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.

https://www.justgiving.com/John-Thomson5

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:

http://prostatecanceruk.org/

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

https://www.justgiving.com/John-Thomson5

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.

https://www.justgiving.com/john-thomson5

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? :)

https://www.justgiving.com/John-Thomson5

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. :)

Three, Two, One, Go! (Me at the top of a 400 metre zipwire)

August 16, 2014

And so dear listener, I wrote this in rather uncomfortable circumstances the other night, because on Friday afternoon I had a tube inserted in my penis and one up my bum…….but that’s S & M in Summerston for you. Now, where’s that gaffa tape? No. I’ve mentioned it before that I have a slightly overactive bladder – a wee bit like its owner this week. :)

It’s not too bad but I would like it fixed. There’s a meeting with the Medical Team on 16th September – two days after I take the leap of faith that is abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and two days before we take the leap of faith that is voting for Independence for Scotland. I will keep you posted.

No, I said last week that, after the Commonwealth Games, things would settle down again and that the messages about cancer and bevvy would return and a wee bit bout my own lifestyle would kick in. But what has really knocked me out this week has been three people who learned/know my story and who have told me how impressed they are about the way I’ve ‘turned round’ my life. I feel ill at ease with that but very grateful.:)

Yes, I have done well but I have had so much help but you don’t want to hear about that – you want to hear about some other things I’ve done – including the Fitness Club I may well be attending regularly on Monday nights. It was an idea by uni-Sharon that I should attend but silly me forgot to put on fitness clothes so I did a long walk with some of them. I will return properly clothed and this time I will avoid the left hand filter into Causewayside (sp) Street cos that took me on a long journey out of my way but it was a voyage of memory. The woman I used to be married to – my accountant – used to live out that way and her family and the memories that came back when I saw Charleston Bowling Club…..not necessarily good ones….but there you go.

But my first week as a permanent part-time nightshift worker (get thee behind me Ambition!) went well and I will speak a wee bit more about it but subject to all the rules of confidentiality…..

But I hear you cry, how did you celebrate the Good Dr W’s birthday? Not with a nice meal and a walk…like we once did in Embra at the BookFest time….oh no…we went Ape. Go Ape. In Aberfoyle.

http://goape.co.uk/days-out/aberfoyle

It’s a world above the Trossachs full of zipwires, traverses across the country from tree to tree, ladders that you couldn’t get two feet into at one time and two Tarzan jumps – one of which saw my life flashing before my eyes – or it would have done had I not been so careful staying alive.

And it is also possible that there may from time to time be occasions when I want to say something quietly to Dr W and I will put it into square brackets so you don’t need to read it.

[Do you know you left my bathroom light on? It was burning for the five hours or so I was out the house]

It was really good and you were well shown what to do and you repeated the mantra green to green; hook up the blue, hook up the red and jump…..We kinda teamed up with two mums and their offspring, Libby and Marcus but one of the mums, Brigit, was terrified but she completed the course and well deserved the hug I gave her at the end…..everyone was helping everyone else. :D

[I don’t think black’s a strange colour for the kitchen]

But I have to pay a major thanks to Dr W (who the world knows is an amazing friend) for saving my life – or that’s how it felt anyway. There’s a thing called the Tarzan Leap and the idea is you kinda zipwire from a tree into a large cargo net, bounce off once and then the momentum will bring you back in at a more controllable speed. I was tired and I made a grab on the first run in so it was flapping, as was I, at 50 mph. I was scared. Seriously. You forget you’re hooked up. I couldn’t find where to put my feet and hands. Then, Dr W saved the day. What a loud voice she has. W helped me traverse across slowly but to safety and before I could catch my breath she was off on the next one….

That was the kinda frightening moment I had expected more of…..phew.

[but how did your ear-ring get in there anyway?] ;)

And so I have the confidence to abseil (W’s birthday pressie to me) because I will get tuition as we did on Wednesday and I will take my place at the top of the 164 foot high crane and I will say ‘Three two one Go’ and I will jump in a rather controlled manner to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK. Here’s the Justgiving site;

http://www.justgiving.com/John.Thomson5

And finally, there’s not a lot else to say…..it was a brilliant day. :D

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes and it stayed on.

