Hang on to your old FF wads!…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s interesting china teapot is the one shaped like the mushroom cloud of a detonating nuclear device.
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Today’s post is rather specialised, so I do understand if you don’t stay with it for the duration dear reader. This is really aimed at guitar players, and it sort of takes the form of a product review:
You see, as a guitar player, for as long as I can recall, there has been a special something that you could buy which magically makes your guitar much nicer to play, and also gives your guitar strings a longer life.
‘What a great product!’ I hear you shout, and, ‘Tell me more!’ I hear you add.
Yes, indeed. It’s a product called Fast Fret: it comes in a handy round tin about three inches by one-and-a-half inches in diameter; inside the tin there is a stubby wooden stick with a sort of ‘wad’ on the end, this ‘wad’ is where the magic stuff is. You rub it on your fingerboard, and also your strings, which makes them lovely and smooth to the touch and your hand whizzes about very freely allowing you to play slicker faster things than you normally could on your grubby tarnished dented old strings – that have never ever been cleaned… Ha!…
Also included in the tin is a little cloth which is for ‘wiping off the excess’ – me, I never wipe off the excess… It is also handy for wiping under the strings to remove the claggy bits of unpleasant finger-end debris that tend to accumulate there.
Fast Fret was always a bit pricey, but then it does come all the way from GHS Corporation in Battle Creek, Michigan USA.
Great eh?…
Ah, but hold your horses! An update dear reader:
That’s what the stuff used to be like – it started to go downhill a little a few years ago when they changed the container from the proper tin to a floppy plastic version. It looked like the original, but it was a bit cheapskate and was annoying to use. I still bought the product though…
I purchased a new ‘tin’ two or three weeks ago – ¬£8.50 – I have seen it dearer though.
Oh, look! Hurray!… They’ve finally dumped the floppy plastic and gone back to the metal tin! People must have complained. Great!… Except…
Except? Yes, they now seem to have changed the recipe for the magic stuff in the ‘wad’ – I suspect the ‘money people’ and accountants have taken over, like they have at Fender and Gibson guitars, and have been cutting costs in all departments. The stuff on the ‘wad’ smells different, doesn’t ‘feel’ the same, and the effect doesn’t seem to last as long – in fact it seems to be different product altogether.
I had a look online and found people who seemed to have come to the same conclusions as mine, and some of them said that they had never used Fast Fret anyway, but swore by something with the grand name of Dr Duck’s Axwax and String Lube, also from the USA, this time from Las Vegas Nevada.
I straightway sent off for some of that! It comes as a liquid in a plastic bottle and seems quite different from FF, but the effect on the guitar is very similar to that of the original FF stuff. Good!…
It is, being a liquid, a bit messier to use though, and you definitely need a rag to apply it. Oh, and apart from doing the fingerboard and strings a bit of good, you can also use it as a cleaner of all parts of the guitar, so long as you have a nice soft cloth to do a bit of vigorous buffing.
But – Uncle Dave’s Guitar Tip of the Week:
If you have any old tins (plastic or real) of Fast Fret with dried out ‘wads’ in them kicking about, you can put a few drops of Dr Duck’s on the old ‘wad’ and rejuvenate it, and you can also, of course, keep it in the original tin, with its little cloth, in your guitar case, for an easy non-messy application of this superior product.
So: Guitar Players – Hang on to your old FF wads!…

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Some song lyrics misheard over the cafe hubbub…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s demonstration of media people’s ignorance of science is BBC TV covering the solar eclipse last night and having one of their interviewees with a picture of a lunar eclipse behind him.
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‘Spring a back juice – I’m comin’ home girl!’
‘Oh-oh… Oh-oh… Oh-oh… Drift away – what’d I say?’
‘Mm, breathing long, I idle you, I be thong…’
‘I gum myself, I gum myself – I apologise.’
‘Oh, my broken-hearted muscle!’
‘Habit tonight, a brand new bird, and pretend.’
‘It’s just a fence that we made baby.’
‘It’s food in my hamster Wendy…’
‘Baby never crawl, shoe-shoe-shoe!’
‘I gotta tell myself I’m a tube now.’
‘The shavings that never come for you and me girl.’
‘One more smile – there ain’t nobody striding!’
‘Betcha money – ya take it out and shake it!’
‘I bake in your bed, oh oh oh oh!’
‘Often hips, the soul of sugar, miss a beat easy-easy.’
‘Kiss the floor! Giant hands! Meme!…’
‘The river bee, think of me, think of me…’
‘You comb me with empty eyes now.’
‘In the seams and in their caps…’
‘Me, so long, pokey in no notion…’
‘Evil life knife and other things, to go.’

For some information on how these lines are complied you could click here.

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This is not art. No. 18…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word ‘sweltering’.
I think I might swelter for an hour or so later on this afternoon, the BBC weather forecast says it’s going to be ‘humid’ in these parts – me, I like humid…
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It is rather an austere and low-key piece this, but it does nevertheless demonstrate a subtlety and delicacy of touch in both application of paint and the choice of surface and colour for the substrate, an undefinable and ethereal hue carefully balanced between pale green and hesitant grey. See how the artist has enclosed, boxed in, her playful, freehand, jumping and squirming sperm-like strokes of dark red/brown (yes, the colour of old dried spilled blood) inside a rectilinear form which is rigidly defined by hard, pale blue, cold, unyielding stripes – not unlike an aerial view of the foundations of some long lost ancient human prison. This piece is surely about confinement – the confinement of the soul, the imprisoned, but still living, and throbbing, human spirit – and it is also about the bleak futility of existence itself…

Well, actually no, this is the wall of the kiosk (what a very good word ‘kiosk’ is!) here in the Dulltown Interchange; the building was obviously being made ready for new occupiers when I photographed it a year ago; the old advertising boards had been pulled off in readiness for the sticking up of bright new ones. The stuff round the edges looks to me like sticky tape, or places were sticky tape has been pulled off, and the four wavy splodges in the middle are just the remains of the industrial strength ‘instant grab’ glue that firmly held whatever it was to the wall.
So, no, this isn’t art dear reader – ah, but it might be – now that I have photographed it and talked about it here…
Nice, isn’t it?… Well?… Isn’t it?…

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Just a few shortish items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to carefully tack the floppy liner down onto a stout board and stand it vertically against a wall, a tree, or a fence; have some baskets of garlic handy and make sure you are near a source of flowing water. Using the tongs provided propel some offal from the tub into the centre of the liner and observe the way it either clings or slides down; document the event and time it using the stopwatch provided. You should now sit on the folding stool and enjoy your packed lunch and flask of tea.
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Excuses for being late. No. 343.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I had to go round and feed my neighbour’s triceratops. (T)

A single overheard remark:
‘No! I said it’s Baton Rouge!…’

Old records that it’s really uncool to like. No. 1.
Girls on Film by Duran Duran. (G.O.F)
What makes it for me is the clever little pause in the guitar riff the second time round.

‘What’s that music you’re listening to?’
‘It’s the radio, it’s BBC Radio 3, but I’m not really listening to – I’ve just got it on in the background.’
‘In the background… What’s the programme called?’
‘It’s “Composer of the Week”…’
‘Composer of the weak? Is it really called that?’
‘Yes…’

An observation:
An old man at the bus stop was sneezing into a handkerchief. He was going, ‘Whoo-char… Whoo-char… Whoo-char…’

Ah, it’s spam time again! Oh good, I love these items! This one seems to be from someone called Eddie Linuxer:
Effectively like Mommy mentioned, after we love each other and love the world that Jesujs died for, that?s a kind of worship. Once we thinbk about God and hearken to the sermon on in Sunday college, that?s a meanns oof worshipping as a result of we are studying how great God is and He likes that. Or oncxe wwe sit around and inform each other what the best issues about Godd are. You know the way a lot you want hearing folks say how smart or cute you boys are? Well God likes after wwe talk collectively about how nice he is. Daddy answered.
Well, thank you for getting in touch Eddie, I will ponder on your words over the coming week – and please, do feel free to contact me again, I can take any amount of this sort of thing.

Yes, I’m thinking of changing my name to Robbie Nudd.

