Ugg, Lugg, and the turnips…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s joke is the one about what happened to Her Majesty the Queen’s hat – oh, how we chortled down in the basement back at Buck House!

‘Ugg, I have seen you, you know!’
‘I’ve seen you, sneaking off places, on your own.’
‘No, I don’t, I…’
‘Yes Lugg?’
‘Show me your nice flint axe, the one you spent hours knapping last winter.’
‘My axe? Why would you want to see my… Hey!…’
‘See Ugg, it’s covered with mud… If it was dried blood or a bit of gristle I could understand it, but mud!’
‘It’s only a bit of mud Lugg, look, I’ll wipe if off…’
‘I don’t care! I just want to know where you sneak off to when you are supposed to be helping me and the lads skin buffaloes and pull the guts out of dead bloated mammoths in the hot sun!’
‘But Lugg, the Big Chief Smugg knows I get a bit queasy messing about with all that gore and intestines and stuff – he says I can be excused meat chopping and the messier side of things, so long as I…’
‘So long as you what Ugg?’
‘Well, I bring him things…’
‘Oh? What sort of things?’
‘Just, things Lugg… Ouch! That hurt!’
‘Things Ugg?’
‘Well, turnips for instance. Smugg does like a nice turnip.’
‘Yes, and Smugg’s wife Phugg, she’s fond of coloured things.’
‘What coloured things Ugg?’
‘The green things with coloured tops.’
‘What? Flowers?…’
‘Well, yes.’
‘They’re no good to eat Ugg, you can’t eat flowers!’
‘She doesn’t eat ’em, she puts them in water in an old monkey skull, on a rock, just inside the entrance to their cave.’
‘I don’t know Lugg.’
‘At least they can eat the turnips.’
‘So Ugg, you go wandering off around the hills looking for turnips and flowers then?’
‘No, I have a special place.’
‘It’s down by the river, just past Zugg and Chugg’s cave, I cleared the rocks off it and… the soil is very nice there.’
‘The soil’s nice?’
‘Ugg, you are an idiot!…’
‘Do you like strawberries?’
‘Well I…’
‘Here, taste this.’
‘Oh!… Mm… That’s very, er… Ugg… Where did you find this?’
‘Have another, I didn’t find it Lugg, I grew it.’
‘You can’t grow things! Only Great-God-in-the-Sky Umpty-Mugg grows things! Wise-Man Bhugg says so, Bhugg knows everything Ugg!’
‘Oh, speaking of Bhugg, I get things for him as well.’
‘What?… You are friends with Bhugg?… He’s a very strange one you know Ugg – they say he’s in touch with the spirits.’
‘I know, I help him with that too.’
‘I grow special leaves for him, he throws them on his fire, puts an old goat skin over his head, and then he breathes in the smoke…’
‘That’s ridiculous Ugg!…’
‘That’s how he gets to chat with Umpty-Mugg in the sky…’
‘Right… Oh, right…’

And so, gardening and pharmacology were invented.

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Don Craig’s face was bright with excitement…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to go about your daily business as normal, but instead of speaking, sing all your conversations and interactions with people as if you were in an opera.

Today dear reader, yet again, I am inviting you to time-slip into the past – back to the Britain of 1956.
Our little lad Billy must have been really pleased to get a copy of the new year’s Lion Annual as a Christmas present. I wonder how long it was before his little sister Shirley got at it, and in a bored moment, augmented a selection of the pages with her blue crayon? Gosh! I’ll bet that caused a right ruckus!…

Yes, this is another of my cheap junk shop books. Here’s a picture of the front and back covers – isn’t the artwork lovely? Billy must have gasped in joy and amazement as he eagerly ripped off the cheery holly pattern wrapping paper and revealed this on Christmas morn…

But come on, let’s nip back to the featured drawing and see how Don Craig and his jolly good pal Mickey Burton are getting on with their underwater adventure. I wonder if they’ve noticed that at the bottom of the first page of their tale it says, in heavier type, ‘Savage Sharks Guarded a Pirate’s Loot!’, but then they’ll be relieved to see that it goes on to say, ‘and Diving Dare-Devils Defied Them!’ By the way, I just noticed that the pirate who lost his stash of loot seems to be called Josiah Pengilly – that’s a lot better name than either Don Craig or Mickey B isn’t it?…

I do find the style of drawing in this book quite interesting – of course back then people were actually taught to draw, so you should expect good quality illustration. Look at the sea with its splashes of white spume, and the rocky headland with scrubby vegetation to the right – really nicely done, I couldn’t do anything half as good as that.
But the figure drawings in the book, pretty good though they are, always look a bit stiff to me – look at Mickey diving in there, there’s no movement in him is there? He looks like he’s frozen in time with his hands and wrists just submerged. Come on Mickey, we are all waiting for the splash, perhaps it will never come… If I’d drawn this, I’d have been tempted to ‘cheat’ and put some of those ‘motion lines’ in behind his legs to make him a bit more animated…
And, while we are at it – look at poor Don stuck there – he has turned to stone, forever crouching, supporting the horizon with his back, trying to get his flipper fastened…

Posted in archeology, art, books, composition, design, drama, drawing, history, humour, instruction, style, surrealism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Spatter painting No. 26…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s colours are: omelette orange, brawn brown, lemon lemon, radish red, pilchard pink, toast turquoise, grouse grey, and apple azure.

You might recall dear reader, a few months back, my mentioning knocking out some more of my spatter paintings – I’d forgotten all about those – I meant to show you them as soon as I’d done them. I think I’d better force you to look at one of them right now – how about a nice greenish-blueish one?
I’m not sure if this is one of those recent ones, it might be one from last year, or earlier – I can’t quite make out the date on it – actually it doesn’t really matter does it? We are not art critics talking Rembrandts here are we?

Spatter Painting No. 26. Acrylic paint and black ink on watercolour paper about 29″ x 21″.

Is it pretty?
Yes, I think it is…
Oh, and how do you like my rivulets? What a nice word that is! Come on everyone, let’s all say the word together – rivulets… rivulets… Come on, relish those consonants! Say it with an accent as if it’s French or Italian!… Rivulets… rivulets…

As you can see, I did my usual thing of using my old metal pie dish upturned as a slightly leaky circular mask up in the north-eastern sector – it worked rather well didn’t it? A nicely imperfect circle, teetering between being an obvious disc, and not one at all…
Of course my rivulets (can’t stop saying that word!) were simply achieved by tilting the drawing board and letting gravity and low viscosity rule the roost for a few seconds – I could have stopped the flow from running off the paper, but I quite like the way that it does.
It looks to me like the pie-dish-blob is rushing off to the right and the rivulets are the trails it is leaving behind, but of course you can read as you like, it can be anything you want it to be dear reader…

I just went off to make another cup of tea and while I was waiting for the kettle to boil I peeped into my ‘spatters folder’, located the original and looked what its date is. Yes, this is an old one, painted in 2015.

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So, what is it that those TV ads are trying to tell us?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s ancient Egyptian deity, appearing in the form of a long-horned ram with Atef crown and sun-disc headdress, is the God Herishef from Herakleopolis, his attributes are: primal force, creator, and solar. (Herishef)

It’s why we do it! – amazing coverage! – now get a natural glow! – love it, or your money back! – just imagine what it’s like! – it’s zero sugar – Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid – a heavy cold or flu strikes! – a personalised card – for lasting freshness! – a runny nose? – yes, free dining! – trying to do too many things? – iconic stunts! – ‘free’ is always good! – clean everywhere! – one powerful combination! – get the feeling – there are no cords to hold you back – embedded pet hair? – guaranteed over-50s life cover – you could be owed up to £7,000! – the real action starts Sunday – horse riding 50% off! – romantic gifts – fine dust from deep down – plus extra savings on windows and doors! – great ingredients – your hunger for gossip – it fights cold and flu symptoms! – you’ll love the feeling! – little holes in the dentine…

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Bo in with the items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s featured letter of the alphabet is the capital ‘V’. The other letters of the alphabet stand around gaping in amazement at how he can balance there on his point all day long without falling over.

So, Saturday afternoon I found myself drifting through the doors of the bustling jostling Tesco supermarket here in the centre of Dulltown; I grabbed a wire basket from the stack, reached into my shorts (yes, it was a particularly hot day) pocket and retrieved the small rectangle of light grey card, cut from a Shredded Wheat carton, which was my shopping list, and I squinted down at it:

Red kidney beans (tins)
Hand wash
Basmati rice
Washing up liquid
Sweet potato
Tesco mackerel in curry sauce (tins)
Small seedy loaf
Bo Diddley

Whoa! Bo Diddley?…
How did he get on there?
Oh yes, of course… As I was walking into town earlier in the day, I noticed that I was head-humming (not out loud you understand) an old Bo Diddley song (it’s easy to slip into one of those, they are so catchy!); the song was in fact ‘Hey Bo Diddley‘. As I walked and hummed internally I was thinking how great it must be to have an actual musical rhythm named after you – the Bo Diddley Beat – Dum-diddy-dum-dum – dum dum! Dum-diddy-dum-dum – dum dum!
Of course no-one can claim to have invented a ‘beat’, music isn’t like that, but as he used it a lot, and off-hand I can’t think of examples of it that predate Bo, apart from perhaps African drumming rhythms, he might as well lay official claim to it – I don’t think you can be thrown in prison for such a thing, well not yet anyway…
So, I walked on towards town, and my mind moved to the ‘tune’ or ‘composition’ (I never know what to called them) I’m currently working on on my DAW (digital audio workstation) on my computer. It’s a fairly light-hearted piece, the working title being Daft Juicy Noises. It doesn’t use a Bo Diddley beat though, it’s a quickish straight pulse at 140 BPM (beats per minute), but it occurred to me as I strolled along that it might be nice to let it slowly transform from an even eight-to-the-bar into a syncopated Bo rhythm just before the fade out. Yes, that would make an interesting end to the thing.
Hm, I must try to remember to give that a go the next time I summon the enthusiasm to switch the machine on. Oh, I know! – I’ll just make a note of it at the bottom of my shopping list….
Dum-diddy-dum-dum – dum dum! Dum-diddy-dum-dum – dum dum!… I went, as I walked along…

Posted in blues, composition, cool, Dulltown, history, Hull.UK., humour, information, music, serendipity, style, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Some Hulks by the bathroom requisites…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s unusual pencil sharpener is the one shaped like the sound of a mouse behind the wainscoting.

