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……


Love, she sees apart from me possessed behind the eyes. Apart from the fighting, the moaning, the biting he seemed to be a nice guy (Jamie T – Zombie)

October 12, 2014

And so dear listener, this week I learned a very salutary lesson – not to be too hasty. ;)

I was sat in my car at the top of Crow Road, looking to edge my way into a stopped flow of traffic, through a pedestrian crossing which had changed from ‘Go Pedestrian Go’ to ‘Hang Back’ – and we’ve all been there (I don’t mean necessarily at the top of Crow Road but in that more general situation) – when I’m offered a space in the traffic and as I go to take it two pedestrians walk in front of me (one with a bike but no serious lycra)

There is a mild jamming of the brakes – not cos I was going fast but because I was concentrating on the vehicular movements. I shout at them and I flip the finger. And there’s a young mum teaching her young child how to press the Green Man and she’s looking at me and my face goes red and I put up my hand in personal self-admonishment (See ‘A – Z of BDSM’ for more detail) and she bursts out laughing and I fall in love and the traffic hoots at me to let me in and the brief encounter is over. :(

Yes. I was going to the uny at Paisley. Earlier in the week I’d been at its Hamilton branch. It has branches in Dumfries and Ayr – maybe for a day out [now there’s an idea] but not to use the library facilities.

There’s not much to report as yet except that Hamilton does a mean carrot and coriander soup with vegan base.

And I’ve been asked if the Good Dr W and I have any other plans or projects ahead. Well we have – but I am reluctant to talk about it at this stage, except to say it does involve Strathclyde Country Park in the evenings and at night on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I will tell more next week when I am fully recovered but I did go home at one o’clock in the morning, bloodied, bruised and bleary-eyed and the make-up took ages to wash off. A lady friend from some time back (okay, several years) had left a bottle of Olay Gentle cleanser which helped. :)

[What was it I said about crossing the road all those years ago?]

And I’m beginning to like my new phone. Predictive text is good and the other day I typed in Z and it gave me ‘zombie’, and do you know, that was the right word. And I’m reading the book of the movie World War Z – some of it filmed in Glasgow all those years ago – but it’s unfortunate timing with the current concerns about Ebola. My own view is that, now the Americans and Europeans are involved, rather than a bunch of Africans in very poor African countries, something will get sorted soon. Wait ‘til IS attacks a US embassy in the Middle East and see what happens……or the homeland.

I’ve got the DVD of World War Z and it’s a slow watch – one frame at a time. ;)

And finally, I know I often come across as an apologist for the BBC but I cannot excuse the waste of licence fee payers’ money on the ensemble performance of the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows (altho’ Chrissie Hynds does look like the woman Nicola Sturgeon could have been…..if only……) I was going to play the Beach Boys’ original version at the bottom, but it wasn’t very good either (different times when men with beards in white and gold suits meant something……incidentally has Still Game finished its run cos I want to say something about Sanjeev?……No. No connection)

I won’t say what tonight’s is cos Skippy’s still choosing it but it won’t be self-patronising crap (see A – Z of BDSM)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge….different jackets now seem to have different badges

Johnt850 – ‘confirm’ but never ‘comform’ as the 320 people on Saturday night who watched me perform will tell you.

And so it’s usually the done thing when you’re doing an obit of someone to say nice things but my very first memory of (the now late) Angus Macleod, the editor of the Times in Scotland, was pretty horrible.

I had not long joined a public relations consultancy and was advising a major company who had just made several hundred people redundant. The Sunday Mail, for whom Angus then worked, had a good story but the company, against my wishes, went to court to stop publication – and lost. I then got a phone call (Saturday lunchtime) from Angus accusing me and my client of trying to ratfu*k him and he didn’t want me ever to ratf*ck him again. I then answered his questions.

I later worked with him on a great many occasions at the BBC (including his Saturday morning press review) and found him to be a charming, knowledgeable and kind man – and, no, I never ever reminded him of the ‘ratfu*king’ call but I did sit amazed in awe of his contacts book and the people he knew…smashing guy, sorely missed.

This band came up in conversation recently and it’s one of the best all-girl bands of all time and I saw them a long time ago…… it’s taken Skippy a long time to find a suitable track…’offered too many other things’ she said. It’s Fanny;

The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese, so why doesn’t the last worm get eaten by the early bird? (James Cummings 19 year old Hibs striker)

October 3, 2014

And so, dear listener, Son Brian and I went to see Still Game on Wednesday night. No, No spoilers. But it was good. Worry not, as I did, about them merely bringing a couple of episodes of the TV show to the stage – they used the stage and at no time was there ever the feel of them trying to jump the shark. :)

No. My memories come from other directions, such as Son Brian saying, ‘since you bought the tickets. Dad, I’ll get the drinks.’ Mmmmm…….his Foster’s looked good; my Fanta was very Fanta-esque. Looking at the Finnieston Crane and saying, ‘mmmmmmm….that looks big doesn’t it?’ but getting little response from the 10,000 people I told.

And when he told me that my grand-daughter was beginning to appreciate music, he then looked at me and said, ‘No, big man, (or was it a simple ‘dad’)…none of your weird stuff.’ And I hadn’t even offered. :(

And apologies to anyone to whom I tried to send an e-mail from my new phone but it never arrived. Obviously, Hillfoot (Bearsden) Sorting Office does not give out a good signal at 1130 at night. Don’t ask……but it was quiet and handy.

And there’s a sign on Kelvin Way (a tree lined street, Becky, in the city’s salubrious West End) which says’ Watch for Pedestrians’……damn near crashed the car watching for them but all they were doing was walking up and down the pavement.

And there may be news on the PhD front. I had a conversation with some uni-ppl which went well. As ever I will be in touch with various ppl on a more personal level to discuss various things and there is a long way to go but as Chairman Mao once said, ‘the first cut is the deepest.’ (Skippy, check the quote please; that doesn’t seem right.)

And thanks to the good Dr W for treating me to coffee the other day in the Hamilton branch of the uny. Yes, I did have six stamps on my card and the seventh is free. How clever of you to notice. [But nice to see you in your natural habitat and nice of the traffic warden to ignore us. Giving me a lift like that saved one helluva lot of walking (lol as Carmen....)] :D

And the supported accommodation for the homeless project I work is slap bang in the city centre and I often marvel at how the denizens of Glasgow manage to combine the café style of drinking with such an eclectic menu in the area. I couldn’t help but notice that Kebab City is offering a Pizza Cone at a competitive price. So far I have restrained myself. But I often watch Sauchiehall Street at four in the morning wondering, why are people ‘so mad for it with the drink?’

And that would be the basis for the PhD; that and a question posed by good friend e. But those who know about these things can rest assured. The title of the 80,000 words (or so) dissertation will not be ‘Why are people so mad for it with the drink?’

But, and I was talking to a (male) pal about this in a hedonistic lunch (fresh orange and macaroni cheese) the other day in one of the city’s top bars (YesBar in Drury Street, Becky, across from the Horseshoe and next to the lapdancing club), I miss alcohol. I miss the notion of asking a woman out for a drink with just a little hint of what it might lead to; and I miss filling in a boring Saturday night by walking down to the Maryhill Road and going for a couple of pints and then saying yes to the cairry oot and going back to someone’s house and who knows?

And no, I’m not going to say ‘but’ or ‘however’. It’s a statement of fact now we’re in Sober October. :)

And finally, I must get out of the habit of when someone says to me ‘nice to meet you’ of replying with ‘Yes. It is, isn’t?’ Thankfully the latest person called clr to hit my life saw the joke….. ;)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes….and I’m not the only one.

Johnt850 and the good Dr W, and yes, we are now both grown-ups with jobs’n’that and all that that entails. We’ll be fine.

And so it is Sober October which intends to raise money for one good cause (Macmillans Cancer) by people giving up the booze for a month. And all around I hear people laughingly (?) say, ‘It’ll be so boring and how will I get by?’. It might change your life if you approach it positively……just a thought.

And I read a smashing article in the Guardian asking why do people feel the need to declare themselves as heroes for not drinking for a month?

‘But the idea of calling yourself a hero for simply not being pissed is neither admirable nor gallant. It’s just not being pissed.’

Still maybe the doctors and nurses in A & E will have a quieter month……..I will watch Sauchiehall Street with interest at four in the morning.

A couple of years back one of the most moving evenings I have ever experienced was in the Mitchell Theatre (Becky, it’s a theatre that’s part of the Mitchell Library – great building) the scene of many amazing speakers and stuff [James Ellroy]…..it was Edwyn Collins and his wife, the lovely Grace, talking about a book they’d written. And then some backing musicians appeared – ppl from Josef K and Orange Juice and Edwyn played a set. He was on TV the other night…something about a new movie about him and Grace?

This is the song he is perhaps best known for. Maybe I’ll dedicate it. Maybes yes, maybes no, but it’ll always be maybes unless you do.

I think it’s much better if you look to your own conscience before making a decision because then you’ll make better decisions

September 28, 2014

Wise words from Steve Earle and it makes me feel better about some of the decisions I’ve taken recently. No. No reason.

And so dear listener, the unfriending process has begun. Amongst other people, two relatively high profile West of Scotland Labour people are no longer on my list of fbook friends. And I did know them both. But I didn’t like their style on that Friday morning. But that’s enough about the Referendum. :(

However, I may have to do a clean-up of Google as well. Who the hell are/were the Forces of Darkness for Yes? [But I’ll keep ‘vegan + Paisley’ at the moment]

No. Let’s play Catch-up just now. The last few weeks have seen a number of events in my life such as the birth of my first grand-child (who shall remain anonymous for a long time), the Referendum and the Titan Abseil with the good Dr W. But other things have happened and, indeed, not yet happened. So, let’s recap. (This might be quite a boring blog but it’s necessary. Okay?)

Mind you, one of the events of the week did take me back to Clydebank. It was a Service Users’ Forum where some Service Users and some workers from all over Scotland get together to discuss stuff of interest and for many it’s their first experience of such an event. But it was also a lot of fun. But the train and the walk to the Town Hall did give me a chance to have a look at the crane and it is helluva high up. So, for the last time for a long time, me and Dr W done good…and thanks for the cash. :) :) :)

But, I’ve started going to a Fitness Club in Paisley. It’s organised by folk who follow the Herbalife way of life but I’m just there as a friend of uni-Sharon. It seems to be mostly women…….were you aware of that uni-Sharon? And there is actually one rule to this Fitness Club……just push yourself a wee bit harder the next time…..and it’s run by a couple of pro-footballers who understand the fitness capabilities of a 42 year old like myself. It’s at the UWS (Paisley) sports grounds in the south of Paisley…….

And on the UWS front, no definite word on the PhD front….there will be soon, but I am an impetuous creature, and keen to get started PLUS I will also be doing an SVQ3 next year. Busty days. (I know. I decided to leave it in)……

And there is the money question and I will do a fair amount of shifts and editing just now ahead of next year, altho’ I had a slight windfall recently…..‘slight’…… I decided I wanted to blow some of it on something and for some reason, Amsterdam was suggested but the voting this time reflected a 50/50 split as to whether I should go there (two people but you’d guessed that hadn’t you?) In recent years I’ve been talking about going back to Barcelona (I was there for a day once) and maybe I should investigate that.

But I have lashed out and bought some new pots and pans and a new stockpot.

And I fancy Nicola Sturgeon. To be a good First Minister. Like many journalists of a certain age I was fair taken with her in her earlier days – leather jacketed and with a hairstyle that made her look like a young Suzi Quatro. And if you watch the library footage, you will see that she does the same flicky thing with her hair that I do…..

And finally, I have a new Blackberry Touchscreen phone and it had a difficult start. However, now I’ve found Rotation Lock (?) and stuck it in permanent portrait mode, I feel so much better. The birly thing was doing my head in. But why’s the weather in Fahrenheit and how many pictures of ladies’ bums have I inadvertently taken cos I press the wrong buttons when I swipe. :)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Aye, cos folk still believe in it.

Johnt850, just a wee bit bored this week and I think it showed and I think a couple of people noticed. Sorry.

And for good reasons, there’s not been too much of the drink’n’drugs’n’cancer’n’sex’rock’n’roll stuff that this blog is kinda about. So can I wish everyone taking part in something called Sober October, the best of luck…..

And one final word about the Referendum………maybe we lack heroes……actually we do….we know too much about people……maybe they did exist once, but not now. Here’s Steve Earle singing about Woody Guthrie.

The campaign continues; the dream shall never die (A Salmond)

September 20, 2014

And so dear listener, I had planned to play it dead clever, kinda Pat Kane-like, and use Partick Thistle’s result against St Mirren as a metaphor for Thursday night. And then I thought – why? Our wounds are open and there* to be healed almost like trying to qualify for the World Cup. :(

*I do mean ‘there’ and not ‘they’re’

I remember once when Scotland were playing England in some football tourney and I was producing an Off The Ball special and Son Brian came in (the biased, corrupt and horrible BBC was dead good for weekends with your son if you were estranged). And he was wearing full Scots footie gear and my senior producer looked at him and said, ‘So he’s taken on the mantle of despair from you, then, jt?’

I watched the count at work. I’m told that Sky coverage was better than BBC’s coverage but I do have a sense of loyalty, which was not necessarily a good thing to have on social media. I had no idea how many people hated the makers of CBBC programmes, Sportsound and the Hogmanay Show – even describing them as c*nts. Well, he wasn’t too specific about who he reviled so much. :P

I don’t think the BBC was biased. I did feel at times it was incompetent but so too is its London management and the flooding of Scotland with all these resources was too much, too many and too late. All I wanted was evidence of the bias. I got little and what I got I was able to handle with a couple of exceptions – but I have no idea why a BBC demo was not covered on the BBC website altho’ it was covered on BBC TV…….get a life, M*****f****r !!!!!…….that is not what a laptop in the back bedroom was designed for. ;)

But if there were any bias against the Yes Campaign, don’t you think they would have complained? Especially when their Chief Exec is/was a man called Blair Jenkins, a former Head of News and Current Affairs at both the BBC and STV. If anybody knows election/broadcast law and the need to run a stopwatch, then he most certainly does.

But it was a delight to see so many people – many of them new to politics – getting involved but you’ve got to get out there as well as sharing websites and if you do share a site, then check it first – frightening how often that wasn’t done. And I want to pay a tribute to two folk I know who exemplified the combo of social media and actually getting out there and working for the cause. Maureen from down West Dunbartonshire way and Fiona G from Motherwell, both of whom worked their socks off…….as it were (it’s a metaphor, Fiona G :) xx).

There’s a lovely pic of Maureen on her bike with a YES t-shirt and it looks as if she’s looking for folk to pile on the back of the bike to get them to vote (do you do ear-rings?) and Fiona G….. when I first met you down in Clydebank a wee while back, I could sense your energy, but bloody hell, I was knackered just reading all the things you did (happy wedding next year xx)

Forty-five per cent of the votes cast were for independence – not SNPism……… and I do hope that my party of choice (the Labour Party in Scotland) bucks its ideas up. The question of the campaign was the BBC’s James Cook to Joanne Lamont


and that shows how distant some politicians are from reality…they must learn. A friend of mine joined the SNP on Friday…….it’s worth thinking about.

And the horribleness of the Daily Mail highlighting the differences in age between Alex Salmond and his 17 years older wife, Moira, and the age difference between Nicola and her man, Peter, and enlisting some Scottish rugby players to say that their childlessness was why they didn’t care about future generations…..it stank.

I had a couple of run-ins (journalistically) with Eck many years ago but I admire much of what he has achieved. Any free-thinking person must do.

So what did I do? Not a lot. I had conversations with some people in various places about tactics and strategy and I used Facebook and I gave people badges. I used to be politically very active (I was a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, for example and reasonably active in Trades Union activities) but in recent years, I have tended to concentrate on causes.

And talking about people and their problems……Sunday’s abseil down the Titan Crane was my first attempt at fundraising and it looks as if the Team Leader, the good Dr W, and I have raised nearly £700 (including Gift Aid)…..which is damn good. :D :D :D

Thanks to everyone……….

oh, and I was fairly active in 1979 so if I am 42 then I must have been a negative age……but maybe that year laid the foundation stone of destiny which led to the forty-five per cent voting Yes, and will be more meaningful for Scotland than any previous ’45.

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Soon time I will go back to the original badge – the one that says Sex God – but I’ll keep wearing the one that says Yes….are the two in any way connected?

Johnt850, looking for ‘passing fancy’ in a Mary Berry baking book and failing miserably but I’ll work on it…..(metaphor for life alert!)

And in the week when the good Dr W started a new job, this is for her (Don’t even begin to ask) and my thanks to BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal and Gary McD, tipster to the stars, for finding it :)

3,2,1 …Go! (An anonymous adrenalin junky aka me)

September 14, 2014

I suppose this is a kinda follow-on from last week…when I wrote a wee bit about the ‘why’ the gorgeous Dr W and myself were abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank. This is the ‘what’ or to be more accurate, What The Fuc*……

Obviously we done it. Sorry, we did it…..We survived but it was absolutely amazing. We were frightened and had spent much of the time during the week communicating with each other, particularly by the private medium (ironic) of Facebook where sometimes you forget that other people are reading it but to anyone who did follow those conversations you will have seen fear on the pages.

I, of course, was cool, calm and collected; Dr W was the fearful one. Aye. Right. Without reading too much into it, we work well as a team in that each will allow the other the chance to opt, but neither wants to let the other down…so we do it……things other than just the recent foray into Aberfoyle Woods or whatever they’re called for Go Ape. Lesson One from that was trust the instructor and listen and before going down big cranes….they are scarey.

Lesson Two is not to look at Youtube videos of other ppl abseiling down the Titan Crane……could put you off….

So let’s cut to the chase…the big day. Texting and messaging and stuff continued. I did two night shifts the nights before so sleep was lacking; which may have been a good thing. And big thanks to people who responded to my fbook messages; a big difference from some of those I received for another matter. It meant (the good messages) that we were receiving support from many ppl and like much of my recent life, we did not want to let them down. W (whom some of you now know and realise that she is not a figment of my imagination) [Chinese accountants, Chinese accountants] texted that she felt ‘sick’ so I felt I had to be strong. Lesson Three is that Calvin Klein Eternity (for men) hides the smell of fear… ;)

W drove. Is it a man thing that I know the road better than her Sat Nav? But I was a bit short-tempered with it. And then we saw the crane. In the distance. Massif was one of two words I used to describe it and we got closer. We parked. We went into the cabin to sign the death waiver. MY NAME WAS NOT ON THE LIST! RESULT? No. They added my name to it. :(

We rigged up with leather and buckles [Chinese accountants, Chinese accountants] and were taken to the crane. W’s fear was the lift but for me it was more a case of comfort and joy. She needed comforted; oh, the joy….and then reality kicked in. We walked out of the lift on to the top of the Crane. It’s small and you can see for miles and why is that plane flying beneath you? There are two official ways down; one through a hole in the crane – which is meant to be there – and one down the side. She chose the one in the middle; therefore the deal we struck meant I had to go down the side.

You are roped up and told how to hold the rope and you are told to stick your bum out and you are told to go – which she did. And she went. Brilliantly. I am watching her through the holes in the floor (again meant to be there) and said to everyone (two people wearing SSPCA t-shirts), ‘isn’t she doing superb?’ and then I got called over and was roped up and had to clamber over to the side of the crane. I mean climb about on the outside which was for me the most frightening bit. That is terrifying. Stuff the connecting rope – if I go he’s got to catch it. Quick.

So I’m shown how to hold the rope and there’s a simple guideline – the less you hold on, the quicker you get down but you can apply brakes. And you’re told to stick your bum out and feet against the side of the crane and then suit yourself. So with my new customary shout of ‘3,2,1…Go!’ I went – using the crane to keep pushing down and then I ran out of the actual crane to keep pushing against and my feet kicked nothing but fresh air and I swung round in the headwind. A less experienced thrill seeker might have panicked at that point but not me. I adjusted my position (No. No idea how) and continued downwards and all too quickly it was over (not something that’s ever been said of me before!) The deed had been done and it was a superb feeling….

So, so far, we have raised approx £550 for Prostate Cancer UK and there is more to come in; W wore her t-shirt with pride and will wear it on other occasions. Raising funds is important but raising awareness is also important and we’ve done that today.


There’s so much more I’d like to say bout lots of things (including the political metaphor of leaping into the unknown but having faith in the people around you) but the heady combination of lack of sleep and an adrenalin high which won’t be go away, means I do need to be careful in words and thoughts and stuff….safety first :p …and my thanks to those who came along to see us……meant a lot. Thanks :)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? For a few days more…

Johnt850, liking the sound of the sticky space bar.

The music was chosen by the man they know as Bean and it’s R.E.M and some song about gravity…….

It seems odd that, as I sat there all that time ago, talking about this event, I had prostate cancer inside me. I just didn’t know. And it’s not just fundraising, it’s a chance to raise awareness and to get people talking about it (Kenny Jones of the Who and the Faces talking about a different event)

September 6, 2014

And so dear listener, this blog has been an enjoyable write and (hopefully) read over the last few years but it may come to a frightening end next week; I am plunging – screaming – to my certain death into the River Clyde – some of you may know it as abseiling down the 164 foot Titan Crane in Clydebank.

Yes. I’m doing it for charity – Prostate Cancer UK – but that’s not the real reason I’m doing it. I’m doing it cos the gorgeous Dr W gave me it as a birthday present. For the record, she also gave me a bottle of good ginger beer, which is still chilling (listening to Bob Marley), a DVD of Jackass Bad Grandpa (No. No reason) and a radio in the shape of a green water tap….but, yes, she also gave me the abseiling gig.

