Oh, damn that gurgling DAB!…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully chosen adjectives are: noxious, surreind, kenspeckle, otic, ringent, theopneust, and gurgling. I think my favourite has to be theopneust because I can’t imagine how one would pronounce it.

Have we all heard of DAB radio?
The DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcasting.
Digital things are remarkably reliable aren’t they? A boon to the whole of civilisation. Digital devices are very reliable, but when they go wrong they don’t go wrong a bit, they generally go wrong ‘big time’.
When old vinyl records got a bit dirty and scratched the sound might go a bit fluffy and be accompanied by the odd clicking noise or crackle, or on occasion the needle might even jump in and out of its groove, but the records were still listenable to – Listenable to, is that a proper phrase? Possibly not, but I’m sure you catch my drift dear reader.
CDs (compact discs) that, sort of, replaced vinyl, were small, handy, easy to play, it was easy to select tracks, and there was no background noise – great! Except of course that when the technology went wrong it was painful! Painful!… Relentless repeating quarter-second slices of sound which would go on and on, and on, until you jumped up from your chair and ran over to the machine to press the ‘For-god’s-sake-stop-it!’ button.’ It sounded like avant-garde ‘modern’ music – K Stockhausen would have loved that!…
It’s the same with the MP3s on your phone or Walkman player. When they are good they are very very good, which is most of the time, but when a file unaccountably, somehow, in the intricate depths of the workings becomes ‘corrupted’, they sound horrible – sometimes on mine, a favourite track decides to sound not like sweet singing and twanging guitars, but like someone sawing noisy logs in a distant resonant aircraft hangar.
Traditional radios were, in sound quality, pretty similar to vinyl records – ‘AM’ (amplitude modulation), ‘FM’ (frequency modulation), both suffered a bit from: hums, interference, fading, drifting out of tune, etc., but you learned to put up with it and they were still acceptable listening.
There now – I have set the scene! What follows will be, I hope, a lot less ‘anti-progress’ and grumpy, and will have a much more cheerful outcome:
A few years ago when DAB radio was introduced I bought a receiver; it was a medium-priced one, a Proline  model, black with nice rounded corners. It has behaved reasonably well, but it was always a little bit particular about which room it happened to be in – it always put up a fuss when taken into the kitchen… Anyway, the thing recently became much more annoying. It would play the set station for about ten minutes and then it would spontaneously decide to dive under water and make the music and voices sound like they were gargling in a tiled bathroom – as if the trumpets, violins, and singers were desperately trying to deal with a bit of stubborn phlegm, (sorry, but that is what it sounded like). I’d have to go over and retune it to get rid of the unpleasantness, but it would always come back again after a few minutes.
Enough was enough!… I unplugged the thing and threw it on my pile of junk waiting to go to the council tip for recycling – I decided that I needed to buy a replacement. However…
Yes, however… That evening whilst fiddling about on t’interweb, I thought that I’d just type in ‘DAB problems’ and straightway found that someone had a design for a very cheap, easy to make aerial to improve DAB reception. (Click here).
The next day I nipped out, bought three metres of coaxial TV aerial cable, only £1.20, and half-an-hour later, with the use of only a craft knife, some sticky tape, a piece of string, a nail and a hammer, I had a nice aerial to hang on the wall. I retrieved the now miserable-looking radio from the junk pile, introduced it to my new aerial, and…
Wonderful!… Full signal strength!… Oh joy!… All stations playing cleanly!…
Gosh! The world isn’t such a bad place after all…

Posted in adjectives, design, Grumpiness, information, instruction, learning, music, serendipity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Just hold this for a moment would you?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s sound is that of a crystal chandelier falling from a great height onto a display of nice Ming vases.

Some things that you might be embarrassed to be seen carrying around in your town centre. (All items must be in plain sight, not wrapped up or hidden away in bags or boxes.)

An eight-foot rough wooden model of the Eiffel Tower.
A blue glass lantern from over the door of a police station.
A large wicker basket with a snorting live pig in it.
A galvanised metal bucket full of steaming hot minestrone soup.
A white twin-neck electric guitar with bass and 12 string necks.
A halberd.
Assorted limbs and heads from five different mannequins.
Two pairs of lead-soled divers’ boots.
A full-size red and blue striped jousting lance.
Two replicas of Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’.
A ten-foot long over-the-shoulder wooden cross.
A tangled ball of string the size of a small car.
A side of beef still dripping blood.
Two live anacondas.
Five brightly coloured 1970s ‘Afro’ wigs.
A pair of stuffed swordfish in a glass case.
A smiling Colonel Sanders plywood cut-out head.

