So many things I miss. And you know, I wouldn’t have missed them for anything (Wogan)

February 5, 2016

And so dear listener, let us return to the question of Kris Kristofferson and his connections with Glasgow. That weel kent kenspeckle West End character #soulboydaviebee……

(Yes. I was in Waitrose. Yes. I had just been paid. A King prawn and chilli pizza, spring onions and crab pate since you ask but, e, no Yo Yos)

…..told me that Kris, a few years ago, had stayed in Glasgow, so some research was needed.

There used to be a website called something like Pat’s West End Guide to Celebrities and amidst all the Rangers reserve team players spotted in the various pubs and people obviously spotted coming out of the BBC (it was a few years ago) was this gem;

‘kris kristofferson:

i saw him last year when he was in scotland doing a film with george clooney. he was jogging in kelvingrove park one morning and stopped to talk to my dog. she barked at him she doesn’t like older gentlemen. shame as i was going to try and fix him up with my mum.’


And it was posted by Suse…… :D

I needed more information so I turned to my collection of the Lothian Courier from 2004 and found it. The good townsfolk of Bathgate were up in arms because George Clooney, allegedly a producer of a movie called The Jacket, was not staying in Bathgate whilst filming was going on(I make no comment about Bathgate as I’ve never been there)…..and the connection with Kris? He played Doctor Fleischer in the movie. I have never seen this movie but may seek it out from the rrm’s old emporium ;)

Worry not, j, the journey is not over; my research skills finally honed (or should that be ‘finely’?) in the library of the West of Scotland University (Paisley branch) will not rest until we find Kris’s Glasgow domicile and we visit it*…..and I never did find the micro-fiche machine.

(*probably One Devonshire Gardens)

One of the other actors was Fish (from Marillion) who lived out that way and who, along with Paisley Panda (and Junior Paisley Panda) was one of the more esoteric names I used to send my, then, fourteen year old son down to the reception desk of the BBC when it was in Queen Margaret Drive (and never QMD) to advise Security that they were that Saturday’s guests on Off The Ball. (Security? He virtually had the run of the place on Saturday afternoons which for an estranged dad was brilliant. :)

And finally, Terry Wogan was sooooo responsible for soooooo many bad broadcasters because he did make it sound soooo easy and I’ve seen and heard too many students et al (and others who have made it on to a touch more mainstream radio) who are bad because they have put no preparation into it.

Where Terry scored (and he did pay tribute to them) was his superb backroom team (including Alan Boyd that legend amongst radio producers) who made it sooo easy for him to put his unique take on events knowing that they were well prepared for (almost) all eventualities.

I’ve told the story of the giant rabbit on stilts at the Glasgow Garden Festival too often but I have fond memories of working with tight production teams all over Scotland including opening a Woman’s Hour live on a fishing boat coming in to Portree Harbour. That Jenny Murray could run (then).

Nice memories but a lot of broadcasting is just fun and entertainment and we should never lose sight of that.

And may your God go with you (Wogan)

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple.

Johnt850, the Bernie Sanders of Summerston.

So the Rainforestriverman gave birth to a grandson on Tuesday (or at least the way he described it, it was him) but another event that day kinda f*cked up my emotions and, even more so, some others.

So it was with great delight that I was pleased to see Son Brian that evening. They’re having a new bathroom installed and he needed a shower, so mine was chosen for one night. :) He also brought over a new tablet for me (No. I have not started to receive medication for my madness from members of my family. This was a Samsung Galaxy which I paid for but he had bought)

He knows me well. It is black and I have lost it three times already in my house. But it looks fun. :)

He is beginning to practise being my Power of Attorney. I told him of my plans (early days yet) to get a new car so he started to tell me how to do it and where to go and who to talk to and then he looked at me and then that look came over his face – the despairing look I get down the telephonic device when I tell him of my latest plans – and he said the words I really wanted to hear.

‘I’ll take you, dad.’

I also asked him a big favour. The woman who is my accountant and with whom I slept for many years is standing down from her role as Financial Controller of the multi media empire that is The Word Process and previous to her was my dad.

I asked my son if he would take on that role. He is considering it and if he does so would be the third generation of t850s to do so. His grandparents would have been so proud. As am I. Most of my family, including by marriage and by marriage once removed, ended up financial people. I have no idea how my parents would have seen me and what happened. :)

I said that I would continue to play music from the gig that J and I went to a couple of weeks ago.

And I’m sorry that it’s not straight into the vid like it was before.  A wee double click is all that is needed. But I’ll ask my son.

This is This Is The Kit;

‘prepare yourself to be entertained and challenged in equal measure’ said the BBC’s Robert Matthews of a completely different piece of writing

January 28, 2016

And so, dear listener, it was last week that j, the blog’s favest librarian and me (and I?) went to a Celtic Connections gig in the Royal Concert Hall called the Roaming Roots Revue with all round nice guy, Roddy Hart, or ‘good egg’ – as Lauren Bellbonnchere describes him. Its theme was to pay homage to travelling troubadours and also to introduce us to a range of musicians from as far apart as Nashville and Edinburgh who will feature in the music slot below for the next few weeks. :)

We had moshpit tickets (standing) and as we gathered in the tearoom beforehand the talk was all of one rumour sweeping Glasgow – that Kris Kristofferson would play……as if……

So we were near the front of the queue and were at the front of the area – the smug folk who can throw their coats on to the barrier and rest with their arms across it and the first half was good…..people like Alexander East, Blue Rose Code and This Is the Kit. :D

We did not move for the second half which started off a touch more mainstream – a Bowie tribute with ‘Rebel, Rebel’ for example – and then Roddy introduced him.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, Kris Kristofferson.’

Was that a teenage-like squeal I heard beside me?

He sung the standards and did so really well and then, during Bobby Mcgee, he name-checked j……I kid you not…….and then, all too soon, it was over and we wandered back to respective trains going ‘wow’…… ‘did that really happen?’

Well, yes it did, and I walked back to Queen Street Station with all kinds of thoughts swirling in the playground of my imagination. :)

And if that was the highlight of the week, then the lowlight was watching a movie called ‘The Human Centipede.’…….it was grosser than gross and I won’t explain the circumstances………but I do feel better for telling people. :(

But another not-quite-so-hot moment was the problem to my car as mentioned last week. It cost me just over £800 to get fixed but my clutch is sooooo much better. I look forward to proving it. :)

(No Skippy, that is not an innuendo)

Which is why I am re-launching The Word Process – – PLUS a major marketing input from e which is why we’ve had two Strategic Planning Development meetings (or coffees in Café a Go – Go just off Byres Road). Actually it has helped. I’ve had help with the actual editing before but it’s been good chatting and realising how half-cocked (No. Skippy) I’ve been in the past about things like my Facebook page for The Word Process and how important it is I make these things work. :)

But general enquiries to and my thanks, also, to Zoe and Jenny H for sharing……..

But a possible holiday at the end of March and looking at a possible new car have been put on hold for a few days……..but let’s set it in context. There are things out there which are much more expensive and are more of a priority than my transport. Apart from anything else, I used my concession card on a train recently and have discovered that there is no 19 bus out of Summerston. This does explain a lot……maybe in the week ahead?

Moving on (and swiftly)

Incidentally, an American friend recently asked me what state I lived in. ‘Constant anxiety,’ I replied…(and my thanks to Zoe and Buzzfeed for that gag)

And good news just in. I’ve chronicled the flooding that has existed in Summerston for the last few months as we get hit again by a storm with a stupid name. MSPs and councillors have got together and they’re going to widen drains and clear out sewage pipes.

And finally, a confession to the good people of Summerston. We have a large number of coloured bins for our rubbish and on Thursday there it was the time for the green (general rubbish) bin to get lifted…(don’t know what it had done wrong, mind you)…..when I got it back I noticed some stuff (mostly bits of paper) stuck to the side. So I did as most people would do. Boil water in a kettle several times and pour it into the bin. I then turned the bin upside down to allow the paper to fall to the ground. My intentions were good at this point. :)

Then a heavy shower of rain came on and I dashed back inside…….only to see, seconds later, all the bits and pieces of paper that I’d intended to pick up sailing (almost literally) down the road. :(

People of Summerston, I apologise.

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple (Wow!)

Johnt850, wondering how I would look in a poncho……..

So no serious message below the line tonight (except it’s in the song), but a recent conversation kinda centred around famous people I’d met whilst working at the BBC – not a long conversation – but I’ve just remembered someone. I worked on BBC’s coverage of the Glasgow Garden Festival a wee while back and on one occasion, I met Dave Prowse – the original Green Cross Code man. :)

He taught me everything I know about crossing the road and now I’m putting it into practice.

This was one of the songs Kris sang. In the darkness no-one can see your eyes moisten………

‘You may have noticed we are still wearing the same clothes. Um. I haven’t been home yet. I came straight here.’ (Holly Willoughby with hangover)

January 22, 2016

And so, dear listener I had a lovely experience at about four thirty last Sunday morning. No. Not that. Let me explain. :)

Satyrday was a day of snow in Glasgow (and elsewhere) and my car is not too well (a decision may have to be made soon)* and I had to go in early to work that night and so I went in by train but not sure how I’d get home, but I knew it would be early in the morning. :)

And so it was. Now, part of the night shift involves some janitorial duties and quite often I’m putting bin bags into the big bins in the lane around the side of the building (and sometimes it’s better not to look too closely at what’s happening in the lane) and I spend a minute or two chatting to the taxi drivers. The city is beginning to settle down.

Not this Sunday morning. When I decided that it was okay to leave the project and went to the rank, it was real busy. The streets were still alive. The Bistro was still selling chips, cheese and curry sauce. But taxis came and went and I got into one – with chatty taxi driver. After some pleasantries, he said,

‘Y’know, as soon as you got into my cab, I thought, is it him? Y’know, you look so much like him.’

(And this has been said to me often and I know Johnny Depp gets the same in reverse)

‘Y’know, that TV chef. Him. Him on Channel 133.’

More pleasantries took place and cos it was such a nice night, I got him to drop me at the bottom of the main road that leads to my cul-de-sac. It was a lovely walk to my house. Natural light. The snow was a fine consistency and easy to walk in. And when I got home, I took a brush and swept the snow off my car and off my drive – and it was easily done. And no neighbours’ lights switched on (other than security lights and, j, all the Christmas lights are now down, you’ll be pleased to hear) and I was quite happy. :D

I’d a lovely wee conversation with a fox. :)

However, on my TV, Channel 133 is Comedy Central + 1. TV chef?

[*I know nothing about cars, so when I say ‘I’m not a man as other men’, this is one of the areas to which I refer. I am the man for whom the joke,

‘You’re battery’s flat.’

‘Why? What shape should it be?’

was invented.]

Elsewhere, the multi-media empire that I run from the West Wing of t850Towers is being restructured. Fresh talent has been introduced but there is a lack of work coming in from the usual suspects. A Strategic Planning Development meeting is to be scheduled (probably lunch at the Hanoi Bike Shop but business will be discussed) but it might help if I knew a marketing guru….Hang On! Rainforestriverman! That’s what you are! You tell me! Sorry! I’ve developed exclamationmarkitis! There is only one cure! Move onto next paragraph!

Rrm, I will be in touch. Soon. In the meantime, dear listener, if you, a member of your family or a friend or fellow student requires essay, thesis or dissertation editing or proof-reading then please feel free to look at the website;

and then contact me. Apparently I have testimonials. Two of them.

But at least I’m not yet reduced flogging jewellery on QVC like Lady Michelle Moan of Westminster who, I’m told, proclaimed, ‘I’m very bling bling, hopefully in a classy way.’ :)

Channel 133?

And finally, the fresh talent (or e as she is known to many people) recommended a book to me called The Bees by Laline Paull and very good it is too. :)

But on the subject of books, I received an e-mail from someone called Angelique du Toit thanking me for all my help with her book project but whilst I recognise the name, I cannot remember doing anything for her. And if I did, I did not charge for it. I must stop doing freebies.

The book is called Goodnight Doll; a tribute to my gay brother and his partner on their roller coaster journey with prostate cancer. I have ordered a copy from the rainforestriverman’s old corner shop and will let you know more when I get it.

Cya, (and I’ve forgotten what I write here!) but I’m still wearing that badge and I’m still keeping it simple!


Now for very good reasons, this has been written before me and a good friend go to a Celtic Connections gig (so I hope it happens) called Roaming Roots Review (Troubadours) which has a range of musicians wandering on and off with Roddy Hart and some mates (of Idlewild and BBC Radio Scotland fame) working as the house band.

There’s a few names I don’t recognise but this is the man described as ‘a Virginia soul maverick’, Matthew E. White. Let’s hope for better weather than that in the video. And, incidentally, if this doesn’t open, then copy and paste the link into your browser.

Oh don’t lean on me man Cause you ain’t got time to check it You know my Suffragette City Is outta sight…she’s all right (Bowie)

January 15, 2016

And so dear listener, last Sunday I had brunch in a coffee shop just off Byres Road – which must be one of the ponciest (sp) opening lines, I’ve ever opened with but please bear with me on this. It’s a friend (male) called Stuart who lives out of town with his wife Anne, and who pops into Glasgow from time to obscure time.

They travel a lot. I mean, they have full time jobs but they seem to manage to travel a lot. So they’re not long back from Nepal, Tibet and India (I’m considering a couple of days in Amsterdam at the end of March) and he has good stories. :)

Some of them are quite mundane – like having to get a large musical horn through Chinese customs and wondering what the hell they were eating…..the usual kinda thing but one stood out and put a lot of my life into context. They became friendly with a Sherpa, who, at the age of 27, had eighteen children. I made a disparaging profligacy comment but I was then put in my place. He had adopted them (those that weren’t his own) after the most recent avalanche had killed some of his friends and colleagues and he was bringing them up as part of his family.

Through his Sherpa-ing he had made many contacts with rich foreign people and they were all contributing to his ‘project’ and I was spell-bound. How had he met all these rich foreign people? Well, he had been, and had guided them, to the top of Everest six times……… scrambled eggs had gone cold but I never noticed.  :)

My most exciting event of the week had been to buy some books (not strictly ‘the most exciting event’ but some other coffee bar conversations must stay in the coffee bar). ;)

One was a book of Glasgow maps over the years. A fascinating read but the maps are awfy small to look at. However, there, on page 115, was a map of Partickhill in Glasgow. I had stayed in student halls of residence and then an all-male flat in the Woodlands area before graduating and going back to Peterhead and making a lot of money in the oil industry before returning to Glasgow to do a Post Grad/community work traineeship with the old Strathclyde Region.

I came down with nowhere to stay but within a day I was sharing a flat (single bed in front room) with Jane and Viv in Partickhill. (Yes, rrm, that very flat where you and…hang on! My screen’s flashing LAWYER’S LETTER, LAWYER’S LETTER…….) I’ll move on. No. I have many memories of that and a number of strange flats I was to share with Viv over the years but Partickhill had a really weird Victorian shower/bath thing with loads of knobs and stuff. The building was eventually knocked down but the bath/shower thing was saved and is currently in the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green. Well worth a look.

And finally another book I ‘had’ to buy was the Ladybird Book of Mindfulness (Hazeley N.S.F.W. and Morris O.M.G.) cos I didn’t get one for Christmas. I think I’m okay on the copyright front (J?) if I lift one quote from it;

‘Catriona is in love with the earth but she worries that it does not love her back. Maybe joining Friends of the Earth was a mistake. Now the earth will never see her as more than that.’

Cya, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Johnt850, wham, bang, thank you, ma’am.

And I’m not going to say much about the death of David Bowie other than he was a big influence on me in the early seventies in making the transition from Peterhead to Glasgow. ;)

I Facebook shared a photo of him in Cumbernauld Town Centre which many people, including those from Cumbernauld, enjoyed. But some others claimed that it was a gentle fraud and put up a similar photo of him in Munich, but I reckon that the Munichians had photoshopped the original from the Cumbernauld Years which David Cameron totally forgot about when paying his tribute.

But does it matter?

Many years ago, I was doing some work experience, for my first Post Grad, down Ayrshire way and I was staying with a family in Irvine. The man of the house told me a story that he had been reserve goalkeeper for Aston Villa and minutes before the English Cup Final was about to kick off at Wembley the first choice keeper had been injured and he had had to play in goals. My scrambled eggs went cold…it was all they ever fed me.

But, dear listener, I made a big mistake. I looked the game up in my Rothman’s Football Annual, the printed Google of its day and found he hadn’t. I should just have believed him. What harm would it have done? :( And his stories were good.

If something makes you happy, then don’t analyse it. Accept it for what it is and keep smelling the roses. And smiling. You have no idea what’s round the corner. It could be an avalanche and that could change your life in many, many ways. Hopefully, always for the better.

And is it the Partickhill shower/bath in the Peoples’ Palace or do I just tell people it is? Only I know.

And I don’t think this Bowie track ever got the full recognition it deserved, but in this world of Dungeons, Dragons, myths and mystery and Neil Gaiman and JRR Tolkein, here it is in an appropriate context. Enjoy…..whatever story you believe to be true.

“The cat sat on the mat is not the beginning of a story. The cat sat on the dog’s mat is” (John Le Carre)

January 8, 2016

And so, dear listener, for me the new year didn’t start until Monday, 4th January and that may be no bad thing. Aye, I was working but only the New Year/Hogmanay week. Our rota gets changed over that period. :)

And it was so heartwarming to see (social media) and hear (listening in) all those people who were so glad to get back to work and normality after being off from the close of play (3pm) on the Wednesday (23rd) before Christmas until Tuesday, 5th January. All those working in bars and restaurants, in hospitals and shops, over that period serving you ‘salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.’

On a personal note, I’d like to say a personal thanks personally to those police and para-medics working over that period and their pretty damn good response times and to those nice people from Victim Support Scotland who phone up to see if you’re okay. ‘Thanks. I am.’

A number of things make/made the Fourth a good day to start. :D

Let’s take revolutions. I heard someone on Radio 1 make the point that the First is a bad day cos, in addition to that possible hangover, there’s an awful lot of food and drink in the house still and who’s going to ignore that?

My other revolution is to lose a couple of inches (from my stomach area) so leaving that for a couple of days before starting doing anything about it is a good idea. It’s too easy to graze and nibble in my house, particularly when writing the blog or doing the editing. :(

I will keep you posted. :)

The year the Fourth was also good cos I met up with Jenny H, a PhD student for whom I had done some work. Most of my interaction on the editing front is done by e-mail; so to meet up with a ‘client’ can be quite nerve-wracking. This time, it wasn’t.

Can I also make a point about meeting in coffee houses (for want of a better term)? I still find it amazing that despite having drunk and eaten our full, as long as we keep our cups with some coffee in them, no waiter/tress asks us if we want another – a good hint to leave. Or maybe that was just the pubs I drank in. :(

And on Tuesday I celebrated uni-Sharon receiving her lifetime achievement award in a café in Paisley, which resembles the TARDIS in having so many rooms through the back…..and a smashing goats’ cheese salad.

And it was also nice spending time with J and e before Christmas.

The two questions I am most commonly asked;

  1. Do I still get alcohol cravings? No. and never really did. Nor do I get cravings for meat.
  2. Do I have any male friends? Em, yes……….a few. I’ll get back to you with some names. Indeed, one of them, the rainforestriverman was the one who gave me a signed copy of Volume Two of Charles Moore’s biography of Margaret Thatcher….I’m not sure that’s being a friend, tho’…….

And I despair at the diminishing ability of we Scots to out things in context. I blame #indyref.

The Tunnocks family have done millions for portraying a vision of Scotland with which I’ve not always agreed but I respect their right so to do. Not so the cybernats who are sooooooo blinkered in their vision that any action taken with which they disagree is a slight to Scotland – it doesn’t matter what the family have done for Scotland and the Scottish people over the years.

The decision to remove the lion from the wrapping as part of a rebranding campaign to take advantage of the great British Bake-Off has been seen as slight to Scottish manhood equivalent to the hanging, drawing and quartering of Wallace himself. Listen, if you can’t get a grip, get a context.

And finally, I had an Alan Partridge moment on the night shift the other night. The project in which I work occupies an entire Glasgow tenement. At 3.30 in the morning there was a problem with the water in the top flats so I phoned Scottish Water.

‘Hi this is Alison.’

‘Hi Alison, this is John.’ And I explained what was happening.

‘No,’ she said. ‘There’s been nothing like that since I came on shift at ten.’

‘Oh,’ says I. ‘I came on at nine. When do you finish?’

‘Eight. When do you finish?’

‘Seven.’……..but no, I didn’t ask her for breakfast. Sometimes, you just want to go home. :)

Cya, still wearing that badge and preferring to keep it simple.

Johnt850, more of a Caramel Wafer Man.

So lots of stuff about guidelines for the consumption of alcohol and I’m sure I’m expected to comment on these.

So I just want to say two things.

The biggest problem, in my view, is people drinking at home before going out – getting tanked up before the night starts or even taking booze with them on the way to a night out. Do you measure out your drinks at home or do you just pour?

The other is that objective consideration of the number of units consumed diminishes as more drink gets drunk. I have no idea how many units were/are in a bottle of whisky….each night. That was the least of my consideration. It didn’t stop me drinking one – at least – each night of that last year.

Drinking at home. How much do you do?

Last week, I played half of the game; you play me some of your CDs and I’ll play you some of mine. I played Mariachi the Bronx. This is The Bronx. The video? Consider it as part of my own Glasgow Effect and the resulting Poverty Safari.

You don’t mess with the Nolans (Lemmy)

January 2, 2016

And so dear listener, Christmas and the New Year celebrations are over and the blog begins to return to normal (ish). Hogmanay and New Year’s night were spent at work with the homeless and the refugees……..and it was fun and it was different. So much to explain and so little time to do it but still time to wash the tenement stairs. :(

But life goes on and the pressies have been put away or stored until later this year. It was nice that some people think I still grow exotic plants and I got a range of exotic seeds. Let’s just see how I get on with them. :)

I did once try to grow cannabis plants (No. No connection) from some cuttings I received in Cumbernauld many years ago but they didn’t take. Nope. I don’t remember what happened to the bits – as we horticulturalists call them. Honest.

A strong hint was made that I should move on from black as my basic clothing colour (Rocha grey); the brie baker I received needs a whole brie which I’m not sure that the ASDA in Summerston sells – but there are cheesemakers in the west end; and a very pleasant twenty minutes or so was spent trying to find the pen bit of a pen screwdriver which seems to screw but not to pen. There is no pen bit. I am happy. :D

For a range of reasons, some things were postponed or re-arranged cos of illness and pestilence and I will defo see you this coming week, Sharon. I may want to discuss my stomach with you.

And a nice response from all of those who had received awards in the Personality of the Year Awards……including a lovely acceptance speech from the log cabin. :) It was nice.

And I did play the odd game of ‘I’ll play you some of my CDs and you can play me some of yours.’

A late contender for an award was Sunderland defender Fabio Borini, who claims he would have become an interior designer had he not taken up football. I’ll let him describe one of his achievements;

‘I also designed a hole at the back for a phone charger to go through so the cable is not everywhere.’

Hang on! Kenny the Shed Pimp did the same for me and my house earlier this year and even he would accept that others have done that previous to him.

I was reminded (but not intentionally) this week that I have (or used to have) an electric drill with attachments and I used to use it until I realised that other people used it better than I did and, anyway, I’d better things to do. Being an estranged dad came first; work a close second.

Which is not to say I don’t still do some D-I-Y myself and still reasonably well.

But a big thanks to Son Brian for doing some sterling work on my computer a couple of days ago. I’ve been talking about getting a new one recently and it’s like having one. Maybe all that time being a good estranged dad paid off. Who wanted to be a Senior Producer anyway?

But I did catch up with Nick of Demus Productions who was co-producer of my last ever radio doc and who is still up there as Scotland’s leading indie. He produces that STV prog about the SSPCA and other stuff. It was also a gossip about a business that I left some time ago but I do know the people to whom you refer. Indeed……….

Incidentally, the radio is on. Not a surprise in itself. But why on earth did the Met Office feel the need to differentiate between storms? The next one is called Gertrude?

‘And they called the storm Gertude’ pales into insignificance beside ‘And they called the wind Maria’. Doesn’t it……and as for Storm J?

Bus this is not to belittle the effects of the storm. Some of them surprising.

There is a main road into town from Milngavie which goes past the cemetery on the other side of Summerston. It’s been flooded for ages so the diversion should take the impatient middle classes from Milngavie through Summerston and under the railway bridge (the main West Highland Line) but under the bridge is also flooded. It’s the only easy route between the two main parts of Summerston. There is therefore only one road out of Summerston onto the Maryhill Road side. Up past the Riding for the Disabled. And it’s crowded.

It is designed for one side of cars at a time cos of the parked cars…..(legitimate)… take ages to get out but at least we were all being considerate and giving space. Coming back the consideration was gone. And there was no space for me to move forward until the fire engine came……I inched forward. I got through and the fire engine was two cars behind me trying the same thing.

Our flooding in itself was not life threatening but its ultimate effects were.

And finally, I will pass no comment on American research which suggests that a male orgasm a day can reduce the possibility of a man developing prostate cancer by almost a quarter. ‘No sex required’ apparently. :(

Well I wanted to pass comment, but Skippy kept red penning all my suggestions. I told her she wouldn’t win……I can keep going for hours, I told her….making suggestions.

‘Let it go, let it go, let it go,’ she said.

Cya, still wearing that badge and happily keeping it simple.

Johnt850, really relieved that that’s the bowel cancer screening thing done…..

So, I did my revolutions last week and I don’t always feel the need to ask ‘why’ in certain circumstances. Acceptance is good in itself.

Tonight’s band which is standing by to play us out is new to me……except it isn’t. I know the Bronx as a hardcore punk band from Los Angeles but thanks to J and her very diverse musical tastes, I now realise they have an alter ego.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the Mariachi El Bronx and ‘Wildfires’.

‘If you only listen with half an ear, you haven’t a quarter of a right to criticise’ (BBC 1930) but so apposite for this age of Social Media.

December 25, 2015

And so, dear listener, it is me, Skippy, again. Again, partly by special request, but this time partly because jt has a very red face. Y’see the smug cobber used the show to tell folk not to buy the Ladybird Book of Mindfulness because he was so sure that someone already had. No. Nobody had. It’s unlike him, he said, to get thongs wrong, but when he does, he does it big time. :)

So this is the annual Blog Personality of the Year Award and the Strumpets are all in place for the Annual Fanfare; the red carpet has been laid (lucky red carpet)*; and the winners’ envelopes are all in front of me on the gold table. Last year, zombies and related activities and the raison d’etre behind them dictated many of the awards but raison stopped talking to jt early in the year so that’s out the window. No. No apparent reason, but another influence will play a part. Possibly. (tbh, jt never knows what he’s going to write until he writes it…….and I’m much the same)

*new listeners, he does that gag every year.

So let’s get started. Lots to get through and we begin with a brand new, and possibly once only, award; Spoiler of the Year.

And this goes to e’s wee boy, aj, who on being asked by jt if he’d enjoyed Star Wars, proceeded to give away the ending……..he was so sweet and matter of fact about it. :D

The Team of the Year is always hotly contested but one group of guys and a woman (and her daughter) established their credentials early on. Kenny the Shed Pimp, Craig the Chippy (or was he the Spark?) and the other guy, e (as interior designer) and her daughter rj, helped transform t850 Towers with the help of a substantial donation from the Bank of jt’s Sister. Special mention must go to the very patient self-scan operator in Sainsbury’s Braehead. jt honestly didn’t know that rj was the unexpected item in the bagging area. But he was told to come back any time as long as she was not on shift.

Lifetime Achievement is always difficult because jt is never too sure who has been recognised before. This year, however, it has been easy. It goes to Uni-Sharon, not just of what she has achieved in her life and her amazing weight loss with the help of Herbalife (and other dietary supplements are available but they didn’t seem to work), but because any time jt talks to her the number of people living in her and husband Kenny’s house is never the same as it was the last time he asked. And she just smiles. Well done, Shazza. x

So, now for the actual Personality of the Year. And it’s worth saying that, apart from the first year when then three year old Stella won it, no actual person has ever won it.

So, in Third Place (and jt wrote the rest of this), and nine years ago, I never thought I’d say this but… goes to Tennent’s Bar in Byres Road. After years of avoiding the place, I’ve been in it three times this year……..and it’s very nice. No-one complained when I bought an orange juice and I did recognise a couple of faces but they did not know me……I will go back and I may attempt to re-enter the Three Judges later this year….I know no fear. :)

And in Second Place is this young man. Early morning, I wasn’t feeling down but if I had been, this would have brought an amazing smile to my face. Stick with Harry until such time as Tracey gets involved. It gets even better.

It takes on a Benny Hill kinda feel…. :D :D

So here we go. Now for the actual Personality of the Year.

Some background. One of the hardest parts of recovery is learning to relax. I still have problems in doing so. It’s partly why I attended mindfulness classes this year and have practised Acudetox and would like to do so again……and maybe I should find a Qi Gong teacher. :)

So I light candles and burn incense. That’s Part One.

Part Two relates to the many variations on my name…John. The one that is used by most of my colleagues and the folk I work with, including the refugees, is JohnBoy……redolent of the Waltons and Little House on the Prairie and so on…….

So when J, the blog’s favest philosopher returned from a trip to Canada and brought back an incense burner in the shape of a log cabin, I was delighted (let’s not ask about the incense sticks that come with it)……I was seriously made up. It was really nice and when it works, actual incense smoke comes out of the chimney. It’s brilliant :)

Next year’s plan is to get my colleagues to call me by some rich person’s name and for me to claim that the only way for me to relax is to have twenty pound notes to count and see what happens….

But the Blog’s 2015 Personality of the Year is the incense burning log cabin…….Yay!!!!!! One day there will be a prize……… ;)

And a good night has just been had by all…..

So this is the blog’s last appearance of 2015 and I have made two revolutions; one is between me and one other person. The other? To lose this grossly overweight stomach I possess……omg, it’s so gross. :( :( :(

But as ever, millions of thanks to all my listeners and may your God go with you…. :)

Last year I introduced a Musical Track of the Year. It was Zombie by Jamie T. 2015’s Track of the Year is Walk the Moon and their Shut Up and Dance – good vid, good music and, yes, good memories with a ball rolling nicely and no need to analyse how it rolls – and thanks Skippy for helping out.

See y’all in 2016

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.” (George Carlin)

December 18, 2015

And so, dear listener, by special request, I, Skippy, have taken over command of this week’s blog….and because jt850 is down in Tennent’s in Byres Road again; this time with the rainforestriverman but more of that later…….but the special request was special. :)

Because, cobber, this is the only time this blog can ever be called truly entertaining; it’s the Christmas cracker edition of the blog. It’s got jokes like,

How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas?

Deep pan, crisp and even.

You can use these with young children and grandchildren. :)

Jt850 lives alone – I don’t know if he’s ever told you – and you can see it sometimes. He’ll have made a superb meal of toasted cheese for a friend but still feels the need to get up whilst it’s being eaten and steep the grill pan…….but there’s the serious matter of phoning in sick. It always sounds more truthful when there is someone to do it for you, but on one occasion, in my BBC days, it did confirm a rumour. ;)

What did the stamp say to the Christmas card?

Stick with me and we’ll go places.

And it’s really nice to see him writing all these Christmas cards, but I do wonder who they go to. Apparently, he bumped into e in Morrisons the other day and she said that Holly the Dog wanted to thank him for her card. And another ‘apparently’ is that e had a sheep outfit in her trolley. I don’t like to ask, but I do wonder, cobbers, about his friends. :D :D :D

Why is it getting harder to buy Advent Calendars these days?

Because their days are numbered.

And then there’s J, the blog’s favest philosopher, who has a strange taste for a male Canadian crooner, who, thankfully, doesn’t seem to be available in the rainforest…….but who made jt’s Christmas shopping a lot easier and did wonders for Waterstones’ profits. (The one in Byres Road, downstairs, just up from the Hanoi Bike Shop, is pretty good as well)

What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations?


(Oh, and whilst I remember, mega-thanks to Telegraph Newspapers’ media executive Murdo Maclennan who devised all these gags and gave me, kinda, permission to use them…kinda)

And jt tells me we’re just four months away from the biggest United Nations debate on drugs for nearly two decades. This is a vital moment to shift the approach to one grounded in health, compassion and human rights, rather than criminalising people for absolutely no good reason at all. No doubt, jt will keep you posted. :)

And he says it’s this kinda thing that makes him talk about anniversaries, which is taken from the world of Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s about drawing people’s attention to something that’s a lot more simple than the soaps and Ray Milland’s Lost Weekend would have us believe. If I were of the Fellowship I’d have got a cake.

Why did Santa’s helper see the doctor?

Cos he’d a low ‘elf’ esteem

But he has a great deal of admiration for some folk who’ve come in for a lot of stick this year. Call handlers. This last week, professionally, he has had to make use of 101, 111 and ultimately 999 on two occasions and they were brilliant. As they were on a personal basis nine years ago.

But it was interesting for jt last Saturday morning, standing in the laundry room of the project with its view over Sauchiehall Street, trying to explain to refugees (Muslim and Christian from Africa) what an Orange Walk, which took twenty-five minutes to go past, is all about. Once upon a time it may have been a radical Christian thing celebrating a victory which relied a lot on revolutionary and guerilla (sp) tactics. But now?

‘We’re up to our knees in Fenian blood……’.

They do a lot for charity.

Actually Saturday turned out to be a jolly interesting day.

What do you get if cross a Santa with a duck?

A Christmas quacker

And some interesting reaction to last week’s show. jt says he does not see himself as a victim. After all, he chose the alcohol. It did not choose him. Nor did he choose Charles Moore’s Vol 2 of his biography of Margaret Thatcher (and thanks j for the suggestion, but I don’t think he will read it in her voice), but it may get re-wrapped and passed on to someone who does not read the blog.

But next week’s blog is worth listening to (especially for you Uni-Sharon) when the annual Personality of the Year Awards are handed out. :) but the actual award itself never goes to a person.

What do Santa’s little helpers learn at school?

The elf-abet.

And finally, cos of reasons of illness and pestilence within the t850 family, this Christmas Day will be slightly different and maybe quieter, but the indirect beauty of that is that Christmas Pressie exchanges will take place earlier (maybe) in the week and I now (ooooooops) and jt now has at least two Christmas Nights Out or even days out to look forward to next year…..…how many have you?

The day itself will see him read Neil Gaiman all day and listen to Brandi Carlile, the Dixie Chicks, Steve Earle and Walk the Moon and he won’t miss eating chocolate or turkey or drinking dry sherry…..or, late news just in, he may be going for a long walk in good company. :)

What did Adam say to his wife the day before Christmas?

It’s Christmas, Eve.

What do you call a bunch of chess players bragging about their games in a hotel lobby?

Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.

Last year ended for jt with a great deal of optimism for the future. That disappeared in the first half of the year. :( It has returned. Many reasons. :)

This is Johnny Cash having an At Home. I hope all of yours turned out as dead good (and there is nothing wrong in the way Charlie Nicholas speaks. It is a form of lallans and to see it any other way is unjustified snobbishness) as Johnny’s but maybe with a wee bit more enthusiasm……

Have a great time and a Merry Christmas and remember it ain’t Christmas without Christ.

Cya, keeping it simple and where there’s tea, there’s hope.

Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable (G.K.Chesterton)

December 11, 2015

And so, dear listener, it is that time of year – no, not Christmas – but the ninth anniversary of my cold turkey and that all that has stemmed from it. In my early days, I used to talk of demons and recovering and recovered and all sorts of stuff like that. It’s a language based on that of Alcoholics Anonymous and it needs updated (maybe that should have been the offered PhD) but all I do these days is just say, ‘I don’t drink,’ and that’s it.

Cos it’s not been hard – not drinking, that is. Everything is in working order but that’s another story. If I’ve time I’ll get round to it. :)

Y’see, even before I cold-turkeyed and in the weeks leading up to it, I didn’t see ‘alcoholism as an incurable disease. Was it not just a habit that had got out of hand? Where was the research? After all we were used to donating to cancer charities but no alcohol ones…….and AA doesn’t pay for research. It has few funds. Anyway, I have just raced ahead.

Most people know the story; the weekend when, without planning it, I cold-turkeyed. There was booze in the house but no whisky and I wanted whisky and it was raining like it has been this week. So I stayed in. Thankfully; but not at the time. The diaorrhea (sp), the vomiting, the stuff oozing out of every pore; the out of body experience (like an angel); the hallucinations (the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse); and the feeling that I was having a heart attack and the gorgeous 999 operator who told me what to do until the paramedics arrived. :)

And then the hospital with its three meals a day; its routine; the learning to walk again; and the friends and extended family and professional workers who kept me going once I was out.

And then six month later the cancer diagnosis but the physical and mental recovery I’d started for the alcohol issues kept me going; and cups of tea cos where there’s tea, there’s hope. :D

And the opportunity to study what had happened to me and the realisation that what I had described as a habit that had got out of hand was what psychologists described as learned behaviour (you want a non-alcoholic behaviour example? Do you really need that first cup of coffee in the morning – the belief that you can’t start the day without it?) and that many people just stop or cut back without any problem – new job, new child, new partner, fed up with hangovers, just tired of it all……..

And the discovery that coffee bars are nice places. There’s a really nice place in Paisley where I’m almost a regular. And good company helps. :)

And both cancer and the alcohol issues are sorted. On the prostate cancer front I am neither incontinent or impotent (both great fears of men who might be worried) and on the alcohol front I have no cravings nor I have ever lapsed (I like waking up with a clear head too much)

Now I have not written all this for plaudits or applause; all I ever want to do is to make people aware that there is always a road out but your mind has to be open to all possibilities. There is no right answer but if one doesn’t work try another one. :)

Nor is this an anti-AA diatribe. I know people who have been sober for over thirty years as a result of following the 12 step programme; I also know others who have taken a quarter bottle to meetings – ‘it’s a disease, son, I can’t help it.’

Right, Skippy, that’s enough. ‘What else has been happening this week?’

I met up with Missie K in a place called D’arcy’s in Princes Square; it seemed familiar, somehow. :)

I met up with the blogmeister in Tennent’s in Byres Road; it seemed familiar, somehow. :)

I had a business meeting with e; her broadband was down. :(

I let workmen into my grand-daughter’s house – which she shares with her parents.

I edited Jenny’s PhD and that was good fun……e and Son Brian, the invoice is in. :)

And, as I write this, I have a smashing Saturday night to look forward to :)

And there are other folk to arrange to see :)


But it wasn’t all easy. There were dark clouds and sleepless nights and there was one band I played over and over again. There’s no good stuff of theirs on Youtube, but this song speaks volumes. This is the world’s greatest acid house country rock band – Alabama3.

‘One can never get enough socks,’ said Dumbledore. ‘Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.’ (Need I tell you who?)

December 4, 2015

And so dear listener, to Christmas stuff. It’s that time of year. :)

But can I start by saying I already have the Ladybird Book of Mindfulness? No. No reason.

Having started off in such an ungrateful mood, let me continue by drawing your attention (as did Becky G, the Miss Marples of North London) to a horrible practice. It’s called, apparently, the elf on the shelf and, apparently, you tell your children, apparently, that this elf (what you have bought from the shops) is keeping an eye on them to make sure they behave themselves in the run up to Christmas, apparently, and you move it each night after your children have gone to bed just to prove it’s keeping an eye on them. :(

‘What do you want for Christmas, little girl?’

‘Paranoia, please.’

You got it.

But there again, according to the Prime Minister, I am a ‘terrorist sympathiser’. So, who is that sitting in the white van across the road? Actually, I think I may still be in the files of what used to be known as the Special Branch as a proscribed Marxist from cough, cough years ago.

And I was watching Countdown (hey, I work nights, okay?) and a big word was ‘mouthful’ and the posh guy that presents it (Nick?) said, ‘and I’m sure that you were told, like me, when you were young, not to speak with your mouthful.’ NO!!!!!!!!!!!! Posh Git……..

Mindful? No. Your mind is not full.

Right to happy stuff;

This is four year old Harry who had a lung transplant when he was one. He is now four and looking for a transplant again. Watch and laugh with Harry. :D :D :D :D

It’s okay, Skippy, I’m back on course. ;)

Aye, it’s the Advent edition of the blog and apparently there are some very commercial calendars out there with twenty-five (25) slots…….I do worry. But then I worry a lot. About other people. Me? Any time I get something right, it’s a bonus.

So Christmas, and the tree is up and it’s twenty-seven (?) years old and beginning to look it. I bought it when my then wife and I decided to lead separate lives and it looks it. The January sales will see me looking to buy a new one. It’s been through as many sets of lights as my car has had new front and back bits replaced, but it does have two sun roofs – the car, not the tree. But not all the bulbs are working………mmmmmm.

And the rapping has started.

‘Been to my local ASDA to shop, doing a lot of shopping, shop ‘til I drop.’

Sorry. The wrapping has started.

And what didn’t seem too difficult to wrap when I saw it in Waterstone’s becomes amazingly difficult where it’s lying out there on the dining room table and the paper keeps curling up, cos you forget that the scissors you laid down there to hold the paper in place, are the ones you need to cut the wrapping paper. :(

A dinosaur, J?

Actually, dinosaurs have been, and still are, the mainstay of my present giving to a young friend of mine, but not, this time, from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, but a fossil cave called Amazonia ;)

And the happiness continues with a nice Christmas message. The first Syrian refugees are due to arrive in Bute this weekend and a great welcome is being planned for them. People from all over the world are sending best wishes and presents. It’ll be a great Christmas for them – be they Christian, Muslim or non-believer. :)

So can I just correct some of the false representations I hear in various ways about these and the other refugees; they are ‘checked’ in refugee camps in the Middle East (that’s why Cameron is happy with them); they are ‘checked’ before they are allowed to stay in Britain; and even then they are only allowed in, initially, for a limited period (in many cases) of five years. But why let the facts get in the way of a good prejudice?

Enjoy your Christmas night out curry, if you’re one of those with that prejudice.

And finally, I do not see how bombing Syria can possibly help in the fight against ISIS……except, they bombed an oil field. I have long said, we need to stop ISIS selling oil, cos it’s done through small traders, and the RAF have started off by doing this. If only it could be guaranteed that these were their only targets, then I might have been persuaded by Hilary Benn’s speech.

But then that would have been a plan and there never is a plan when Tories like Thatcher, Blair and Cameron want to make their names known across history. I remain opposed.

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple – with the ball rolling happily :)

Johnt850 – and it’s only a matter of time before I get banned from the ASDA after the latest incident but surely they’re ‘staffed’ cash check-outs, not ‘manned’……….

So nothing serious below the line this week. Just a wee reminder that the show round about 12th December will reflect the importance of that date for me.

The 19th is the traditional Christmas Cracker version; and

The 26th is the Blog Personality of the Year and nominations are now being taken.

And since I’m in Christmas mood, here’s a start to the festivities.

It’s Twisted Sister and this is what’s like in t850 Towers…this time of year. Not. (But a certain amount of parental guidance may be involved)


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