in 2004 and, sadly, it's not on iplayer. in which case somebody choose disturbing the peace and get people having a look at that...

sagaki keita


i like a doodle as much as the next man but sagaki keita not only takes it to another level but out the building and away somewhere else completely. i like the more abstracted forms myself but once you start looking at the images closely it feels like hypnotism!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

at the zoo

it shouldn't be any big surprise that i'm no fan of zoos. never have been since i was wee. but where do they go, i asked when i was wee (at manchester zoo maybe?). and then as i was older seeing bears with horrible psychological disorders due to their confinement, being told what this was and yet watching hordes of people still watching, still coming to the zoo.

so the contention, in the guardian, that tigers and pandas are the dancing bears of our time was like to find favour with me. but it did get me thinking and, in a roundabout way, got me to this



outside the wire, for me, has always been more interesting and, in its way, just as confining.

Friday, 18 October 2013

head dresses


i'm working on some future exhibition pieces some of which involve head gear and wouldn't you know it my trawl on the google machine throws up, courtesy of the ever reliable spoon and tamago, maiko takeda

these things are amazing! they put me in mind of a thing i saw at the djcad degree show this year that some girl had painstakingly assembled from seed pods (i wish i could've taken better pictures!). fortunately what i'm making is more....agricultural and makes no inroads on the milliner's craft. if i could tho, i think i'd like to making something that looks like these.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

more radio, murder and identity

a few years ago now, my head full of critical theory, i had this idea that i might do a phd in which, rather than look at some literary text, i might look at stories closer to home, the stories people tell when they come in to hospital and from there the stories that professionals tell about them to each other and back to the patient. it was to do with that notion of the creation of a patient identity that could be and might necessarily be separate from the identity of the individual.

maybe medical humanities wasn't where it's at these days or maybe it's just the faculty at my university just weren't up to speed (oh no, they said, we don't understand this..!). i could blame me but nowadays i've seen bits and bobs of that same idea pop up here and there but equally not with anything like the emphasis i wanted to put on it. the idea remains, shelved, but allowing for some intellectual rustiness on my part, still ready to go.

i still talk about it in a roundabout way whether it's teaching ecgs or reflecting on a critical method. mostly it's about questioning heuristics, their facility and application, interrogating what you 'know' if you like. these days, it being junior doctor time (tho i do the same with nurses) i torment with simple looking questions like what's on this ecg (it being sinus rhythm). sinus rhythm they'll say and then we'll go way into why it's sinus rhythm and that's where it exposes both their lack of knowledge, assumptions and errors as well as my own.
because all of us, whether we like it or not, will make a judgement based on the assumption that if a thing looks like a thing then it is a thing and that information is based on all sorts of conscious or unconscious 'knowledge'.

there's all manner of nonsense that can occur with this sort of associative thinking and even more if you don't know you're doing it. you can see it at every level of organisation in all walks of life (and esp amongst those critical theory types who are so ready to apply their theory to everything except themselves) and, i would hazard a guess, it may be more prevalent among those who assume they are 'experienced'. i would never do that they'll exclaim (for more on this in a medical context read atul gawande's book on checklists).

i'm always on the lookout for good examples of well meaning but error prone thinking and i was listening to this week's episode of this american life today when i came across a particularly tragic example (it's the second part but the first is worth a listen as a preamble). be warned, it's upsetting. all the people here were, for whatever reason, trying to 'do the right thing' and yet the consequences were far reaching. true, at the end it may be that there's some sort of rapprochement but it shouldn't be forgotten there's still a dead guy.

this american life is well worth a listen and this episode for me in particular. radio, it seems to me, is ideal for this. you have to sit, you have to listen, there is no heavily made up presenter to distract you, no commentators droning on with their opinions, no music as  a backdrop to enhance 'the drama', just people's voices and time for consideration.

pauline stainer

after a long time labouring as a seeming  fanboy party of one what a surprise to see pauline stainer lurching into view as poem of the week in the guardian. i'll post the poem up and you can find all the usual guardian poetry shenanigans here.

i have said it before and i'll say it again - pauline stainer - best living british poet.

now here's the poem....

Conjuration

Men conjured Blodeuwedd
from tapers of meadowsweet

Orpheus evoked Euridice
on the body of the lyre

astronomers, tracking Pluto,
see Persephone

with mourning-jet
at the opiate of her throat

Alcestis wakes – such sugars
work the cist-grave

and Lazarus?
To what voltage

will the five wits lodge
in their living dead?

