Monthly Archives: March 2016

Equinox

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So Spring is definitely springing, indeed  the weather is better & I’m feeling just dandy. The past week has seen me go through the entirity of Axis & Allies & clean up any messy bits, & also organised it into its final order. This consists of 85 legend-headed =cantos, divided as follows;

L’Amfiparnasso (1 canto)

Cantos 1-27

L’Intermidi I (1 canto)

Cantos 28-54

L’Intermidi II (1 canto)

Cantos 55-81

L’Altoparnasso (1 canto)

 Each canto contains nine stanzas, so the final total of tryptychs is 765, which equates to 15,300 lines. That’s a nice even number I reckon, ‘15,000 lines’ kinda sounds funky.

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In the past week I’ve got through a few more stanzas on the Waterloo campaign – theres’ about 8 to go now. I imagine I’ll be composing my last poems on Skye – maybe up a mountain or something – that’d be cool. I’ve also started a grand read-through – I’m at Romulus & Remus at the moment – a start of a car-wash-style edit to clean the whole thing up & turn my 39 year-old poetical mind onto some of the perhaps weaker wordsmitherie of my youth. Ive also been going through my stuff to find the best images to support Marching on Parnussus. I have all the text for that typed up – except for a few journal entries from my Dublin trip in 2003. The ide is that both A&A & MArching on Parnassus are going to be finished at the same time – crossing the streams so so speak. Tus when I write my last stanzas in Skye next week, the blog entry I write will be the last of the Parnassus writings also.

 

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Lifewise, last week was dominated by Tinky Disco & the gig at the Audio Soup Equinox at the Biscuit Factory in Leith. It was a stormer – eventually. There were big ruptions in the band concerning  Kenny’s drumming. ‘He’s not in the band for his musical abilities,‘ I tell them, & he barged his way on stage anyway. Whether this means the end of Tinky as is stands, time will tell – but I cant really let the fellow down, especially as he’s gonna help us find a place to live in East Lothian – hopefully near his lady, Sophie.

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The house sold last week – £168,000. there was some pressure-poker style bidding from a young couple, & Emily nearly crumbled & took £160,000. Waiting a couple of days, however, earned her another £8000, so thats amazing really. But since then the realisation that we need to find somehwere to live has kicked in & we’ve already driven out to east Lothian once – while looking regularly at places in Peebles, nearer Jack. It was while out there that we called on Carol, to comfor her during the hospitilization of little Larch, a mad black spaniel that we all adore. It seems likely it was posioned by the farmers weedkiller in the big field behind hers at Garvald, & after several operations (£800 each) & several nights at an Edinburgh vet hospital (at £1500 each) shes up to £10,000. Luckily she’d just been given a bonus of £18,000 by Scottish power, which looks like it’ll be all going towards llittle Larchy. Now, I reckon 18,000 people in Scotland would have preferred to have had a pound off their bills…

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IMG_20160317_181144616_HDR Driving out of East Lothian, I put up a few posters for this Friday’s motown nigth at teh Railway in Haddington. The idea is to do a monthly night, cgarge a fiver on the day & make over £500. Totally Doable. This time last year I was DJing in Burnley, & have had a rapid education in Northern Soul & Motown over these past 12 months. Its cross-generational music that, if chosen well, is proper banging. East Lothian is the perfect place to do it – theres not really much happening out there, so it could be quite a lucrative enterprise. I’ve got the PA ready at least, the final piece being a fifty quid mixer bought the other day, & the whole thing sounds sweet now & Im looking forward to bringin my tunes to the Shire, for as I hear on every side, ‘I love a bit of Motown.’

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 Last week I also had my ‘widget’ removed from my eyelid. A blocked eyelid gland had proceed to swell up to the size of a small malteser. After a wee trip to my GP, they forwarded me to teh Princess Alexandra Eye Hospital in Edinburgh, where after a 10 minute operation it was gone. My doc was proper friendly, & will be visiting Seattle May 1 for a conference. I told him to visit Duval, Emily’s homepad. It was interesting to get some get-well soon messages on Facebook, especially when it was all done so quickly & was over in a flash.

Mark Calvert Aww Love .