Look out!… It’s a bunch of Hulks!… Quick Dave, get your little camera out! Click!…

Yes, one day last June I was for some reason in the cheapskate-bargain-poor-people-supermarket in Dulltown centre, I just turned the corner of an aisle and, whoa!…
I know I’m supposed to be a surrealist and that I should be impervious to the unexpected strangenesses in life, but Mr Hogan and his jolly band of tense bulging replicants quite took my breath away. Just look at those thighs! And gosh, isn’t he orange? I suppose you’d call that a ‘nice even tan’. And is that a swimming cap he’s got on?… Or is it a baseball cap, that for some reason he’s snipped the brim off?…

Oh, excuse me Hulk… er, Mr Hogan, those are very interesting looking yellow underpants you have on – they seem rather, er, stiff… Are they armoured in some way, perhaps with Kevlar?… They seem very sturdy, but don’t look very comfortable… but each to his own I suppose…

These figures look pretty damn good don’t they? So unusual and eye-catching don’t you think? Right then, let’s see, how much are they? Ah £10.99 each, I see that they are a ‘star buy’ too. I could just about afford to get two or three of those. Just one would be no good would it? You’d have to have a number of them to achieve this super effect – I could imagine a few Hulks on guard in the corner of my living room, or perhaps a small group of them lurking behind a curtain to surprise nosey visitors. No, no, best not… I have enough junk in the house as it is…
But I wonder why they are selling them off? Perhaps Hulk isn’t as popular as he used to be? He must be getting on in years now; do you retain your lovely muscles when you get old? I don’t think so, I think nature replaces them all with wrinkles – No, no, stop it, I don’t want to dwell on such depressing things this bright sunny morning…

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Whoa! What’s that bloody noise?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word plethora.

When I was last in the bustling city of Leeds, about an hour’s train ride from Dulltown, just out of habit, I found myself drifting into a large musical instrument shop, just for a look around, you understand; I didn’t need to actually buy anything; it’s the sort of thing that we musicians do. The shop bears the unlikely name PMT (Professional Music Technology). It is a great barn of a place packed with glittering instruments and enticing sleek stage equipment.
Now dear reader, back to basics. Music is an art form isn’t it? Musicians are creative sensitive souls, aren’t they? Or perhaps they just pretend to be. If you listen to musicians being interviewed on classical music radio stations, such as BBC Radio 3, you can hear them purring on about how sensitive they are and how intense and meaningful their daily musical experience is. But you don’t get many of those people hanging about in PMT on a damp Tuesday afternoon – their customers seem to be mostly cool guitarists, cool bass players, cool drummers and cool keyboards players.
Anyway, on my visit there were two musicians trying out, separately, instruments or items of equipment. They were sitting on stools a good six or so metres apart, one had an electric guitar plugged into a stylish combo amplifier, the other was twanging a bass guitar plugged into an impressively large bass amp. They were both thrashing away loudly, at the same time; oh, and by the way, they were not playing together, they were playing in different keys and playing different tunes… The noise was truly horrible, no, really it was! Am I perhaps a bit over-sensitive? I do play electric guitar, and I sometimes turn it up to, oh, perhaps three or four on the volume knob, but…
The thing is though, what sort of musician can happily sit there performing music in such a hellish sound environment, adding to the ghastly discord with every note they finger – cheerfully twanging away, seeming to be unaware of the cacophonous row that they were producing.
Why didn’t one of them, just for a second or two, pause, and listen, and determine what key the other person was in, and then… join in with them?
Or did each see this as a competition, a clash of egos? Musicians, in all fields, are often noted as being egotistical bastards.
Had they accommodated each other it might have sparked a little musical moment, communication, a coming together of styles, a sparkling gem of serendipitous creativity and improvisation? They could have discovered a musical bond, a Mick and Keith moment, a Lennon and McCartney moment, something that could continue and be developed for decades to come…
But no, it was like some bloody shouting match, or boxing match. If either one had any sensitivity, he (they were both male) could have paused in his thrashing, caught the other’s eye, and shouted across, ‘Hey buddy… Look, I’ll keep quiet for ten minutes for you, and then you can let me have a go…’
Perhaps this had already occurred before I entered the shop, but the other chap had made an insulting hand gesture and shouted back, ‘Fuck off, and I hate that crap you are playing anyway!’
And then maybe the first chap then responded with, ‘Oh, right ho…’ and turned the volume up a another notch and carried on twanging and riffing…
As one of the staff walked past I cupped my hands over my mouth and shouted to him, ‘God! What an awful bloody row!…’
But he didn’t respond, he was probably used to it (or maybe a bit deaf); this is just a part of every day life there in PMT…

Posted in creation, existentialism, guitars, humour, information, music, observations, serendipity, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments