My name is John and I am not an alcoholic. I just don’t drink alcohol but I am not boring.

December 13, 2014

And lo, dear listener, it came to pass that I was doing a work placement in a Community Rehab Unit in Easterhouse as part of my Post Grad about three years ago when I was asked to do a ‘share’. Now various explanations are needed here.

A ‘share’ is a basic part of Alcoholics Anonymous and the other fellowships, in which someone who has come through recovery tells their story in the hope that it inspires others – a smashing notion – and reassures people that they are not alone. However, in the very few meetings I attended, I never felt it was a full share in that there was a table between the speaker and the rest of the people and no questions were taken (people are allowed to speak without interruption) but I so wanted to ask so many things……

At New Horizons, people who’d been through the workshops and sessions and survived the process of adjusting to a world, ‘clean and clear’, were invited back to share their stories and take questions. On one memorable occasion the speaker and a couple of the other folk had got locked into a discussion on the whys and wherefores of intravenously injecting diazepam and temazepam. At this point the Chair, one of the workers, decided to exert her authority and issued this command; ‘that’s enough about jagging the eggs. Let’s move on.’ And we did. :)

So, in my final week, I was asked to do a ‘share’ but I wasn’t too sure. The relationship I was in at the time was going disastrous and I did not feel ‘in the zone’ but I’d developed a good friendship with one of the workers (a woman) and I spoke to her. Turned out she had problems as well. She had a child from a previous relationship but was now in a lesbian relationship and was looking forward to seeing her current partner’s son that night. I decided to do the share.

Approx twenty people in various stages of recovery from smack and benzos and charlie and about four workers were sitting in a circle and I was introduced. The room was packed. Some knew that I’d had an alcohol problem but others were surprised.

I talked; and took questions. I spoke of things I would never ever discuss with my family; even my current besties, people such as e, Dr W and the rainforestriverman, have never been told these things. They happened in another life but I spoke about them that afternoon. And some of these were pretty horrible.

And then, as I spoke about things like the drink culture in the BBC where I had worked and my bad cancer and how I’d come close to losing my job and the horrors that attacked me when I had cold turkey and those things which I’d like to forget, something hit me.

The thing I had lost most was my creativity and it made sense to those with whom I was sharing cos I had been doing Creative Writing workshops with them and they understood why and what was to be gained. In my latter BBC days I’d been producing shows like Off the Ball and News progs but had added little to them and my teaching (college) days had been similar. Mind you creativity was not encouraged in college teaching and my head of department was one of those to cry me ‘scum’ after my Cold Turkey……but I was in a smashing mood. I had discovered something about myself. I had enjoyed my share and so had my audience. :)

My female co-worker hugged me but she was crying. Not joy for me, but she was being banned from seeing her partner’s boy (contact denied) but had wanted to be there for me.

I had discovered something about people who were so willing to be there for me.

Hopefully I’ve done the same for other people. My own relationship went down the gutter it had been heading towards for some time but I came through that horrible time because I had ideas in my head. My creativity had returned and whilst it might be difficult to see the like of Going Ape as being part of that creativity, the freedom of zipwiring over the Aberfoyle countryside and having a friend to talk me through an incident with a cargo net and having the clear head to understand what was being asked of me, adds to creativity because your head takes it all in. FFS, I could never have done that ten years ago.

Other people have been involved in loads of other things as well.

Son Brian and the lovely KT creating a grand-daughter is pretty ace as well.

Just think. If I hadn’t beaten off the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on Cold Turkey Sunday I might never have seen gd, as I call her. :D

Thanks for listening,

Cya (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? I smile every time I look at it.

Johnt850 and you’ve got to live on the edge or else you take up too much space.

So this blog was started just before my cancer treatment started and that was about the time of the 2008 Grand National and a horse was recommended to me called Comply or Die and when you’re about to start cancer treatment that is such an obvious horse to put money on.

I discovered that lunchtime that Son Brian also had money on it.

Comply or Die romped home at 7 – 1. I won £35. Not sure what my son won but during the congratulatory texts, his final one to me read;

‘The winning jockey is a recovering alcoholic’…………excuse me a second, there’s something in my eye.

The band that got me through this time was Alabama 3. This is an incredibly badly video of them giving the world their version of the Twelve Steps

I don’t look for trouble but trouble looks for me And it’s been waiting round corners since I was seventeen (Neon Jungle)

December 7, 2014

And so dear listener, Dr W and I have just had our latest adventure. Altho’ to be honest mine occurred even before we met up in the car park of our eventual destination. We seem to have a thing about car parks and their many purposes. That is the last time I take direction from AA StreetMap when I want to go to East Kilbride. I was all over the place and went through Rutherglen for some weird reason. The way back saw me totes on the M74 and then the M8. :)

Anyway it was good to see the good doctor. There had been a minor fallout over a minor misunderstanding. And it was good for us to have the opportunity to bounce back. At the AirSpace Trampoline Park in East Kilbride. Wall to wall trampolines and with added socks appeal.

I was terrified. Abseiling and zipwiring are basically easy once you realise that you are hooked up and gravity takes you. Here it comes down to what you can do with your legs; your pelvic floor*; and your arms and hands. And it lasts up to an hour. A bell is ringing but I can’t place it. ;)

• Doing the Time warp (again) is good for practising pelvic thrusts…just thought I’d mention it.

I started off gently – finding my way but soon realised what I was capable of and how far I could go. But it’s not often I do things like this with socks on. Then I got up a head of steam and was banging off walls………I think I’ll stop there. Skippy is pouring buckets of cold water over me. I’ll come to the climax later.

