Archive for July, 2008

Night is an adder Hidden in grass Bites like her life depends on it And waits to see how long you last. But you know better You stand your ground It might just sting a little But she knows you’re sticking around

July 30, 2008

Lyrics sung there by the brilliant K T Tunstall, suggested by the equally brilliant Missie K. And all lyric suggestions are gratefully received. Not sure about the FSM lyrics, though, blogmeister, but the music is good.

But “sticking around” is what this blog intends to do. So spread the word.

There will be changes. Blogs evolve, as do radio programmes, friendships and my back garden.

There has been a high horse level meeting, much more successful than the recent World Trade talks, in which four of us video conferenced, conference called, sent out the sherpas and had beer and sandwiches, except me, obviously, and by a total of fifteen votes to zero came up with the following advice:

“Can the hat-tips, the heads-ups and the hot air.” 

The biggest and most notable change is that this is the last mid-week edition but the Sunday edition remains. Spread the word. Keep the faith.

That is, if I survive Live at Loch Lomond on Saturday. The ticket seems to be waiting for me at Lochburn Delivery Office. The stories will await you in Sunday’s blog. Survival tips needed now!

But just because I am, currently, clear of cancer does not mean I am resting in peace, sorry, resting on my laurels. There will still be cancer references but done in a manner similar to that on BBC-2’s Dr Alice Roberts:Don’t Die Young which, last night, looked at both the male and female reproductive organs, including a look at male cancers. The prostate ain’t that big, considering its importance.  Available on BBCiplayer; the programme that is, not the prostate.

However, I’m not so sure that I’d have chosen This Is the End from Apocalypse Now, a fave movie of mine, as the music to celebrate when the winning sperm got to fertilise the female egg. But what do I know? Right?

The way Dr Roberts described it, maybe Whistling in the Dark would have been more appropriate.

Nor do I think her catchphrase of “I’ve opened up the scrotum” will ever catch on, but it sure as hell brought tears to my eyes watching her do it. I should point out it was a dead pig’s scrotum….I’m sorry. This is only the second time in all the thirty seven editions of this blog I have been unable to complete a paragraph.

I then made the mistake of watching Gordon Ramsay. Work out your own gag.

What I do know is that 10,000 men die every year from prostate cancer, which is why my next PSA check up is so important. Three and a half months and counting.

And that’s not paranoia. It’s a realistic appraisal of the future. I was talking to a friend of mine last week and was mentioning the fact that I, a recovering alcoholic, always make sure I spit out the mouthwash I use. What I’ve not told her about are the times I find myself swigging, sorry, swirling the mouthwash straight from the bottle, albeit unwittingly. Try looking in the mirror at that point. That’s paranoia.

What I also know is that one of the still untold stories from the sandblasting centre (I have started the book so I will finish) is of the man who had had his prostate removed but still had prostate cancer. But how? So, I asked. So, now I know. So at the beginning of November I will get my PSA levels checked before seeing my consultant and I will sweat buckets…just in case, seriously just in case.

But, meanwhile, back at the blog.

Pomposity will continue to be pricked. (Laura F, no obvious connection but no decision was made on individuals. You know someone with twelve votes. It’s your chance for survival. Vampire Slayer? You know the all powerful one as well. Kenny the Shed Pimp and the real Smiley Carol? We’ll see)

How can Donald Trump, my good friend Claire, be so good for the environment when he openly admits to using so much hair spray?

BBC weather forecasts will continue to be monitored. The latest? Laura Lear openly admitting there will be “no hokey-cokey with the duvet tonight.” I think I know what she means, but what a name, eh? The BBC’s very own six word weather forecast.

I will continue to leave myself open to scrutiny and ridicule as the search for work begins. Spread the word. I won’t be stupid about it, well no more than usual, but if Gordon Brown is willing to go on holiday without wearing a tie, then I think that’s “pivetal” (sp) to my approach. It’s my own “Window of Creative Competition”.

Yes. Much of that paragraph is illogical but, there again, I’ve never been the most logical of people. Why else would I buy a worry stone when I don’t know how to use it? And why did Cathy Jamieson choose to launch her Scottish Labour leadership challenge at the Stand Comedy Club? 

But why should I worry, when the Herald fashion pages tell me that flared denims are back in. And I’m getting my hair cut. It’s bad enough seeing me in the mirror with a half bottle of mouthwash, but when it’s a Bosnian Serb war criminal before going into hiding, staring back at me, then it’s time to worry. I’ve nothing else to worry about.

So, go on Radovan, sue me!

And finally, although I’m currently in a “no apologies, no thank yous” mood (maybe too much/too many recently), can I just say thanks to all those now former students of Glasgow Met who shared their recent good news with me? A perfect end to an almost perfect seven days. So far, so good.

And to anyone who didn’t quite get that same good news, my money’s on you to finish it off. Soon. Each way.

So cya  Sunday, when abnormal service will be resumed. Hopefully. If I’m spared. Now what should I wear? Flared denims? Maybe not. Don’t want to attract too much attention to myself.

Johnt850, a member of “the inspirational generation”.

look at me im happy, don’t worry, be happy i give you my phone number, when your worried, call me, i make you happy don’t worry, be happy

July 26, 2008

Fairly simple, fairly uncoded there, except it is the Bob Marley version, so be careful with the smoke signals, but check out, as well, the recent Infadels lyric on the page below. The lesson is…be aware of the perils/pearls of e-mail, just in case. Good and bad. ‘Nuff said.

I am, however, so happy with so much of last week. Natural highs are seriously good.

It’s all beginning to sink in, but I was interested to hear a friend of mine describe me as having been “discharged” from the Addiction Centre. A wee bit like a bankrupt paying off debts and looking ahead. Yeah. I can see similarities.