Claire Stowell Get better soon x

Elaine Stables Have a quick recovery x

Donna Waddington xoxo oh, hope you are o.k., honey, wish you the best!!!

Donna Waddington i woul never want to do this, This for me would be a nightmare.

Tricky Aitken In least its sorted mate, speedy recovery

David Wales Get well soon bro

Emily Randall Pirate Damo! x

Clare Brierley Get well soon

Damo Tipiji Does anyone want to buy an eyelid widget £35 – one careful owner

Euan Weddell Get well soon smile emoticon

Lee Veitch Is that your brother do it Damo lol

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Edinburgh from the Princess Alexandra upper floors

To finish this blog I’ll mention last Tuesday’s outing to Glasgow, where I saw a play at the Oran Mor, an Author’s talk at the Mitchell Library (part of the Aye Write Festival) &  finally a comedian at the Griffin pub, as part of the INternational Comedy Festival. A full day, then, & I even commuted, driving the car to Ratho Station, parking it up & catching the bus to & from Glasgow. A full days Mumbling for me, then. Here are the three reviews. Talking of three reviews, the next three days I’m going into town to watch a play a night, a good way to fill my mind with words before my final assault on A&A.

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DAVID F ROSS

contactDavid F Ross is cool – simple as. A successful architect & silver-fox, a few years back he’d started writing, a cathartic exercise into his past, reliving those days & dreams of his early years – when he’d ran a mobile disco & wanted to be in a band. These two themes have formed the subjects of his first two books, the first of which was widely acclaimed ‘The Last Days of Disco.’ Set in the early 80s, it is a beautiful elegy to vinyl & a lost epoch.vespas-final-visual-page-001.jpeg  His sequel, & the main subject of his chat at Aye Write! festival, concerns the story of a fictional band in the early 80s, called ‘The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas.’ What Shane Meadows did for 80s nostalgia south of the border with ‘This is England,’ Ross seems to be doing the same in Scotland. Indeed, he dropped the hint that he’d like to see it made into a film, & there is a certain rollicking cinematographic quality to both books.

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vespas-final-visual-page-001In his talk, Ross described that it was easier to recall events from this time, as in youth one experiences extremities of emotions, a quite existential aspect of his thinking which shows there is depth to the works that most readers might not see at first delve. Written in the Ayrshire vernacular, ‘The Miraculous Vespas’ is less a band, & more a vehicle for human relationships as summoned & reflected by Ross into his work. Well-researched, it uses real characters, including Boy George, & one imagines as time goes on this book will leap beyond its kind-contemporary pop-artiness, & into the realms of true time-capsule history.

For the actual experience of listening to Ross, I found him eloquent & attentive for the first hour, but things went off the rails a bit when he introduced fictional from his book – Bobby Bluebell & the manager Max Mojo. The fans loved it, but I just thought it was a bit daft. Still, that is nothing to detract from the clear & peculiar visionary genius of Mr Ross, a true bard who can glimpse into, & recreate the past.

 

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The Mitchell Library

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GEMMA FLYNN

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 Laughs: three-stars  Material: four-stars    Delivery: four-stars

CaXiDYmWYAE4Yxi.jpgOne-hour Comedy shows are rather like corn sheaves; they are planted in the winter, show their first green shoots in the Spring, start creating the cornbuds in May & are ready for the golden harvest in August. In the same way, comedians will start their Edinburgh Fringe show rolling in March – at the Glasgow Comedy Festival – hone it down Brighton in May & then reveal it to the world at large, fully ripened, at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Gemma Flynn, then, is very much caught in this cycle. Having survived last years ‘madmax dystopia’ of the Fringe, this diminutive delight set to work doing stuff, seeing stuff & picking out the funny stuff in all that stuff. Glimpses of brilliance glittered through a slightly jerky set, not helped by the clumsy use of her applemac in giving us clips of various things from modernity – mainly based upon the Kardashians (?!).

