After clearing my late grandmother’s house last week, this week it was the turn of my father’s recently sold house to undergo the somewhat premature spring clean treatment; yes, after several years of fighting and litigation, my dad’s got his divorce and house sale sorted out. The new owners apparently move in next week. So this weekend is dedicated to clearing out the last articles belonging to my father that remain in the house I grew up in.

My uncle and I hired a van in the morning, but there wasn’t as much stuff to move as we thought there would be. While we were waiting for dad to join us, I (being the most agile of us) clambered into the attic and started separating the chaff from the wheat. Even up in the dark and dusty loft, there wasn’t much to show for nearly 30 years of residence. What was there was mostly photographic; an enlarger, some studio lights, boxes of negatives. And three family photo albums.

I looked through them while I was waiting for Keith to clear a space for me to get back down. While they weren’t quite heartbreaking, they certainly evoked some bittersweet memories. Two of the albums were given over to our family holiday to Malta in 1986; my 29 year old parents are young and slim, my sister is still cherub cheeked, and I haven’t yet developed the horrific nose that would blight my confidence in adult life.

 However, what is also apparent is that my father, in his day, when he still had fire in his belly, was a fucking wonderful photographer. Sp,e pf the candid shots of the Maltese locals going about their business, feeding their cats, mending their nets etc, are infused with rustic charm. I really love them. It would be quite blithe to state that photographs are a permanent fixing of the past, but when you’re faced with the physical evidence that people existed and lived on a small island 21 and a half years ago, that’s what it boils down to. They’re important in that way. The camera does lie, as Cartier Bresson proved, but they remember things we don’t.

Speaking of remembrance of things past, moving my father’s possessions has provided ample opportunity to indulge. Kara trotted out a catchphrase from ‘Live and Kicking’ this afternoon, and we (my father, myself and his on-off partner) have spent a good deal of the last half hour laughing at his mobile phone, which we found in a cupboard. You’ve heard the over-used phrase ‘my phone’s a brick’, but in this case it’s truly apt. This was the mobile phone my dad bought in 1988, or thereabouts, when he was still a freelance photographer. It cost him £500, but he claims to have made the money back from commissions within a few months. It’s a gargantuan piece of kit. Doesn’t work, of course.

Football’s been quite good this week. We didn’t play on Tuesday nights due to lack of numbers, which is very unusual, but we did play on Thursday at lunchtime, which was a lot more enjoyable than the last time we got a game together. And on top of all that I made one of my rare excursions to Ibrox on Wednesday night. I normally refuse to pay the ticket prices, but £15 was fairly reasonable, so I bought a ticket online, specifying a seat level with the halfway line. And to be fair, it was. However, I was three rows from the back of the club deck, the uppermost tier of the grandiose main stand. If you’ve never been, or if you’re not familiar with Ibrox stadium, that’s a bloody long way away from the pitch. I actually had a little acrophobic moment, and it took me a few minutes to get used to the vantage point.

The game itself was quite good, though Rangers huffed and puffed a little. That’s maybe to be expected with the number of changes made to the team, but for your average fan, it was a little frustrating that the first goal didn’t come until 24 minutes in. A brief flurry of competent football saw three other goals arrive before half time, and that effectively killed the game as both a contest and entertainment. Lee McCulloch did lash in a great goal just after half time, and Kris Boyd completed a hat-trick with a penalty. I was able to get home within about 45 minutes, despite not leaving ten minutes before the final whistle. I’ll continue to pick and choose my games like this though; I can’t justify spending £25 for a match ticket only to be presented with 90 minutes of boring dross, or worse, defeat.


I have decided, and here I solemnly swear, that I will not buy a newly released album this year.

Sadly, this will probably prove easier to uphold than any other resolutions I’ve made.

Normally, at the end of the year, and like many other supremely deluded individuals in the world, I write a laughably weak review of the year’s culture. You may notice I haven’t bothered this year; this is because culture passed me by completely. Seriously; I was standing at the bus stop of art waiting for it to turn up, and it simply sailed past me without even pausing. Judging by the array of ridiculous haircuts I espied through the windows, I didn’t think this was an entirely bad thing.

 I mention this now because a lady I know has compiled her top 50 albums of the year. Now, I’m sorry, but I just can’t take that seriously. It’s one thing an media organization like Q magazine or Pitchfork producing their lists of the year, but an individual? Has one person had the time and money to purchase and listen to the amount of albums you would need to audit for 50 to form a healthy percentage of? I doubt it. Hence, ’50 best albums of the year’ become ’50 albums I bought and listened to at least once; in fact, number 50 is a piece of complete shite I got as a promo and I can’t even remember the names of any of the songs from it’.

 Let me list for your pleasure now all the new releases I have acquired this year.

Memory Man – Aqualung
Neon Bible – Arcade Fire
Twilight of the Innocents – Ash
Puzzle – Biffy Clyro
An End Has A Start – Editors
The World Is Outside – Ghosts
I Created Disco – Calvin Harris
One More Won’t Kill Us – The Hedrons
Overtones – Just Jack
Glorious – Levy
Memory Almost Full – Paul McCartney
Send Away The Tigers – Manic Street Preachers
Wait For Me – Pigeon Detectives
In Rainbows – Radiohead
The Invisible Band – Travis

Added to that list will shortly be Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace by the Foo Fighters, and possibly Ian Brown’s new album. But that’s it; 15 new albums in a year. Not a great tally by any stretch of the imagination.

My favourite though would have to be Send Away The Tigers. Yes, I know it’s obvious, but to be honest, it’s the only album that’s gripped me over the entire course of its playlist. Most of the others have three strong songs at most, and if I’m being brutally honest, even SATT’s not that great.