I was talking to the gorgeous Doctor Fiona the other day (good looking, spoken for, CD, so no prizes for guessing what you can bring me back from your holidays and well done to you and everyone else.) It was she who set all this in motion almost two years ago when I thought we were testing for diabetes. I think I now know different.

Her first words on seeing me? “You suit your hair long.” Okay. I parapharase. She did say other things, but it was thanks to her that I discovered that I am an alcoholic, albeit now wittingly recovering, and that I had cancer. Not the normal makings of a beautiful friendship, but, I think, an impressive start.

But, being serious, it is now only three and half months until my next check for PSA levels, a phrase which will become as much a part of my life as “a large tomato juice with worcester sauce and tabasco, please”

And can I pay my complements to the Firebird Lounge just across the road from the Art Galleries where I had one of the best and strongest tjs ever, earlier tonight. And the second one was exactly the same.

C, C’s mum and LF, it’s well worth the trip in itself. This potential guest list is getting longer and longer, but no complaints. No celery stick, however, C, but you know my views on those. 

It was a post match drink with J-P, the Learning and Access Curator at the Centre of New Enlightenment. Okay, he’s a Partick Thistle fan who works at the Art Galleries, but that’s honestly his job title. Brilliant DVD, by the way. I’ll have a dozen.

But get this, Dennis and Mr Rainforest Riverman, and other travellers of similar age, New or otherwise. J-P’s dad ran the deli next to the original Goodies in Great Western Road, one of the first all night grocers in Glasgow selling almost anything, including, maybe that as well, if you knew the correct words to pass.

And remember the cat that sat on the rolls in the window? And the woman with the black and white hair who watched the cat? And a QM Board member called Felicity…..I’ve decided to stop. So far, so good but you can’t be too careful. 

Happy daze. Sometimes I don’t mind “greying with age”. Sometimes I worry. Apparently it happens to horses of many colours who mutate into white but in becoming such nice creatures, they develop a greater risk of skin cancer. They lack a certain pigment.

One owner described her grey horses as, “more difficult to keep clean and more likely to get sunburnt”. See me, see mirrors. I still like looking at myself, but maybe now I look for different things.

But, moving on, can I just say thanks to Missie K for her very kind offer (any news for me?). It would be just me and not the rest of the “Partick Thistle Luncheon Club” but I’ll need to check something with Suzy M first. Suddenly Croy Railway Station sounds exciting. Don’t worry. Not until September. Have a good holiday.

And whilst we’re in that neck of the woods, my good friend Claire (any news for me?), you were right, so right about the state of the Labour Party in Scotland. If only the Scottish Leader had listened…. What’s that Little Voices? There is no Scottish Leader. Then why on Earth…? 

(I’m allowed one political reference now and again, okay?)

But this does seem an appropriate time to say thanks to all those people who sent me good wishes, including my friends at BBC-2’s Newsnight who did so literally minutes after the recount. I do hope, Craig W, editor supremo, sir, you didn’t get the congratulations messages mixed up and that the new member for Glasgow East didn’t get too  much of a shock at his good news from the cancer consultant.

And whilst we’re congratulating people, a quick name check to Jackie, Susan and others about to walk the West Highland way to raise money for a new centre for special needs children. Check out . Another day, another spledge.

Ah, the spirit of bonhomie. But doesn’t Gordon Smith get everywhere?

But will he be at at Loch Lomond next Saturday? I’m still waiting for the ticket, Parfery person, top film studies student to be, but main music columnist Emma J tells me to be patient. It’ll be soon. I’m particularly looking foward to the train journey back from Balloch to Anniesland. There’s bound to be a first class compartment for those of us “sober and solvent free”, isn’t there? Isn’t there? (Gulp)

Maybe Press get upgraded as a matter of course.

By the way Kevin C, did I tell you I grow my own tomatoes? Small, very red but perfectly formed.

And finally, Wednesday’s blog had almost treble its usual readership in as much as you can guesstimate these things with the wordpress graph. Amazing.

The blog will continue but there are high horse level discussions going on as to its future. Watch Wednesday’s edition for details. But if you’ve views then use the blog comment. Maybe the blog’s structure will change, maybe there’s been a touch too much hot air recently, maybe I’ve been too close to things. Maybe Chapter 2 has already started, and I didn’t notice, but it must always be fun. Okay?

Relief is good, complacency is bad, but recovery will always be with me. (Some good friends)

U don’t dance 2 tekno any more (Alabama 3, Balloch, this Saturday)



Held my freedom in my empty open hand Waved to people like they all would understand That we all make mistakes from time to time But every moment I’m awake I’m making mine

July 23, 2008

Or maybe no longer. Just now and again. The Infadels, there, one of the bands I’m looking forward to seeing a week on Saturday at Loch Lomond but Parfery person, my RockFest guru, I’ve received no ticket as yet. Should I be worried? Not as long as there are plastic stirrers to be smoked. Remember me and them, anyone?

Now, there was something I wanted to say today. Thanks for musical suggestions, by the way, Blogmeister. No. That wasn’t it. That was just random. His choices by a band called Four Star Mary? Dilate, Pain and Thrown to the Wolves. At least when Gary McD told me to Comply or Die it was the name of a horse, not a modern day equivalent of Hung, Drawn and Quartered.

Ah yes. My car’s been fixed. And can I say how much I enjoyed driving along the leafy Balmuildy Road with Aerosmith blaring out on Rock Radio, child like enthusiasm, indeed, Moira, with my brand new shiny bumper? Listen, M. So far, so good. So thanks. Good luck in the Possil.