Watching Gemma in full flow is rather like joining her on the couch for a TV chat show. The room was packed, although most seem to have known Gemma, who she included in her patter; which, I must admit, had a really enjoyable & intelligent burr. Gemma is young, & so is her material, but she just kinda has it. As the year progresses, & she gets used to her material, sorting out the wheat from the chaff, come August we’ll all be sucking on her succulent cobs.

four-stars

 

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BILLY (The Days of Howling)

Script:  2.png Stagecraft:  2.png  Performance: four-stars

IMG_3160i.jpgThis a strange play. Disconnected, waffling – it is as if we are led in bed with our three actors after they had drank far too much caffeine after ten o clock. They cant get to sleep & they are just thinking aloud – thinking & speaking aloud. None of this is in harmony, however, until the end that is, when finally the three separate soliloqueal strands fuse together in a sweary & shouty finale. Is this the Howl, one asks, or it more the voice crying into the hurricane, when Ginsbergdeclaimed, ‘I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.’

Billy’s main theme is the chaos that ensues after an adult makes the wrong step in the minefield that is kindergarten playground. In this case, Alice’s mum notices Billy eating & Cheeto — & the rest is history (or for me rather, it should have been left in the historical records.) I wasn’t convinced by this piece at all, although the hour was definitely saved by the spirited acting of Hoary Lyon (admin lady), Rosalind Sydney (Alice’s mum) & the big-boned & bubbly Anthony Strachan (Billy’s dad). Perhaps that is down to translation, not perhaps of the language so much, but more the format conjured by French playwright, Fabien Cloutier.

Before I entered the Oran Mor was in a pretty good mood, but left having something of a personal existential crisis. Perhaps that was the point, I’m not sure, or maybe I am….

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 FACEBOOK UPDATE ON LARCH

i want to be near to kids in case of bad news and I need to go and comfort them.   it’s a kind offer though.   I’m seriously reaching the end of my tether.   Not slept in 3 days,   Oh, and fab news about the house,   that’s fantastic
Thurs 13:39
Larch deteriorated.  Only a matter of a short time I fear

Carol
Nice to see you both. Hard circumstances. Just to say skye is still on no matter what. In fact if we lose larch the kids will need the distraction more than ever. Lets plan for a really jolly time regardless
FRI 18:50

Emily
Yes, my kids looking forward to it too! Any news today?
SUN 11:04

Carol
Larch fully conscious, eating a little, wagging her tail and having her tummy tickled by her nurses. Still poorly and tired but much better. Happy equinox. The sun is in the sky and God’s in his heaven. Peace and love
Wow

Carol
I went to see Larch today. She’s in a sorry way, poor wee soul. but pleased to see me and still getting a bit better., broke my heart to leave her but I could feel the love for her amongst the vets and nurses
07:39

Carol
Morning. Hope you’ve well. Also hope we get some of this weather for our Skye trip. Emily, are the girls with you Friday night? If so I cook babysit so you can go to Dsmos thing in Haddington x

Carol

Morning. Hope you’ve well. Also hope we get some of this weather for our Skye trip. Emily, are the girls with you Friday night? If so I cook babysit so you can go to DAmos thing in Haddington x

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Three in a Week

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In the whole of the last week I managed to eke out another three stanzas for Waterloo, one of which reads;

Pawn-Push

As from Night’s throne delicious dawn-nymphs crept,
Across the Sambre cherish’d eagles flew,
Or rather waded – as they did men wept,
They’d dared to dream those dreams becoming true;
Beyond frontiers,
Marching thro man-high rye,
As morning slowly clears brash pit-murk from the sky.

Across the bridge Napoleon
Penetrates the Belgic lanes,
On every side a veteran
Strongest of his long campaigns,
Ahead the palace of Laekan
& with him what remains
Of this best army, whom with phrenzied heart
Surge forwards, urging murdering to start.

Ney gallops thro the old Empire
As sunny skies open,
‘My orders sire?’ ‘With fight & fire
& forty thousand men
Seize Quatra Bras, from there we’ll bar, conjunction… WELL! GO THEN!’

Charleroi
15th June
14:30

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So I am creeping towards my goal, a final read through of the poem in its full & natural entirity, which serendipity has decided shall be taking place on the Scottish island of Skye. We’ll be there in a couple of weeks, actually, on a wee holiday – a friend of mine quite high up in Scottish Gas has rented a large cottage for the Easter break. A suitable place to conclude my work, for the Cuillin hills, as I recall, are as epic as it gets.

