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.


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.





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.

12049700_1702479266666727_4231401715968966462_n 12795253_1702479006666753_3313538389274760058_n 12439029_1702479223333398_472944267779484205_n 10363678_1702479313333389_9013254304149841888_n  12729151_1702479040000083_8224568015752806406_n 12400661_1702479170000070_7254211215800543686_n 12801228_1702478946666759_188253491415668921_n 165974_1702479173333403_3886505501355373870_n

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…


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.’

IMG_20160317_161037169 IMG_20160317_162151175

 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

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.





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.


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.




The Mitchell Library



 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.






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….





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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>