No. It wasn’t that. Was it the fact that I went to a drab, boring, pre-season Partick Thistle friendly where the chat was all about the holidays and how one fan had cried at the end of a Harry Potter audio book on holiday in the Algarve? All those yachts, eh? Kay-J. The offer still stands.

Yes. The game was awful. So I’ll be back this Saturday. The “casual crew” I’m teaming up with are known as “The Partick Thistle Luncheon Club”. The cry? “We are Red, We are Yellow and we have come to taste your truffles” strikes fear throughout Scotland, including the streets of Broadwood, albeit unwittingly.

No. There’s a top BBC producer (now will you write to those students, Stevie Boy?), a Herald journo, two Comedy Unit producers and an Art Gallery curator, John-Paul (See, C’s mum. I know the right people. It’s C’s call but no hurry),there amongst others which is why the shout of F**k Off Burnley was delivered with just a hint of post modernist irony.

Actually it was such a lazy evening that even the guys offering to watch my car were doing so from a third floor window. I’d rather watch paint dry. There’s the door bell. (This is thought through)

No. It wasn’t that. But can I just say, Missie K, beware of Vampire Slayers bringing gifts six weeks after the event. And, my good friend Claire, how often do you play the original? (Mmm. No vowel problem there. Is that a clue, I wonder?).

It’s all in the power of the keyring. (Last week’s magic beans didn’t work).

And that door bell ringer there was the wallpaper man coming to give me an estimate for decorating the walls of the front room that go all the way (lucky them) up to the top of the house. Now is that me planning for the future or spending my son’s inheritance…..just in case?

So. Did I do anything special this last few days? Of course. Silly me. I went to the Clyde River Festival and did a wee trip on a boat which is why my face is so red. Nothing to do with hot tomatoes, Kev C, just not enough Factor 60. But be aware, be very aware. And that cherry is mine, if it’s going.

No. Remember, Emma J, when we were discussing buying a flat down Glasgow Harbour area. No. Not together. It was a student journalistic exercise, folks. All those posh people use the balconies for is to hang out their washing on clothes horses! Gosh. They’re just like us. Only richer.

And by the way, the B52s are older than me.

And those of you thinking about doing some reality writing for Days Like This…I saw this wee ad in the ASDA. Honest, C, and one or two others: “Size 14 wedding dress. Never worn.” Serious. I did. No. I didn’t wear a….never mind.

Was it the fact that I bumped into the world famous actress, Steff, resting, between engagements, by waiting at tables in Ashton Lane? New series of High Times starts this Thursday. Well worth watching, she tells me. And so’s the new series. 

Maybe it was the Herald Diary, which used to pay, Dave, and the title of Hamish Imlach’s favourite country song; Take Your Tongue Out Of My Mouth, Darling, I’m Kissing You Goodbye.”

Goodbyes, farewells, mmm. There’s a bell ringing. Beautifully played, if I may say so, by the fabulous percussionist Laura F. Wait a minute! LF! Of course. You’ve reminded me. The video! Small pricks! Big injections! My visit to the cancer consultant! (A mask has slipped momentarily).

Yesterday, son of mine, Brian and Bruce, my driver, came along with me to the Beatson where son of mine and I went into see Dr Mahmood. The consultant’s really profound words?

“I think your new spectacles are really trendy.” My son was violently sick. C’mon, what is wrong with having a dad who’s young, mid-forties, cool and with long hair, who pays money into your bank account every month? Okay, in my dreams, apart from the monthly donation…..and the long hair.

And finally, the consultant’s other words? “You’re all clear. See you in four months’ time.”  There is no cancer, at the moment. There is no need for the big injections I was truly expecting.  He said a few other things as well but they can wait until the weekend.

You see, I also said “Farewell” today to the addiction centre I’ve been visiting monthly for the last eighteen months or so. I will always be a tomato juice drinking “recovering alcoholic”, but thanks to so many people too numerous to mention, and I did try today, I am kinda back to what I once was, long-haired but, this time, no highlights. Just “Clean”.

Other thanks will follow, elsewhere. But to all, serious thanks and “keep it fun”.

Chapter One of the Blog finished today. Chapter Two starts this weekend. I have reached my word count limit.

cya and tc


The fortune teller looked into my eyeballs, the wrinkles on her face about to crack. She said you best believe it, you ain’t goin’ nowhere unless you get that monkey off your back

July 19, 2008

Lyrics from Aerosmith there and my thanks to my gd frnd Clr for suggesting them, following the news that my PSA levels are going down. After all could there be a more appropriate Aerosmith lyric? What? Yeah. I like Walk This Way as well but I just felt that Monkey On My Back was more suitable.

Okay, it doesn’t mean that I’m out of the woods just yet (it doesn’t half smell in there with all those bears), and only my meeting with the cancer consultant at 0930 (BST) on Tuesday, 22nd July down at the Beatson, Area 1 Level 1 will reveal all – exclusively in Wednesday’s blog (gulp)  – but I’m still not telling anybody when or where it’s happening…..just in case.

Regular readers know what I think’s going to happen. Some of the symptoms are still there. Jaded. That’s me.

Incidentally, if you want to know all about PSA levels check out As with anything like this keep to reputable websites. That’s all I’m saying. That’s best, isn’t it, Suzy? How’s the move going?

And my serious thanks to e for coming with me when I got the results. It’s not such a bad place, is it, Maryhill Health Centre? After all, it was a nice day. All the cheap cider drinkers were further up the canal. 

Actually I’m in a bit of a musical mode this week. The Parfery person has powerfully persuaded me to put my money where my mouth is and I’ve onlined a ticket to go down to Loch Lomond in about a fortnight’s time to see Alabama 3, maybe the Dykeenies, but do I look like a Groove Armada person? or even Pete Doherty?