Johnt850, who’d never been compared to a Bollywood hero until this week. :)

Mork and Mindy and Robin Williams’s message to Orion at the end of each show were brilliant (as was another TV series called ALF)……Robin did his, as he did most things, with a lot of impro. My major memory of him was an appearance on Graham Norton’s show one night. Graham offers his guests a glass of wine (or at least used to). He offered one to Robin who turned it down and said, ‘why are you offering me that when you know?’

Norton was embarrassed but that was a reflection, to me, of a society where alcohol is the norm but when you do get involved in mainstream life ‘out there’ then it’s often assumed you drink cos you seem normal…or as normal as you can several hundred feet above the Trossachs as you come into land……maybe I have turned my life around. But let’s not get too cocky, jt……..not after those tests anyway.

It was a great day. Please don’t read anything into this week’s choice of music but there’s a couple of lines (as it were) that are amazingly appropriate. Happy birthday Dr W but next year Greggs and a seat in the Botanic Gardens. Not.

And watch out for the amazing Doctor John in this

Being brave is being afraid but carrying on and doing what you believe is the right thing to do (anon)

August 8, 2014

And I still feel that we are now commemorating the beginning of World War One because current day politicians see it as a way to gain some form of credibility and you’re not a true Brit/Scot if you dare suggest it’s a bad idea……and then I hear words like those I’ve just quoted. But we remember the fallen of all wars in November. We always have done………

Ho and hum.

And so dear listener, this blog is a wee bit of a tidy up after the fun and Games of the last few weeks and I don’t believe (unlike a BBC high heid yin) that the nation’s interest is now on the Edinburgh Festival. How can the Ladyboys of Bangkok and the latest comedic talent in the Pleasance ever compete with the bravery of Jo Pavey and Lyndsay Sharp and the ‘get-it-right-up-youness’ of Tattie the Bowler and the amazing post-match interview with Charlie (‘ants with the sound of lions’) Flynn who thanked his mum for doing the washing and was looking forward to celebrating with some Buckie….. ;)

RainforestRiverMan, the English may not need translation for the words but the sentiments were Newarthill and beyond…..you can stop me parking in my usual place cos of a cycle race where even the police were applauding but you’ll never take my freedom. :)

But I think I annoyed a few people who told me that a statue of Clyde the Thistle (the mascot carefully named after Glasgow’s two top ‘non-aligned’ teams, albeit that Clyde never actually played in Glasgow but just outside its boundary) had been stolen. Could they give a description? Did they have any recent photos? I was looked at.

Listen, if we have to report people missing (after two days) those are the questions we’re asked……Seemed reasonable to me.

And I enjoyed a large part of the Closing Ceremony – not the speeches nor the massif advert for the Gold Coast but I did like the caption that said Kylie would be on soon – including Kylie herself. (At what point did she change from black basque and high black boots to virginal white dress? Could it have been when I was discussing the finer points of the Wessexes title when they are in Scotland cos they don’t seem to have one altho’ I am now reliably informed that he becomes the Duke of Edinburgh when he dies). The existing Duke, that is, not the one that will be the new Duke cos that’d be daft…passing on titles to dead people when you’re still creating them for Karen Brady and Stuart Rose.

And a wee warning to some folk…….now that school holidays and the Games are over, I’m coming to knock on doors. You never know Becky Garret, North London correspondent and thanks for clearing up the mystery even if I missed the explanation months ago. :-$

And congratulations are also due to all the nation’s children who done good in the exams this week. And their parents….okay, their mums. Why, let me just pick a couple of names at random from this list supplied to me by the SQA. Oh look, it’s the good Dr W (well done to elder son and the phone was switched off cos I’d been involved a wee bit in a facebook conversation earlier) and uni-Sharon (well done to elder daughter and that bodes real well for the future)

And there was a wee bit of criticism of me last week when I’d a go at a certain type of joke (knob gags as they’re known in the business) in the belief that some of the stuff in here is of a lewd nature…..No. I do innuendo. In fact, I remember my favourite female school teacher once tried to come up with an example of an innuendo but couldn’t so I gave her one……

No. I want to draw the nation’s attention to the lewd and libidinous programme that now inhabits BBC 1 – the Great British Bake Off with the male sleazeball Hollywood……Lord Reith wouldn’t have tolerated him.

Nor would he have tolerated the fragrant Sue Perkins and lines like ‘you have two hours to pop Mary’s cherry…………cake in the oven.’ Disgusting.