Some people know a wee bit ‘bout the friendship between me and Dr W and she has taken me to places I never knew existed (No, not those, Skippy – I’m talking about Musselburgh Primary School when she ran the Edinburgh Marathon and Drumlanrig Castle when she ran Tough Mudder – but not those other ones…… [Chinese accountants…must think of Chinese accountants] ) and her role on D-Day has still to be confirmed (D is for death-defying…hopefully).a

Dr W is the catalyst. But to make sure it happens, I needed to do it for charity. And my selected charity is Prostate Cancer UK. Please have a wee look at their site:


About seven years ago I was diagnosed with it and I had it bad – scoring 8 out of 10 on the Gleason Scale which ain’t good. But I was lucky. After millions of tests (finger up bum, mini-cam up penis, what felt and sounded like a staple gun up my bum) they had decided it wasn’t at that time spreading. So I had options – surgery or radiotherapy. Now, if you don’t know what the prostate does, it’s more or less the gland that adds milk to sperm to make semen – kinda life-creating and fun – so I decided to keep it……well you never know.

And I think most listeners know that the only reason I was diagnosed was cos I was seeing my GP regularly having cold-turkeyed (alcohol basically) some six months previously. The distinguished social commentator, Hogan Sinclair, reckons alcohol withdrawal is worse than heroin withdrawal and having watched the later stages of the latter recently I would agree but I’m maybe not the most objective.

But to quantum leap the story……everything worked okay and everything is working okay….seriously……altho’ I may never be invited back to do the money shot in some movies of a certain persuasion (‘invited’? ‘back’?). Hey, quality not quantity, I thought as I had my third tomato of the season so far.

And so having put those things behind me (Aye. Right) I have moved on but I still have a lot to thank the Prostate Cancer for – including an amazing hour’s counselling (from Ann and Doreen) over two years ago that had nothing to do with cancer but helped keep me alive in another way.

They organise information talks, fund research, supply specialist nurses on a dedicated Hotline and peer support amongst other things because this is a serious cancer for men. It kills one man every hour and two of those are in Scotland each day. But it’s a disease that some men won’t discuss or acknowledge – they won’t talk about it. But I will. I am a media tart. [I mean what did I know about John Peel?] STV live or pre-recorded; the Record and the Sun; BBC Radio or Radio Clyde; or local press. And there is no question I will not answer providing I do not reveal personal details about family or anyone else. It’s the same when I’m talking about my alcohol dependency. You’ll notice very few comments at the end of this blog – but they do come in and I do answer them but individually…..or refer them to their GP……

And I help in other ways. It’ll come as no surprise to learn that I was part of the focus group and correspondents for the booklet – Prostate Cancer and your sex life and the section Sex when you’re single – because sometimes it can be very hard (ignore that!) when you want to talk about things. In my early days my cancer buddy was…….well, those listeners who’ve been with me since the beginning will remember her name……

So, yes, I still talk about these things and maybe some of those who tell me I should move on are right – but then the next question is asked or I do an information talk to a Rehabilitation Unit or…….and it’s like when the shout goes and you run up the stairs with keys and the alarm buzzer……but the events of Wednesday night can be told another day…..

Sunday, 14th September is the day currently in my head. Part of me is frightened but then a few weeks the good Dr W and I did the Go Ape around Aberfoyle and it was superb – rank brilliant – and the big thing for us was making sure you listened to the instructor and each of us, a lot of the times, made sure the other was properly buckled and in my case, I shouted ‘3,2,1 Go’ and went. My fear will be in going up the frigging thing and walking along it.

The Justgiving website is


But I’m doing it for two women – Dr W (cos it was a pressie from her and you always want the giver to get some appreciation for the pressie) and my first ever grand-daughter (indeed grand-child) who I will not name for a while – but also for generations of men yet to come (Yes. I chose my word carefully)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Possibly for the last time ever

Johnt850 – the Danny Dyer of flower giving.

Some music for you

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time, or the tools, to write (Stephen King)

August 30, 2014

And I’ll explain the relevance of that in the serious bit below the line.

And so, dear listener, something has happened that may change my life but the main people involved have asked me not to reveal it on social media and I will try to get round folk on an individual but highly random basis. Actually it won’t change my life at all. I’ll stay a really nice guy. And that is beginning to annoy me. :(

It’s the programme called Master Baking for Beginners (or similar). My interest was aroused in that at a very young age. Meringue? No. You’re right. It’s not so much the Bin Gate thing but the continued use of innuendo particularly from the bearded tw*t (so many vowels fit, don’t they?) who so many women fancy despite his indiscretion(s). I was with a group of women of a certain age on Saturday, and there was definitely the hint of ‘I would’ coming from their middle-class lungs.