‘No, no, I didn’t want to do it, but the Duke insisted!’
‘Well, that’s peer pressure for you!’
‘S’pose so…’

A single overheard remark:
‘Pine nuts! I’m into that routine now John…’

Posted in conversation, cool, creation, drama, dreaming, Dulltown, existentialism, fashion, Hull.UK., humour, information, instruction, misheard, music, observations, overheard, people, religion, serendipity, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Two very good afternoons…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s doubled up simile is, Fresh as two daisies.
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This is a post about two afternoons:
Last Saturday afternoon was one of them, I spent a couple of hours sitting in my little workshop cutting out a lino block for a new print. I generally have the radio on while I’m doing such things; it’s usually not very good radio though: dreary and pompous classical music; antique British humour rehashed from the 1950s; or incessant rolling BBC news featuring humans around the world slaughtering each other for various stupid reasons. But last Saturday was different. As I chiselled away at my block I listened to a one-hour interview with pop artist Peter Blake, he was reminiscing and playing some of his favourite music tracks. I do like the pop art of the 1950s and ’60s! As I worked away I was thinking – Isn’t it great that I’m still doing art? – And I’ve manage to avoid turning into a sensible and normal person!…

The other afternoon was Wednesday’s.
I’m sure you can’t help but notice, in the photo above, that rather professional-looking adjustable lamp-magnifying lens that dominates the composition. Isn’t it great? It’s just like the ones you see on US real-life crime shows; there is always someone in a white coat peering down into one of these muttering about unusual trilobal orange polyester carpet fibres, (or ‘fibers’ as they have it in the US), or some puzzling sticky brown spherical nodules. A friend gave me this lamp, it came from a heap of junk being thrown out from a lab somewhere.
These are great for doing linocuts. Inside that round casing, and surrounding the rather good lens, is a circular fluorescent tube (the shape of an annulus or torus) to provide the illumination; it gives a very good light, but it does get warm and is a bit uncomfortable when you have your face close to it as you look down through the lens – also being a fluorescent lamp, it has a ‘choke’ or a ‘ballast’ in with it, which hums relentlessly all the time it is on.
So, lying in bed Wednesday morning, I thought, Hm, perhaps I could take all the wiring out and replace the circular tube with a couple of cooler running, energy-efficient, low voltage, bright LED light sources? So, later, after writing and posting Wednesday’s blog, I went out, up the road, and bought a couple of battery-powered hand-held, LED lamps.
After a spot of lunch I had a very good time taking the tube and its fittings out of my ‘lab lamp’, and also carefully taking my newly-purchased LED lamps to bits so I could get at their LED arrays. It is funny buying a product and immediately destroying it and throwing most of it away, but keeping just a small part of it. What fun!…
Anyway, it was a bit fiddly working out how to power the LEDs, I certainly didn’t want them running off batteries (and having the annoyance of the batteries running out every now and then) so I used an old 6 volt plug-into-the-mains power supply (for a long-gone CD player) that I had kicking about. The power supply supposedly gave out 6 volts at a current of 800 mA, but the batteries originally in the LED lamps added up to only 4.5 volts, so I had to fiddle with a resistor or two in the circuit to get it near what it should be. Anyway so far it works fine, and it’s cool and it’s silent!…
Here’s a picture of the two LED units installed inside the lamp.

What an enjoyable and productive afternoon – there wasn’t much on the radio though, I resorted to having bland classical nonsense droning away for the duration… I think it was something called The Proms

Posted in art, brain, cool, creation, design, humour, information, jobs, physics, seeing, surrealism, thinking, TV, war, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Delicious picking in the head and brain…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s ancient Egyptian deity, who appears as a man with a headdress of ram’s horns, plumes, sun-discs and cobras, is the god Mandulis. His cult centres are Kalabsha and Philae, and his attribute is Solar. (M)
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What’s that fusty smell? Oh, it must be that scruffy old book you’ve just opened – you could catch a disease from that you know…
It’s alright, it’s just my rather tattered junk shop copy of The Daily Express Enquire Within from the strange days of 1934. It’s a volume of useful information on a wide range of subjects that would have been essential for living one’s life back then. Here’s a picture of the title page, the book itself is far too drab to warrant a photograph.

With today’s selection of entries I will include some of the words of wisdom and uplifting proverbs that run across the head of each page:

Page 356. (Words often do more than blows.)
Avoid Vulgarity in manner, in speech, and in correspondence. To conduct yourself vulgarly is to offer offence to those who are around you; to bring upon yourself the condemnation of persons of good taste; and to incur the penalty of exclusion from good society. Thus, cast among the vulgar, you become the victim of your own error.