But Smile of the Week award. I really must make some time to go and visit the VIP Room with Hed Kandi. Seriously. Yes. I sniggered as well. Didn’t bite my lip this time, though.

The name reminds me of a place a friend of mine (cough) occasionally visited up Park Circus way in Glasgow. No. Not l’Alliance de Francais but another establishment. So I looked up Yellow Pages and I couldn’t help but notice, there, just under the listings for Saunas and Steamrooms was another listing for Sausage Speciality Shops. I kid you not.

Anyway, moving swiftly on. (That’s what broadcast journos say. Print journos make an excuse and leave)

But back to Loch Lomond. I enjoy Living on the Edge, albeit somewhat unwittingly, but I need advice. Do I head straight for the Mosh Pit, Dennis, or do I find a simple grassy knoll and watch Kennedy, sorry, just absorb the atmosphere? After all, I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing. All suggestions for a good “sober and solvent free” day out gratefully received.

And can I also welcome, as a reader, top musical columnist Emma J, a former student, who writes for and can I emphasise again I was not the middle-aged fella in the front row at the Goldfrapp concert? Honest. I’m not middle-aged.

It must be this listening to Rock Radio that’s doing it. I’m even considering buying the Guitar Hero On Tour Ds bundle from Woolworth’s Age 3+. “Oh, My God. I can’t believe it. I’ve never been this…” close to buying a games console. It’s either that or a Blackberry, son of mine. Between us we’ll kick start the economy. (Why do you need an i-phone anyway?)

But it would mean, fellow strummers, that I could sing along to the DFS ad. Sofa? So good.

Oh, and by the way, Laura F, lots of drum shops near the Art Galleries. Ask C. She’ll explain. Or her mum. (No. I haven’t a clue either. It must be the magic beans. I just write what the little voices tell me.)

Let’s just ignore the golf. Sorry syndicate members. The weather was against us. Actually let’s not. Can I just say to those (slightly dated in their attitudes to things) commentators that I am the same age as Greg Norman and if I had just married Chrissie Evert, there’d be a spring in my step as well! (As it were). Dream On, Johnt850.

Mind you, I heard some really funny golf stories the other day from an old friend of mine, Allan R, who makes his living managing floors. You’re right. If it wasn’t for corporate hospitality, the fairways would be clogged up with people actually watching the golf. Good point, caller.

My own favourite memory of being corporately entertained was a few years ago at a Scotland v Pakistan cricket match when the cricket was called off because of bad weather but the hospitality went on. Oh, happy daze.

Mind you the weather forecast was probably given by the same BBC person this week who described the weather as being “not too shabby”. I think I’d rather have “sunshine and showers”.

Still as I said to “full-time” lecturer, Kevin C, just the other day, “If there are cherries to be bit, I want first bite.” Kev did not disagree. To be honest, he never actually replied.  Academic discourse. I so miss it. That, and the football videos in Room 304, used in teaching core skills, of course.

But there are more important questions to be answered this week than my results. For example, why don’t vampires shave? C’mon, Torrance One – the Vampire Slayer. Do you know the answer? In a week of sensational revelations, check out High Times on stv this Thursday night for the answer. Even the title makes me smile, but not enough to bite my lip.

And finally, my thanks to C for suggesting today’s Quiz (We’ll call it fifteen-all in the High Horse Stakes, shall we? I can afford to be generous. Trust me. I’m not a doctor.) You did notice the Quiz, didn’t you, readers? How many Aerosmith titles are in today’s blog? Don’t worry Emma J. I’m not usually that big on quizzes. The answer, up to this point, is five.

And not one of the Aerosmith tracks used was Love In An Elevator. Going down, anyone?



You sit around getting older There’s a joke somewhere and it’s on me I’ll shake this world off my shoulders Come on baby this laugh’s on me….even if we’re just dancing in the dark

July 16, 2008

Bruce Springsteen there and I know that I once said, being a Steve Earle man, I’d never use the words of the Boss, but I was compared to him earlier this week. “You’re nothing like Bruce Springsteen.” was the exact quote but, hey, it’s a comparison.

And can I point out that the track I’ve just used is Dancing in the Dark, not Whistling. Whistling I lay claim to for my own personal Closing Ceremony. I’m still trying to organise the Access All Areas badges but I’m getting there. Opening music? Check Blog number 1.

All of which might sound a bit gloomy but the meeting with my cancer consultant is this Tuesday and I’m still not telling anyone the date. As I say, I think we’ll be going for the large jags option (calm down Laura F) and if I could find a bookies to take the bet that’s where my money would be going. (Incidentally, LF, I’ve been watching Forensic Detectives on the Discovery Channel. But is it true to life?) 

And a wee serious cancer message is that if you’re not sure, go see the doc…just in case.

I was once in a lift with my son, Tam Cowan, Stu Cosgrove and two others and, Tam, serious for once, said, “Statistically, one of us in this lift will have testicular cancer.” We all looked at each other. If in doubt, check it out.

But moving effortlessly on, and speaking of large amounts of monies being won without any effort, the syndicate is back, G,G,C and C, with your unique no-risk, it’s all Johnt850’s money guarantee. Keep your eye on the Open for Justin Rose and Paul Lawrie finishing within the first four (that’s right isn’t it, Gary the Pollok Punters’ Pal?…fourth place pays? I still laugh at Nia Roo. It’s a pub, not a horse, folks)

A successful result could lead to champagne in the attic, Missie K, except, obviously, for me, but I could afford extra tabasco for my tomato juice.

And by the way, I’m told by someone who was within the ropes at Loch Lomond that Ian Poulter did say what Ian Poulter denied saying, and he did preface it with the word “poncey”, which is a good and innovative use of language, albeit somewhat unwittingly.

Yeah. This is much better than being morbid. Keeping it fun is good.

So, let’s go for Smile of the Week and that goes to the newsreader Fiona Bruce who had a strange twinkle on her lips as she said the words, ” Max Moseley sado-masochism sex trial.” Go on, try it. Out loud. On a train.

I laughed so much I bit my lip. I drew blood. Not an unpleasant experience……..

Can I also say thanks to people like Stevie Boy, J-P and the Parfery person for making such life changing suggestions for me (and it’s always worth looking back at previous blogs for comments. You never know). Partick Thistle and Alabama 3 may seem an unlikely combination but stranger things have happened.

On the football front, can I ask members of the Tartan Army such as my son, Brian, and David Taylor’s mate, Dennis, as opposed to Dennis Taylor’s mate, David, what do you think of this idea of asking fans about ticket prices? Should it be extended to picking the team? And what does George Burley do other than take part in photo calls for the red tops?

And my good friend Claire, (vowels are okay early morning) size and length isn’t everything. (It’s okay. I’m not going to do the bit here where I say, “It’s what you do with it that counts”. That would be so seriously unprofessional). 

It’s quality that’s important. If Days Like This asks for a maximum of 1,000 words, then you don’t need to write as much as that if it doesn’t warrant it.

Okay, that was just a bit cheap and gratuitous, but by now people will have started to see and hear the trailers on BBC Scotland for this writing competition about a real day in the life. Modesty forbids, but for the third and final time I publish the link John Thompson, such a talent. Read it! Shame about the “p”. Anyone want to take the “p” out of Thompson?

Speaking of which, can I just say, C, that the High Horse Challenge was never resolved. After all, who turned up for the wrong Induction Day just under a year ago? Eh,? Fifteen-love to me, I think. (Could I be about to regret this?) CD, I’m still willing to match my hot chocolate fondant pudding against her flapjacks. Is there any contest?

Incidentally, one of the kiosk operators down at the ASDA for the summer is called Layla. You don’t think, do you? Here, in Summerston? And was Eric Clapton really a guitar hero of mine? Actually, no.

I have a bootleg cassette with “Led Zeppelin in Concert-A Copy of the Original Concert (1969)” written on it. I have no idea where it came from. It is awful.

And I noticed this morning, on the way down to the supermarket, that there’s a large hole in the left hand pocket of my jeans, down which my keys slipped. Not an unpleasant experience……..

And finally Stevie Boy. Glad you enjoyed your family holiday but I note what you say about your young daughter and how she passed the thyme (clever that, eh?). Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. That’s all I’ll say. But glad you enjoyed your holidays and the same to those just back, about to go or are in the middle of them somewhere.

I bet you’ve got some stories to tell. Y’know where to tell them.

And yes, it has been a quiet week up ’til now. Big adventures ahead though, like going back to Bishopbriggs to get my car fixed. Last time I was there I was shouted at because of the distance I had travelled. So far, so booed.



The lonely days and nights were paved with dreams. I’ve loved and lost and I do believe a little bit of soul, is worth more than gold. Everybody, needs somebody

July 12, 2008

Maybe a coded message there, maybe not, but I needed Primal Scream this morning. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a track called “Some b*****d hit my car with a trolley, didn’t stop and the whole bumper now needs replaced” blues. 

But it did mean I saw a fair amount of the countryside. Well, Bishopbriggs via Torrance on the way to the bodyshop. The Accident Care place that is. Not the one that sells that nice strawberry bath oil.

Vampire Slayer! That house with all the buddhist awnings and stuff that I passed on the left on the way past Torrance! I want it! Not the house but all the trappings. They looked seriously good. Y’know my back garden. They’d be perfect. Next time you’re passing on your way to the graveyard, bring it all over please. Ta.

Almost missed Bishopbriggs. Almost arrived in Kirkintilloch by mistake. Gosh. Next stop might have been Croy Railway Station. I wonder, has Michael Palin ever been there, albeit unwittingly? What do you reckon, Missie K? 

1001 railway stations to visit before…..I see my consultant, on a date I  still will not mention although it draws closer.

Although I notice, Stevie Boy and J-P S, that the Harry Wraggs are at home to Burnley the night before. Where do you guys meet before a game these days, just in case? (Incidentally do you remember a guy called Bernie Regan? I’m sure that’s who it was, Oonagh)

But I’m not worried. (That bloody stone is sitting staring at me. Will no-one tell me what you do with a worry stone?)

Actually I am slightly worried. I’ve not actually received a letter confirming my consultant’s appointment on… almost caught me out there, haha….the day after the Burnley game. I have this irrational fear that I will turn up and they won’t be expecting me. But I am big on irrational fears.

I used to think that, because the platform at Buchanan Street Subway station was between the two rail lines, that I would be pushed into the way of the oncoming subway train. So I sat on the steps at the side. With a surprisingly large amount of other people.

Officer Laura F, I have a  high regard for your Sherlock Holmes mind. Eh, that’s it. Nothing to do with the subway. Just thought I’d mention it.

But my doctor assures me everything will be fine. About the appointment that is. Not the subway. I walked into Doctor Dave’s surgery the other day. He asked me how I was. I said, “Superb.” His face fell. You forget that, don’t you, about doctors?

But he asks the right questions. The big one. “How’s the cancer?” And then the “not so big one”. But he manages to say it without using italics.

Moving swiftly on.

Gordon Brown’s campaign against Buy One Get One Free. I put my free one into the freezer until such time as I need it, just like my cheesecake. But there again, I don’t compare myself to Heathcliffe, and make dreadful appearances on Youtube.

But speaking of internet videos. Can I thank a Miss Gabriella Cilmi, she’s a young Australian chanteuse Dennis, who sent me a recent e-mail offering me an official video plus still photos on the click of a button? Gulp.

A nice offer, GC, but one I hesitate to take up without someone else in the room. Can I stress that GC is nothing to do with mes amies, G, G, C and  C who have never…I’ll stop there. Gulp.

Mind you, an interesting message from my good friend Claire (isn’t it great when the vowels are no problem). I’m sure that one of Britain’s top investigative journalists will be delighted by you referring to him as “this eamonn chap”. In four years time I look forward to looking to reading Eamon O’Neill’s website, y’know the one where he lists his awards, and reading the words “that claire woman”.

You’ll get there. Your mother and I were just saying. She and I are getting on okay , now. Bit of a false start before.

(Art Galleries, anyone?)

Incidentally. Talking of talking to mothers. (Nobody go there! Right!) Hey, Art School Lauren! “Paying for petrol” means filling the tank up. Right? But you do suit the colour of that red car. It goes with (some of) the colours in your hair. Seriously.

How’s that, Debbie? Did I say the right thing?

And my thanks to another neighbour, Mary, also a mother, but there is no recurring theme here. Right? Many thanks for coming round and cutting my hedge. M does this every year. Now this may seem to many people slightly ungallant (French pronounciation) but I have to plug the chain saw in, and switch it on. Suddenly whatever the consultant has to tell me pales into insignificance beside this life threatening experience, but, at least M tells me there is a problem with the wiring, and the plug does fit into the socket, eventually.

Pleased to see Jim Duffy, 49 year old football man, is at T in the Park, hoping to see Rage Against The Machine. I really should go to see Alabama 3 at Loch Lomond but sometimes it’s hard to make decisions about going places until you’ve seen your consultant or whatever. I mean, he might be going, and have a spare place in his car. But, seriously, can anyone out there persuade me?  Parfery person, what do you reckon?

And finally, just to reassure Mr Rainforest Riverman, who used to run a computer company, that that superb piece of reality writing by John Thompson (kinda related to Johnt850) is available on the column “Days Like This” on the right and click on “Right Here” There I am, I mean, there he is, still just above Irvine Welsh. Well, with some woman in between. Everybody should try it.

Not quite the literary Brat Pack yet but so far, so good. 

cya tout le monde


Jinga jangler, tingalingle, picture on a bricky wall Hot and scamper, foamy lather, huggle me close. Hot breeze, old cheese, slicky slacky fish tales Brush my hair and kissle me some more

July 9, 2008

Words by Woody Guthrie and music by Billy Bragg. One for the kiddies and new grandchildren there on their holidays. Kiddies like Ruby, and Steve, will you please answer those student e-mails? Mentoring ain’t easy you know. (Not quite an Abba song)

Sorry. I’m a bit on edge. Less than two weeks to the day I’m not telling anyone about and there seems to be a bit of confusion over who does what tests before I can get results. I think it’s a bit of a communication breakdown (Led Zep) and it will all be resolved very soon.

But it’s okay, because I’m not worried. Y’see I recently bought myself a worry stone. Will someone please tell me what the hell you do with it? Please. It’s driving me nuts.

I sometimes find that when I worry I repeat myself and a recent text message to a mate told them twice in the one message to “keep me posted”. It felt like the modern day equivalent of the old World War II messages to the resistance and that a railway bridge over, say, Monklands direction, has just been blown up.

To any readers over that way, my apologies. Honest. My apologies.

But I’ve not been wasting my time. Upgrading my computer with new software has been fun. (I can’t believe I’ve just written that!). However, CD, not without its problems.

I seem to have lost Annabelle the Sheep with all her bodily functions and with Christmas coming up, it’s a disaster. Maybe if I ask the Vampire Slayer nicely, T1 might find her on Youtube. (That sentence worries me as well. I am supposed to be a mature adult. Where’s the stone?)

But I’ve dipped in and out of things, like e-bay. It’s interesting what you find there. A box of confetti, “unused”. There’s a story there, C, if you’re looking for creativity.

And speaking of which, check out the Days Like This page (“right here”) on . There’s a marvellous true story by an up and coming writer called John Thompson, there, just above Irvine Welsh. Seriously. Just there. See it! Just thought I’d mention it, just in case.

Y’see I’m worried that I’ve caused food prices to go up. I threw out some old bacon the other day rather than poison myself, albeit unwittingly. Selfish I know.

If only I’d bought some fresh “salt-grilled bighand thornyhead with vinegary water pepper sauce” like they served at the G8 meeting. I did ask at the ASDA here in Summerston but they just looked at me. “Try the Tesco’s in Milngavie or Cumbernauld” , they said, “but not here”. I came away with a tin of tuna chunks in sunflower oil, instead.

What evidence is there, Officer Laura F, of double standards, here? Yes. I know it’s not your usual remit but the first series of  NCIS is being run on the FX channel and they do ask the odd ethical question. Hear you’re a mean drummer by the way. Is there no end to your talents?

(C. You’ve never told me. Is LF spoke for?)

Speaking of spoke for, I was talking to the new Mrs MacL the other day. (Almost a neighbour. Only the canal, the Wyndford and several thousand pounds worth of property value between us) We were discussing books. (C’mon. It’s the West End for goodness sake!)

Did you know. Mrs MacL (I’ll do the Ms bit when the novelty wears off), that Tom Wolfe has worn the same trademark white suit since 1962?

Thanks for that, C. When does the really useful stuff arrive?

Incidentally, Mr Rainforest Riverman, currently in Seattle and not Slough, did you know that it can take the Royal Mail five days not to deliver, then lose and then find a slim volume of short stories by Etgar Keret (I am so cultured) but they can shove a very thick edition of Butcher’s Copy Editing  through the letter box, no problem at all?

See Sis, I am spending the birthday money wisely. (Don’t tell her about the new specs with the lattice arrangement instead of frames, please).

Incidentally, people have been asking about Kenny the Shed Pimp recently. Well, he seems to be back up on his good foot (long story) and chatting up the nurses at Springburn Health Centre. Meanwhile the contents of my shed are now soaking wet. Hey. he’s a mate. I don’t complain. That’s what mates are for. (I’m not doing the obvious gag)

But whilst we’re on the subject, Parfery and others (there’s an in joke for you…over three years old), all of whom criticised my garden when you were over. (“Hot chocolate fondant pudding” could be next is all I’m saying). There’s a lot of planting going on even as I write this. No. I’m not doing it. I’m paying a man to do it. Thanks sis.

I’ll send yet another pic to everyone. (One day, the wallpaper, okay? One day!)

And finally, taking advantage of my new super dooper upgraded computer (and thanks son of mine, extra RAM will be good, one day, but somehow a painful reminder…..) I recently contacted a virtual animation called Natasha (I think) to ask about train tickets, (as you do).

I don’t know what I said but I got a red card advising me she didn’t answer questions about her clothing. I am just so out of practice. Maybe, Brian, you’re right. Replacing the cassette player in my car with a new CD system is all I need. My ride needs pimped.

What a sad note to end on. I need cheered up. Hang on. Where is that Etgar Keret? That should do the trick until the new John Thompson comes out in paperback form, or even four sheets of A4.



I’m not saying that I work like my dad, I know I don’t work like my mum, But I’m made of the same stuff and I’m six feet tall. Gimme the tools I’ll get the job done

July 5, 2008

The Proclaimers there with Follow The Money and I know everyone expected Bruce Springsteen’s 4th of July but those lyrics were really written for Sandy, and I don’t think I know anyone called that. No. Words there not just for my son Brian who graduated on Friday but for everyone else who now has to put good fun student days behind them and start earning  a living. Seriously hope you’ve enjoyed the last four years.

And I know I’m not working at present but I have reasonable hopes about my own consultant visit in just over a fortnight’s time, but I’m still not saying when. Soon, and then hopefully back to looking for work. Bonne chance to any folk with similar missions coming up soon.

But back to Friday and Karen’s birthday. Yes. That’s Karen who recently gave birth to Stephanie. (Great pic by the way). Gosh. It’s all happening.

Meanwhile to the Barony Hall where the Congregation was taking place. And my thanks to Amy and Richey and Richey’s folks for getting me there. Summerston rools okay. Spelling was never my strong point.

In the Barony, (extended) family on one side and a really chatty lady next to me on the other. We both really appreciated the pre-organ music which, to be honest, sounded like a call to the Confederate side during the American Civil War, with, maybe, just maybe, the odd pro-slavery song.

Anyway, the mood soon changed to what sounded like a pre-wedding march and my new friend and I speculated as to where the bride was. We then pretended to be on the set of Morse (the detective series, Katie) and tried to work out where the sniper was.

Laura F, we would really have appreciated your personal expertise, and look, not a size gag in sight. In fact, until I know what the consultant has to say, I might just drop the large jag line, know what I mean?

And then it started. And then it finished. I had a great view. Tall lady in short dress immediately in front of me. Come on! One sexist gag in twenty seven issues!  Mind you, it did seem that L, my son’s mum, thought everything I said was a bit that way on Friday. She always did say I never took her seriously. I just laughed.

But it was good, L, to know that you were able to get a mobile phone message down in Buchanan Street subway station. But did you have to offer everyone on the very safe platform a drink at my expense? (It’s okay. She doesn’t read this…..and we’re nineteen years divorced…but twenty one years proud)

And then what seemed to me to be a bit of a pub crawl began, starting with drinks in a Strathclyde University bar and finishing up in a vodka bar in the West End. It’s as if I’m drawn inexorably to Ashton Lane, GK, GP. Or am I watching too much Doctor Who?

I must stress that all the way I had soft drinks (tomato juice where available. Are you listening upstairs in the Printworks?) but I think I bought everyone else some nice wine. Hey, it’s okay. I like reading labels.

Incidentally, it was in the Printworks that I met Fraser’s grandmother who had me summed up in a minute. “You’ve never re-married, have you?” Eh, no.

Interestingly though, I had earlier in the week gone to a local Tesco’s (the Co-op as we call it in Maryhill) for some comfort food shopping. My eye was caught by something interesting in the bakery; “Tear and Share garlic and herb bread”. Tear, and Share? Aaargh! Go on, I thought. Rub it in. (When I say rub it in……)

Even when collecting my new specs from the opticians, and thank you, son of mine, for telling me that the one with the long hair is spoken for, I mentioned something about my “life” to the other optician, except she thought I said “wife” and when I explained I didn’t have one, she said her ring was for warding off unwanted attention, I think.

I think I may have missed something there and if any creative writers are out there, C et al, please feel free to recreate what the dialogue may have been before I make a right fool of myself. (C. Have you met al?)

Incidentally, my good friend Claire, I’m going to hate myself for saying this, you might just be right about the Labour party in Scotland. Your comment about drinks at the party might just be true, perhaps, albeit unwittingly. Frightening that. What? The fact that C might be right. Frightening.

By the way, Mr Rainforest Riverman, my wallet was never closed. The next day I was still picking odd fivers out of odd pockets. Had to get my money back somehow.  Just like the old days.

And can I stress to Lydia and Janis, high heid yins at Glasgow Met College, I don’t usually run up to women in Queen Street Station and hug them but, hey, you two were worth it…just in case.