But it was his latest innuendo that had me boaking;

‘the length is good on this one.’

Y’see I couldn’t get away with that. ‘That’s most unlike you, jt, they would say.’ And it’s beginning to annoy me. But I don’t know what to do about it. And anyway, I’m a grower not a shower. My tomatoes what I grew were sweet and tasty and my cucumber was well worth waiting for. :)

I am every woman’s nice male friend and it’s beginning to grate. Some people may even think me gay. BUT I AM NOT GAY. I AM INCREDIBLY HETERO. AND IN REALLY GOOD WORKING ORDER.I AM ALL MAN!

So I was at this sea food cookery course yesterday, and it was jolly nice. It was in the old (?) Jacobean Corsetry Factory in Virginia Street Glasgow….not a corset or basque or (I’ll stop there) in sight and it was really good. It was a birthday pressie from my sis. And I thoroughly enjoyed. Those were the women who ‘would’ the tw*t.

We cooked and ate full servings of meules mariniere, scallops with julienne of spaghetti of vegetables, simple squid, lobster bisque with langoustine and brandy (I passed on the brandy and I sometimes wonder if that’s the problem but if my lack of drinking is the problem then there’s nothing I can do about it) and crab and avocado gateau with lemon dressing. And I learned how to chop an onion.

I’ll need to run it off at some point and I can do that at the Fitness Club I go to in Paisley where I’m now going on a Monday night where they think I’m nice and fit for my age. Aaaaargh! But it’s a nice compliment. And I am. :D

Maybe that’s the problem. People see the age before they see me. I’m convinced that’s the problem when I try to go fishing. My worm hasn’t been nibbled for ages. One of my co-workers thinks I think too much and is going to help me if we ever find a quiet moment. And that’s another thing. When the shout comes I can hit those tenement stairs pretty damn quick with alarm buzzer, keys and phone.

So. No.. More…Mister….Guy….. (Maybe I should shave my head?)

Incidentally, Dr W (and this is a non-sequitor to anything I’ve just said) I did ask if they did vegan courses and they thought that might be worth trying and they’d let me know and if they did, I’ll come with you…..and a big thanks to e for helping me with some very specific shopping the other day and to uni-Sharon for introducing me to the Fitness Club. :)

Mmmmmm not the most ruthless of paragraphs but I will try.

And finally, next week’s blog will explain why I’ve not done any Ice Cold in Alexandria challenges but have opted for the much easier challenge of abseiling to my death…sorry…. down the Titan Crane in a fortnight or so’s time. And I’m hoping to raise some money for Prostate Cancer UK. And that’s another thing; I am neither impotent nor incontinent as I explained on BBC Radio Scotland a few months ago and one of the double page spreads the Daily Record did about me a wee while back would confirm that.


Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Buffed and polished for the big day….sorry…the other big day, given that one has just happened.

Johnt850, fit, well buff and available…..

So this blog has remained pretty referendum free cos it is non-political in that my views are mine and I won’t use this vehicle to inflict them on others. (I’m nice that way) But I have been so disappointed in the way social media has been used. I’ve seen lies and non-truths and conspiracy theories shared or re-tweeted without anyone reading them before they do that. So many people pass things on without reading them or checking the facts or the context; things which the much derided media have to do because there are laws and regulations that can be used if the media get it wrong. But proper complaining involves so much more effort than just passing it on and saying ‘typical BBC!’

Anyway, I hope there is a Yes vote but after it we have a long period of consultation and compromise..something notably absent from the current debate…and then in 2016 we have elections when we can vote for who we want – even the Unionist parties will have to have a change of thinking……..but I worry for the Facebookers out there who have never physically knocked on a door, handed out a leaflet or engaged in proper debate. For whom Russell Brand is a political hero. Then there’s a lot of women who ‘would’ him anyway.

John McLean was an early political hero of mine. And James Connolly. I have books of their writings if you ever want to borrow them but it might be too much effort for many. Here is a song (it’s an old recording) commemorating one of the many times McLean left prison. Krassivy, Krassivy – ‘beautiful and red’. He didn’t achieve all he wanted to do either.

James Wright Foley – journalist aged 40. R.I.P.

August 23, 2014

The worst I ever had to face in twenty-odd years as a broadcast journalist was a knife, a broken bottle and just general threats; and there’s a possibility of some of that in my current job, but at least I get to wear an alarm buzzer…..not much good if you’re reporting from Gaza, Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan.

And so, dear listener, the day is almost upon us……..No. I have nothing ‘grand’ to report and won’t be doing so on here or on a general Facebook page……….if you want to know what I’m talking about, mail me, txt me or PM me.

No. On 14th September at about 2 pm I will be Plunging. Screaming….sorry abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank and my thanks to all those who have sent me pics of it. I know what it looks like. I was looking at it the other day. It’s massif and I was miles away. :( :( :(

I have spoken to a few folk who have done it and I know, from my recent Go Ape experience, that all I need to do is to run over some basic rules with an instructor, make sure I’m properly hooked up, shout ‘3,2,1 Go’ to myself and kick off into the open air. Easy. (I’m lying. I’m terrified – not by the jump but the walk along the crane to where I jump from) :( :( :(

And here’s my Justgiving site but if you don’t like Justgiving, then contact me and I’ll arrange another way to get your money – over a drink? :)


Thanks, and, yes, it was a birthday pressie from the good Dr W, who hopefully, will be there on the day as, hopefully, will some others. :)

Moving lead-footedly on to the tune of the Funeral March…..

And, no, I haven’t done the ice bucket challenge and won’t be….the waters of the Clyde are cold enough down there should I miss the ground. :( :( :(

So I have been going to places I have never been before such as Croy….an interesting bucket list..…..the conversation with the man taking my money on the train went as follows;

Me; I’d like a return ticket, Summerston to Croy.

Him; To Croy?

Me; Yes. Return, please.

Him; So you’re planning to come back. From Croy.

Me; I hope so.

Him; Mmmmmm…….Coming back from Croy, eh……..

With confidence I was not filled.

So I went and had a lovely day with Missie K and her lovely mum…….it’s a fooderie called The Boathouse and it’s near Craigmarloch and it’s one of the amazing places along the Forth and Clyde Canal, and it looks dead solid to me, altho’ many years ago, apparently, ‘the ground beside the canal (was) too boggy to support a building of (any) size, a lesson the canal builders learned the hard way when their first effort sank.’ I’d smoked haddock in a spinach and prawn gratin which sank pretty easily as well. :)

And me, e, AJ and RJ ate in a posh café in Finnieston the other day – which was also a nice fish dish of lemon sole with a filling but it was awfy small…the next time I’m getting chips as well……no wonder I’m fat…….still I’ll get down quicker on the Sunday. There’s an effing big crane in Finnieston as well and, recently, Sanjeev Kohli went up to the top of it to do some filming and found an empty bottle of Buckfast. (Other tonic wines are available).

And finally, for the first time in a very long time, I feel a wee bit better on the money front – some unexpected cash from a pension thing; the editing has been hectic in the last fortnight [Chinese accountants, Chinese accountants, Chinese accountants…..not always the equivalent of a cold shower but recently…….] and my first payslip since I became a permanent part-time night shift project worker came in the other day. I can talk of annual leave, shift swops, TOIL and now, for the first time in six years or so, I have paid tax. So apologies if we’ve not met as promised. There’s been much happening and I will be in touch; but this time it is very, very, very much my treat……..and I’m looking forward to it. :)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes. And as the big day gets closer it’s getting more and more excititated.

Johnt850 (‘gnarled’ is a brilliant word to describe a frazzled state of mind)

I’d a recent conversation with a very old friend of mine (old is such an open ended word) in which I told him a wee bit more about my hopes to do a PhD – and the subject – and he asked why it always came back to alcohol with me (not in a horrible way as in ‘isn’t it time you moved on?’) and I tried to answer and found it hard. Why didn’t I think about Italian Renaissance art, for example?

Apart from having no interest in the subject, I find that it’s now other people who ask me about it……often when there’s no-one else around….and if I can get some folk thinking a wee bit more about alcohol and its effects (but not in a heavy way) then maybe we can start doing something about it. After all, fewer drink related people going into A & E could mean more resources for cancer and MND and stuff……I thought that from a window overlooking the Nice’nd’Sleazy end of Sauchiehall Street at four o’clock in the morning the other day……I’m going to ‘do’ that busker one morning, btw. Apparently he travels up from Ayr every night.

This is one of the greatest rock songs ever. (Thanks Rosie). There’s the angst of the opening words (how often have I said those words?) and then the drums and then the bass and then the key changes and then the drums bring it all back……..the music and the memories. :)


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