Meanwhile Dr W was performing cartwheels and backflips and star jumps and all sorts of things. I moved on. I hit a giant airbag. Deliberately. But I did bouncy things before I jumped on it. So it was deliberate. And then I tried bouncing and throwing a basketball through a hoop. With difficulty. Dr W is a big show-off when it comes to basketball so I won’t say how good she was. :)

And then the climax. We went to a café near the rock climbing bit for a coffee. Okay, so not every place has soya milk for vegans (I still have a pint in the fridge) but when I asked for a cheese’n’onion toastie, I was told not a problem – except they had no onions. A cheese toastie is not the same.

Would I go back? Yes. Would I be braver? Yes. Would I do it immediately after a night shift again? Yes. Was it more of a workout than a fun thing? Yes. And is Dr W any good at basketball? Yes……but see checking e-mails for attachments? She’s rubbish….I’ll move on.

But it’s been a week of new experiences. For example, I and another worker took some of the homeless folk from where I work to see A Christmas Carol and whilst it was difficult to take in for some, they enjoyed the spectacle – and I was on a bus for the first time in years and managed the return journey. An interesting experience. Would I repeat it? Maybe.

Incidentally, I said to someone recently that one of the things I like about my job is that when my shift finishes normally I go. I don’t take my work home with me. ‘Well’, she said, ‘given that you work with homeless people and refugees that might be a bit awkward.’

And can I thank Zoe the Zombie (and ace photographer) for her invite to her eighteenth. I can’t remember the last time I was at an eighteenth. No. I don’t mean I don’t remember when I was last at an eighteenth. I mean I can’t remember what I did at the last eighteenth I was at. And someone asked if I knew her parents and that was why I was asked. I said ‘no’ – I said I know someone who’s seventeen and is turning eighteen. We were in the Zombie wars of 2014 together – we were that conga line.

For my eighteenth my father took me over the water – or the River Ugie to give it its proper title – to his golf club and we had two bottles of Carlsberg together. I didn’t want to tell him I’d had much more the night before. :(

And finally Skippy and me are still looking for nominations for the Personality of the Year Award. Previous recipients have included a glass of whisky and 6 hours, 31 minutes and thirty-four seconds. There’s also a Lifetime Achievement award and also the Team of the Year. There are some front-runners but there’s a few week to go.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? It’s terrified as to what Dr W is going to suggest next.

Johnt850 – a man with the makings of a freestyle runner.

So why, I’m asked, is the drink driving limit for drink not just set at Zero here in Scotland? Well. It is. A pint will take you over as will a large glass of wine and so on. The slight freedom is to allow for the fact that some things contain alcohol in them such as medicines and, the one I always quote, Listerine – and I’m not going to get into the spit or swallow debate. And some puddings.

It’s not that long since I was given a commercially available tiramisu pudding which had CONTAINS ALCOHOL on the side. I loved it – and had to be driven home as a gibbering wreck…..

Many people who have been alcoholically dependent (or chronic alcoholics as some people might refer to them) cut back for all sorts of reasons and are what we term controlled drinkers downing a couple of pints and going home unlike their previous lives. When I started my then recovery I was given that option by my addiction worker – to stop completely or to aim for controlled drinking.

I chose the Zero Option and I’m glad I did. Makes life a lot simpler..….and for those of you who might be drinking alone in a cocktail bar this Christmas here’s some cocktail Christmas music to drink to.

‘The man who could talk longest about wine and who could likewise carry off the most bottles was looked upon with favour and admiration’ (Strang 1856)

November 28, 2014

And so dear listener, uni-Sharon and I were discussing the importance of developing a child’s vocabulary in these harum-scarum days and naturally we ended up discussing the importance of the UrbaN dicTionary. Where would we parents be without it? Obvs I look thru lots of song lyrics and peeps on fb and wonder what I’m reading and where would I be without it. :)

No. I am not going to quote examples but in my alter ego’s younger days all we had was a big old dictionary from, say, the forties and we’d look up naughty bits but there didn’t seem to be as many of them as there are now. And as for the magazines…..:)

I’ve mentioned before on the show that, being brought up in a fishing town, I had easy access to Danish porn from a fairly young age but I do remember the first time the Porn Fairy visited (there is a point to all this). It was not under a bush but on the top deck of a double decker. And I can’t remember what it was called but looking thru its pages, all was revealed. :D

In many senses.

Y’see, recently I decided to go ‘fishing’ again. The last six months or so have been truly amazing (thanks to Dr W and the gd and e and the weans – No. No connection) but the double glazing’s not what it used to and I do have many manly needs – a meal cooked for me now and again would be good.

My picture in the fishing catalogue is me with the ice cream that e, RJ and AJ, bought for me for a very significant birthday at the start of this dead brill six months. And so I contacted a lady, whose username I shall not give but let’s make one up….Muttondressedaslamb is good.

And she replied quite quickly and commented on the ice cream. Now I am useless at this kinda thing. Am I supposed, as Danny Dyer would do, to come out with some kinda coded message……’Yup. My whipped cream is finger licking good.’ OR do I be me and say, ‘Yes. It was a very nice ice cream and it was Nardini’s in Byres Road and I’d be more than happy to treat you to one.’ Me? The latter.

Result? Knockback. ‘Too soon’ I was told.

FFS! It’s an effing ice cream in effing Nardini’s in effing Byres Road – not an effing Chinese opium den in Garnethill* I’m sooooooo not cut out for this. Lots of things are leaving me very confused in the run up to Christmas. But if you are going to be in the Byres Road area and can give me a couple of days’ notice, I’m happy to buy you one as well- whoever you are :)

But I did bump into that librarian the other day and we ended up discussing grandchildren. I thought one of hers was called Mindy but it turns out it’s expected on Monday.

*(Can I apologise to all those Chinese students for whom I do work, and who very kindly recommend me to their friends, for the outdated stereotype portrayed in the Chinese opium den image. Why it’s almost as outdated as the image that I am perpetually in process of recovery from alcoholism which is an incurable disease. No. I just don’t drink alcohol these days. No. I don’t miss it. Yes. I was alcoholically dependent for several years of my life. Yes. Most thinking since the sixties looks at it being learned behaviour and there are ways to help once you leave the black and white world of Lost Weekend and Ray Milland)

I mean I don’t believe that MadMen (or was it Admen) reflects Advertising and Marketing today. But then sometimes we are happy in our prejudices.

And I don’t miss meat either – apart from that roll’n’sausage last week..but a wee walk and I was fine. :)

Moving on.

And I’m still not sure about the difference between a baptism and a christening. No. No reason.

And finally, I had a couple of training days last week which involved me training in from Hyndland Station and one occasion I had to shout into the carriage, ‘If you would all move into the carriage then we can all get on’ and I did get some strange looks but then I’m a housing worker with the homeless and look a bit rough and, so, they moved but let’s stick to the rough theme of stereotypes…..Coffee of the month at the Coffee Stall on the station platform in the pretentious West End? Gingerbread latte. I rest my case and am away out to do some C’mas shopping. :)

Cya, Keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup. Buffing it up now and then I’ll do the badge later.

Johnt850…….God made me funky.

So Christmas and the end of the year are fast approaching and the anniversary of me Cold Turkeying will get a wee mention soon time and regular listeners will know that that also means the special Christmas Card edition of the blog and the annual prize giving for Personality of the Year (which doesn’t have to be a person), Lifetime Achievement Award (which can be given to someone who has received it before cos I don’t keep records and can’t remember anyway) and Team of the Year (cast iron that one) and a new award – Musical Track of the Year……Nominations are open and me an Skippy would love to hear from peeps out there. :)

But one thing I want to say and that is….if I want to give a C’mas pressie then I will give a C’mas pressie. I don’t necessarily want one back and even if we’re not meeting then I will get it to you

I missed so many Christmases a few years ago that I enjoy being a small part of it all now.

And it’s the same with cards. I could ask for donations to Cancer Research UK but I think it better to send out cards with the Cancer Research logo (Why them and not Prostate Cancer? My mum didn’t die of Prostate Cancer) And I don’t keep a list from last year and strike off people who didn’t send me one last year and whilst I will do some by e-mail and fbook and so on, I will send as many as I can and to as many as I can with stamp attached. The business has done well thanks in no small way thanks to the Chinese students mentioned earlier. It has paid for the stamps.

So I’d a wee disappointment the other day. In context, no’ a big disappointment but it was big at the time but in reality it was just disappointing and when that happens I go for a walk and I play music until this comes on and I smile;

I could be so good for you, I’m gonna help ya, Love you like you want me too, I’ll do anything for you, I’ll be so good for you (Minder)

November 21, 2014

And so dear listener, word came down from the Milanese catwalks via the Four Horsemen of the Seventh Apocalypse as they ascended the hill that is Kelvindale en route to the fleshpots of the Ardgowan Tenants’ Hall – the Vampire Slayer had spoken. And what were her wise words?

Go With The Flow. :D

So let’s see if this week has seen any flowing and whether or not I went with it.

Monday; I decided to go into the attic and take Christmas stuff down. I want to see what C’mas cards I have left from last year. I have stepladder which isn’t quite clicking into place but it’ll be fine. Tree comes down; cards and wrapping paper come down; and I’m just going back into attic for baubles when the ladder goes down. Luckily I had anticipated problem and had my hands on the edge of the open attic door as opposed to my hands being full of baubles. I held on and then dropped down the two feet or so to safety.

More Tom’n’Jerry than falling off Everest but an interesting start to the week. :)

And my PC was playing up. Those of you who know that the Master (in Doctor Who) has now become the Mistress will not be surprised to know that she has shifted shape into my printer but there was some kinda problem with Microsoft Word which I seemed to tell people was a Google problem. I seem to have deleted every shortcut I ever had and am having to remember passwords all of which have something in common. I won’t say what in case a Russian website is watching.

Simon at Resolve fixed it for me from a distance which is always interesting to watch. I’m not sure if I’m being charged. I did offer as a quid pro quo kinda thing to help him out with anyone he knows suffering seizures and fits from Legal Highs. He said he’d get back to me…..

And my lack of manliness showed itself on Tuesday when Dr W and I went looking for a car in Glasgow’s East End. For why? Not saying but she knows what she’s doing (A real Arfur Daley and I was her Terry McCann). I just kicked the tyres, tbh, but she’s well at home under the bonnet but I can always be relied on to have tissues when a dipstick needs wiped. And I walked back thru Glasgow’s East End seeing signs of a re-generation that comes more from the people themselves rather than the Commonwealth Games….. :)

And e and I met up on Thursday and we were supposed to be breaking bread in the Hanoi Bike Shop and then do some retro shopping just off Byres Road but the bike shop was closed so went to the place I know as Yummy Mummies and then did some middle class window shopping. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as I’m beginning to get ideas and I have my rota for the next wee while (Christmas and New Year night shifts. I will be in touch with people)

[and one of us is upwardly mobile and the other ain’t]

(Is this okay, all of those who want it straightforward? I’m thinking about what I’m writing which is really weird – however soon time it’s the special Christmas editions of the prog so that’ll be nice)

And I was in the uni-café next to the library when I watched a young lady eat a roll and (links) sausage with tomato sauce – I sat and stared at the roll and not the young lady but eventually she finished it and my Pescatarian chums breathed easily. :) And she looked at me quizzically :(

And finally, I’m making progress with my draft PhD application; I seem to have got involved in some form of rugby/concussion research at the invitation of former Internationalist John Ross Beattie; my grand-daughter, who I do mention from time to time, is doing well – and I may refer to her occasionally as gd (No. No reason.); and the Zombies are looking ahead to next year. Be afraid; be very afraid

Cya (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes and it’s the special Christmas edition

Johnt850, currently more a guide to the UWS than a roadie at the moment

So let’s have a wee rant but not a big rant.