Monday, 14 October 2013

radio loveliness

if i can ever get this writey business behind me i'm going to settle down to some painting and do some serious listening. something i'll be definitely listening to more is sound transit

not so many years ago me and t were getting a bit tired of constant picture taking (yes, i blame digital!). there was something about being somewhere that didn't quite capture the hordes of people with cameras of all sorts in their hands - the sense that online everything can be pre-seen, seen and seen again. we started making sound recordings - street sounds, waterfalls, wind in the trees, all manner of stuff.

the file names have become something like list poetry - whereas a place might just be labelled with a name sound files become more evocative - durness, waves, tide coming in, 6am, waterfall with dragonflies, autumn, visby, botanic gardens, wind in the gorse, hill of mailer, ravens and the like.

plus you have to take time with the listening, not like flicking thru a thousand pictures.

and that's before the act of sound recording itself - picking your spot, standing with your arm outstretched, holding your breath, all the time waiting for that random element - the dog that barks, the man who wants to know what you're doing - before getting home and relistening and remembering that we were there in that moment.

which is all of what sound transit seems to be about. pick a place and listen. get immersed....

Thursday, 10 October 2013

alice munro

wins the nobel prize. hurrah!

if i was to get asked who my favourite short story writers were then alice munro'd have to be right up there. i could say lots and lots but here margaret atwood does the job for me nicely.

apparently she's not going to be writing any more. fair play to her given her age if so but i have a mate who's older than her so if she can do it so can munro - plus, and purely selfishly, just one more book would be lovely.

and lovely is kind of how i feel about her. i don't read her work often but i have read all of it to date and when i come across it again i always have that feeling that here's something i'd sort of forgotten about but that i really should pay more attention to. to do so however would be to lose that feeling of surprise and reconnection that is - alice munro! lovely! then to settle and lose myself.

plus she's a total master. if you haven't then do, if it's been a while, then get it sorted....

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

american autumn


American Autumn on Nowness.com

i was watching some blethers the other night re woody allen's new film that put me in mind of this clip of albert moya's short film american autumn. i haven't seen, nor have i been able to track down, the full version - if anyone can sort this out for me i'd dearly like to know.

it may be you're not, like me, a big woody allen fan. in which case fear not, it's still worth the watch. i'm embarking on my last few richard yates' books and i'm sure seeing this put the thought in my head albeit indirectly.

talking of yates, i'm still waiting for those around me to get it together to read the easter parade. thoughtless of them true, but really their loss as i'm thinking it is, if anything, better than revolutionary road. read it, see what you think. i'll gladly get into that discussion!

Friday, 27 September 2013

a matter of life and death

i'm into long after writing a poem that concerns powell and pressburger's stone classic a matter of life and death so it was great to see, along with radio 3 getting it together for their autumn season, to see that this includes a radio 3 essay series on the work of powell and pressburger. so far i've listened to the one about black narcissus and a matter of life and death and they are fabulous.

the other day at work i was having a blether with one of my colleagues who, it turns out, is into her films. i was astonished to find that she'd never seen anything with bette davis. it strikes me that it could well be possible that she's never seen anything by powell and pressburger. what a miss that would be.

should there be any doubt a listen to these radio 3 essays should sort out any motivation to get any of these films watched or to watch them again if it's been a while. it may be they seen a tad dated, a bit too much of their time and place, but even if that's a problem not to recognise the craft that's gone into them is to not be able to watch a film.

so, seeing as autumn's on its way do yourself a favour - maybe give these programmes a listen and then settle down to a box set of powell and pressburger. you won't go wrong.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

martyn ashton

so i'm sitting here generally dodging work and not really feeling like going out on the bike. the latter is worse than the former as it actually is sunfish and even before that i haven't entirely neglected doing any work.

i have detoured my afternoon into watching cycling videos tho. which brings me to martyn ashton. martyn had a bit of an off earlier in the month and is now looking at a bunch of rehab with a prognosis that appears to be getting described as 'life changing'.

so, here's some video of martyn in action before i get my lazy backside out on the bike (and no, i can't do any of these things, a lack which would've been better addressed when i had my accident the other month!) they are on here elsewhere but i can't find them and they're worth looking at again

anyway, all the best to martin where ever he is (you can find him on twitter). i am now, definitively, off out on the bike




Wednesday, 25 September 2013

world championships!

irritating and lingering unwellness keeps me off the bike and pretty much away from doing anything else so there's little to do but watch the men's tt from florence. if you're couch potatoing like me you can see it on bbc2. if not then the guardian are doing a live update thing. they're cheating a bit by slapping a bunch of gcn videos on it at the moment but they're all good so worth a watch.

not abnormally i'm conflicted on this. all being well tony martin should win. but then, whilst not being his biggest fan, wiggins looks strong and it'd be nice to see him come away with something. that said support in the swiss lounge house is firmly on fabian cancellara. watch the gcn thing on his bike. 56/44!! my knees would buckle - even allowing for the generous 11/25. amd i covet a set of those pedals....

also - matt stephens. good guy. but as t has pointed out many, many times (yes how our cycling viewing differs) less is almost always more in terms of product on barnet and skinny jeans on a man in his mid forties is never, ever a good look.