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 The past week has been pleasant enough, the centrepiece of which was the State Birthday of my friend Stevie Vickers, aka, Victor Pope, at the Leith Depot in well, Leith. For it I finally reassembled Tinky Disco – our main singer, Mike Daniel, had been going through the ringer recently, but has returned for duty. A practice was head, in which my bass lost its connection. Luckily Emily’s neighbour, 80-odd year old Andy, who still rides his motorbike, had a soldering iron. Cue a funny hour fixing the bass & finding out about him – his lads a major-general in the army & received his MBE on the same day as Kylie – & even took her out for dinner. Andy is a Rangers nut & at the end of the ‘fix’ told me, ‘there’s only one thing wrong with your guitar pal – its green!”  

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The gig at the Leith depot was fun – a lot of folk showed up & I gave a little speech reminding folk of a little chat I had with Steve in 2008, when he lived in dirty Leeds & I said he should move to Edinburgh as there’s loads of good folk & musos up here – the State Birthday, then, was a lovely validation of that. As for Tinky, we should be sharp for next Friday, a gig at the Biscuit Factory for the Audio Soup Equinox party. They usually hold it at the Belhaven Fruit farm, near Dunbar, but have moved it to the city on this occasion, to a factory space converted into a party zone.

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The past few days have seen the first few folk entering the house & picturing themselves in it, as the grand wheel of property owning rolls into the lives of young couples. Its interesting highlighting the strengths of the house & hiding its weaknesses & hoping that they’ll want the house sooo much they’ll chuck in a few extra bob. Emily has been stressed recently because of the house sale, because of the unsurity of roofing her children – but I am instilling her with a sense of confidence in the future, that East Lothian awaits & we will find the most salubrious house & lifestyle there.

IMG_20160309_144002182_HDRTHE PROPERTY

(from the ESPC website)

This extended end terraced villa is pleasantly positioned within the ever popular village of Dalmeny close to the seaside town of South Queensferry and Dalmeny Railway Station for convenient commuting. The attractive family accommodation merits internal viewing to be fully appreciated and comprises; welcoming entrance hall, comfortable light and airy lounge enhanced by natural wood flooring, feature fireplace on a tiled hearth and glazed door giving direct access to the rear garden. Located off the lounge the well designed dining kitchen which has a range of modern base and wall mounted units with co-coordinating natural wood work surfaces/flooring, Belfast sink and elegant French doors to rear garden. To the lower floor there is also a study/bedroom 3/playroom with access to the side vestibule. Finally to the upper floor there are two bright and sunny double bedrooms, large floored attic providing excellent storage with potential for conversion (providing the relevant planning permissions are in place) and appealing partly tiled bathroom comprising white three piece suite with electric shower over bath. Further benefits include gas central heating, double glazing, good built in storage and large two car drive.

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Today it is Emily’s birthday: she is 44, but, as her 6-year old Roxy told her this morning – looks 28. In her I get the benefits of beauty AND maturity, & wonderful soul-woman who cares for me as deeply as I her. Looking after wee ones is grueling & for two weeks in three we welcome the wee ones’ father having them in Selkirk. The first of these is especially welcome, as we would have just had a 12-day stint with them. I had the changeover last Friday, dropping them offat a lovely house on the Dalmeny Estate where the kids wer having lunch with a few other kids & their mums. Roxy asked especially if I could drive her there, the conversation breaking out into the playful.

‘Will we be going to the club tonight, m’lady.’
“Yes, about ten o clock.’
‘Is that not a little late, ma’am?’
‘O no – I do like to stay out all night these days!’

She is only six!

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After this, a surprise trip to the Playhouse to watch Puccini’s Tosca (Emily’s first opera) & the State Birthday, we moved onto the couch for basically the rest of the weekend – recuperating to the very fine ten-part Icelandic murder-mystery, Trapped, & the fact that Burnley have just gone 7 points clear at the top of the championship. Probably the most blissful time we have spent together yet!