There is delight within prostate cancer circles that an eighty year old actor who plays a seventy-seven year old character in the popular soap Eastenders has been diagnosed as having prostate cancer. I have not seen the programmes so I will make no comment. I will repeat the fact that my alter ego, as I used to refer to myself, was diagnosed with bad prostate cancer in his very early fifties but I made it work for me :)

I suspect that those who devised the storyline thought it was restricted to very very old men. A wee while ago a character in River City developed signs of alcohol dependency and that was so well developed as the weeks progressed. However she went to AA and was apologising to people within weeks…….this is not to knock AA but when I out it to a then Script Editor at River City that there were organisations other than AA, she had to express ignorance.

Maybe too many charities are relying on mega-telethons and celebs telling poor people to give money rather than getting the message across………especially to those who make such popular soaps.

So let’s cheer ourselves up. I played this earlier on Facebook and would like to thank Dr Paul, the world’s greatest Pub Quizmaster [see w it’s a week of superlatives]. All I will say is that it won the praise of many zombies and gave me an idea for at least one Chrissie pressie: :)

‘As a horror story, it’s exciting. As a parable, it’s terrifying.’ (Empire Magazine)

November 15, 2014

And so, dear listener, I stood. At the eleventh hour On the eleventh day. In the uni-coffee bar. Next to the library. I do not know if I was the only one. It did go quiet. When I stood. But the canteen staff continued to serve. So that was alright then. It became noisy again. After two minutes I sat down.

I stood not to remember anyone but out of respect for those who have a reason to remember. But not the politicians who are squeezing everything they can out of wars and the dying and the dead.

I am old, Father Time, and I do not remember as many anniversaries being commemorated. And I doubt the political sincerity.

So on Monday, e contacted me. She had a problem. Could I help?

So on Tuesday, I wondered over to the residence of her and c. I was to babysit RJ and AJ who were already wrapped up in pyjamas with a set routine prior to going to bed. It all went well. I like CBBC. I find it very intellectual. I now see Dick and Dom in a new light. :)

They were only to be thirty minutes late in settling down with me. They seemed to have drifted to sleep. Reading Alice in Wonderland on speed…sorry……at speed helped even with oblique references to the drug, the set, the setting. I used acid, in a good mood and the Arches as an example. They looked at me with that withering glance my son throws me down the phone. I walked thru to the front room. Two minutes later AJ walked thru. Mentally, I thought. ’Oh Shit.’ He spoke. ‘jt, You forgot to shut the door’ and he went back to bed. I shut the door and breathed audibly.

I’m thinking of setting up an agency – ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ – with the strapline;

‘Do you need a helping hand? Let me give you one,’

(No. Skippy. It’s not.)

And recently, the rainforestriverman, whose longevity gives him access to the High Council, raised a number of questions about various matters. His concerns were discussed under the Auspices of the Ancient Scallop Stone. A decision was made that the only plan of action would be to contact the Vampire Slayer, currently resident in Milan. She spoke and her answer will be conveyed to the rainforestriverman and then made public. :D

Right, back to the world of the straight and straightforward. Actually when I do that I’m lost.

Let’s go back to the uni-library and the student sitting across me speaking on the phone in something Spanish(is). The only thing I could make out (I have two ears) was ‘Jack Daniels’….ah the world language that is bevvy.

And finally, the last radio programme I ever worked on was about four years ago [thanks for the never ending supply of coffee and have you ever worn purple since?]. It was an investigation into why men with prostate cancer don’t talk about it (except, obvs for the men and their wives that took part in the prog). It was co-produced with the smashing people at and they are Scotland’s top indie broadcast production company.

They have a smashing prog going out on Sunday night or on iPlayer. It’s about the old Peterhead Prison and its replacement by HM Grampian and is on BBC 2 Scotland at 9pm. I have seen a rough preview and it’s good – not just cos I was brought up in the shadow of the prison but it highlights how that North East corner of Scotland has been exploited over the years cos of its remoteness. :(

I am old, Father Time, but I remember how the voices that stood up against the sell-out to the oil capitalists of the seventies were silenced by those who were bought off by the big oil companies and compliant local business people. And the fact that the local people were so used to giving in to Lords and Masters cos, after all, they knew best.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge but I’ve not being proving it recently. :(

Johnt850, the answer to every mum’s dreams….

So I was talking to a couple of the current Post Grads and we were discussing the subject of cravings for things like alcohol and the only time, these days when I feel like a drink, is when I see a decent whisky being poured in a TV ad and we’re coming up to Christmas so there’s millions of them.

At the Zombie Rave, I felt no inclination to drink alcohol but part of my enjoyment came from the fact that others had taken alcohol and used it as a social lubricant. I did not feel challenged or threatened. I’d a great time. The drug? – alcohol; the setting? – a bar in M & D’s Theme Park; and the (mind)set? There to have a good time with marvellous people. I just go with the flow. :D ;) :D

I used to work in broadcast with a great guy called Jimmie Macgregor, We used to play this track a lot but a number of people seem to have just recently found it. It’s the Australian Eric Bogle and it’s an anti-war and anti-politician song called ‘And The band Played Waltzing Matilda’

‘Money is the gift that is never returned; green is always the favourite colour; and large fits any pocket (James Ellroy

November 8, 2014

‘Good evening peepers, prowlers, pederasts, panty-sniffers, punks and pimps’ (Ellroy)…….a slightly different intro from usual…and, as my old mate, Arnold Brown used to say….’why not?’

So some of you will have seen the midweek blog which was all zombie, and this week is part zombie party and part James Ellroy, so if you like your blogs straight, Pringle-sweatered and the same fourball for golf every Sunday morning, this blog ain’t for you……(t850)

Let’s begin with the zombie party.

It started with much the same textual intercourse between me and the good Dr W as last week (Skippy, you did get clearance on that phrase, didn’t you?)….’You going to the zombie party?’…….’Dunno. You?’…..’Dunno.’ and ended eventually with ‘No, jt, you’re picking me up just before 8.’ And I did. :)

(There was a wee girl at W’s – a neighbour’s wee girl – who asked if I knew how to tie shoelaces, and I do, so I did.)

So we arrived. (Last?) And it was a very sober affair, which for me, just days short of being eight years sober and substance free, which was good. :)

Basically, fruit juice and nibbles, karaoke, a conga line through the snooker hall at M & D’s, men dancing with men, men flirting with men (Yes. I like you too, Ross, but……), women dancing with the men who……, the Time Warp, more karaoke, the Slosh, the Alley Cat, the plate smashing…(hang on, was there plate smashing?), did I see a cuddly toy? (yes), did I dance? (yes), was homage paid to the lovely Katie? (yes) and did all the ladies look gorgeous? (yes) :D

So how good was the night?

Let’s just say I woke up with hangover and a framed photo of me as a zombie lying on the pillow beside me. That good. (No. Totally sober)

So I hope every zombie will forgive me if I pick three ppl from random for the success of last night; Jason for showing me some moves and shapes; George for asking me about the blog; and Zoe for being Zoe and you know what Zoe’s like when she’s Zoe – well she’s ‘just’ Zoe; and, of course, the gorgeous Dr W and her vegan plateful of onion rings and chips…….. :D

A brilliant crowd and a brilliant night and if I can help with anything, just shout….:) :) :)

And then there was James Ellroy the night before. He is the world’s greatest ever living author and he has much influenced. My style. Of blog writing. But he doesn’t know that. Somewhere, in one of his books, he sums up what I liked about drinking – that moment when the ‘hot’ whisky trickled over the back of my throat. Orange juice will never be the same. :(

His mum was murdered and they never found who done it; he stopped drinking and abusing Benzedrex inhalers when he was in his twenties; and he describes his attitude to the films made of his books as ‘Film studies can do what the fu*k they like to my books as long as they pay me.’

He very kindly inscribed a copy of the book to the good Dr W (in her Sunday name and with a good appreciation of her) and he spoke to folk for about a minute each at the signing. He describes his books as ‘being for the whole f*ckin’ family, if the name of your family is Manson.’

[Yes. It is a thick book, but it’ll be a good one. Can I borrow it after you?]

Two amazing nights in two amazing nights. What could top that? Answer to the usual address with the usual reply.

Another hero seen……brilliant writer….start with the Black Dahlia [unless you’ve just been given a book called Perfidia]

And finally. Homage to George in Cresswell and Co (hairdressing and beauty emporium) who is the only person in the entire world (other than Sandra) who I would trust with my hair. But see the girl (didn’t catch her name) who washed my hair – she also did a scalp massage. That, more than any coffee I drank on Saturday morning, woke me up…… :)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? No. It’s a Remembrance poppy this week.

Johnt850 – ‘the slick trick with the donkey dick’ (Ellroy but……… ;)

Many years ago, I was the Promoter of the Goalden Shot for Clydebank Football Club and every three months I would attend the prize giving dance in the Hampden Lounge of the Bankies Social Club and this is how they would finish the night…….wonder if the Rocky Horror Show’s coming soon to Glasgow?

I love zombies. If any monster could Riverdance, it would be zombies (Craig Ferguson, who I used to know as Bing Hitler a long time ago)

November 5, 2014

And so dear listener, it started like many another Saturday. Except these days I’m not getting to the football that much. Partick Thistle are such a big club that the away matches are all ticket and I’m just not that organised.

There was some textual intercourse with the good Dr W. (Skippy, am I allowed to say that?).

Y’know the kind thing – ‘You going to be a zombie tonight?’ ‘Dunno. You?’ ‘Dunno.’ – and so uncertain as to what was happening I travelled out to Zombie HQ (M & D’s Theme Park at Strathclyde Park) thinking I’ll meet W in the car park and we can discuss what’s happening.

I arrived at the car park to be told, ‘Can’t get in, mate, there’s a Drive In movie tonight’ to which I replied, ‘But I’m a zombie,’…….’just park over there, mate,….you’ll be fine.’ And I was in. My fate had been decided. :D

I went to the haunt, made up and got dressed. (I should point out that I had not fallen out with anyone and was not naked. I was adorned with latex and greasepaint and given scrubs to wear). W arrived a wee bit later. She had done her own make up which was smudged by a professional; she was wearing a strait-jacket (oh be still my beating heart); and her hair was at a Johnt angle. (say it out loud)

Very kindly we were assigned to the padded cell area together. And we both received injuries.

One of my tasks was to lean through an open window overlooking a dark corridor full of smoke. They’d had a scream already but this was their first test. I had to lean out and touch the heads of the punters and to the very tall women I touched as well, slightly inappropriately, can I say….tee-hee-hee…… ;)

All went well until one man (a grown older man) decided to pull me thru with a very strong grasp. He did enuff to scratch my arms badly and to make me bang my ribs…..W was pushed by a very strong wee boy into a wooden barrier and hurt her back……that was the downside. :(

The upside was all the other paying punters. Basically it was £10 per head to hear about how some experiments had gone wrong and those being experimented upon had broken out – us – the Living Dead. :)

It was fun. Even the nerds who came in determined not to be afraid were a good laff. Listen up, cretins, we weren’t real. You were not proving yourself to anyone. You wasted £10.

Two faves. One was the woman who came in to the padded cell area crying out, Oh My God, Don’t Touch Me, Oh My God, Don’t Touch Me, Oh My God, Don’t Touch Me so I didn’t. Instead I leered at her all the way thru the padded cell and was there to meet her again in the autopsy room where I continued leering and all she could say was Oh My God, Don’t Touch Me, Oh My God, Don’t Touch Me, Oh My God, Don’t Touch Me.

And the other was another young lady who I happened to be leering at when I heard one of her friends say, ‘he’s taken a fancy to you, Bethany.’ I made it quickly thru to the autopsy room and when she came in I just looked at her and said ‘Beth——an—–nee, Beth—–an—nee’. She ran. Into the cages.

W made the point that a murder could have been carried out in almost perfect circumstances and she should know (No. No comment) and I thought we could invent Zombie Cluedo…but it would always be the zombie that done it.

There were guys who hid behind their women, clutching them and swinging them around as protection and, and, and oh so much more. We started at the back of six and finished just before midnight. At least me and W did. Remember the Drive In? It was about to start and W and I walked in front of it as I searched for my car and she went home; I found it by the simple expedient of pointing my key in all 360 degrees until it pinged. The remaining zombies were girding their loins. There was fresh blood in the car park. :)

For me the adventure was not over. I was let out the special zombie gate by the stewards and headed towards Glasgow – with my make-up still on. Terrified in case I was stopped. And I almost was. Just where the Garscube Road joins the Maryhill Road there was a major police incident (dangerous building?) and I turned my head away (as you do when you’ve maybe had a drink but in my case the last one I had was just under eight years ago). I drove past. I didn’t go into any food takeaways on the way home but I might have been okay with a fillet o’ fish from Maccy D’s Drive Thru – the clown on a bad trip.

I texted W to say I was Home Safe – my hand was shaking so much I managed just the first two letters – I’ve been apologising ever since – and I washed off the latex and make-up. And fell asleep about 2.30 and awoke the next morning ‘bout 7. I showered and it was like rivers of blood running down the plughole. A brilliant experience.

It’s the zombie night out this Friday – smart but casual zombies

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? No, but one woman did bit my neck.

Johnt850. Awaiting the next challenge, Dr W…….

A major big thanks goes to Mark and Katie who organised the whole thing. We were all volunteers doing something simply for the concept of fun. I/we only did a couple of runs and would love to have done more.

It was a smashing team effort with people I certainly didn’t know but came to trust. In the smoke and darkness. It’s really difficult to pay tribute to all involved without a speck of dust getting in my eye. Many thanks and keep us posted……and amazingly well done.

This is Roky Erikson – not lyrically his most challenging but maybe it could be our anthem?

Go on, help yourself, And don’t think of anyone else. Take what you want from me. I have a list from A to Z (The Vaselines)

October 31, 2014

To make the rhyme work Z has to be Zee and not Zed (see last week’s blog for details)

And so dear listener this blog marks the end of Sober for October and the beginning of Movember: two of the major moments in my life strung over eight weeks and I did say last week that I’d mention some of the reasons deejay Heather Suttie cited in the Daily Record as to why giving up drink made her a much happier person but before I do……..

Can I reassure some people that my talk of my missing going out and getting drunk and having a good time is a wee bit of ‘romantic’ nonsense; yes, there were times when I’d go out and have a drink and meet someone and have a good (overnight) time and so on; there were many other times when I’d wake up on the Saturday unsure as to where I was; where I’d left the car; why my head was hurting so much; and (worst of all) I was due to pick up Son Brian and I was in grave danger of turning up looking, and smelling, awful……..

Moving swiftly on but before I do……..

I almost fell out with the good Dr W this week…….and a canteen serving lady at UWS (Hamilton)….. [nice meeting Caroline and hearing what she had to say ;) ]

It was the fact that on Tuesday, 28th I was arguing that it was actually, Tuesday the 29th and when I looked at my watch it said Wednesday, 30th (not the first time in my life I’ve missed days out). My incredibly reliable Casio had let me down……..I took it to the expensive jeweller in Byres Road where I’d bought it expecting it to be pronounced D.O.A. (dead on arrival) but, no, the nice man sorted it in all of two minutes. OMG! How wrong was I? :(

[and not only am I looking at restaurant menus with a different eye, but I was in a café in Finnnieston the other morning before going for some training and I couldn’t help but notice that they had soya milk by the coffee machine and I have a pint in my fridge as well]

I also met one of the asylum seekers I work with in the same street and we had a fifteen minute English lesson (me to him) on what we could see from where we were standing.

Eccelfechan. Wear the fox hat. (Yes. I know the original line was Auchterarder but what is life without plagiarism?)

And a major ethical question on Friday was when I could turn the living room light back on and eat all the small chocolate bars myself.

And one of the arms of Sandra my hairdresser is now in a sling which creates a slight dilemma for me……how thick and long should it be? (What Skippy, an innuendo? No. I can’t see one. Can you, listeners?)

And what was really nice at the training (okay; it appealed to my ego) was the fact that one of the senior managers (who didn’t know me) spoke to me about an invite I’d sent his boss about a seminar being organised by my friend Jenny H. I know Jenny was pleased and I got a wee buzz from it as well….

And I’m getting the hang of my new phone (still can’t work out where the photos disappear when I take them). Any phone that can take me typing in dfwty and instantly offer me stuff is my kinda phone.

And finally, lapdancing Becky, I will get round to using your phrase soon….I’m just meeting so many nice people just now. :)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Actually I’m looking for my old Head Boy’s badge (and the uniform if possible……No. No reason)

Johnt850 (who had the potential to be a Quickscoper but being taken from behind by an alien in a game of Doom put him right off the notion)

Heather Suttie gave up booze three years ago after ‘a life-changing trip’ to Africa where she caught malaria and had to give up booze. I don’t want to ban alcohol and I would like all drugs to have the same legal status as alcohol and I want to emphasise that I can still go out and be in an alcoholic environment and enjoy myself, so I’m going to pick out half a dozen or so and, maybe make a comment, but have a wee think yourself;

I (Heather Suttie) look well……I (Johnt850) look much better. Let me show you my Driving Licence photo and you can make your own mind up.

I (HS) have better ideas……….I (jt) had lost my creativity. This blog and a potential application for a PhD may be a strange mix but it’s happening.

My (HS) diet is healthier………I had food in hospital and it was amazing. I am now pescatarian and whilst there might be a number of reasons for this I feel much happier with what I eat…..

And for my favourite I am just going to quote Heather;

‘Do I miss it? Sometimes I miss the unexpected chaos of a night out, bonding over a glass of wine or a celebratory glass of fizz (whisky for me) but hand on heart, I don’t miss it enough to go back to. Now I just need to do more exercise and give up chocolate!’

How true…and those guysers who came to the door were given lovehearts and lollipops; I kept the chocolate for myself. :(

A guy called Jack Gringo designed my business website . As John Disco he is also a record producer and plays in various bands. Bis never really unformed so it’s good news that they have some new stuff coming out soon and are playing some gigs in 2015….this is they a long time ago on Top of The Pops……

When you say you’ve had enough, And you might just give it up, Oh, oh, I will never let you down (Rita Ora)

October 24, 2014

Maybe a message, maybe not…. ;)

And so dear listener, came the big challenge this week. I had prepared for it for a long time now and I was ready. No. It wasn’t some major fitness thing at the Fitness Club to where I still go on a Monday night. It was much more macro than that. I have no intention of paying 5p per carrier bag anywhere – not when for years I have been giving free publicity to the likes of ASDA and Morrisons so I had been collecting them for some time and I had prepared well.

Many of you will know the wee black and slightly pink rucksacky bag I use (which is bequeathed to the good Dr W for some reason). Well I packed a couple of plastic bags in there and set off for the ASDA. ‘Oh, yes,’ I said to Anne at the Self-scan, ‘I have come prepared’ and produced the bags….it was three days later that the foolishness of what I was doing hit me. On Day Four I put the messages into the rucksacky bag.

‘I have come prepared’….moving swiftly on. :)

Anyway e was the same. OMG! Sometimes I have this illusion that I’m really middle class and am really ‘resting’ until I return to take my Bearsden crown (altho’ I’d hate to live there now even tho’ it is where most of my small but very functional family stay). Tuesday was that kinda day. An on-off-on visit to Hamilton was called off on the Monday but was almost back on on the Tuesday…..e, RJ and I went to Nardini’s in Byres Road for coffee and ice cream which was awfully nice and then into Waitrose where e was looking for some English Cox. She found them and stuffed them into the bag she had brought with her. It promptly burst. Apples everywhere.

And then we went outside and my phone rang. Yes, my new phone. I answered it. It’s a swipe to the left. It was one of the folk from the Rehab project down Dunbartonshire way where I’d done some stuff and I had to say I couldn’t make out what he was saying cos I was at the top of Byres Road. The next thing you know I’ll be taking my grand-daughter for brunch. :)

And W and I are hoping to go and see the amazing James Ellroy soon….a brilliant author with an eye for the ladies. I was interested to read recently that he was currently eyeballing an out-of-town lady corresponding by telephone calls and letters…’decorous’ was the word he used. Don’t know why that caught my eye. ;)

See when I say every single mum, I mean every ‘single mum'; not every ‘single’ mum.

And another week, another camera up my penis but this was a different consultant. This was not Mr ‘Well-known-in-prostate-cancer-circles’ consultant but a different man who, having shown me my perfect bladder (when will this vid be leaked I wonder?) spoke to me about a possible solution that he said had been mentioned to me before but I’d ignored. Eh no….otherwise why was I where I was?

So I’m not going to get too excited – not the best of plans when a flexible cystoscopy is planned….getting excited that is…….[got to be careful with the hugging on top of the air raid shelter] but it does seem a simple solution. I will keep you posted, dear listener.

And finally I was a wee bit spoiled for choice for the serious bit below the line this week. (Can I explain to new listeners that much of the blog relates to a time when I had issues with alcohol and cancer but no longer?) I will return to Helen Suttie’s many reasons why she’s glad she gave up drink about three years ago. But the other day I found myself discussing theoretical frameworks with she-who-would-be-my-supervisor-if-I-get-to-do-the-PhD.