And finally, I’m aware that this blog has not said much recently about things like cancer and alcohol and drugs, some of which was part of its original remit. Things like confidentiality relating to the people I work with is a major part of the reason but I’ve got a big hospital appointment coming up and various other things are happening, so all that will return……next week

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? I keep giving away the Yes badge I have in Partick Thistle colours but to deserving causes.

Johnt850, whose bum is still recovering from the concrete benches at Kelvingrove Bandstand the other night.

And why was I there? Why, to see the marvellous Steve Earle who has been featured in the music slot in this show many a time. And I’d like to thank my friend, e for coming with me. It must have been ‘See an old man safely across the road day’ that day. And I’m pleased to say she seemed to enjoy Steve….I’ll draw a veil over the support act….and who was that girl in the yellow dress with occasional leather jacket…and, hey, I knew where Block 6 really was and all that kinda post-gig stuff…. ;)

But Steve was good and played for one and three-quarter hours with a mixture of songs finishing with Copperhead Road and a couple of other favourites but this was his finale number. He’s due in Tel Aviv as we speak and he introduced this song very gently but under current circumstances it’s very apposite. As he described it we used to have civil war in Northern Ireland and now we’re close to peace……it’s about listening to the other side and admitting they have some good points. We can’t even do that in the Referendum Debate!

This is Jerusalem by Steve Earle, a very different song from the Faux-English national anthem to which no-one knew the words recently. They know Flower of Scotland in Newarthill but that’s a song of conflict.

This ain’t. Listen and believe.

The grumpier you get, the more assholes you will meet (Banksy)

August 1, 2014

And if you look for imperfection, bias and prejudice you will find it; but you will miss, by far, the positive bigger picture (t850, 2014)……but we can talk about the various perceptions of the BBC later. ;)

First, Usain Bolt.

I believe he did say disparaging things about the Commonwealth Games. Why?

First, I have worked (BBC) with Angus MacLeod, the Scottish Editor of the Times and believe him to be an honourable man and an old-fashioned journalist. Several years ago, when I worked in Public Relations and he worked for the Sunday Mail, he once accused me of ratfuc*ing him over a story where the company I represented had gone to court to get an Interim Interdict to prevent the Mail running with a story we didn’t want them to publish…..an old fashioned journalist.

Secondly, Bolt was bored! This is a man who is used to flying in shortly before a well-paid Diamond League gig on first class travel and living in first class accommodation with Sir Richard Branson by his side and his every need met. Instead he was asked to hang around the Athletes’ Village in Dalmarnock for several days before he ran 100 metres two or three times in a relay on the last days. Of course he was frigging bored. Wouldn’t you have been? :(

A shout of ‘Awesome’ across a crowded netball audience is not a denial. He just wanted to get on with it and should have been left alone to do so.

And I have read absolutely nothing into the fact that Virgin Media are major sponsors of the Games.

Incidentally I heard one interview with two athletes about the attractions of the Village. They did not mention the copious amounts of booze on-site – in particular being consumed by those athletes who had finished their sports but had to hang around for the plane home. Instead these two athletes, including Jen McIntosh who had only just arrived after her spectacular performances in Barry Buddon (the place)said that one of the highlights of the Village was the hairdressing salon.

Is it any wonder Bolt was bored?

Elsewhere I was reliably informed by the volunteer team at Fortress Kelvingrove Bowlng that one of their biggest problems was educating their somewhat elderly audiences in the arts of the Portaloo – this was not a T in the Park audience – whereas over at Cathkin Braes the volunteers had to watch they didn’t snigger too much when people were saying to their partners, ‘No. I’ve never been here before’ at what is one of Glasgow’s top areas for ‘dogging’ – isn’t it, councillor?

And the BBC has come in for a lot of slagging. Yes. They have said England a lot cos they’re doing well but I have heard Wales, Ireland and Trinidad and Tobago (for example) mentioned a lot as well; and they did a lovely wee feature on a young girl boxer from a group of islands so obscure that they’re not even in Wikipedia; and whilst you may think that there’s a lot of English commentators commentating, I’m sure Tony.Hall@bbc.co.uk would love to hear your suggestions for alternatives. :)

And, yes, they did get it wrong when they switched from Scotland winning at the bowls to the English hockey team but they did apologise. I must have missed the social media highlighting the apology.

But I despair for a Scottish society that cannot see an obvious joke. We live in a world where if it’s anything more subtle than a knob gag (e.g.a nymphomaniac blonde, an Irish priest or an elderly couple having sexual misunderstandings) it has to have lol (as Carmen would say) at the end of it.

Last Sunday, before I went to work, I watched four hours of brilliant marathon coverage from Steve Cram and Brendan Foster with Paula Radcliffe doing some of the tekkie stuff (there is an art to picking up water from a watering station); I saw a slightly wet Glasgow looking superb with lots of spectators encouraging the athletes on; and I saw two spectacular finishes.

At one point, as they were running through a smashing Glasgow park, much loved by various Popes and Susan Boyle, someone, for a laugh, put up the caption ‘Bella Houston Park’. I laffed; social media went into meltdown…….I then despaired. :(

But then I saw Kirsty Wark’s piece on the cultural and artistic and comic and musical renaissance of Glasgow; and I remembered the conversation I had with an English couple who wanted to go see the Riverside Museum but were persuaded by me to stay and watch the massif Flotilla; and Dan Wallace’s hangover on BBC Breakfast News; and those marvellous wee drones that scuttled all over the Hampden pitch to pick up the javelins; and those marvellous hi-vis jacketed people in Central Station down Argyle Street way who helped me go against the crowds cos I was worried about someone being claustrophobic on a train; and the crowds down at the free stuff being presented by BBC Radio Scotland at Pacific Quay or its Commonwealth Voices from its East End studios……and I thought – stuff social media and stuff the men in suits……Glasgow is big enough on its own to drown out those minds who ignore the bigger, more open picture, in order to follow their agenda.

It’s a city which welcomed the curry and made it its own; where its people were experts on cycling long before the London Olympics; where Primark has been a treasure trove for many, many Commonwealth athletes; and where the Kohli brothers from Bishopbriggs told the world how disgusting a deep-fried chicken tikka pizza really is. :D

Cya (keep)ing it fun, and still wearing that badge? Yes, but now slightly worried that many are voting Yes for negative reasons cos we can’t all be positive minded Glaswegians getting out there.

Johnt850, very, very disappointed for someone very, very special.

And finally (let’s throw the format out of the window once in a while) I was going to mention a funeral I was at which was detail-for-detail a dry run for my own. But I won’t. However, I will need another piece of music for the middle of my Closing Ceremony…….something to think about whilst I await the end of the Games. Looking for a ‘good time’ once the Games end? I’m handy. Try me. No. No reason. :)

And table tennis will never be the same again. This is Singapore v Nigeria;

In the second city of the Empire, Mother Glasgow watches all her weans, trying hard to feed her little starlings, Unconsciously she clips their little wings….And the tree And the fish And the bird And the bell? Let Glasgow Flourish (Michael Marra)

July 25, 2014

And so dear listener, the expected is not about to happen. I will not be cynical about the Commonwealth Games. Now that the suits no longer attempt to hog the limelight other than a patronising Alex Salmond (‘the girl from South Africa’ has a name – use it!)* I’m happy. It’s a time for celebration by the athletes, spectators and volunteers. :D

Especially the nine scantily clad lady triathletes pedalling their way round Strathclyde Park on Friday morning television and being filmed from behind as they cycled past the Gay Cottagers’ Car Park but for some reason they never made it to M&D’s where the Reverse Bungee Jump exists. I’d had an hour’s sleep after my fifth night shift in seven days. I thought; ‘hallucinations don’t get much better than this’. :D

*She is called Pumeza and she sang the ‘Freedom Come All Ye’. :D

I mean the Queen’s been much more fun than Salmond. From smiling cheekily at the nice moment where her message would never be heard until Scott’s Porage Oats Man Chris Hoy stepped up to save the Empire (sorry) Commonwealth to photo-bombing Australian hockey players’ selfies; from staring daggers at a woman who had the temerity to turn up in a similar outfit to her at Tollcross Swimming Pool (and who left) through to taking a cargo of drink’n’drugs to an ‘empty’ in the Red Road Flats. :D

(My lawyers have suggested I emphasise that one of those is not true but I do not have to specify which one it is) ;)