Queensferry 

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Back in the Saddle

 

 

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The last few days have been pretty interesting, I guess, & have seen me compose the first two tryptychs of this last little flurry of Axis & Allies composition. I last left the blog in Edinburgh, just before a vital chess match, of which Chris Donkin – the Wandering Dragon archivist – had to say;

Falconers Flyers ‘polish’ off a wunch of bankers to avoid relegation

The C team played their final match of the season away at the Ukranian Club last Tuesday against Bank of Scotland B. They needed to win to avoid relagation. Now dear reader, I will level with you. I have been back in Scotland 7 and a half years now and have played in every division against every club. I have developed great admiration and affection for many of our fellow clubs. Musselburgh are good guys, the Civil Service are great (and generous) the Edinburgh Chess Club have always supported us when we have needed a venue and they are all good guys. Dunbar, Badgers Brook and Sandy Bells are great fun. In fact I like most of our fellow clubs …. but I have never really taken to Bank of Scotland. On Tuesday they took on our C team in a crucial division two match. With all games in play our board 2’s (Damo Bullen) phone was heard to be vibrating. It was on silent but the vibrations could be heard. Of course everyone knows the rule – all mobile phones must be turned off. Damo also knows this rule – but most of us know Damo !

 

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The thing is you only default the game if your opponent claims it. I am led to believe that the game (level at the time and an interesting position) was claimed with some glee. I really can’t understand this – no matter how important the fixture. Why would you want to claim a game in such circumstances ? …. but hey ho (rant over). Damo was defaulted and the Bankers moved into a 1-0 lead. Fortunately this is not a sour grapes story because Bill Falconer’s men then went on to win with some style. The Polish contingent (Konarski, Walkowiak and Straczynski) scored 2.5 / 3 with only Adam Walkowiak dropping a half point. Captain Bill led from the front with a fine win and Tony Akers rounded off the night with a draw. Final score Bankers 2 Good Guys 4. The last word is that the C team are now safe and will play in division two again next season.

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I responded by Email (today actually) with;

Great that the C team still won! Well done lads!

In my defence, I was keeping an eye on the Blackburn-Middlesbrough game – I’m a Burnley fan & it was one of the rare occasions I wanted Ba$tard Rovers to win – they did, keeping the Clarets at the top of the Championship, a position we lost last Friday when Middlesbrough used a game-in-hand to overtake us. Luckily, we did the first seasonal double over aforesaid Ba$tards last Saturday in 35 years
x
Damo
PS – if you are in a similar situation as I, turn phone to silent AND vibrate off – they’ll never know

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On Wednesday I had a great run through of Alibi with my new team – its been 9 years since I last did it, but I reckon its good for another outing. There’s Haylee Goldthorpe as Lily, Harry John as Nelson, Victor Pope as the cool pool General, Jimmy the Beggar is now Brenda the Busker, played by Clare Brierley. The idea is we’re gonna perform it live, & after a wee tweak of the script – chucking social media in & localising it to Edinburgh – its looking good for the Summer.

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On the Thursday, I Mumbled the Edinburgh University Shakespeare Society’s production of King Lear at the Pleasance Theatre, a rather well-written review, I think, which I shall reproduce here;

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Script: 5  Stagecraft: three-stars Performance: four-stars

4A0A5589.jpgNext month sees the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s ending-day. Perhaps he knew his fame would outlive him – but probably not how far the scope & expanse of his genius would penetrate. It is a staple of all the worlds’ studies; his language, human expositions & dramatic dialogue should stand forever as both a teacher & a delight to us all. In this commemorative year, then, the Edinburgh University Shakespeare Company has tackled King Lear, a murderous tragedy that wades in blood & guts only second behind the visceral early-crowd pleaser, Titus Andronicus. Touching on themes of family division & the onset of age with its wafting senilty, King Lear is a true classic, whose darkling & depressive mood plunges a sword-point into dankest depths of all our psyches.

4A0A5461In the hands of the EUSC we are presented with a set straight out of Superman II (1980), with the ladies bedecked in evening wear; including rather pointy stilettos. At their heart is Will Fairhead’s grey-haired King Lear, who commands the stage with an increasing cantankerous acerbation. His touching descent into madness wins over one’s suspension of disbelief completely, especially when accompanied by a reddening face after a particularly loud outburst. Of Lear’s daughters, I found Agnes Kenig’s Regan very fluent, very believable, but the Mumble’s main praise must be bestowed upon Olivier Huband. He played Edmund to perfection, his stately soliloquies doing Shakespeare proud, while you actually could feel the electricity as he flirted with Goneril & Regan.

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Olivier Huband’s Edmund

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So did it work? I would say yes, it did. The cast comblended well together to deliver so complex a psychological montage, & did so bristling with energy. I wasn’t so sure about the accompanying sound-effects; a Dantean soundscape with a deep pulse that got louder as we descended into the mental hells of our protagonists. Perhaps it was meant to get us all nervous, but I just found it a bit annoying. Action-wise, while there was a seamless transition between scenes, the dialogue was at times a little rushed, especially in the mouth of Pedro Leandro’s fool. Saying that, the laddie was engaging all the same, a tantalisingly brilliant breath of fresh air in such gloomy play, composed as it was just after the demise of a more frivolous Elizabethan Age (1606). There really were some great moments of well-played theatre – the death scenes in particular were charged with high drama – while the soul-tortured monologues definitely demanded our attention. I did think at times the production was a little too shouty – Shakespeare’s words are essentially wooden, & it is up to the individual actors & actresses to bring them to life – but perhaps not quite so vividly… a cheeky subtlety here, an un-noticed nuancity there, plus a tension-pricked pause from time to time & this play could have been even better.

Reviewer : Damo Bullen

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On Saturday me & the lass & the two girls drove on a deliciously crisp day through Fife. Dropping me off in Fife, they continued on to Newport-on-Tay where they had pals, while I covered the Stanza poetry festival. I saw a few things, including the fantastic Jemima Foxtrot & a talk on the Tao te Ching – something I’ve recently picked up in connection to my work with the Kural.  What was weird was me spending the majority of the afternoon with one eye on my phone & the Burnley result. They were playing Ba$tard Rovers & beat our arch-rivals at Turf Moor for the first time in 35 years or so.

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IMG_20160305_172755135Emily picked me up from Saint Andrews at 3 – Stanza had been cool, but the place was full of university students dressed up as if they were in the Tyrol & running about like mad-heads – not cool. A few miles away lay the delightful firth-side town of Newport-on-Tay, with gorgeous views across the waters of a grey-granite camel-hump’d Dundee. Collecting the girls from her pals place – a delightful old house with an epic garden. We then drove back to Dalmeny, calling in Strathmiglo en route. My object was to find & photograph its Pictish Stone, which I was allowed to do while the girls played in the excellent park. In recent weeks I have been slowly peeping at my work with the British Dark Ages once more —- for me Strathmiglo will be connected to the Gildasian Maglocunos, while I am pretty sure the Isle of Avalon is across the Tay at Inchyra.

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Sunday was a fun day, starting with an early drive to Tescoes with the girls (im completely illegal by the way) to get some Mother’s Day pressies for Emily. My chief present to her was preventing them from giving them to her til nearly 11 AM. Later that evening I also had a run-out with Tinky Disco, playing ‘Grandad’s Having a Come-down’  for the first time. We were on first at a jamboree at Henry’s Cellar Bar – a wee New York style joint with a  great atmosphere & sound. There was no-one there, of course, but that was the point – for we’ve a big gig coming up in two weeks time & its nice to get back in the saddle.

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Earlier on that day I took myself off into Dalmeny Estate & etched off two stanzas, both of which introduce the De Lanceys into the poem. There was one passage in particular I really liked, for it felt as if I was speaking of mine & Emily’s love. It reads;

No Fairer Love

Could e’er two hearts entwine

The perfect, ‘I am yours,’ the spotless, ‘you are mine.’ 

It was weird being back in the saddle, so to speak. Parnassus, Olympus & 2011 seem a long way off, since which I have composed only one new stanza for A&A – the one dedicating the poem to the American people. That was done in my office in Burnley, but it really felt good to be outside, absorbing the poesis, & pouring it into the mould my choosing, whose mechanics are something quite innate to me.  With there only being a few new stanzas to compose – about 20 – I believe I shall really enjoy this week or so.

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Today, then, was Monday, & I have spent it painting Emily’s house fixing doors & stuff in time for the surveyors arrival tomorrow – she is selling up & a return to East Lothian is looming ever swiftly on the horizon. I am currently sat in South Queensferry library, covered in dried white paint & just finishing off a bit of Mumbling.