At home I’ve been tidying out thousands of e-mails and Vampire Slayer, I’ve now destroyed the details of your inspiration – Chip the cardboard policeman – saviour to us both on that particular occasion! Eh…

Actually the graveyard is a lot quieter these days. Maybe you’re out when the rest of us are fast asleep. Maybe? Eh? Send me an e-mail. I’ve still got the last one, T1.

And finally to Kay-J. Thank you for your message. You know me so well. Always did. As do so many others. J, G, A, C, G, S, K, C and C, to name but nine. All good looking, all female and, and, and all seriously brilliant.

And to everyone else who knows me, thanks for getting me to the Barony, and back. It’s been an interesting journey over these last few years but it’s been fun so far. So good. Let’s keep it that way.



the ghetto prince of gutter poets was bounced out of the room (jean arthur rimbaud) by the bodyguards of greed for disturbing the tomb

July 2, 2008

The brilliant Clash there with the distinctive voice of Allen Ginsberg on vocals. Seriously. (I know you can’t hear the vocals but I was once a deejay in Rothesay and you don’t lose it, do you?). A slightly different song about Paris and the 1873 Commune which is where my son and his girlfriend are just back from. (No. Not the Commune. It finished a long time ago. 1873. The same year it started)

No. B & K are just back from a cultural trip to gay Paree, as it were, highly recommended, seeing all the sights which is why I now have a replica of Johnny Depp’s pirate ship from Pirates of the Deep as sold in Disneyland, Paris. But, hey, I like it. And the bar code told me so much as well. But your car, Brian, your car is good.

What is the ESP Off button and why can’t I press it? It’s obviously not Extra Sensory Perception or I’d know, wouldn’t I?

It’s a culture thing.

I recently read a learned treatise which had Ginsberg on the same pages as Burroughs and Kerouac but no mention of Ken Kesey.

Dennis, I’m sure you’d agree. Would Michele Platini have made such a good job of handing out the Euro 2008 medals if your mate David Taylor hadn’t been beside him? Exactly. Where would Tom Wolfe have been without Kesey?

It’s a culture thing. (I think I’ve celebrated my birthday with one tomato juice too many. I’ve just totally lost myself, and I write this. And, by the way, thanks to those of you who sent cards. Many were seriously unexpected)

But my thanks to the very pleasant young lady from Glasgow University who recently phoned me to see if, as a graduate, would I be interested in making a donation towards, say, the Beatson Pebble Appeal? I explained my own cancer situation and suggested we miss out the middle man and just to send all the money straight to me. She laughed.

She then went on to ask me about how I’d used my own degree. Okay, maybe “unemployed recovering alcoholic with or without cancer” is not a career path I would recommend but she did listen. And I’m really pleased she is doing something on Saturday night, but the same thing for the next fifteen years? Wow.

Incidentally the date I am not mentioning to anyone, at all, ever, is later this month. There. I’ve said enough. I think the big thing for me is to realise is that lots of people go through these consultations/check ups on a regular basis. I just think I’ll be told to go back to the large injections. But hey, is size important? (Sorry, Laura F, but you’ve become a superstition. I see you as my rabbit’s foot…Sorry, too much tabasco, definitely)

However, Number 1 son and I are just back from a wee trip to Troon, where the lovely Laurie treated us to a splendid lunch in a pub which I shall keep secret, so I’ll just call it “The Penny Black”. No clues there then.

Seriously good Thai food, and lots of it, served by the brilliant Pom, who kept bringing food over, but to be honest, L, I don’t think Sid had ever been anywhere near Thailand. But Troon is something else. More hairdressers per square mile than any bouffanted Bertie could hope to see in a million years.

Ta, Laurie, and sorry not to meet your man, Steel Balls, as I believe he’s known locally. C’mon. He plays petanque, okay!

C, your mate Donald Trump would be spoiled for choice. All that barberianism (clever, eh?) and all the sand he could shake a wedge at. (Political satire at its best, just in case)

It’s a culture thing. 

J’espere que, C, tu as trouve your “what”? That was way over my lingua franca head. But if my dictionary is correct, it’s not something you can do without.

Oh, and on the “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” front, check out BBC Radio Scotland’s “Days Like This” site, folks. See. It’s all so innocent.

My love affair with Rock Radio continues, especially the five word weather forecast. Today’s? “It’s still crappy out there.” It’s so much better than Carol K’s “sunshine and showers”, albeit unwittingly. 

This time last year I was on a ship cruising around the Inner Hebrides and I was talking to the captain and he said “Carol Kirkwood gives good weather.” I have tried every variation of rhyming slang and I still don’t get it. 

It’s a culture thing. Like I get mixed views from people when I ask, should I start playing Guitar Hero? Should I? Or should I take on board the fact that the reason my e-mail may be slow is that there are 1300 entries in my “Sent items”, most of which are subject headings like “tonight’s blog” or “this is funny”.

And my preparations for B’s graduation continue apace. I put a jacket and shirt into a shop called The Sewing Box on the Maryhill Road. £3.50 to get three buttons sewn on. I think I get a single man’s discount. Is it so obvious?

If you’re looking for the shop, it’s in the telephone directory, there, the entry just above Sexaholics Anonymous. Seriously. Check it out. It’s an interesting position.

Moving on, but staying with the thief of Bad Gags. If I ran an alteration shop, would I call it, Sew Far, Sew Good?

It’s a culture thing.

Finally, for a man of my age (young, mid forties, particularly once I get my new specs), I’ve had good pressies, but the best pressy of all is now in my grubby paws. I have the ticket for B’s graduation. It’s at times like this you are really grateful for the likes of Iron Man, Spiderman and the greatest of them all, the Torrance One – the Vampire Slayer.

Knowing these people exist, guarding that ticket, means I can sleep at  night……in my dreams.