But what I don’t understand is why she had to send a secret message to herself that had to be carried all the way around the world so that Mark Beaumont could kid us on that the Commonwealth was still important and that where poverty did exist, boxing was a dead good way of alleviating it. I mean, why not e-mail it to herself? :D

And I don’t think the Opening needed either Rod Stewart (and his lack of respect for the Celtic Boardroom) or Susan Boyle (who is not good in live situations) and maybe a little less Dunbar and Barrowman (altho’ Barrowman’s gay kiss was a smack in the face for the homophobic Commonwealth nations). :D

People make Glasgow so why not trust them a wee bit more. They were the highlights; them and the Scottie Dogs. I watched it on iPlayer and would maybe have liked to see a wee bit more about Glasgow but maybe I missed it….. :D

Mind you I would have liked to have seen a wee bit more from Scotland in the Edinburgh Castle fiesta last week but the producers didn’t feel the same. There was none, other than Fred Macauley and an appalling Ronnie Corbett who brought back memories of Hogmanay at Gleneagles all those years ago. Seriously, were both Hue and Cry and Deacon Blue too busy? :D That’s unusual.

Tremendous notion to raise funds for UNICEF and I’ll tell you more about my forthcoming attempt to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK next week – with or without training. :(

And what a twit Tory Lord peer, Lord Plumb was when he spoke of the ‘international audience in Glasgow during the Conservative Games’. Former Celtic Chairman, John Reid, soon put him right. :D

Would Sir Bob Kelly, one of Reid’s predecessors as Chairman even have allowed Rod Stewart in, given his profligacy in fathering children to a number of women not all of whom he married? :)

And this week’s OOOPs of the Month award goes to the Sri Lankan cycle team who pedalled down the M74 as part of their training. Apparently they got as far as the Motherwell exit – which has nothing to do with Motherwell being beaten by part-time Icelandic Stjarne (sp)…..out of Europe before the beginning of August. :( A true Motherwell exit….

And finally, I take no pride in accurately predicting that Mo Farah would not be there. After all I could not predict a stomach problem. However, I can see a man unhappy in life. He never really wanted to be a marathon runner; he was quite happy where he was. Someone, somewhere told him that was the way to fame and fortune. And he listened. Unfortunately. I feel sorry for him. :C

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? With pride, with pride.

Johnt850, not quite a convert; more in a pre-contemplation stage.

So I’ve been trying to let folk know this before the blog goes out but a combo of good weather and night shifts means I’ve not told everyone who needs to know…so apologies to some folk.

I now have a kinda proper job. Tbh, it’s me established as a pemanent part-time night shift worker with a housing association that provides supported accommodation for the homeless – not a hostel nor a shelter but a chance for people to get back on their feet with some help. I’ve been doing it on an ad hoc basis for some time.

Three years ago, I would not have thought that I’d be doing this. It was going to be drink’n’drug intervention but, altho’ I don’t believe in a God or Higher Power or Buddha or some form of Energy directing us in some way, I’m happy.

And then last Thursday at six o’clock in the morning, I did something that kinda broke the rules. And I’m glad I did. Even one hour and a cup of tea can make a huge difference even if…… Rules can be mended; it’s not so easy with people.

People make Glasgow…..not the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ men in suits….that’s why Glasgow Smiles Better.

These are some songs about Glasgow from a time when we laughed at drunks in Glasgow. Feel free to join in.

You’ll be amazed how many of the words you know. :)

Young woman stands arms outstretched looking upwards and says, ‘God, you seem to send me nothing but bad going-nowhere guys. Can you not send me somebody nice?’ to which God says, ‘I did. He’s the one you call your friend.’ (Facebook gag)

July 19, 2014

And so dear listeners, some words of mine that I never thought I’d ever hear;

‘Phwoar…there’s a few new Tory Government ministers I wouldn’t mind in my cabinet.’ ;)

And I was also pleasantly surprised, through Facebook, to learn that I’m not the only one to have enjoyed some very enjoyable conversations with the very enjoyable Michael Gove. This was when I worked for the BBC and he was a leader writer for The Times. We’re both originally from the North East of Scotland but he was, and possibly still is, good company. I abhor the party he represents.