Posted in cool, dreaming, existentialism, food, guitars, heraldry, humour, instruction, religion, serendipity, style, surrealism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Warning: Don’t step too close to the hatch!…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s colours are: ragged russet, yelping yellow, booming burgundy, memorable mauve, bouncing beige and octagon orange.

Hm, it’s a bit confusing isn’t it?…
I suppose I could have cropped the left-hand side of the picture off completely, and this could have been another one of my reasonably popular ‘this is not art’ photographs, but no, I think the aerial view of the city and the fields works really well with whatever that stuff is to the right.
Perhaps we are up on the top of a very high tower, a wind turbine perhaps – but we could also be on a plane…
No?… Oh come on! Do try to get into the spirit of the thing!
You see, we are looking out of an open hatch in the side of a cargo plane, the stuff on the right is just a badly wrapped wooden crate that someone has left there – gosh, I hope it doesn’t get sucked out – hey, and us with it!…
Are you bored with this approach dear reader? I am…
Let’s examine the aesthetics of the piece instead – see, notice, I’m already calling it a ‘piece’.
Aren’t the colours nice? What I really like about this is that hardly any of the colours of the aerial view are present in the stuff on the other side of the picture. Oh, I do like that salmon pink with the horizontal stab of orange across the top. (Is ‘stab’ the right word? I really don’t know, or care.) Look at that green too! It is so, er, 1960s? Then there is the white stripe motif – is it trying to be an arrow pointing into the top corner?
What do you think of my inclusion of the tufts of vegetation bottom right? Should I have cropped them from the composition? Perhaps I should, they sort of ‘give the game away’ don’t they? Try holding a piece of paper or something up over the bottom edge to hide them – I just did that – yes, I should have cropped them away, they seem to undermine the mystery a little… I suppose I could do a second version of it – if I could be bothered… Oh hell! Why not! See below…

Yes, that’s better, isn’t it?…
A picture is worth a thousand words – am I up to a thousand yet?… I suppose I could tell you where and when this photograph was taken, but that is of no consequence, is it?
Hm, better stop right here I think…

Posted in advertising, art, brain, colours, composition, cool, information, learning, photography, seeing, serendipity, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Just a few short, but pithy items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s dictionary words are: acarus, abstrict, abrooke, abricock, acaulescent, acceptilation, and blate. Please have these words looked up and placed in suitable sentences ready for Professor Mouldie first thing after breakfast tomorrow morning. The professor will be awarding marks for well polished shoes, smartly combed hair, and for anything that makes him frown or laugh out loud.

Excuses for being late. No. 337.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I got to pondering on the Crab Nebula.

A single overheard remark:
‘You are on the back foot Sarah!…’

‘We tick all the boxes.’
‘Tickle the boxes?…’
‘That’s what I said Tom!…’

An observation:
Lying on the otherwise empty cafe table next to mine, I noticed, caught by a shaft of oblique sunlight raking across from the window, a very long, white, or possibly blonde, hair. It had obviously been shed and left there by a previous customer.
Now, I thought, If I were some sort of criminal, I would pick that up, put it in my pocket and keep it, so I could leave it at the scene of my next crime – that would really fox the forensic detectives when they come to process the room!…
Yes, I probably do watch too many ‘real-life’ TV crime shows.

Ah good! A nice piece of spam has just appeared in my comments box. It seems to be from someone called OllyLinux:
Whenrver you elect to freelance, additionally, you will be accountable foor your own schedule. Instead of being certain tto the 9-t0-five work day of mos regulation offices, each yourr daay by day schedule and your calendar as a complete will probably be the large! as much as you. Whether its worthwhile to tke the time off, or whether you wish to tackle a heavier workload will meet your needs.
Well, thank you OllyLinux, I will certainly bear in mind what you have said, especially with regard to mos regulation, and I do hope to hear from you again very soon.

He had a mouth that looked it had done quite a lot of sulking over the years…

An observation:
A teenage girl got on the bus and threw herself down in seat in front of me. She took out her phone, held it up in front of her, and started tapping at it. I couldn’t help but see what she was typing.
‘I’m past the point of shame…’ it began.
I decided not to read any more…

Yes, I’m thinking of changing my name to Dan Gling-Froot.

A single overheard remark:
‘Look, we can check the trout when we get outside!…’

Posted in brain, cafe, conversation, cool, drama, existentialism, Hull.UK., humour, instruction, observations, overheard, people, phones, science, serendipity, surrealism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Curves with Michael, Shirley, and Herbert…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s 15th. c 16th. c English expletive is ‘Birladie’ – an early oath on the Blessed Virgin –  a contraction of By our lady.

Dear Diary,
Yesterday afternoon, after a small meal of tinned Danish oily mackerel and tomatoes on toast, I decided that, having the previous day printed an edition of 10 new lino prints, I should try to maintain the creative momentum and design a new one before the enthusiasm for such things evaporated in a puff of lethargy. I left the TV switched on and gathered together: a sketch pad, a ruler, some pencils, a rubber, a white correction pen, and a pair of compasses beside me on the settee.
Playing on the TV was an old film I had seen a couple of times before, it was what you might call a light-hearted stylish ‘comedy thriller’. Of course I only glanced up to look at it every now and then, so for me it more like listening to a radio play that watching a film. It was Gambit from 1966, with Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine and Herbert Lom. What a good film that was, I’d forgotten how witty and cleverly written it is – for drawing along with on the settee it was ideal! (Gambit 1966)

Anyway, by the time the film had drawn to its rather clever conclusion I had most of the new design done. As you can see it includes (again) my ‘curved parallel lines’ motif. (I don’t think I can remember ever having typed the word motif before.) Well, a while ago I did make a jig for cutting large diameter curves of different radii in lino, so I might as well make use of the thing – it would be really tricky trying to cut such curves ‘by hand’. (Curves)
You can see the drawing there under my glasses – I have gone for a three-dimensional feel for the image with lines crossing illogically over others.
By the way, this isn’t quite the finished design – since taking the photo I have put a solid-looking ‘three-dimensional’ x-shaped thing over the top of the curves – some trial ‘blocks’ can be seen on the clipboard to the right.
Ah, a couple of hours well spent I think. I will of course be showing you the finished print one day – watch this space, as they say…

Posted in art, British film, celebrities, composition, creation, design, drawing, history, humour, lino cut printing, lino printing, linocut tools, prints, serendipity, surrealism, TV, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Some song lyrics misheard over the cafe hubbub…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s wrinkled old black and white snapshot if the one of me on a 1954 BSA M21 motorcycle with James Dean sitting reading a newspaper in the sidecar.

‘Call out the cod comin’ babe!’
‘Loud Colin, loud Colin, oh, loud Colin…’
‘Lovin’ loaf, you got coal, that’s what you got!’
‘Too much tape! Is too fall apart girl.’
‘Hold me this away, but laughing close.’
‘Space naps are cold… My heart…’
‘On and on and, on and on and, on…’
‘Slip!… I know your wooden ways!…’
‘It is longest in the neck now girl.’
‘Fake me every day, say place, say place.’
‘Now I’m in love like a night-guard…’
‘You, me, the world we knew new…’
‘Oh, yesterday, wet nips are go!’
‘Soda yew, on the roof, hey hey hey!…’
‘A crawling fool – mm-mm, singing singing.’
‘Dark dosey, oh, you dream my heart…’
‘Snookered, now, butter party – and my phone gone…’
‘So kind, show me your stick-out now.’
‘Slowly you everything – you hand me a tray satisfied.’
‘So you wanna emotion unnatural?’
‘I didn’t for a little while – oh, dumb bombs heading…’
‘Not crow baby, just a half-finished straw…’
‘Satan don’t flatter me, where my heart now?…’

For some information of how these lines are compiled you could click here.

Posted in brain, cafe, celebrities, conversation, cool, drama, existentialism, history, Hull.UK., humour, information, misheard, music, photography, poetry, serendipity, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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.

Posted in archeology, brain, conversation, cool, drama, dreaming, history, humour, joke, magic, people, religion, smoking, surrealism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments