Go not where the path may lead…go instead where there is no path and leave a trail (anon)

February 28, 2015

And so, dear listener, I am leaving the country. It’s something I have been considering for some time and I think those people to whom I’ve spoken appreciate my feelings. New challenges; new people; new beginnings*. :)

Altho’ that might be asking too much from a couple of days in Lisbon in March.

(*No. I know. I’ve never had an old beginning either).

It’s been years since I’ve been abroad – well over ten – and it’s time to put that right. So a couple of days later in March have been booked. Flights early from Glasgow via Manchester to Lisbon and back early afternoon a couple of days and getting back to Glasgow at night. It’s an alright hotel slap bang in the middle of Lisbon’s ‘young and vibrant’ quarter so that’ll be interesting. :)

Unlike me. I think many people are now finding me boring. Maybe it’s the blog but it’s my hobby. I could never ever play golf for four to five hours every Sunday morning with the same three people. Maybe it’s just me. I enjoy meeting people but if they’re too busy then I do understand and that’s not me ‘guilt tripping’ (which is a phrase I hate) or being deliberately sad….it’s life. :)

There are some people obvs excluded from that even if, Dr W, our conversations are about quotation marks. You’ll have noticed I didn’t reply to that last mail for some time……it was a lot to take in. Okay. I fell asleep for an hour. Do you have views on the Oxford Comma? Here’s a lovely song about it.

And Blogmeister, I’ll be in touch later this week. The new rota’s out.

There’s a lot about to happen in my life and to my house and the sun is out and the sap is rising (is that an innuendo?) and the mighty Harry Wraggs are, as ever, unpredictable..

[Incidentally why don’t I give you my name and password and you can choose and write one for me?]

Many years ago, a BBC colleague wrote a dating message for me that went into the List – jolly interesting results. Maybe it’s time again. I still walk past that flat. And smile.

I think it’s the small things that are doing my head in. I’m getting my bathroom gutted soon and the bath is being replaced by a shower. It’ll happen in a couple of months. Today the toilet handle broke. Now, do I replace it? Obvs, yes but it’s annoying.

For some reason I have two ‘cash in the wall’ cards and I thought they had the same number. I lost them both this morning. One is for my current account; the other is for a savings account….Get Thee Behind Satan. The idea is that I don’t touch that account.

And why did my son send me photos in OneDrive with the message ‘all you need to do is download them to another folder’? It took me twenty-four hours of banging my head against a brick wall [but not Chinese accountants] until he told me, ‘No, you download them as individual pics.’ On Wednesday I took some photos of a smashing dog, stuck a cable in my camera and in my laptop, switched on the camera and named a folder…..(I’ll say more about the dog another time. Early days yet) and was able to send some pics back to the dog’s owner and one other……..(e, it was another dog owner who may occasionally feature in my conversations from time to time)

So maybe I’m fed up and a bit at a loose end. But I feel busy. Maybe if I was 9 – 5 it’d be different. But the editing http://www.thewordprocess.net keeps irregular hours as well.

But finally, even the irregular hours which suit sometimes go against me. I got a mail on Saturday lunchtime between two sleeps for two shifts (from a regular) saying, ‘Here’s 4,000 words. Can I have them back on Sunday night?’To which I replied, ‘No. Too short notice.’ See me? See masterful ;) And as I get rady to publish this on a Sunday afternoon, there has been no reply. Maybe he thought Johnt850’s a good guy and has been playing golf :)

Cya, still wearing that badge and defo going for it.

Johnt850 (who’s not usually a moaning git) :)

Y’see someone who I know well but will remain anonymous was kinda challenging some of the blog’s ethos (the cancer and the alcohol) but also the fact that neither of these are real considerations in my life these days. I just don’t drink alcohol (maybe I’d meet more people if I did?) and I’ve no reason to expect the cancer to come back (the evil bastard will make up its own mind) and I’m neither impotent nor incontinent (the two big worries why some men don’t go for treatment)…..and that’s fair comment….about the blog.

And then I got a call from one of my Post Grad mates teaching nurses in South Lanarkshire. Any chance I could talk to a couple of her classes about my cancer and the answer is Yes…..altho’ I did tell Prostate Cancer UK that I was ’too busy’ to do talks.

Naw. I was lucky with both my lifestyle hiccups. Plus professional help. Others may not be so lucky. And I do it with humour. :) I’m getting happy again. :D

I noticed that Sam Smith, who has a brilliant voice, is being described as a soul singer. He’s not. Otis Redding was. It’s a lovely video. It’s a record shop and it’s vinyl.

Take a hand and hold on tight, ‘Cause this is what we’ll do. We’ll stick together. I’m what you need to take (you) there. I can’t feel this, I can’t feel this (Twin Atlantic)

February 21, 2015

And so, dear listener, this week I broke the habits of a recent lifetime and watched Eastenders – the live edition. Some of the people with whom I work watch it and also some folk on fbook so I thought why not? I was able, at the same time, to monitor events at Celtic Park so my plan was to remain seated for more than ten minutes, e. ;)

It was the thirtieth anniversary so we had the throwback to the very first minute of the very first edition when some extra was found dead when, this time round, Nick, who I thought was already dead, was found dead. By men wearing dinner jackets in a way which was meant to be redolent of Agatha Christie and the denoument (sp) was bound to be announced in a drawing room with men and women wearing that type of clothing.

Meanwhile Celtic had lost two early goals. :(

And there were faces of people who I thought had previously left to make their fame and fortune in Hollywood but had obviously decided to decline it and others who had names of people who used to be in the programme but looked nothing like themselves.

At least the Lisbon Lions looked like themselves. :)

And a baby was born and Cath Beale showed up in a taxi and Danny Dyer out Chuck-Norrised Chuck Norris but the ‘face in the cake’ gag was very poor (difficult to do live…..…trust me) and the doofs doofs came in with Jane from Waterloo Road obviously the culprit. And I concentrated totally on an enthralling game of football as it was obvious that the Celtic players had been waiting for the result from Albert Square before they started playing. :)

Which leaves me with the one question I had to ask when I actually heard;

‘Who the f*ck is Bobby Beale?’

The rainforestriverman was up for the game and we went for coffee. Or so I thought. We were actually recce-ing (sp) an Italian restaurant where he was planning to take some important people later that day. And, e if you think I can’t sit down for more than ten minutes, you should have seen him as he inspected the toilets, the menu, the wine list and the toilets.

But his opening gambit to the waiter did not bode well.

‘Are you Italian?’ ‘No. I’m Egyptian.’ DOOF DOOF!!!!!

(Whatever happened to OZcabs?)

And the good Dr W and I almost had our first adventure of the year. (Not that your party wasn’t an adventure, Zoe. I had never been to the car park of the Carousel Bar at Bellshill Cross before and that’s the second time I’ve found my way to Glasgow from there and anything which extends my knowledge of Bellshill can only be good. There was a time, not that long ago, that the only way I knew to get to Bellshill involved driving into the Bothwell Service Station, going through the car park and out the other end driving the wrong way down a one way street but that was before……..)

Anyway, the good Dr W and I almost had our first adventure of the year. It didn’t happen but it will and I have some ideas I need to research. What is canyoning? And where does it happen? And is there is a decent restaurant next to it? That caters for vegans and pescatarians? And there are questions that need, not be asked, but answered. :P

(That’s almost too cryptic for me and I write this stuff.

And finally, I had intended to write a serious treatise on the situation in Greece and its impact on DOOF DOOF!!!!!!

Cya, still wearing that badge and defo going for it.

Johnt850, who did recently bang his head against a brick wall and has the mark to show for it. Or is that a third eye coming through?

[Chinese accountants]

So I was in contact with some folk, recently, discussing Channel 4’s Jon Snow’s plan to ‘smoke skunk’ on TV so we can see its effects and I was explaining that there is a saying in addiction work and research – ‘the drug, the set, the setting’. It means that no drug in itself is problematic or really good. It also depends on the mood you’re in and the environment. An apprehensive 67 year old ‘smoking skunk’ for the very first time and being filmed doing so is not an accurate reflection of using a drug.

Dropping acid in a certain club in Glasgow on a Saturday night with your pals and you’re ‘up for it’ has a totally different effect from dropping a tab on your own on a boring Sunday afternoon. I am told. By a friend. And it wasn’t something someone had once given me earlier in the week and I’d not yet had the courage to use.

That’s why when I go out, my drug is orange juice, my mood is to enjoy myself and my environment is with friends (or occasionally one) who keep getting me up to dance. And I do (but I need to practise the locomotion!)

That’s why it’s not a disease but a form of behaviour which we can change – sometimes fairly easily – but if you’re running an over-priced clinic you don’t want people to know that, do you?

And now for tonight’s final DOOF DOOF!!!!!

So I was having a case of moaning, griping and bitching. So the good Dr W recommended a solution to my problems……’Man The Fuc* Up’ (Adopted from Anon)

February 14, 2015

And so dear listener, something annoyed me this week and that’s an unusual start for me to the show. Sometimes I catch Channel 4 News if I’m about to go out to work and recently they’ve been kidding on that Michael Crick is somehow Hunter S Thompson, but not only have they got their Fear and Loathings mixed up, there will never be any chance that they can cover a campaign like Hunter S Thompson did. :)

Is this Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or is this Channel 4 News?

Is this Michael Crick or Johnny Depp as Hunter S Thompson as Raoul Duke?

Right. I feel better for that. The rant. Not the drug collection.

And I actually have read Fifty Shades of Incredibly Bad Writing. However, I am eternally glad for its publication (and now the movie) as I no longer have to remove Redtube and Pornhub from my Browser History every ….eh, every so often……. :(

It’s interesting cos I’ve never really been asked much about my ‘bad days’ as a lot of people, who always associated me with the BBC and being a good but estranged dad and because it came as a surprise to them that I had an alcohol problem, have never really asked about my Maryhill and West End life at that time. A lot happened which I very rarely talk about – unless asked. If things had not gone as well as they have done, then much of that behaviour (what I can remember) would have brought shame and certain consequences upon me and my family. I am more than happy to answer questions.

Let’s move on.

I well remember my first ever BDSM gag… (What’s that Skippy?) I well remember my first ever BDSM joke.

Did you hear about the masochist who liked a cold shower every morning? So he didn’t take one.

And as I write this, I realise that I will not be seeing I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse on BBC 3 but will be watching it on iPlayer – but they won’t be half as good as we were and, indeed, will be later this year. :)

And early finally, I’ve been talking to a few folk about various things recently that I’ve not had the chance to talk about; for example I was at a workshop/conference café about the homeless which was really good (but it was immediately after a nightshift so I’m afraid I never made it to Firhill on Wednesday night to see them getting gubbed by Celtic) and it was held in the not-that-long-ago-refurbished Maryhill Burgh Halls which, if you ever need a venue in the North West of Glasgow, is superb. Very light, very airy and very close to where I live. It was the first time for a long time, I’d been sharing views with other support workers and high heid yin housing people and some service users.

And I’ve been out to the old primary school in Paisley for all sorts of reasons and working and…….it’s been a good week for talking drink, drugs and homeless with people in the field and in the lecture theatre………and whilst I keep saying that legal highs is the bastard, I do have to explain to people that they are legal despite the damage they can do…….we can’t really be sure what’s in them. And, no, they’re not advertised. They are a perfect example of word of mouth.

But it’s been something else that folk have been talking to me about – and again it’s perfectly legal but is popular among young(er) people;


Wow! I used to have to mix up my own serving of vodka and caffeine. Now it comes in cans; a wee bit like those cans of Gordon’s Gin and Tonic that posh people take on picnics – or on one occasion during my brief period of involvement with Beavers – to Beavers’ days out at Auchengillan Scout Camp. (Mmmmm…teaching people to tie knots…what were they thinking of?) ;)

Cya, still wearing that badge and defo going for it

Johnt850 (or Violet Wand to his friends)

So kinda mixed news on Friday which I will come back to soon time but big thanks to the good Dr W for her help and encouragement (see above) but time may now be against me :( ………but I will keep trying. It’s left me a wee bit down hence the early finish. Continuity will cover.

So I’ve done the heavy stuff above but there is a major point of debate on PhD circles that worries me. It’s called the VIVA and it’s a kinda question and answer session at the end of the journey about some of the things that have come up during the research. Everyone I know, including the good Dr W, super(visor) Claire and Jenny H pronounce it VYVA.

These are the Dead Kennedys. They know what they’re talking about;

‘…..and it also gives us a good chance to make the quarter finals of this (Scottish Cup) competition’ (the Thistle manager before yesterday’s defeat)

February 7, 2015

And so dear listener, my very good friend, the Rainforestriverman was in Barbados last week and was then invited by a sponsor to the Old Firm game at the national stadium with the grotesque grass pitch; I was in Bellshill cos I’d been invited to Zoe’s eighteenth birthday party at the five-a-side football pitches in Bothwell Road Hamilton. A close call but I think I got the better deal.

He and I weren’t quite separated at birth but…hey, hang on, that would make sense. No. No reason. I’ll move on. Of course……. ;)

Anyway I drove out to the good Dr W’s palatial mansion and from there she and I went and picked up some of the zombies (from Outbreak Zombie) who had been invited and we set off in convoy, me keeping my eyes on the good Dr W. From behind. Ah, the memories of Go Ape that brought back. She had someone, who knew where we were going, navigating for her. Who didn’t drive. So we followed the bus route. But we got there. :)

My heating had packed up it seemed but it got a jolt from a bump in the road as we passed by the doggers in Strathclyde Park (or possibly over them) and it started working again. It’s since done that a couple of times but I seem to have found the bit in the dashboard that I need to hit to get it going again. :)

(The location for the party seems to be called Lucozade Powerleague and is one of those places, blogmeister, where they play football wrapped in bubblestuff and I’d be up for that but we’d need lots of water and lots of substitutes)

So we arrived and my only complaint of the night happened – I wasn’t age ID’d on the way in. It was a smashing night. Food was good and lots of it (with veg pakora thoughtfully provided for us fussy eaters) and drink was drank and dancing was done and selfies were taken and Zoe got lots of presents.

Ah, yes, the dancing was good:

(Thanks Graeme)

And then we (the zombies) left. To go elsewhere. Or as they know it in Bellshill – the Carousel Bar at the Cross.

Again I followed W’s rear. And then she turned right! ‘No! Straight on!’ came the cry from the backseat. Now to be honest, I wasn’t too sure who I had in the backseat (or indeed how many) but such is the nature of the Zombie fellowship that I trusted them and we arrived in the car park of the Carousel and I turned down the invitation of the drink but got a nice hug……and I found the road home to Glasgow safely. :)

And sent the txt that that was me ‘home safe’. A night of new experiences and a bunch of people that have become part of my life.

Soon time there is a programme coming to BBC3 called ‘I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse’ – I bet any money that in the three nights week for five weeks last October the Zombies at M & D’s in Strathclyde Park were ten times scarier…….Happy Birthday Zoe…..x :D

(Oh and I discovered a DVD in a drawer (of mine) the other day called ‘Zombie Women of Satan’. I’ll maybe watch it soon time and let you know what it’s like)

Elsewhere I also investigated Port Glasgow. I was meeting up with some alcohol and drug information workers to discuss some aspects of the PhD stuff. Why is it that every time I drive down that way they seem to have added another roundabout and altered the direction it goes in? And they kept the original roundabouts so wherever you get the instructions from (SatNav or AA Route Planner) it becomes very confusing.

So can I apologise to the driver of a sliver grey 4 x 4 big car thing? No. I had already stopped after I realised you were going for the same turning as me but you had indicated the left turning previous to that. Must be reassuring to know your brakes work so well. And I misunderstood the final direction for the Wellpark Centre and found myself driving towards Kilmacolm on a road that shouldn’t have been wide enough for a U-Turn. But it was. A good afternoon and again I got home safely but didn’t text.

And finally, the news that Public Health England has urged supermarkets to move daffodils away from the fruit and veg because they’re dangerous if eaten has left me speechless.

Cya, still wearing that badge and defo going for it.

Johnt850, still worried about if a man or a chimpanzee would win in a fair fight.

So, one of the other plots in Eastenders (which I don’t watch but occasionally see bits of when working) concerns an old man dying of prostate cancer (at least I think that’s where the plot’s heading).

It’s now almost six years since I started the second half of my treatment for the same cancer. The first half was having oestrogen jagged into me to kill the testosterone which feeds the cancer (and I still have the bosom to show how powerful it was).

I had two months of daily radiography and I can honestly say that the guys (and gals) with whom I shared Treatment Area C were amongst the funnest people I have ever spent any time with and were one of the reasons this blog was started. None of us wanted to be there but we made up for it with a form of gallows humour which made my time down there so much easier……No. It would be nice to see a soap that reflected what is on offer to help people with problems but they don’t do it with alcohol and other drug issues so why should cancer be any different?

So Sheena Easton or Teenage Fanclub or Soup Dragons or BMX Bandits? It has to be BMX Bandits with a long haired Duglas T Stewart – Bellshill’s second finest…..

I’m your dope-ass divinity, trollin’ with my trinity, droppin’ top tweets in your immediate vicinity, flingin’ fly phrases of infinity @TheTweetOfGodBio

January 30, 2015

And so, dear listener, I have a dream that one day I will be asked to devise a joint Media and Modern Studies course. Such a thing was obviously needed during, for example, the recent Referendum campaign where people did not realise there were laws regarding broadcasting at times like that and, for example, that broadcasters have to give appropriate time to all parties. Or there are legal repercussions.

No. One of the things that I would like to explain is that weather forecasters aren’t always sure of their predictions. They do it on the basis of the last time a cold front came in from the East and Jupiter aligned with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steal the stars. This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius but it only needs Boris Johnson to make a statement about the sexual inadequacies of those fighting for the ‘so-called’ Islamic State and it’s all up in the air.

Clear? Good. Let’s crack on.

Actually some of you may not know that the Age of Aquarius came from a stage show called Hair which I saw twice. :)

This is one version of it (watch the police horses) and as Kim Sears would say, ‘It’s fuc*ing freaky man.’

Meanwhile, back on Earth (or Clydebank Shopping Centre as I know it) I decided to go do some clothes shopping.

First stop was Brantano (sp?) Shoe Shop where, in addiction to a normal pair of shoes, I spotted the ‘manager’s special’ of a pair of canvas shoes (which I wear about the house) for £5. So what made them so special? One was a size 7 and one was a size 8. I bought them. :)

And in TKMax (not my favest of shops) I bought three shirts. The young lady at the Cash Desk was putting them very carefully into a TXMax bag (I didn’t have the heart to tell her) and she saw me watching, so she said, ‘I’m a wee bit OCD about these things.’ (I had to tell her)

‘I’m afraid, young TXMax lady, that the first thing I will do when I get them home is to throw them in the washing machine…… ‘. She smiled but carried on. Carefully. And I liked that. I wore one of them on Saturday night but more on that next week. :D

And then the next day was gd’s baptism. She liked my pressie to her (approx. 20 weeks since you ask). It was a pirate ship money box. The man I bought it from (halfway down Byres Road said) it was silver but not to take it out in the rain.

gd has amazing eyes. They are dark and piercing and are very like the Mona Lisa. She was brought into the church and made her way to the font. (I should maybe mention she was carried as opposed to striding purposefully across the floor). At the point where the minister got ready to get the water, gd gave him such a stare; ‘there’s no way you are going to do that to me, dude’, she defied him. But he did. Man of cloth, eh?

She then treated us all to lunch. Must have put her credit card behind the bar cos I never saw her dip into her pocket or, indeed, anyone else’s. Stick with me, gd, and we’ll have you running the streets. Soon. :)

And finally, my press card that takes me up to Jan 2017 has arrived. No. I earn very little from journalism these days but I still pay my union dues because I believe in the strength of the union. No. It does not get me into gigs or football matches for nothing. But I like the bit on the back that reads ‘The Association of Chief Police Officers of the United Kingdom recognise the holder of this card as a bona fide newsgatherer.’ Last week someone called me an Editorial Consultant (I edit essays on http://www.thewordprocess.net ); this week I’m a bona fide newsgatherer…….

Cya, still wearing that badge and defo going for it.

Johnt850, still throwing shapes but not pottery

So from time to time, I try to explain that alcohol addiction (or indeed any other form of addiction) is not necessarily an irreversible disease but to many in the general public it is. I blame Lost Weekend with Ray Milland and Coronation Street. It is a learned behaviour. A ‘what’ they say?

So here’s an example.

Recently, I’ve been doing some shifts that finish at 10 at night. If I do that then I go into town by train (cheaper than parking) and then on the way home I buy chips. Every time. It’s become a ritual; a marking of the end of the shift and safe home. They’re not even that good. I don’t think any of the chip shops down the nice’n’sleazy end of Sauchiehall Street are any good – maybe the Bistro at 4 in the morning but I’m not going home then.

This buying chips has become a learned behaviour – part of the going home ritual. It stops now. Before it does me harm and makes me fat…not obese but fat (ter). That is what I mean. I may have cravings initially but they will go away. Trust me. In approx four years’ time I could be a Doctor. :)

So Zoe, I will mention your birthday next week. But this is for you. It’s also from Hair and it’s as f*cking freaky as the earlier one……enjoy everyone and watch it to the end. Next week Apocalypse Now – The Director’s Cut.

‘The idea of coming to the end of things makes me think I ought to do more rather than less (Sir Richard Attenborough)

January 24, 2015

And so dear listener, as I prep today’s show, you find me eating, or rather nibbling on, a cracker and Cheezly – described as a dairy free alternative to cheese. And it’s okay, considering it’s made out of potato starch and soya and stuff. Thanks Rosie and it’s been worth giving it a go. I’d eat it again. :)

Later for my tea, I will have a Linda McCartney country pie, and thanks for the ‘heads-up’, Dr W, and joy of joy and as a really special treat, I have also bought a vegetarian toad-in-the-hole…….I am nothing if not experimental as someone once said to me under a totally different set of circumstances and in a world before orange juice – the drink, not the indie band of Postcard Records fame. It’s just nice trying new things and not sticking to what you’ve always done……I won’t bother with the circumstances of that. ;)

But it’s been a week when memories of times past have quietly flowed past but in that turbulent manner that often throws up the odd mackerel but fresh – not in a tin – and if I were the great Eric Cantona or ageing Lothario, Stephen Fry, you’d have a t-shirt made up with that on it.

So, I happened to mention to Dr W that I was hosting a quiz at the project where I work and she replied something to the effect that was that not something you did down the pub when drunk (I’m saying nothing) but, actually, on reflection (e, can we add a mirror to the list?) I used to do that and I was okay at the more straightforward ones (those done by Doctor Paul, (AKA Paul Diamond) the world’s greatest pub quizmaster, were over my head as was the pound of mince that seemed to be part of the quiz) but the drink eventually done in that part of my brain that could handle obscure questions to which the answer was ‘John Lennon but it was with Cynthia; not Yoko and Pete Best and it was 1964’

But not now. It can take me ten days sometimes to come up with an quiz type answer…..everything else is fine but having a whole list of contacts and possible contributors for broadcast used to be my strongpoint but with that gone what had I to offer? (Please say ‘lots’) Replaced by a digital database. :(

And then something from the past came out this week – from several directions. The phenomenon that was Enid Blyton…….and the Famous Five……adventures’r’us…….There were five of them (I often wonder where Scooby Doo got the idea for their line up) Julian, who was the organising one, Dick, who was one, Anne who was a girlie girl and George who wasn’t……can I tell you, boys and girls, how Enid Blyton described George?

‘George is actually a girl who wants so desperately to be a boy she crops her hair and struts about doing boy things. She hates it when people call her by her correct name, Georgina.’

I can’t help but feel there was an issue here that was never fully examined or brought out into the open…….and the fifth member of the Famous Five was a dog called Timmy and they had access to an island and George’s mum and dad were known as Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny. Not to George but to the others. That would have been weird if George had called them that.

I’d the North Sea at the bottom of my garden. Just didn’t have any friends. :( :( :(

But if we’re talking sexual ambiguity and racial stereotyping, my own particular favourite was Captain Bigglesworth (Biggles to his many male mates) of the RAF and his chums, Algy and Ginger. Not that I’m saying theirs was anything more than a proper bromance but looking back there was a lot going on between the covers. Of the books.

And as for the Chalet School for Girls…….I’m saying nothing. :)

So does all that make sense, Zoe?

Tbh, I’m totally lost and I write the freaking stuff. But we (the fussy eaters) should be there on Saturday but I can’t help but notice that Javi Bora, Yousef and James Zabiela are at the Arches the same night to celebrate twenty-five years of Space Ibiza…….mmmmmmm…. :)

And finally, legal highs are the bastards. For professional and confidentiality reasons, I will say no more than six people died in Edinburgh last year from what are now known as new psychoactive substances. The fits and seizures I have seen make it surprising that the figure ain’t more. One day we may have a proper and considered debate on the legalisation of drugs other than alcohol and tobacco. In the meantime we will continue to watch people die cos they have no idea what is in whatever it is they are taking.

cya, still wearing that badge and defo going for it

Johnt850, and I think the reason I didn’t rate Wolf Hall the other night is that I confused Thomas Cromwell with Oliver Cromwell.

So, my granddaughter is about to be/has just been baptised (depends whether you’re reading this just now, on iPlayer or on Dave) and she remains folded in a veil of secrecy. Or to put it another way, her parents don’t want me to post pics of her on my Facebook, which is fair enough. There’s a kind of olde world feel to that.

I am very proud of Son Brian and the lovely KT even if they don’t like my choice of music – I am Friday night on Radio 1. They are so Shooglenifty.

And here’s Edwin Collins and the rest of Orange Juice and the great John Peel but this was not one of Top of the Pop’s finest moments;

My hands are locked up tight in fists, My mind is racing, filled with lists of things to do and things I’ve done. Another sleepless night’s begun (barenaked ladies)

January 17, 2015

And so dear listener, this week’s events have very much been defined by the weather. Plans made early in the week were knocked on the head by the snow and yet, it wasn’t that bad…it was how it reacted with the roads….and I’m not going to do the usual bloggy/opinion column/pub conversation thing of saying ‘where were the gritters?’ I can tell you exactly where two of them were. They were following me through Kelvindale and on to the Maryhill Road!!!!!

And the last bit of road into where I live in Summerston is a nightmare. It’s the one where you appear naked at a job interview eating a dripping jam sandwich. Freaks the neighbours out every time it snows. ;)

No. There are some things people say that I don’t understand.

Why do they claim that British weather has four seasons in one day? It’s a pizza for goodness sake!

And the search for fresh furnishings continues. In particular I would like to thank two year old RJ for climbing over various settees in various furniture shops in Abbotsinch Retail Park the other day. All these things help in making the decision. Unlike the person at work, to whom I was showing my almost favoured choice, who said ‘but have you tried the DFS in London Road?’ NO. I haven’t tried that shop. It’s a miracle I’ve been to more than one shop (and thanks, e, and it will be dark brown and not black).

The last time I tried to introduce colour into my life was an ill-fated romance of about one and a half years ago, when I decided to buy two stripey, but coloured, t-shirts from Officers’ Club at the behest of the lady involved (two for £10)……it lasted another two days……. :(

Why do they claim that British weather has four seasons in one day? It’s a chain of holiday hotels for goodness sake!

Now what’s in my diary for 31st January? Ah, yes, Bombay Bicycle Club are playing a DJ set in Firewater in Sauchiehall Street…

And things are moving on the PhD front but I’ve got a wee idea for another piece of writing or research. I’m sure it’s already been done ‘tho’ and I need to do some reading. Somebody at work was telling me about the ‘penny rope’ of years ago. I work in supported accommodation for the homeless. We are not a shelter or a hostel or an old fashioned ‘model’ lodging house where many years ago, if there were no beds available, you paid a penny to have your hands tied to a rope and you were then able to spend the night sleeping whilst standing up.

And there was a time in Glasgow tenements when the stair and close lighting was by gas and men and women with an alcohol problem (or ‘jaikies’ as I may have called them before I realised how close I was to becoming one) would hold a bottle of milk under the gas tap and add a daud of gas and it became a fiery drink……but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called.

Why do they claim that British weather has four seasons in one day? It’s classical music by Vivaldi for goodness sake!

And I’ve still to book a City Break for myself in March. It strikes me there are three possibilities; Amsterdam, Barcelona, Palma (Majorca) and Amsterdam…… any thoughts? :D

And finally I watched the superb Cyberbully the other night on Channel 4, I think it was, with a superb young actress, whose name I forget……..I was so spellbound by the programme I didn’t take in the finer detail. (And can I just say that OnDemand television has killed the art of the ‘next day conversation about last night’s TV programmes’…….if you don’t want to hear that kinda thing just put your hands over your ears and go lalalalala).

It raised a whole range of questions, which I think relate to the whole freedom of speech debate. Such freedom must allow the freedom to criticise and offend and poke fun and raise concerns about alternative styles of life and lifestyle without being criticised for having those thoughts but it comes down to how you do it. And why. But we must listen. And understand.

Cya, still wearing that badge and defo going for it

Johnt850, still crazy after all those gears :)

And Facebook has got good and bad qualities and the passing on of traffic and weather info is good, but one of the things that annoys me is when people use aphorisms (as in someone else’s words) to say how much they love their daughter or miss their mum……..I think it means much more when you use your own words.

So can I just say that sometimes friendship ain’t easy, especially this time of year but I think it’s worth it? :)

Why do they claim that British weather has four seasons in one day? It’s a late fifties group of singers for goodness sake and here they are!

I don’t have a wife or kids and I’m not scared…..I’d rather die standing than live on my knees (Stephane Charbonnier the editor of Charlie Hebdo)

January 10, 2015

And so dear listener, I don’t often talk about my job on the basis that much of it relates to people in unfortunate circumstances. I work in a project offering supported and temporary accommodation to homeless people and it is based in Glasgow city centre. On Friday, the fire alarm went and all the procedures were correctly carried out and everything was okay but it did lead to me being out in the middle of Sauchiehall Street at the Nice’n’Sleazy end wearing a yellow Hi-Vis jacket signalling to a Fire Brigade appliance or two. Some people might have been embarrassed but moi….? The ego had landed. :)

Je suis Charlie.

And there are changes afoot chez moi. And I’d like to thank RJ (2) for escorting me around IKEAE and sofa shops in Braehead, Her mum, e, was there too. My last venture to the home of the Swedish meatball was not a good one, but this was good. I move in next week. And the Pret-a-Manger was good as well. Big changes may be about to happen and later in the year it may become the Adventures of Kenny the Shed Pimp…watch this space, especially in the bathroom……I’m quite excited but then I don’t get out much. Care in the community has still to reach Summerston.

Tu es Charlie.

And I’ve been doing some shopping of my own. My granddaughter gets baptismed later this month, so I have bought something for that event. Should I be worried when a co-worker at the project laughs at what I bought and says, ‘but she’s a girl’? Pfft (with hands held out in a stereotypical French kinda way). I did worry about writing anything about gd’s pressie but I don’t think she’s reading the blog just yet. However she is a bit of a prodigy (but not a firestarter……..) ;)

Il/elle est Charlie

And me and the good Dr W have bought a present for a young lady aged 17 turning 18 soon. No need to look away, Zoe. I buy lots of pressies for young women that age. (Skippy, I’m not too happy with that sentence…….can we work on it before broadcast? Merci) Actually the original idea came from Dr W and in that faithful roadie kinda way, I did the legwork. Down Byres Road. And, W you do trust me when it comes to buying cards and paper, don’t you? :)

Nous sommes Charlie.

And one of the raisons-d’etre for this blog was to highlight certain aspects of alcohol and cancer. So can I say well done to a man I know who, hopefully, has successfully come through breast cancer surgery; a woman I know who had certain health concerns, went to the doctor and ended up going for a scan, worried about cancer, but there is none; and someone else I was talking to who is ten years without a drink. These are not uncommon stories. :D

Vous etes Charlie

And If I’m allowed one slightly humorous aspect of the tragedies in France to which I am not referring it is the fact that the neighbour of one of the terrorists said, ‘I never thought he was an extremist – but he had grown a beard recently.’ On that basis we should be checking out half the footballers in the SPFL, n’est-pas?

Ils/elles sont Charlie

And finally, one of those Facebook challenges is going the rounds and in this one you are expected to put up your original profile pic and looking thru my pics, (you’re right, Jenny H), it’s interesting just how important my hair is to me and the second pic I put up was a screen grab by one Thomas Alexander of an STV prog a few years ago called The Hour – the good one – at tea-time which some of us liked cos Michelle McManus during the food prep always asked for another piece of cheese in the dish or during the wine tasting, actually finished her glass. :)

Instead of a piece of music finishing the show I’ve managed to find the footage from the show a wee while back…….by all means look at the hair, but please ignore the fleece and the shirt……..I think my wardrobe needs updated as well and I mean the inside rather than the outside……

Cya, still wearing that badge nd defo going for it

Johnt850 who had to hand the Hi Vis jacket back.

I was going to write something about us in this country not believing as much in free speech as we think we do (how often did you hear a YES person or a NO conceding that the other person had a valid point?) or that Katie Hopkins is not so much a racist but more professionally and profitably deliberately offensive or that……but I’m not going to….

I have a Banksy desk calendar; I know someone whose dog is called Banksy; and there’s a large Banksy downstairs (it’s okay Son Brian and the lovely KT, I know it’s not an original). A few years ago I went to a Banksy exhibition in his home town of Bristol and on the way in I met a man of West Indian descent who was rolling the largest spliff I have ever seen (an eleven skinner I would have guessed had I known anything about these things) and my favourite exhibit was a model of a rabbit sitting in front of a mirror trying out various cosmetics.

I obviously disagree that a picture is worth a thousand words Mr/Miss/Mrs Banksy, but I’d love to chat it over with you……..and I don’t see us falling out.

Salut Charlie.

And here’s me and Robert de Niro and Nelson Mandela but there may be a wee advert that precedes us…


Who’s that boy with the ocean green eyes, In rough trade every Saturday, Don’t he look cute in his eighties track suit? I wish I hadn’t thrown mine away (Ash)

January 2, 2015

And so, dear listener, we arrive in 2015 with good intentions and a feeling of mild hysteria following a recent twelve hour night shift during which I realised I had a clean mophead in my work locker in case we ran out. Inexplicable laughter lasted for about ten minutes and that was even before I’d opened the locker. Maybe there was ‘something’ in the air that night.

This is the pot-pourri edition of the blog which not only allows me a random selection of items but the chance to run the gag that when the late Ian Paisley’s wife suggested that she introduce fragrances to the house with a selection of dried flowers, herbs and spices he was aghast; ‘there’ll be no pot-pourri in this house’, cried Paisley.

But speaking of the project can I thank Secret Santa for his two part pressie which I opened publicly in dread of what was in. It was a two part pressie; the first was okay but the second was a book called How to Bonk in Public. ‘They know you really well’ said my sister.

It was the same when I explained to some people that I was being targeted by Filipino women (or men purporting to be….) for what is known as sexortation. ‘Maybe it’s my loose privacy settings,’ I opined. ‘More likely your loose morals,’ said my ex-wife.

But on the subject of pressies can I say thanks to e for what she had described as ‘it’s the wrong one but I don’t think you’ll mind’……….it was, of course, a picture of the Finnieston Crane which is more or less exactly the same as the Titan Crane down which the good Dr W and I abseiled last year;

My thanks to Maureen of Momac Designs (who can be found through Facebook or me) for her help with some very special jewellery at a ‘slightly’ discounted rate;

And my thanks to my granddaughter (gd) who knew that what I wanted, what I really, really wanted was a griddle pan and tongs. Only sixteen weeks and so perceptive. I know that deep down she wants to hear all of my collection of hard house and industrial strength techno.

So decorations are down (don’t know why they’re so unhappy) and preparations begin for the next Windy Challenge (as I’m calling it). It’s a kind of Blue Peter Challenge for the Twenty-First Century and suggestions are welcome.

But you may have noticed that the last few editions of the blog were rather special. One was reflecting on my eight years without alcohol by talking of a special day in Easterhouse (and I do hope that those who ‘liked’ it on Facebook meant they liked the blog rather than the anniversary ‘cos it ain’t that big a deal. Many, many people do it without drawing attention to themselves like what I do).

Another was a wee perspective on the Bin Lorry Crash and it was interesting that when I was paying my respects at GOMA, three bin lorries passed within a few minutes (and can I point out that the driver sits on his own up front with fellow workers sitting behind him often separated by a barrier?)

And some Personality of the Year Awards which were graciously received…..

And big well dones to Uni-Sharon who made into the pages of the Daily Record for a good news story about her phenomenal weight loss (twelve stone with a wee bit more to go but what I think has helped is there’s a lot of simple exercise involved)

But it did mean that I missed some of the big stories of the time. For example, did you know, did you really, really know that the inventor of the USB drive died during the year? Apparently they lowered the coffin into the grave and then had to pull it back up, turn it over and lower it again.*

And a student friend told me she was worried about her parrot. Apparently it kept saying, ‘I can’t go on. I hate my life.’ Her roommate was too selfish to notice. He was too busy crying all the time.**

And finally a cannibal once took my sister to see a Russell Crowe film. ‘Gladiator?’…’No. I really miss her.’***

*He’s alive **Humour with a serious message *** There is no ***..

And finally, delighted to see that research has indicated that changes in the last few years regarding the sale of drink (also known as the BOGOF ban) has seen a reduction in consumption of about three per cent. Surely, surely this helps the case for Minimum Unit Pricing which will have an effect on the sales of cheap booze through the supermarkets. Alcohol is 60 per cent more affordable that it was in 1980………..oh, and twenty deaths each week in Scotland are directly attributable to alcohol. I’m not against alcohol. I just worry that we’re more concerned about one case of Ebola than we are about cheap booze.

Cya, keeping it fun and defo going for it

Johnt850, Uptown Funk personified

So it was a quiet festive period and I did feel a bit down but then e was in touch and, a propos of nothing, reminded me, in a gentle way, of what a great year it had been. Batteries have been charged and I have things to look forward to, ranging from an eighteenth birthday party and baptism (actually separate happenings) at the end of January, through to the fact that I have two weeks’ paid annual leave at the end of March with no idea of where to go all the way through to a draft application for a PhD which I’ve totally ignored over the last few weeks.

Skippy, there is still much to do. Fire up the DeLorean, the car of 2015.

And my thanks to John Cavanagh for this little gem

If you’re looking for the Blog of the Year Awards Ceremony, it’s immediately below this…but I just wanted to say a few words about Queen Street.

December 27, 2014

I never drank in the Clutha but anytime I am in town I tend to walk part, or all, of that walk down Queen Street.

When I went to UWS (Hamilton) it was the street I used to get to Argyle Street Station; when I went to Central Station I walked down that way before going through Royal Exchange Square; I bought a special X Factor Christmas card from the ArtShop in Queen Street; if you ever need a free toilet in Glasgow City Centre then there’s one downstairs in the Gallery of Modern Art; candles and incense from various shops down that way; how often have I eaten from that Gregg’s?; The Counting House was the first bar I drank (orange juice) in after Cold Turkey Sunday; I’ve touted for work in the Chamber of Commerce; and I’m on nodding terms with the Evening Times news vendor outside the station.

I mean no-one could expect a helicopter but a f*cking Corpie bin lorry………..still, that’s Glasgow for you…….we do the unexpected so well.


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