Archive for September, 2008

I don’t say that I blame her People don’t know what they want If you spend your life looking behind you You don’t see what’s up front Was there anything I could do?

September 27, 2008

Wise words there from the Go-Betweens, from a few years back, and guitarist, Robert Forster, was in town at Oran Mor last week. Looking back, I should have gone. I didn’t.

Musically speaking can I, by the way, say thanks to Heather C and Missie K for all your suggestions for new albums recently? That autofill thing on my Rainforest River Account is just so easy to use. And I did buy the new Kings Of Leon album, but the lyrics I’d like to use, I’ll leave just now, just in case……

I’m trying, as regular recipients of my e-mails and funnies over the last six months will testify. Thanks guys, and thanks for the patience, and thanks to those who send in the funnies. Keep ’em coming. All contributions welcome.

Ah, the power of hindsight. Now what coping mechanisms have made this week better? Actually a goodly number.

I started the week off with Doctor Fiona who’s planning to run a marathon, and thinks I should see a dietician? Now this, no doubt, will come as a surprise to anyone who has ever seen me massacre half a Rennie Mackintosh BLT, or my shopping list which once began with breadsticks and taramasalata, albeit unwittingly. Hey, I needed a second course, okay?

And, L frae Troon, I did okay with that fish finger sandwich the other lunchtime, didn’t I? I’d never had one of those sober before.

And that same Monday night, I went to a “Managing the Stress of Prostate Cancer” presentation given by a prominent lady psychologist (who for professional reasons and to protect her identity we’ll call Clr+1. No. No obvious reason) at the City Halls here in Glasgow and very good she was too. Mind you, a good looking woman and a room full of men with prostate problems? Even Johnny Cash at San Quentin would have been envious.

And maybe, just maybe, and only hypothetically, I might just have had a private word with Clr+1 down at Maggie’s Farm, over a period of an hour or so, but it was worth it to come away with the image of making sure I didn’t trip over a broken stool leg, unless it was being held up by a worry balloon. One helluva coping mechanism, but so far, so good,

Like your first few days at Uny I suppose. Unless you’re a theology student late for your first ever tutorial, and your only reason is a dead body on the line. Nice chatting to you, Mr Cathcart. It made my Monday. Hope it did the same for your new tutor.

Wednesday night saw me at the football at Firhill and there’s a rumour I had an actual ten second conversation with son Brian. I did leave a phone message with your mum a few days earlier but you know what mums are like with these things.

He, I, Stevie Boy and the Rainforest Riverman (in London) spent most of the pre-game against Rangers texting each other about where we were sitting, except for the Riverman, who was relaxing in his tree-house lounge, and I would like to say serious thanks to my gd frnd Clr (srprs, srprs) who first introduced me to the joy of txt, (that gag’s in the blogging contract, okay, and you should see the bit I deleted!), and a gentleman always pays for the taxis. (I’ve now deleted that bit as well)

I’d like to introduce you, C, to my mate, J-P, who curates at the Art Galleries (how’s your mum and Laura F, by the way, C ?) and he needs 2 lrn 2 txt. That’s J-P, who phoned (!) me from the other side of the Jackie Husband stand five minutes after the game started. Would someone please have a word with him or he’ll never reach forty?

And what can I say about those Rangers fans? Why did they leave when they’re winning? We’re losing and we’re the ones singing, “Cheerio, cheerio”. But why did they sing the chorus of the Famine Song at us?

We’re Partick Thistle fans. We eat at the Ubiquitous Chip (now that would be a really good call. Seriously. I’d like that) and we drink Rhubarb vodka with champagne (Well, not me obviously) but I did see it advertised in a Byres Road shop. Why did you come to mind at that point, Torrance One?

But I loved the Herald’s description of the public address announcements at the game as “Carry On in the Co-op Cup, with more banter than a Chewin’ the Fat box set.”  Ah, the fingers that brings to mind. Sorry. I was tomato juicing all lunchtime today. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

And I did a guest PR workshop at a college, which shall remain nameless, in the Commerc(e)ial Centre of Glasgow. Well I would have done, except the Great Gods of the Fire Alarm intervened, but if any student did manage to devise a good “Man looks for Woman” type ad, then I will run it in an appropriate magazine.

Yes. For once in my academic life, I digressed from the brief. But, yes, I will let you all know how I get on. How’s that for an opening line on a first date? “No. I didn’t write it, I got some students who’d never met me before…….”

Actually, those of you who do know me, also please feel free. Everything considered.

And if the High Horse Level Committee don’t mind, then I’d like to say thanks to Jacquie and Michelle from that College, and it would be nice to meet you again. Professionally speaking, Parfery-person, professionally speaking….that’s all.

I also noticed Gordon Brown (you know him, Sarah’s man. Hasn’t he lost weight? She not feeding him properly?) gave out advice to students in the seventies including this nugget, “Your best chances of crashing a party are with a carry-out (“cairry-oot”). A bag of empty cans, weighted down with bricks often works.”

Not in Chancellor Street, Partick, it didn’t, Gordon. Want to see the scars? Happy daze, student daze. We were poor but we were miserable. We had to sleep two to a bed.

And finally, can I, just, maybe, say something nice about that idiot illusionist, David Blaine? I read one tabloid columnist who complained that “he wasn’t doing it for a good cause or raising money for charity, he just wanted his name in the headlines.” On behalf of straightforward attention seekers, everywhere, I salute you David Blaine.

Ah, the power of hindsight. It’s what makes me such a “know-it-all bastard”…… it says here.


Johnt850…..or somthing (sic)……

Are you waiting for the hour When you can screw me? Cos you’re big enough to do the Wall Street Shuffle Let your money hustle Bet you’d sell your mother You can buy another

September 20, 2008

Except you can’t, can you?. But in the week when capitalism almost imploded, some very apposite lyrics from 10cc although I always preferred their more amorous American equivalent, The Loving Spoonful, but some people might prefer Marvel. It’s a Google thing. Check it out and good researching, mes amis.

But more of the week’s financial shenanininagans (sp) later.

Other things have been happening. I’ve spent a day or two rubbing shoulders with the freshers at Glasgow University and very pleasant it’s been as well. I well remember my own days at that age and the wise words of the very old and very sage Dennis who told me; “Drink white wine. It doesn’t colour your vomit.” And I am now a student at said institution.

But worry not, Parfery person, I don’t think you and I will be bumping into each other. (Rubbing shoulders would be nice, though) I’ve signed up for a evening course in autobiography writing so I can learn how to write this blook that I’m now 20,000 words into. Only 80,000 to go.

And words are so important. I read a recent billing in the Radio Times for one of those D-I-Y programmes talking about working on the home of Cathy “whose partner died in a freak accident”. I hate those programmes. I did watch it. I am keeping it to myself. It was so freaky.

And can I mention to one of the members of the copy tasting team, whom we’ll call C to protect her identity (as in C for Claire), that I accept all responsibility for typos but I note the very wise words of Professor Brian Cathcart of Kingston University who said “even the best writers make a mistake in spelling, grammar, style or content at least every 500 words.” One typo in 40,000 words of bogging ain’t bad, is it? So far, so good.

I just hope my new friends at the Society of Proofreaders and Editors didn’t read that although I’m not sure if they actually read blogs like this. Possibly Days Like This and there’s still time to submit entries. Check out plus some new creative writing material there as well.

Interesting hearing Ian Rankin on the radio this morning talking about how he kept all his rejection slips and how his latest novel was based on a screenplay he never ever sold, but turned into a weekly story and thence into a novel. Even more interesting was hearing some of the albums he was about to go and buy after the interview was over. Wow, the lyrics I could plunder but watch out for Elbow coming soon to a Jools Holland programme near you (ta for the heads up, Missie K, and make sure you watch, L frae Troon)

And down at Maggie’s Farm we’d a really good session discussing the cancer rather than last night’s football results. There is so much experience in these guys, some of whom got the All Clear years ago yet still feel the need to come along and drop in. We’ve got a night out next week at the City Halls, listening to a psychologist called Claire (different one) talking about the stress of coping with prostate cancer. Real people talking. It’s great. 

And the 74 year old on Viagra from the Glasgow Royal may be an urban myth but in twenty years time I’d like to be that urban myth.

Although I did notice that Tayside health people have set up a virtual clinic for people wanting more information about  the follow up to prostate cancer treatment but I couldn’t get the website to work. I’ll keep trying and will keep you posted…just in case.

And I did watch Living with Jade Goody…on the Living channel. Ah, now the title makes sense. All I can say is that programme, and all the publishing deals she’s had in magazines in the last few weeks, make it harder and harder to feel sympathy for her. But I still do but, hey, what do I know and I’m not even a window cleaner?

Well, I know enough to pick up a free t-shirt at Firhill given out by some very nice looking young women, courtesy of the Sun newspaper, in a marketing ploy pioneered some time ago by some incredibly good looking young women who became known as the Condom Girls, my Mates. I’ve still to write that chapter in the book but it may become a standard text should I ever become a marketing guru.

Oh, and Thistle play Rangers this week. It’s on TV and I’m slightly concerned that one of the people I go to games with wrote in his newspaper today, that should the Jags go 3-0 up with ten minutes to go he will be dancing “a crazed homoerotic victory jig in his pink and grey top”. I’ll be the embarrassed one with my head in my hands two seats along from him.

See television listings are like blogs. You write things not expecting people to get back to you, but they do, albeit unwittingly. Spell it out or park it, I always say. No. It’s not really me, is it, but I’ll give it a go. 

So if I’d been down at Night of the Tiger at the Arches (maybe, maybe not ladies), what animal would I have been? Maybe a Ring Tailed Lemur? I’ll watch the I Saw You column in The List with interest.

But before I go can I say a big thank you to the kiosk person at ASDA who had problems with a wrinkled ten pound note of mine and blamed the wee “curners”. Our eyes met and we laughed. Isn’t that a lovely word? So the next time kiosk people, and everyone else dealing with the public, find a very annoying customer very annoying, just look at them and think, “You’re a really annoying wee curner”. Guaranteed to work and put a smile on your face.

And finally, I don’t do political comment but if I did….I’d leave it to these people;

The amazing Tom Wolfe (1988) talking about the financial world; “It took big, sophisticated investors to understand it. You had to have talent…genius…mastery of the universe”

An unnamed BBC reporter watching the poor (sic) people walking out of Lehmann Brothers; “You can’t be a master of the universe when all your possessions are in a cardboard box.”

Me; “Doesn’t stop you becoming a literary master of the universe and I know a lot, before you ask.”


Johnt850, of what some in the Doublet Bar now call the Johnzo school of writing

We’ve seen some change But we’re still outsiders If everybody’s here then hell knows we ride alone

September 13, 2008

Franz Ferdinand there and a very uncoded message of thanks to my literary top team of two, except it’s me who’s hit Writer’s Block at 15,000 feet, eh, words. So far, so good. Ach, no doubt they’ll be out there doing valuable research. Let me know if I enjoyed myself. Oh, and did I have a celery stick in my tomato juice?

I was going to feature Nickelback (Rock Star) but I thought the lyric, “Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial” might put people off buying a three piece suite. Hang on, my phone’s ringing. “No. He’s on the other line.”

I was going to play Iron Maiden as a tribute to ace pilot and vocalist Bruce Dickinson who not only flew stranded passengers out of Egypt but bought them lunch as well. I just couldn’t find an Iron Maiden lyric I would let my servants read.

Do guitar heroes just read the licks and not the lyrics? Mmm. Let me know. My fascination continues.

So let me start by wishing good luck to all those former journalism students starting university this week or very soon. Enjoy. It should be fun and not a grind. (Okay I’ve used that line elsewhere this week, but I’m doing a lot of writing, okay? Recycling’s good. I’ve done it before.)

So, first rule of journalism….if you receive a fax or e-mail obviously not intended for you, read it anyway. Ignore the bit at the bottom which tells you not to. No. No reason. To err is human; to really muck things up you need a computer. Just thought I’d mention it as a hypothetical possibility.

It’s like getting a cheque for a lot of money made out to you but you don’t really know why you have it. Bank it. Ask questions once you’re earning interest.

And so, to my usual round up of me and my “cancergitis” as it was called this week. No. This student didn’t make it to university but she is following another calling. Good luck, Blair, and may your God go with you.

Maggie’s Farm’s going okay and I’m getting to know the folks. Some of them are part of another group based on the South Side of Glasgow, so I’m hoping to get involved in the network. But I was interested to read in a Glasgow freesheet the views of the staff of Maggie’s Farm on what celebrity they would like to visit them. Me, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth or Clark Gable? Okay. I lied. Clark Gable’s dead. Mmmm, the phone’s gone quiet.

In all seriousness, quite a few of the guys are like me. We’ve had the All Clear, but still we worry. I know. Me worry? The very idea. And we were all in fear of the large hormone filled needle. I wonder how Laura F’s doing anyway? Long time, no hear.

And workwise? It looks as if I’m doing auditions and closing nights again, although I do plan to launch myself on the great British public as a freelance poorf raeder, but I’m not sure if I’m reddy for it, yet. No. No raisin.

Next first rule of journalism…do your research before talking to people. But to have a full DVD library, my gd frnd Clr, already logged just in case, was beyond the call. Was it on purpose or purpoise? I thought they were all Carry On movies anyway. Nice one. (Time) Coded.

Ah such pointless jollity at a time when we only just avoided getting sucked into a black hole. (Not quite an Iron Maiden lyric but close). I was at this point going to quote the words of Keeley, 21 from Bromley, on the matter (physics gag there) as featured in Wednesday’s Scottish Sun but when I checked a cuttings service I use, I discovered that people in England got her views on Victoria Beckham’s new hairdo instead, albeit unwittingly. No. Seriously.

And I was so looking forward to using the line, “Phwoar! What a set of Encyclopaedia Brittanicas!” Now I can’t. Carry On Round the Reading Room, I think that came from.

But how powerful was the LHC I wondered. So I contacted a scientist at CERN and asked him. His reply? “I wondered that as well, so I stood in front of the accelerator…… and then it hit me.” Kerrching. I’m here all week.

Apparently there was even a rap video that made it onto YouTube, including the lyric, “to drop some particle physics in da club”. No. I’ll never use it. Plenty of reason.

Final first rule of journalism….if you’re writing a restaurant review for any newspaper, even a Glasgow freesheet, do not use the phrase “passed over the dessert”. All it needs is a sub-editor with a grudge, doesn’t it, Kevin C? Encrypted.

And delighted to see the band Elbow do so well at the Mercury awards. Just a shame the track played was the catchily entitled, “The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver”, and not my own particular favourite from the same album, “Grounds For Divorce”. No. No reason. Should there be?

Missie K’s next big tip? Pooch. You get me an appropriate lyric, Missie K, and I’ll use it as long as it’s not doggerel. (Sorry. It’s been that kind of a week.)

Next final first rule of journalism….avoid commenting on the new leader of the Labour Party in Scotland. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. Who cares? Cathy does. I didn’t sign up all those years ago to storm the barricades just to bring free insulation to the masses. Vote Yulia Tymeshenko. Where are the independent socialists now when you need them? 

And to whom it may concern, I accept that daddy may be providing. All I’ll say is that if you get any other offers, you should book them. It’s your call. Password only.

No, not you son Brian. You’re providing for daddy in the years ahead, but a slightly belated Happy Birthday to you, anyway. Hey, having a blog has its uses.

I know you’re not working at IKEA but that you’re on the Greek island of ICAS. It’s a student accountant gag. There aren’t that many of them. Student accountant gags that is.

And to anyone cable carring this weekend over the Catalan capital’s harbour. Lucky barcas. Obvious envy.



“It’s a small price to pay”. No. No reason. I just found it in my notes. It’s this week. It’s been a bit of a carry on, one way or another.

What if I say I’m not like the others? What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays? You’re the pretender What if I say I’ll never surrender?

September 6, 2008

Coded or uncoded? You decide. That was The Foo Fighters and, yes, it was to have been the Kaiser Chiefs with “Ruby” in tribute to current alcohol mentor Stevie Boy’s three year old daughter who joined us for the “twisted karaoke in the aniseed lounge”, aka the Scotland game in the Lansdowne, Great Western Road (And, yes, that was a quote from top band Elbow, but the best British band ever, Heather? I think not).

Great burgers, rubbish game and tomato juice in pints. Well, one out of three ain’t bad. And J-P S, you had no chance with that waitress.

And why the Foo Fighters? Well, people tell me that I’m paying too much for cable, especially as I am XL (hope, aspiration or pleasant memory?). I’ve been playing about with the red button and coming across some music videos. In amongst Danni Minogue x 12 and Christina Aguilera x 12 I found Aerosmith x 2 and Foo Fighters x 2. And would you believe, any part-time librarians out there in the East End of Glasgow, they file Ian Brown under “I” and not “B”?

Guitar Heroes, if you can play The Pretender, use a whammy bar, a wah wah pedal, set fire to your axe and then smash it against a speaker, I would happily pay to see that. Or buy lunch. I’m easy. “Stranger things have happened”. (It’s a track off the same album).

Yes. Let’s speak about me for a moment. I’ve started looking for work, which in itself is a novel experience because I’ve never done that before. Any work I’ve done previously I’ve picked up or I’ve been informally approached, but all ideas are welcome. Aren’t Sits Vacs pages interesting, but in a depressing kinda way?

The book, (with top team of one assisting) has reached 10,000 words, but I read today a quote from the great Truman Capote who said of Jack Kerouac (who was not as good as Ken Kesey anyway), “That’s not writing, that’s typing”, as Kerouac created On The Road.  Aye, but did Capote blog? I think not. So, so far, so good.

And on the cancer front? According to the latest research published in a best selling tabloid, tall men are more likely to get prostate cancer, except it doesn’t go on to say, than what? It made me think, but not for long. The cancer could be a gene thing. Regular blood tests are good. As Danii says in the X-Factor, “One hundred per cent, yes”. Get it checked.

Maggie’s Farm was quite quiet this week, but it is a drop-in centre, and, also, my own health centre has, this week, sent off certain samples of mine to a lab. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

“Pretty straightforward….but, hey, just in case”, Doctor Fiona said, but that’s what they said exactly a year ago, and a year before that, but I’m not worried, cos I don’t worry, do I? Do I? Where’s that plastic stirrer?

Of course one of the reasons I’m not worried is that we’re all going to be sucked into a black hole in Switzerland on Wednesday morning following an experiment to discover how the Universe began. But if we’re all caught up in a tiny black hole who’s going to know? Who’s going to care? (Unless of course you’re reading this later in the week).

George Burley, don’t even bother picking a team. I think even Kerry Katona’s Iceland now stands a chance against us. Just put your faith in the atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider to get you out of trouble. It works every time for me. Well, not really.

By the way did you know that your assistant manager, Terry Butcher, once played two games for Clydebank? Eh, I’m not too sure about the grammar and syntax in that sentence but you get my drift.

Don’t worry. Dan Brown has it sussed. The author of The Da Vinci Code has already written about this. A university professor will save us. The book’s called Angels and Demons.

Y’see I’m a blogger. I believe in conspiracy theories. Seriously. I know no hi-jacked plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11 and WTC7 was brought down in a controlled explosion, albeit and most definitely wittingly.

And I know from cyberspace contacts that a punk called Young Trigg scrubbed Sarah Palin’s Wikipedia site the day before she was nominated. (Blogmeister, I’ll put you in touch with people like Dennis who might not understand that sentence.) Sarah Palin? Sharia’s Plan more like. And whilst I’m in typical blogging mood….pit bulls wear lip gloss. It’s a Republican Convention reference.

And my gd frnd Clr, whilst I agree with you that good spelling is “pivetal” (sic) to good communication, I was referring last week to Barrak McGlumpher Obama of Luggiesbank, and not to the Barack Hussein Obama who on his very own Facebook page admits he was educated in a muslim madrass. (Anybody want to do the elbow/madrass gag?)

Oh to be in the Ukraine where the Prime Minister is the fragrant Yulia Tymoshenko. This is not a gag. She does exist. I really did find her website (and I did the obvious website gag earlier. I wanted it out of the way before I mentioned Yulia.) She is standing against Viktor Yanukovych in the 2009 presidential elections. Vote early, vote often as we used to do in University days. 

Vampire Slayer, I’ve said, in the past how much white suits you but compared with Yulia? I’m sorry, really, really sorry. Yulia wears her hair in braids you know, she has views on tractor production, and she has her own perfume. Mr Rainforest Riverman, are you selling it yet?

Sorry. You’ll need to excuse me a minute.

That’s better. Cold showers are so Ukrainian, don’t you think?

And my thanks to those of you who asked after my garden following my reference to the Beechgrove Garden last week (Well, e did). Parfery person, you would not believe it. So, if you’re ever passing.

I’m tempted to open it to the public. Except according to the Evening Times this week, I really do live in one of Glasgow’s most deprived areas. Mmmmm. I’ll maybe not bother.

I would have watched the programme again this week, but the Herald programme listing said that Carole Baxter would be sampling “her chocolate border”. I just left her to it. People are entitled to their privacy, I now realise.

And finally, I note with interest that Channel 4 are ignoring the particle accelerator experiment and concentrating on 9/11 programmes. Their choice of movie viewing on Satyrday* night? “Volcano” followed by “The Abyss”. Sleep well!



*Not a spelling or a typo. Just a strange dream I’ve been having recently. I’ll let you know how it ends, if we’re spared.