Friday, 20 September 2013

the vuelta and more....

and that's the vuelta over. a better vuelta i can't remember. not least because of the route. in my head the vuelta is a dry, desert of a race but this year they seemed to have moved the race a bit further north and into bits of spain i hadn't seen before meaning that while t was trying to work i'd be interrupting - look at that, we should go there.

and the racing wasn't half bad either. no real queueing up to way for a sprint train. loads of decent looking climbs and no-one, seemingly able to dominate. the french must have some optimism with their riders coming thru and it's genuinely starting to look like that if you mash yourself up one day you'll be paying for it later. mostly.

except...

i've always had a bit of a soft spot for chris horner. seemed like a good guy but equally a nearly man. and yet there he is melting it day after day after day. now it could be said that i'm of the generation of cycling fans who just can't see a good performance without having second thoughts. but...

how old is chris horner? what teams has he been in? who was his manager? i'm willing to accept that in a drug free sport there'll be older athletes who will do well. on their day. but not the day after. and the day after that. now it seems that horner could be rider 15 tho this is, at the moment, all internet speculation. horner himself isn't saying much which, these days, is tantamount to waving a flag saying here be suspicion. he should've taken a leaf out of chris froome's book.

if he did win clean it's a shame as he, in his way, will be a casualty of his generation. that said, watching him cycle away on the angliru....

so just the world championships and then next season. cadel evans looks like having his swansong at the giro (or maybe not - he's a spring chicken compared to horner!) and he'll be thankful that the organisers didn't get their way for a double zoncolan, a move positively desgrangian in its daftness. you don't combat doping by making the races stupid hard! and then the tour in yorkshire - who knows what the cycle-antipathetic english press will make of that?

we shan't be going. preferable we think to get a look at some classics or maybe head to scandinavia and get a look at some of those roads in the tour of the fjords but most likely we'll be watching it on tv and i'll be riding convoluted routes around here.

and what of that? a wee bit off the pace lately as the previously mentioned man cold appears not to have been a man cold and hopped the genders thus rendering us a bit useless. i did manage to get out the other day with mcj who, if she actually lay off the pies and booze and train properly would be making a big mess of me! as it was i took her out on a reasonably hilly 35, her legs popping on the last 11% in sight of home. she has the advantage of youth and determination tho so she rode thru it, if not comfortably, then well. the best bit was getting her back to the house where (she being deep in the thrall of strava) she got her route back to find she'd got 25 top tens. outstanding!

me, i can sense the oncoming ctc vibe about me. i can point out interesting plants and birds to mcj but she just wants to cane it and go fast. realistically, barring a bit of better technique, i'll be hitting the watershed age for getting up the hills in the not too distant future and my segments are clogged with club guys (and the irritating presence of one triathlete!) and it's going to need to be just the right day if i'm going to put the move on them.

so, if i can't beat them, i think i may well join them. in a future where i'm not working daft shifts i think i'd kind of like that. do my grand vet thing and wallow in that status but equally maybe get into a bit of the organisation side of racing. and definitely have something to do with young folk. it's great going out with mcj - so many new roads to cycle, so much time to do it in.

the only downside is coming back and knowing i can't do it with t. but one day maybe our tandem will come, tho in t's minds eye i fear she views it more like a pedicab, one where her legs go round but she's not the one making the effort and where she can still look about without falling off. and the day i can find such a device - i'll settle for that!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

office gardens

when i walk out the door in the morning i'm confronted by a giant sage bush, a plant we were told, wouldn't grow over winter in scotland. three years later and it's dominated both garlic and chives so successfully i haven't the heart to cut it back. also coming to the end of its season is our oregano weed. the last of the bees, grey backed and slowing now are still at the flowers. harvestmen have appeared plus a range of spiders. despite the prolonged warmth (by scottish standards) you can feel the autumn.

our neighbours, of course, aren't super impressed with our garden. too ragged, too unmowed (and this before we dug up half the lawn!) but i suspect even they are beginning to get it - no complaints this year as the cuckoo flowers pinked the front garden for spring.

back in the day i worked in occupational health for a while. the big victory i look back on was getting people to give up fizzy juice and drink water. i never would have conceived of bringing a garden indoors to enliven the horror that is cubicleland. not to say i haven't worked in a place where there were plants but it was only one company and the plants were sad things languishing in pots.

great then to be browsing spoon and tomato and come across this -




i saw a 'vegetised' wall in london last year but never dreamed it could continue into the workspace. pasona deserve massive credit for this - i can only imagine the battle whoever did it must have had! too often corporate types forget that happy workers are productive workers (happy being that state a worker can declare themselves rather than be bullied into!). decent food and decent environment don't cost much - the gains are in worker satisfaction and commitment. i doubt we'll be seeing anything like this in britain any time soon....