One Last Blast

OK

So I’m not quite finished.

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I’m currently sat in the National Library of Scotland on a Tuesday afternoon. This morning I went to the doctors on Ferry Road in order to start the ball rolling as to having a lump removed from my eyelid (blocked gland) & tonight I’ll be playing a vital Chess match for Wandering Dragons C – its the last match of the season & we must get at least a draw to avoid a relegation play-off.

Over the last winter, only the salubrious bosom of my woman & her warmth has kept me sane through a particularly wet & windy Scottish winter. But today is the first of March, the heralding gateway to six months of lets say, better, weather. It should also see the very final effort on my two epic poems - Axis & Allies & The Silver Rose, the contents of which I have been musing on of late. Last year I was happy to have the edited down versions; 154 sonnets for the Silver Rose, & 243 tryptychs for Axis & Allies. Yet spending time with my inspirational spirit-woman has renewed my vigour & given me ample ambitions as to create ‘true’ epics – ie poems with a bit of meat to em, eh? Through the Winter I have also been assembling my collection of Axis & Allies related journals, entitled ‘Marching on Parnassus,’ the pursuit of which has propelled me to furnish this ultimate leg of epical poetic composition with a piece of modern blogging, to complement & consummate all my previous efforts.

Tinky Disco has been evolving over the winter...
Tinky Disco has been evolving over the winter: should be a good 2016

 

Our vocalist is Superstylin Mike Daniel
Our vocalist is Superstylin Mike Daniel

Last weekend, my good lady Emily & I set off from Dalmeny in order to collect my Apple Mac computer in Burnley, which contained the majority of my work. After dropping off her children at the ‘Big Red Barn’ near Biggar, where they were picked up by their father (who now lives in Selkirk), we continued south under a lovely blue pre-spring sky. Over the past few months I have been steadily teaching myself how to drive, & it was while pasuing for a break at Gretna services that I explained to Emily I was ready to tackle a motorway for the first time – which after downing an energy drink I did with some success – for a good 20 miles & at speeds of over 70MPH.

We reached Burnley that night – pretty exhausted, & slept soundly. The next day was a busy one -starting with a drive about Pendle in search of the correct positions in which I am convinced 16th certain woodcuts were made for Spenser’s poem, the Shepherd’s Calendar. We didn’t quite get the exact spots, but are getting closer & next time we’ll nail it.

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Pendle Hill & what I think is Pendle in the woodcut

The rest of the day was spent calling on all my ‘relations’ – a walk with my sister & niblings near Darwen, a coffee with my father, some beers with nicky et al. & a coffee with my Uncle Jeff – who has just been sworn in as the mayor of Burnley & who I now have to call ‘his worshipfullness.‘ On the Sunday morning I was picked up by Nicky & driven to Accrington to watch his son & my godson, Li-Bau, play youthful football under yet another cold but crisp-clear blue sky.

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Me & the neice, rebecca, & His Worshipfullness, mi Uncle Jeff

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12243078_1587099681614982_4837497757531020370_nLeaving Burnley, we headed north once more, & I took over the wheel at Windemere in order to drive up & over the Kirkstone Pass, a road I had never traversed before. With the weather still perfectm it was a glorius drive, though I had to deflect Emily’s constant ‘point outs’ of beautiful scenery, nervous as I was to be driving such a winding road. After drinks & nibbles at the Kirkstone Inn, we headed north, with me handing over the wheel just before Penrith.

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GetInline

GetInlineFrom there we nipped up to Carlisle for chips in the city & a coffee with an old pal & new Mumbler, Paul Rivers. Then, with dusk falling, we drove up to Selkirk to collect the girls from their fathers, before one last wee mission – calling on David Wales at Innerleithen. Last year he’d put on a festival called Juiced Up near Dunbar, at which Tinky Disco had played. This year he’s doing it again, & after a wee chat it looks like I’ll be running the dance tent this time round.

A couple of hours or so later we were finally back in Dalmeny, where I set up my apple mac, in preparation of getting busy these coming weeks. My fallow period is well & truly over, last year’s composition of the Language of Birds really undammed the poesis & now its starting to gush through my spirit – lets see where the muses take us.

Edinburgh

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