11 February 2018


As I take this photo I am listening to a man behind me playing a harmonica and occasionally attempting to sing. He is small and thin, and seems old, and appears to have few teeth. To say that he is playing the harmonica is to exaggerate his skills. He blows in and out, breathing through the instrument. Then he wails, briefly. He stamps his feet, one black-trousered knee jerking up and down, up and down. He seems malnourished, unwashed. And he is always there: sucking, blowing, wailing, stamping. Always there. I thought of taking his photo. I pondered asking, and maybe putting a pound or two in his almost empty hat of coins in return for his permission; but it seemed an intrusion. He sucks, he blows, he wails, he stamps. He always does, seemingly endlessly; and I expect he always will, until one day he will no longer be there. I wonder what his story is? Maybe, just maybe, next time, I may ask. This time I just turn, walk past, and he shouts at me, as he shouts at everyone, as he always does. Not unfriendly. Shouting something seemingly friendly though a toothless gape, but unintelligible. And I walk on.

Then tonight... I discover a film about him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deHpdKYUXQU and he can play a bit better than he was doing today, and though I called him old, he is younger than me, but a bit more eh... worse from the wear, I would suggest.

And "Desperate"? The statue is of Desperate Dan

31 January 2018

The Lady's look

can be quite scary sometimes, when I have just said something unwise

She was not amused

And by taking a photo while finding it funny, I made it worse

All fixed now though

28 January 2018

The geometry of normality

There can be so much to enjoy in the geometry of normality, so often overlooked. The colours and angles and shapes through the windows, the distant slice of blue sky, the actual structure of the windows and doors, the patched stonework; and the woman's bands of hair, laid there unthinkingly but seemingly so deliberately, and the light and shade on the floor. It is all an artwork, even if some would say it is just a boring coffee shop scene; and would perhaps head out to get the supposed 70 percent reduction advertised out there on things I am sure that I would not want, although I quite like the shape of the number standing out from the redness around it.

27 January 2018

It's almost time

There is always the awareness of some forthcoming troublesome event rising up through the conscious immersion in the here and the now. Little bubbles of concern, emerging and mixing with whatever thoughts deserve more immediate attention. And when one cluster of such bubbles surfaces and bursts, as the event arrives, a new collection always rises from the deep dark silt in the recesses of a muddled and muddling mind.

The thought occurred to me in Dundee, where I was, for a while, not sufficiently enjoying the fact that one belch of bad bubbles had been despatched, as an event of concern came and went, without problems, last week. The welcome relief being clouded by another burst of bubbles of concern about the next little issue that may, or may not, need to be overcome. Oh well. Time for that soon enough, if and when, and all that... Meanwhile, soon time for a brief visit to the local pub. Nothing to worry about there, for a while, perhaps.

22 January 2018

All mixed up

Drinking Dublin Porter in Doctors pub in Edinburgh, sitting alone on the same seat as I sat as a new undergraduate 44 years and 1 month ago, occasionally looking out of the same window at the same old grey stone of Edinburgh University, and feeling eerily much the same as I remember from that olden day. And remembering... hopes, plans, wonderings... of the days before meeting my lady, and post-graduating in Cambridge, and making my babies, and staggering, stumbling and bumbling my way along, through another 44 years and 1 month of the relentless river of life. Time and space all mixed up in my head. Unsettling... Then re-setting... Leave it all behind. Look forward. Move on. Times coming. Times gone. And always, fundamentally, alone.