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

what you do when there's no tv

plenty!



worth watching for the quote re inspiration near the end

*got via colossal

Monday, 9 September 2013

man cold

i, under the weather but t has gone out, muttering someting about working seven days, and leaving me with instructions to do ....stuff. how little she understands...

Friday, 30 August 2013

seamus heaney

i was glum today after hearing of the death of seamus heaney. true, he hadn't kept the best of recent but even so..

it's true I was never his biggest fan but, having met him briefly a couple of times when I read him now it's his voice I hear in my head. I found him to be immensely approachable, ready to give opinions on his work and no less sure about it than the rest of us despite all of his achievements.

much will be said, no doubt, about what he leaves behind. hopefully there'll be room in all of that to remember the man himself, one of poetry's good guys.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

things i didn't do

away back in the day i used to play underwater hockey, it was during my brief time working a nine to five and, to date, remains my only exposure to actual team sport. it was great fun, top exercise but exposed any aerobic frailty that might be shown by anyone with a history of smoking.....

so mainly i got relegated to short burst aggression, a role i got rather good at (until i came up against my nemesis good and proper at my last scottish championships - great game but a whole other story) but not one that certain of my team mates turned out to like during practice! of those there were couple who liked to go free diving - the whole underwater bit of the hockey predicates much chat and practice of breath holding - but for me the smoking and the head weasels, tho primarily the smoking, kept me from going any way deep.

that said, i was always fascinated by it so was loving this...
 

William Trubridge - Freediver from The Avant/Garde Diaries on Vimeo.

which got me to thinking about other stuff i don;t do, mainly due to time constraints these days.

around about the tine i was playing underwater hockey there was a photographer knocking around who was taking landscapes from a kite. i was well taken with this and had one of the engineer guys at work looking at how he might make a remote servo for me but it was one of those things that fell by the wayside. at least it was until a few weeks ago when i was looking around for some aerial shots of some local roman remains. welcome to the world of kite archaeology

it was with glum faces that both me and t had to admit to ourselves that there was no chance we'd ever get it together to build one of these despite the multiplicity of kite platforms available in the house but, you never know, maybe one day we'll get in touch with that lot and go and see what they can do. it looks top fun and if there's one thing i can do, it's fly a kite.

which was why, the other day at work, one of the conversations lead up to someone expressing a desire to go kite boarding. yes, i said, i can do that, in fact i've got all the gear in the house if you want to give it a go. as ever, the rest is silence!

i'm amazed at just how much time people have to lie about, watch tv, go drinking/drug taking and generally do nothing. there is so much to see, so much to do and so little time to do it. now i'm off on the bike!

*checking that link for  underwater hockey has got me in the mood for a game. unfortunately there isn't a club near here but i think i can rustle up a game on spec. i'll dig out my sticks and results will follow....

Thursday, 15 August 2013

perseids

me and t did manage to get ourselves out on sunday to see the perseids, taking advantage of gaps in the cloud, which was just as well as, had we waited, we'd have been totally out of luck - you need to take your chances if you're sky watching in scotland!

as it was we had a decent time of it with a frequency of something like 40/hour. the real pleasure tho was lying on top of the car watching the night sky. it's a simple thing and all too easy to forget to do (tho a wee bit more demanding in the winter when you're needing to be wrapped up in multiple layers) but it's always worth it to get out under the stars, to look up and watch the show.

not that it's just star watching that's suffered recently - no time in the boats whatsoever this year!! shocker!! but you can't do everything and, pleasingly, our tv is more or less redundant. neither of us has been the best at keeping in touch tho, esp me, so if i'm a bit slow on the email/blog etc front many apologies..

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

things we saw and liked

obviously, experiments in speed was a nap for me given the bike content but, I think, it's more than that, something to do with doing a thing just because you want to see where it goes, whether it makes sense or not (see - me and t - the shop!)


Experiments in Speed from SpindleProductions on Vimeo.

and then the other day while I was doing my vain channel flick thing I came across typeface. i'd seen it before but t hadn't. don't watch this I said, you need to be at work and it's not going to happen if you get involved with this. which is exactly what happened...



quite how it made it onto you tube I don't know but here it is and well worth a watch. certainly my favourite type documentary along with gary hustwit's Helvetica. buy them both!

another doco which isn't available to watch is the mighty uke, which is both life affirming and a great big advert to learn to play the ukulele (tho be warned - there are lots of truly awful entry level ukuleles as I can only too well attest). they seem to run it not too irregularly on sky arts 2 but worth getting if you're into that type of thing. in the meantime here's james hill, courtesy of colossal, a legend...