Page 398. (A hungry man sees far.)
Candles.
These improve by keeping a few months. If wax candles become discoloured or soiled, they may be restored by rubbing them over with a clean flannel dipped in spirits of wine. In lighting candles always hold the match to the side of the wick, and not over the top of it, as is generally done.

Page 123. (A man’s heart beats 92,160 times a day.)
Laws of Croquet.
iii. In commencing, the first “turn” of each ball shall begin from Baulk A, and a ball having been struck is at once in play, and can roquet another or be roquetted, whether it shall have made the first hoop or not.
iv. A stroke is considered to have been made if a ball is moved with the mallet in the act of taking aim, or if the player make a forward or downward movement of the mallet with the intent to strike a ball. If a ball be moved in taking aim, and then struck again without being replaced, the stroke is foul.

Page 97. (Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap.)
Red Mullet.
Divide them lengthwise into two parts, if the fish is too large for one. The liver is a great delicacy, and must be fairly apportioned, while there is delicious picking in the head and brain.

Page 297. (There is no balm for every wound.)
Antispasmodics.
Opium¬†is employed internally in spasmodic affections, such as cholera, spasmodic asthma, whooping cough, flatulent colic, and St. Vitus’s dance.
Dose, from one-half to two grains of the solid opium, according to the disease.

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N2 and NaCl…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully chosen adjectives are: bumbling, filching, ringent, rinthereout, jugal, cringing, and buttered.
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‘Hey…’
‘What?’
‘Did you know that the atmosphere is full of nitrogen?’
‘Oh no! That’s terrible!…’
‘I know…’
‘How the hell did it get there? Are the birds alright? I’ll bet it’s the fault of us humans, always messing with nature… Oh dear, oh dear…
‘Yes, nitrogen… it’s all over the place.’
‘Can’t we get rid of it, suck it up or something?’
‘No.’
‘How did you find out? I didn’t see it in the papers.’
‘I think the powers-that-be are deliberately keeping it hushed up.’
‘I’m not surprised… Is it poisonous?’
‘I don’t think so, but it can’t be doing us any good, breathing it in all day and night… Nite-ro-gen…’
‘Hm, I expect that’s right. So how did you find out about it?’
‘I heard someone talking on the bus.’
‘Hm, on the bus… Did you overhear anything else?’
‘Well, as a matter of fact…’
‘Oh no! What?…’
‘Sodium chloride.’
‘Oh god no!’
‘Yes, apparently the oceans are packed full of the stuff.’
‘No!… It’s just one damn thing after another!’
‘Indeed it is!’
‘So, this here sodium chloride, it sounds really nasty stuff. Is it affecting all the fish then?’
‘Well that’s the funny thing, they don’t seem to mind it… yet…’
‘Hm… sodium, and chloride… that sounds really dangerous. I expect they used that back in World War I.’
‘They did.’
‘I knew it!… The bastards! What did they do with it?’
‘They sprinkled it on their fish and chips – and to this day they’re probably still doing that!…’
‘No!…’
‘Yes! That’s what the woman on the bus was saying.’
‘This is appalling!’
‘I know.’
‘Which bus was it?…’
‘Which bus?…’
‘Yes.’
‘It was the one that stops to pick up at the abattoir.’
‘The 14A?’
‘That’s it.’
‘This lady…’
‘Yes?’
‘Was she bloody and tired after a long shift?’
‘As a matter of fact she was.’
‘Hm… but this nitrogen, and this sodium whatever-it-is – she should know about such things, shouldn’t she?’
‘I think so, those slaughterers do keep their fingers on the pulse of what’s going on you know.’
‘I didn’t know that.’
‘Oh yes, she must be privy to information that the powers-that-be are keeping from people like me and you.’
‘Well, I’m surprised that she was blabbing about it, for all to hear, on the crowded number 14 bus!’
‘Hm… How did you know the bus was crowded?’
‘Just guessing…’
‘Ah, right… I reckon it’s something someone is up to – someone, some clandestine group perhaps, who don’t like birds… or fish… for some reason…’
‘Has to be…’
‘Bastards!…’
‘Indeed, bastards!…’
‘Me, I’ll never eat fish and chips ever again…’
‘Me neither… Bastards!…’

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