Ten years ago I couldn’t have written the words without my hands shaking and ten years on I’d be dead anyway. A flexible cystoscopy may not be everyone’s idea of fun but it certainly proves to me that I’m alive, I’m feeling things, and everything is truly in working order :D

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? That, and a large smile.

Johnt850, described the other day as looking like a student by someone who knows.

And so, before the news of Lynda Bellingham came through, I’d been thinking of my mum who died of cancer nine years ago this month. I’d bumped into George, a neighbour of my folks, who’d been the man who broke into mum’s house when it became obvious that she had passed out and was now groaning. Spare keys were useless because she had put her keys in from the other side.

He also brought her a daily newspaper at about 7.30 every morning. ‘Why?’ I was asked. ‘She doesn’t really read it.’ ‘No.’ I explained, ‘He’s checking to see if she’s survived the night.’

Lynda stopped her chemo’; my mum decided against taking it altogether. I was at her bedside when she told the Registrar. She wanted to preserve her dignity. She made that decision herself. I decided then that if I ever had that particular misfortune I’d be as matter of fact about it as she was. Not ‘brave’ or ‘stoic’ but just matter of fact……..and I was. The day I was told I’d got cancer, I’d a journalism class to get back to that afternoon and the college had only given me the morning off to get my results. :( No option but to be matter of fact…..I’ve seen some really ill people make it in to teach. Recently.

I met Alvin Stardust once. Lovely man.

They were coming. They came bigger. They wanted to come in. People screamed….’Brace the door! …I won’t let them get you!’ (The Oral History of the Zombie War)

October 17, 2014

And so dear listener, I am a real zombie. At weekends. In M & D’s Theme Park. Near Motherwell. And I park there. Not in the gay cottagers’ car park. Of recent memories. And it is there that the transformation takes place. But more of the detail later.

If you sense the hand of the good Dr W in this you would be right ;)

Listeners with a long memory may remember that she was one of the leading lights in the movie World War Z(eeeeee). At that time she was chased by zombies. The extras all lived in a big building just off George Square called the Bam Building and I’m told the persistent memory is the smell of Febreeze every morning.

(Incidentally those of you who query my pronunciation of Z and think it should be Z(eddddd) might be interested to know that I pronounce Viva as Veeeeeeeva, where everyone else says Veyeva. I reckon Elvis and the Dead Kennedys can’t be wrong)

Anyway, W said that there were rumblings in deepest Lanarkshire of the Living Dead and we should investigate. So we did and we met two normal looking people – who ‘auditioned’ us. I cannot say of what the audition consisted but I found new depths…we were accepted; we were in. :)

We came back that night. Kinda. We were inducted. It’s been a long time since anyone asked if I was allergic to latex and under very different circumstances. The blood was fair dripping. We were assigned our positions and we discussed our tactics. We were paired off. :)

It’s a pretty basic story (the parallels with Ebola are frightening but even more so in the book of the movie in that the first troops have just been assigned)….a scientist tries to reassure people in a hospital theatre that recent rumours about experiments are misleading but suddenly things go horribly wrong and I won’t give anything away……but people are told to leave and to leave quickly…..and there is a gauntlet to run.

I was part of that gauntlet. I seem to be quite a mild zombie until the cages. They were my place to roam. People are frightened in there……except for those nerds who refused to be frightened. Come on….go with the flow. We go easy with children but as the night progresses the drink is slightly flowing. I found myself strangely interested in young women…the initial pointed finger is followed through by charging after them down a corridor…their boyfriends doing little to protect them.

However, my fave was a guy. I got him at the start of the cage and he was frightened…’you bastard!’ he shouted. I gave him two seconds then I charged across the cage and leapt at him. ‘You f*cker!’ he shouted and ran. Into the arms of another zombie…..we ate pizza…it had chorizo sausage on it……I pretended not to notice.

All too soon it was all over. And the real thrill began.

As part of the transformation we had had to put on make-up but there was no way of taking it off. I had to drive home – wearing it. From M & Ds to t850 Towers is about 30 minutes altho’ I used to quote 40. I now know what lane to get into in both directions. Easy peasy, lemon squeazy……usually.

OMG! What if I were stopped? Sorry, officer, yes, I am a zombie but it’s wearing off and I am no longer one of the living dead but back to being one of the living. :(

And as for nipping into the Bombay Mix (Indian Carry Out ..curries – kebabs – pizzas….1911 Maryhill Road, Glasgow) for a quick vegetable pakora?????? I thought not. I have seen some amazing sights in there in my time but a real zombie? No. I’d like to recommend the pizza box filled with chicken, veg and mushroom pakora, donner meat, chicken drumsticks, chips, salad and sauce, but being a non-meat eater I’ve never tried it……And you can get 10 inches for £6 and twelve inches for £8. No. I refuse to do that gag.

Anyway…back to my semi. In Summerston.

The make – up we wear to hide the real zombie features taking over can only be removed by picking off the latex and then washing the face with washing up liquid. My face is still recovering. And I’m doing at least two more but they’re on a different day of the week and I finish earlier. There are new neighbours across the road from me…….I do so wish they are awake when I get home. In fact I might just wander across and introduce myself and suggest they park in their driveway and not in the street. :D

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Not under these circumstances.

Johnt850 – a zombie in the style of a Barbary monkey and old skool running man.

There is no point in anything after all that, is there?

Here’s the piece of music I played a couple of weeks ago as a teaser……


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