Monday, 12 August 2013

and the cycling

and then the tour finished. i was happy for froome but a shame that some of the shine of his victory must've been taken off his victory because of the media obsession with le dopage. ironically it seems the media are starting to up sticks and move onto athletics now. you'd hope the the lessons learned in cycling might have been enacted but it would seem not.

not even in cycling. routes for next year's giro have been discussed including, tho hopefully not realised, a sort of copycat of the double d'huez in the form of a double zoncolan. not only do i not think the alps double was that effective overall, the crowd being particularly iniquitous, but the zoncolan is a different kettle of fish entirely and bad enough for one ascent. given the epo era emerged as tours became harder it's difficult to fathom what the giro organisers are thinking about - beyond 'spectacle' and money.

talking of spectacle while i was watching this year's event i was drawn back to barthes' tour de france as epic. well worth the read.

but, back to the giro, it's also been suggested that one of the stages might be finishing in trieste. i'd thoroughly recommend john foot's pedalare, pedalare for a more in depth analysis of the ins and outs of the last time it finished there but, historically, it promises to be full of resonance and one wonders quite how that will manifest itself in today's italy.

other than that, sylvain chavanel, what a guy, great attacking, great form. i loved what, at the time, appeared to be jens voigt's last attack on the tour. now he says he'll be back next year and, doubtless, he'll be attacking again but, as a swan song, i don't think he'll be doing better than this year. and what more can you say about peter sagan?

in the interim i watched thor hushovd win the arctic tour of norway the other day. i don't think old thor has so many wins left in him now so that was great to see, not least because the weather looked great and the countryside is just so spectacular. they wouldn't be liking it some much in the rain and gales tho! me and t have fond memories of watching hushovd in his glory days with a bunch of norwegians in a bar in latvia.  hushovd won - much drinking ensued!

as for me, i'm nearly three thousand miles into some proper fitness despite breakages, sickness and weddings. the great weather we've been having recently has contributed in no small part to blog absence and has also result in a proper bike comedy tan - i really should have given up on the gloves but didn't, resulting in jazz hands and peculiarly brown thumbs. best make the most of it while i can tho as the sun induced tan gives way to its belgian equivalent and normal service is resumed!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

u ram choe



if there's one thing myself and t like (esp t) it's a bit of kinetic sculpture. much is the time we've spent in front of a bit of sharmanka. so we weren't going to be passing by the likes of the splendid u ram choe


Monday, 8 July 2013

stage 9

an early start for me but no respite from this season's hayfever so i dragged myself back inside to sit and watch stage 9. and what a decision. if i had only terrestrial tv and could endure the paul and phil show i'd have missed the early stage fireworks. and from then on i was glued.

true, i'd enjoyed stage 8 but even then i couldn't but associate the froome attack with its landis like proportions. it is. i told myself about the spectacle. so stage 9 was all about what the response would be. surely, as many commentators were wont to say, the tour wasn't over (tho it is looking over for the green jersey).

and neither it was. sky's efforts of yesterday, in stark contrast to the accusations of doping, followed that pattern that, if you burst yourself one day, you're going to pay for it. and, aside from chris froome, that's exactly what happened. also, for those in accord with the comparison with us postal, it sky'd team position should be noted.

the anticipated gang up of the spanish on froome happened a lot sooner than i'd predicted. thos first three hills were gripping but after that it all kind of fizzled out even if froome and the others looked proper done at the end. movistar should surely have done more. and there itself lies a question. just how, when sky were so prolifically burned out yesterday, did movistar manage to get almost their whole team up front. certainly, in the english language speaking of the cycling internet, this has been met with an almost astonishing silence. only sky it seems are fit for conspiracy.

and there's a problem in this. the old rubric of if it looks too good to be true it probably is does not serve a supposedly drug free sport well. in the past the fastest team was on drugs ergo the fastest team is on drugs. even if they're not. (and if they are? metabolic modifiers - that's all i'm saying)

which leaves the viewer of a certain age with a problem. is it possible now to watch a performance in cycling, indeed in any sport, without having it tainted with suspicions of doping. in which case what are we doing still watching. are we somehow the equivalent of internet trolls pouring scorn over everything? certainly this aggressive scepticism doesn;t seem to be helpful in terms of sports development.

as has been said of the epo generation, maybe it's time to leave it behind. and maybe, along with that, it's time for that generation of spectator, of fan, to do exactly the same. leave the modern sport to the young and the rest of us to those racks of books that were never more than myths anyway. the bike is better so get out on that instead.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

best strava segment - ever!

can be found here. all backed up with actual, if unfeasible, cycling. congrats to  mike and the other finishers. good luck to the others still out on the trail. bad weather brewing which is good for putting out the fires but not so much for anything else. top effort!

tour news



ever get annoyed with the people running at the side of the bike race? watch the guy on blue. and down he goes. that's never getting old!

so what else is new? orica green edge win a stage at last which is notable because simon gerrans is a) tiny and b) sounds like he's been inhaling helium. speculation abounds that green edge might put the first african in the yellow jersey. i thought chris froome... oh no, wait he's english now...

but it's good to see everyone performing so well. as surely everybody knows allergies confine themselves to the month of may so it's great to see that contador, valverde et al have 'recovered' and seem back to their time trialling 'best'. expect to see 'great things' from the spanish contingent come the itt. and bet against a non-team orders all spanish finish? i wouldn't.

and then cavendish, fighting off the effects of 'antibiotics' (is this a pro cyclist euphemism? i can't tell any more), gets his first win. great lead out and a great second place for ebh. sagan's a nap for the green jersey so he didn't really need the sulky face and i;d like to see greipel getting at least a stage.

i do like cav tho, not least because watching him getting interviewed the other day he looks freakishly as if he could be my younger brother, but also because he's eschewed the green edge baseball cap for a proper cycling cap. this is not motogp, f1 or any of those things, it's not downhill with their gooner headwear. it's road cycling and the cycling cap should be retained. cav is correct, gerrans should sort himself out.

all this is in sharp contrast to pierre rolland. now maybe it's just me, and i'm not about to admit that if i'd got the polka dot jersey for being first up a couple of minor climbs in the first week i wouldn't be super happy about it, but really wtf is he wearing. there is no need for the whole polkadot combo at this stage. worse than that it's not even matched up properly at the back so that the rear view of roland resembles a row of bifurcated pac men.

and talking of rolland with all the crashes folk are going down quicker than rolland's cortisol levels. hard man awards to tony martin for cycling on from his did he/didn't he concussions and various abrasions but especially to geraint thomas with his cracked pelvis..

as for me, inspired by all the above i hopped out for a cheeky wee fifty yesterday post all the wedding fatness. legs popped good and proper around the forty three mile mark. what's all that about!! so a curtailed version of today's planned climbing epic as i attempt to lose some kilos in order to gain some seconds. downhilling still a bit ginger post the accident but, at the end of the day, it's all okay because no-one, least of all me, wants to see a middle aged fat man in a tree

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

derek walcott



I got asked to post Walcott's ruins of a great house but the only version I can find is pretty well copyrighted so i'm not putting it up here but this interview with Walcott is well worth a view. the poem itself can be seen, with a recording of Walcott reading it here. and, should it be that a wee bit more info re the poem might be required see here

Sunday, 30 June 2013

yayoi kusama


Yayoi Kusama: Self Obliteration on Nowness.com

top quality yayoi kusama film for the fanboy. it's maybe just me getting older but i'm finding that i'm increasingly interested in these people like kusama, or louise bourgeois, among many others, who are still making well into advanced age

Saturday, 29 June 2013

100!

it's a special day but that doesn't mean eurosport isn't on for the start of the 100th edition of the tour. neither of us can muster much enthusiasm after the past year and certainly after the dauphine etc it appears that for at least some of the top riders 'preparation' goes on as normal. eurosport set out their stall with an intro absent of the parade of drug monkeys but it only served to expose that era more. still it's the tour and once t's mum appears doubtless we'll be glued.

results? really, i'm not that bothered for the reasons of above, so rather than that chapeau for mike hall who's nailed the tour divide despite fires which have stopped him claimed the record. great tweet as well when he realised his main competitor had scratched. top quality performance and should the tour chat become a bit old worth going back to the tour divide site for those who've yet to finish.

Friday, 28 June 2013

bike stop motion


An Unlikely Ride: Binary Bike Stop Motion Video from Binary Bike on Vimeo.

what you can do if you've got a lot of pen and a lot of time. it's true that recent domestic plans have blown a big hole in my june cycling miles but I think I've got a half decent excuse. unless this was made in winter these boys would've been better out on their bikes!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

pump up the jam

get your eighties on...



and for an 'older' version



the lost fingers aren't new on here but brighter lights, thicker glasses are well worth checking out a bit more

Sunday, 23 June 2013

bubbles


what's not to like about tomoya matsuura's pictures. follow the link, click on the sounds, kick back and immerse yourself!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

simon winston


i've been fiddling around with a text based project for a while now that's main duration has lots to do with my poor image manipulation skills. it's one of those winter night things and once I sit down to it I know what it'll look like.

but of course then there's that moment when you find someone who got there before you, did it better and everything changes! I love it when this happens as you can feel the step change in your mid and suddenly you're off somewhere entirely different.

so i'm loving simon Winston. how great it would be if more writers didn't just accept their work as a block of text on a page. or maybe that's just me...!

flowers


 
All my life,
so far,
I have loved
more than one thing,


including the mossy hooves
of dreams, including'
the spongy litter
under the tall trees.

 
In spring
the moccasin flowers
reach for the crackling
lick of the sun


and burn down. Sometimes,
in the shadows,
I see the hazy eyes,
the lamb-lips


of oblivion,
its deep drowse,
and I can imagine a new nothing
in the universe,


the matted leaves splitting
open, revealing
the black planks
of the stairs.

 
But all my life--so far--
I have loved best
how the flowers rise
and open, how


the pink lungs of their bodies
enter the fore of the world
and stand there shining
and willing--the one

 
thing they can do before
they shuffle forward
into the floor of darkness, they
become the trees.
 
 
moccasin flowers by mary oliver

Friday, 21 June 2013

tour divide

it's that time of year for the madness that is the tour divide. true there is some localish interest this year but it's an event i'm tending to become more aware of, esp in very stark contrast to the bloated creation that is the tour. be warned if you do look at the all important leader board it's all too easy to get sucked in.

where is mike in relation to colin? have they really not stopped yet? who is that on the detour? you can, if you want do the call in thing and all those variations but if you're doing that you've got it bad and, inevitably you'll find yourself thinking, maybe....?

i'd love to do it but the simple fact of the 40 degree plus temperatures the leaders have been riding thru would rule me out. I am just too pallid and northern - anything over twenty just cooks my brains! I got asked if I fancied a race in Italy a couple fo years back but declined citing the evidence of someone a tad more into it than me who'd overheated, started seeing things, and cycled into a tree!

but i'd love to do it. maybe over a couple of months or three, more of an amble down the divide. certainly I wouldn't be beasting any 250 miles a day! but there are precedents. this guy was regularly doing more miles than me up until very recently.  i first heard of him a few years back, when he was in his early nineties. I'd just done a strenuous 90 miler only to finds he'd done more or less the same route, stayed overnight in a hostel, then cycled back! I'd just missed him but he was in buying a new bike at the lbs. they were trying to persuade him it was maybe time to slow down but, rightly, he predicted he had a few more years in him.

neil sinclair - a total legend!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

spomenik


if I have the time I want to be spending a whole lot more time in the former Yugoslavia. the latest of a long line of things to see are the spomeniks (what a brilliant word!) - ar memorials form tito's time. see more on trendland.

cosmography of the local universe


Cosmography of the Local Universe (FullHD version) from Daniel Pomarède on Vimeo.

sit down and relax. you just can't not like this....

Monday, 10 June 2013

iain banks

back in the day i used to have a mate of mine who loved the books of iain banks in both m and non-m incarnations. myself, i was never drawn to them, especially the culture novels, but, my mate being my mate, i read all the other books just so that i had substance to my continuing non-fussiness towards them.

eventually, what with the arrival of the internet, fanboy had been in touch with banks and was meeting him for a pint just down the road. i was well up for it but i was told, in no uncertain terms,  that seeing as i didn't even like his books i couldn't be trusted to go and meet him, my mate confusing, as it seems lots of readers do, the books with the person who wrote them.

which was a shame as i'd been anticipating a decent banter. tho in the end i never ended up meeting banks i know plenty other people who did and none of them have a bad word to sat about him. he seems to have been very approachable with respect to his fans and retained a genuine enthusiasm for his work.

it's curious to me to see a lot of what's been written about the 'loss' of the books he might have written as opposed to all that he left behind for when he wasn't there. from my own perspective where i have letters, pictures etc made by people no longer here it's a bittersweet comfort but a comfort nonetheless.

so it may be that i didn't like his books and it may be i wasn't the best fit for that scottish male, whisky drinker of a certain age who appear to hold him in a great deal of affection but i do have the sense of the loss of yet another of life's good guys. if anything banks' early demise is a reminder to treasure the people around us as there is never certainty as to just how long they'll be with us.

so fare well iain banks and all the other good guys who have departed. maybe keep a glass in the next world...

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

a delicate battle



years ago, when i was wee, i saw rudolf nureyev dancing on the tv, a black and white sequence, just him. i'd never seen anything like it, never seen anyone shaped like him , could move like him. wow, i thought, i wish i could grow up to be that. need less to say in the scotland of those days with a father like mine it was never going to happen. and that was before i realised i was too short and most likely, too unbendy.

i never lost that moment when it came to dancers. it's a bittersweet thing -  i'm still too short, certainly way too unbendy but now i'm too old as well! but when i watch something like the above i get swept up in all the possibility of human movement.

it's a half hour. get a cup of tea, sit down and immerse yourself....

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

spoken word

had a day listening to spoken word while painting yesterday. things that caught my attention...




a heart full of petals? you can't argue with that!




not that i was having a bad day but cheeringly upbeat




and what cheerier than leonard?

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

pink turtle

continuing on from the last post...



and slightly more contemporary..


Monday, 27 May 2013

the lost fingers

meanwhile, down memory lane, something like this....