Ah, yes Facebook. I’ll update you on the Commonwealth Games stories they don’t want you to hear later and take you into a pub in Byres Road but first……

I was totally thrown by some techie stuff (as happens to me from time to time, Son Brian) but would like to thank Jenny, Jeanette and the Blogmeister for their help. What they suggested brought the restore ‘button’ back on to my page and it was fine from there but it was because it happened the day after a really frightening incident that unnerved me. :(

Those of you who know Facebook will know that every so often you are recommended someone that you might want as a friend. Usually it’s because you have lots of mutual friends or there’s something else in common.

Last week I was offered someone who I’d spoken to over four years ago in connection with a possible radio programme on prostitution and when she was mentioned to anyone else it was her first name only. I knew her second name as did the person who introduced me to her. I met her for an hour in a hotel In Bellshill. That was the only contact.

She was recommended to me in her full name.

Someone else who was very helpful at the time was a woman who introduced me to a number of women working as prostitutes. There wasn’t much mention of her either in any ‘paperwork’. She has since (re)married. She was recommended to me in her married name which I did not know but I recognised her.

I don’t care about Logarithms/Algorithms. I was frightened. Seriously. :( :( :(

And finally, this week’s Commonwealth Stories that they don’t want you to hear although I don’t know why they’re not telling us that former top athlete Tom McKean is one of those nice police people out on the streets protecting the baton; but we can guess why Chief Exec David Grevemberg (sp) initially denied that the sickness bug was norovirus. After all Mo Farah did say he was only able to compete now that his stomach problems were over. And did you see on TV the frightening walls and wire that separate the Games village from the people of Dalmarnock? There’s similar defending the world’s bowlers from the good people of Radnor Street.

Cyclists have lost cycle lanes and are having to cycle out there in mainstream traffic. Watching out for Commonwealth drivers who were told at a briefing that if the delegate wanted to go to Hampden but his wife then wants to go to Silverburn Shopping Centre, then the driver had to do that journey. What? Are there no female delegates? And if the delegate wanted to go to a brothel they had to be taken there.

There are no brothels in Glasgow. There are several two bedroom flats near Charing Cross and Glasgow Green where the bedding is changed less often than the girls who work there.

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Maybe I should wear them all at one time. :)

Johnt850, often compared to a cat in the rye. Or was it a catcher on a hot tin roof?

So I was in a pub that is now known as the Curler’s Rest in Byres Road the other day. My friend Maureen of Momac Designs was showing her finest there. Upstairs. Lots of nice but slightly different jewellery. Watch out for them. Momac has a page on Facebook.

Anyway….I realised it had been years since I’d been in the Curlers. As I put it on Facebook later ‘I couldn’t remember when I was last in there.’ (double-edged message there – literary device).

I am comfortable in bars, clubs and other licensed premises but there are some places I will not go into. Tennent’s in Byres Road and the Three Judges at the bottom are but two. However I am happy in the Hillhead Book Club, Vodka Wodka and Brel’s for example. There’s a very simple explanation for this.

Seven years ago, when I worked towards my recovery with a professional addiction worker and we both agreed that alcohol addiction/dependency was not an irreversible disease but learned behaviour we worked on losing the triggers that sparked things off and stopping going to these two bars was a big decision but a good one.

We eventually agreed that going to bars (obvs drinking soft drinks) was feasible but going to new bars was important – losing acquaintances who would set me up with a pint of lager as soon as I walked in and I still feel a wee bit like that.

It also takes in the wonderful world of coffee bars and I feel so much better for their existence. Finding new places to go was a brilliant part of my recovery and I still enjoy doing that. Learning new behaviours all the time. :)

Before Liz Lynch (McColgan) in 1986, there was Lachie Stewart in 1970, also in Edinburgh……stick with this clip until the final effing bend and tell me you’re not cheering your effing head off and effing crying at the same time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1XsjPsN6IQ

Looking fifty is great – if you’re sixty (Joan Rivers)

July 11, 2014

And so, dear listener, in a rather special edition of the show, I’ve been asked to justify what a couple of people see as ‘a poor attitude towards the Commonwealth Games’. Nobody in authority, although David Grevenberg (sp) never did reply to my suggestion that we should just have a mammoth sing-in as an opening ceremony.

But I do want to correct a misimpression. I am not against the Commonwealth Games but I do have reservations.

It’s not the fact that, despite the impression given by TV trails, the World’s top athletes are NOT coming to Glasgow. They are, however, in Glasgow as I write this and that number includes some Jamaican athletes (those not still banned) and a lot of the Kenyans who are running at Hampden but not in a fortnight’s time. They are running in what one newspaper described as the lucrative Diamond League.

It’s not the fact that homosexuality is banned in 41 out of the 53 Commonwealth countries. We jumped up and down at Putin’s Russia and its well-publicised stance on homosexuality but we ignore the fact it’s punished by twenty years’ imprisonment plus flogging in Malaysia.

Indeed if you do want to protest then Police Scotland will direct you to one of the special ‘Protest Zones’ where you can be kettled and corralled – a British tradition which started in 2012 for the London Olympics.

It’s not the fact that people like the Jaconellis had their home destroyed after being compulsorily purchased with the intent of building a community facility. Except it’s going to be a big marquee tent for corporate hostility.

It’s not the fact that the people of the East End are fed up with receiving yet another regeneration which will apparently leave a legacy (Remember GEAR of the Seventies?) but to get that legacy they’ve got to put up with their streets being closed to them and shuttle buses being provided to get them out.

I was at a public meeting about four years ago in Petershill Juniors Social Club where many concerns about matters like these were raised and the organisers said reassuring words and then explained that part of the legacy would be a leaner fitter Glaswegian………..

And as for the marketing department getting into a frenzy any time they think someone is making use of the words ‘Commonwealth Games 2014’ in any form of commercial enterprise (I hope the Queen’s speech, if it is in that baton which is currently touring Scotland, gives them laldy) and my opposition to the Stalinist intent of destroying high rise blocks to send a message of contempt to the rest of the Commonwealth……..

No. I hope it goes really well. But it is only now that the real heroes of the Games are arriving; the volunteers, the fans and the athletes – especially the lesser known names e.g. all the athletes from St Lucia and elsewhere.

Y’see I was very lucky in my broadcasting career. I helped cover the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games of 1986 for BBC Radio Scotland and I was sole coverage of the European Special Olympics in Glasgow in 1990 and celebrated the event with a radio documentary dedicated to the amazing people who made every competitor a winner.

Yes. They were different times. Security was more relaxed and I didn’t even need passes for my car for car parks.

In Edinburgh we mixed with the athletes in their homes in Pollok Halls of Residence and we went to their nightly ‘discos’. And that included the final night ‘disco’ at Ingliston where a current high heid yin at STV and I ended up on a bus with a bunch of Aussie athletes with no idea where we were heading. I last met her at a Tough Mudder Run in Dumfries – she and I were spectating.

The Special Olympics were very moving and I came away with amazing memories of very special people; table tennis players with Down’s Syndrome, a badly physically handicapped boy from Bishopbriggs who took part in the Riding for the Disabled just up the road from me and all the coaches who had given up weekends and evenings (for nothing) to make it happen.

And that’s what’s been lacking….fun and belief in the individual and sincerity…..and it only hit me when the Opening Ceremony uniforms were launched……they got Scotland talking about the event in a really fun way. ‘Made in Scotland from curtains’ was maybe my favourite comment. I like them.

So finally, I do wish everyone who takes part (in whatever form) luck and a certain amount of love. Be you a bored volunteer in Queen Street Station waiting for people to approach you; an athlete in the bowls (what is lawn bowls low 5, Anne?) who’s about to get coverage you’ve never ever had before because yours is the only event at 11 in the morning; or you’re a spectator from St Lucia who’s there to see your cousin’s wee boy in the boxing. Have fun and stuff the marketing men, the badly paid and badly trained security men who can’t speak English and the bored but well paid runners of Jamaica who won’t even speak for themselves but pass it on to their coaches and managers to answer for them…..Mo Farah does the same……

Does that explain everything? That’s enough for tonight, but what do you think?

Cya, keep(ing) it fun (please) and still wearing that badge? Still waiting on the photos to prove it.

Johnt850, like a squirrel with a good PR company. Yas! (as Carmen would say)

Actually one more point…..some people think I’m against Alcoholics Anonymous because there are certain parts of their thinking and ways of doing things with which I disagree (surely I’m allowed reservations?) but I can never ever fault an organisation which, at the very least, allows people with alcohol problems and a possible way out of them to share that way with each other. I’ll leave the personal out of it tonight.

My own favourite memory of 1986? Being a sports presenter one night at eleven o’clock and announcing that this had happened earlier that day.


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