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

cycle perthshire

and angus!

after that last post I couldn't very well not get on my bike today. I had my first rehab ride yesterday, easy on the miles, very flat. so long as i'm keeping my cadence steady, the hills to a minimum and my breathing steady i'm more or less able to get my legs turning. no heroics on the ascents for at least a couple of weeks tho.

but, despite stupid levels of wind, a great wee circuit out the back roads and into angus and back. I never cease to marvel just how lucky i am - even on a bad day! - to have so many roads to get out and about on. and that in itself means a minimum of main roads which, even here, can only be a good thing. of course the sun was shining which made all the difference but I can't think, even allowing for rib related issues of anything I'd rather have been doing. after the winter deluge finally seems to be subsiding, the flowers are making their appearance, the trees are in leaf and the wildlife is out in abundance.

i was out with an australian guy a few years back and the thing that's stayed with me since then was his constant amazement at how green everything was. so green it'd made it worth coming halfway round the world. i can't argue. the more miles you have in your legs the better this area will be but even if not there's an abundance of places to go.

a rest tonight and then out again tomorrow. can't wait.

that's got to hurt



those lovely people at alpkit sent me this today. I didn't think lizarov frames got used much, if at all, any more. ouch!
fair play to joe tho and good luck to him. details of what he's going to be doing here

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

more giro

that wiggins should lose more time on yesterday's stage came as no surprise but it was a surprise i would've liked to have learned from actually watching the stage rather than foolish clicking open the guardian, a paper it appears that has no conception of the word spoiler. you should know by now says t and indeed i should.

not seeing the stage live was down to being in the shop where i was ensconced just in case i 'did anything stupid'. i'd intended some poetry type work but, it turns out, the shop is really, really noisy for that sort of caper so instead i got fired into a new mixed media thing that's been exercising my mind for a wee while. headphones on. grand fun. if i can get my room in the house cleared it'll be painting next.

it's tricky watching the giro as all i want to do is be back out on the bike but that's something that won't be happening for a wee while yet. i may sit on the trainer and turn my legs later but mainly to see if my chest is going to work. the reason for this being that i decided, not entirely of my own volition, to cycle into the back of a car last week. and while there were external factors involved really it was all down to me. stupid, stupid, stupid.

some broken ribs later i was back at work. two things should be noted. firstly that i was very lucky. i had two stories from a&e and the bike shop of people who'd had life changing injuries doing exactly the same as i had. the motto - no matter how cold, tired or hungry you are - look where you're going!

secondly, i had two excuses for going back to work. first, and least, there was no one else to do it and, as is my usual excuse, if i was to take time off everyone would think they could do it. they do anyway so so what? my actual cunning plan, which t was well aware of and not impressed by, was that if i could get thru my nights then i'd most likely be fit for a bit of bike. cue what can only be described as a bit of a collapse. the worst pain since i thought i'd broke my femur? i should coco. not nice!

so some sick time and a big cup of i told you so from t and many, many others. i still don't have it quite in my head that strava's 1000k challenge most likely won't be happening this month now but there's a glimmer of dawning acceptance.

and thence back to the giro. what a beautiful style roberto uran exhibited yesterday. i am liking too that kind of retro mullet thing he has going on. nibali is more conservatively tonsured but it seems to be suiting him. am i alone in thinking he's maybe shed a couple of pounds this year? after that last chain bother moment he was very spry going past evans.

and evans, who looks the most relaxed i've seen him in years. he must surely be in his twilight now but you'd need a heart of stone for the thought of seeing him in red at the end not to warm your heart. he's like the anti-wiggins and it's a joy to see all that effort right up front, face contorted, head to the side. you know where you stand with evans - he leaves it all on the road!

so the best i can do is watch the eurosport and read the blogs. there will be no imaginary giro climbs this year where i pretend (hey, it's my fevered imagination here!) that it's me who can climb and it's me who has that indefinable and graceful souplesse, even if just for an instant.

i'm gratified to see the legend that is robert millar writing for cycling news on the giro. he's kind of eased himself out of the woodwork these last few years, on his own terms as usual, and it's great to hear what he's got to say. at the opposite end of the scale there's cameron wurf's blog which is both entertaining and gets you right into the day to day of a young professional cyclist

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

colour

recent cycling events have left me unreservedly broken so i'm reduced to a very sedentary lifestyle. on the upside this means getting my workspace at home sorted out as much as i'm able and looking towards getting away from the winter's monochrome work and back into some colour. having spent a lot more time with leaves for an installation I did a couple of years ago the above was bound to catch my eye (even if I think there was far less glue and actual flowers involved!). a funeral home advert? i'd be swayed by that advertising!

browsing down the work of tsuruko yamazaki was never going to find less than less than a whole bundle of favour with me...


i'm finding myself checking out spoon and tamago more and more these days.

even when i'm not broken...!