Archive for October, 2008

Sick at heart and lonely, deep in dark despair, Thinking one thought only, where is she, tell me where……I’ve gotta heart full of soul.

October 25, 2008

Absolutely not a single coded, or uncoded, message there from the Yardbirds. Seriously. Instead a realistic attempt to be my age for which I give credit to the Jung Wan down at Maggie’s Farm but, hey, I’m willing to give it a go. It’s a point of view.

So in a blog which has given lots of coverage to guitar heroes over the last six months, including Steve Tyler of Aerosmith, Liv’s dad, we pay homage not to Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, but to the grand daddy of them all, Jeff Beck, who taught them both.

We’ve also blog featured The Infadels, Elbow, The Delays and Supergrass amongst others, but whilst previously admitting I preferred Billy J Kramer to the Beatles, I also preferred the Yardbirds to the Rolling Stones.

And, to be honest, my hairstyle is still based on vocalist Keith Relf. Hey, I was ten years old at the time, okay? Check out Heart Full of Soul on YouTube. It’s in something we used to call black and white, and guitar heroes, keep the cursor hand over Beck’s stratocaster, and dream.

That’s why I chose that track. That, and the reverb. Ask the Jung Wan.

Meanwhile back in 2008, albeit unwittingly, maybe.

Well done to my new friends down at Maggie’s who did so well in an incredibly wet Life Walk around the streets of Glasgow’s West End. No. I didn’t spledge anyone. Cancer Research UK seems to get every penny Works and Pensions gives me these days. No. I don’t grudge it. I don’t eat anyway.

No. All I did was stand outside in the pouring rain and hug wet women. They seemed grateful. And so, without going down that particular road any more than I need to, I would just like to say how grateful the staff and volunteers at Maggie’s were, as well, for everyone’s efforts. Oh, and I also shook a few manly hands.

Incidentally, before I see the dietician (and thanks Doctor Fiona for those thirty minutes the other day. I’m not so sure your ten past three, your twenty past three and your half past three were that impressed, but I certainly was) does a Special K chocolate chip bar count as a breakfast? 

Elsewhere my University writing tutor gave a new meaning to Hamlet, when she told us the colonial version beginning with, “Not everything is kosher here in the state of Denmark”. Mmmmmm.

I’m told that making speech mistakes in the States these days is known as a palin-drome. Figures of speech gags? They’re almost as funny as accountants’ gags.

But it’s good to see former students doing well. Step forward Gary, the punter’s pal, and well done for a full page in a national tabloid. But you were right. Most of the games you predicted were called off. We now may never know and you’ve not given me a horse for a while, by the way.

And former students amongst you may remember that, as we approach Remembrance Day, I used to set an exercise based on my mum’s experience of World War Two whilst she was growing up in Springburn (three years ago this week……thanks for asking). Well, Lorraine Kelly, as you know not my most favourite of columnists, helped launch this Year’s Appeal. Except two days before, I saw MPs wearing poppies in the House. Do they have a bootleg supplier? I think we should be told.

Also, a wee while ago, I asked Max Clifford if he might do something for some Met students (initial approach from one prostate to another, as it were). In fact, I was still College employed at the time. Well he got back to me this week, on the same day that Kerry car crashed daytime TV. Now I know, high horse level committee, it’s a bit of name dropping, but he did pass on his best wishes. It’s the thought that counts.

And the answer was “no”. I just wish I could remember the question.

Incidentally, mention of the Strath One, as opposed to the Torrance One – the Vampire Slayer, from whom I’ve not heard from for a while, reminds me……for those of you studying new media who want to know what really good blogging can achieve in the world of journalism, check out the following link  http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200811/ (Why I Blog by Andrew Sullivan in the Atlantic magazine……just in case). It makes me feel really inadequate.

(All the erectile dysfunction gags were done a long time ago, and actually….., okay, but just saying it in italics can still make strong men clear a table for you)

Although I did notice one researcher say that it was a sign that you’d have a heart attack in three years’ time. I’ll just keep that October free, shall I?

Of course coming up is the week when I visit a business advice person in the legendary Wyndford Housing Scheme (stereotypes’r’us us but updates’r’good) and can I just say to those who question what my new trade is going to be, that I am not going to a certain flat on a certain floor at a certain number and even if I had been there before, I certainly wouldn’t remember. Mmmmm, not sure that paragraph will find its way into the final version when published.

And to my former best man, the Rainforest riverman, can I recommend this marvellous invention, the radio alarm clock? It means I can listen to your radio interviews at quarter to and quarter past six, and then fall back asleep. Not that your phone call on the phone downstairs wasn’t appreciated. I just couldn’t remember where it was. The phone that is, not downstairs.

Still, Long Tall Salli at that time of day makes the going easier even if the taxi had no idea where it was going. Sometimes, it’s the coming back that’s the hard bit. (I’ll maybe think about that as well before I hit the “publish” button. I’m not too sure about it)

And finally, Bryan Cooney of the Sunday Herald, himself diagnosed with prostate cancer, wrote last week of a recent interview he did with Eddie Thompson. He finished his piece, very personally ; “I have three-monthly check-ups and so far, so good. I got lucky, initially anyway”. I think, my gd frnd Clr and I would agree, that’s a good use of that phrase, often seen here.

cya

Johnt850 (and in keeping with my vow at the start of this woefully inadequate blog, in the week when Britannia High, and High School Musical 3 are launched on the world, I want you all to know I am that Kid from Fame. I am going to live for ever. It’s a point of view)

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I’m so sick and tired of feelin’ sick and tired. I’ve been wired every night of this week. My troubled mind just can’t find no comfort in sleep. I’m on the wrong side of town and I can’t come down. I got holes in my dancin shoes

October 18, 2008

Bad sign, folks. Just like the one I was born under. We haven’t heard from Alabama 3 for some time. It means I’m a wee bit down. For the last three years, for me, October has been the worstest month in the history of the entire planet and there’s still days to go. And it’s not going well.

Pfft. Sorry. Just had to get that out of my system along with everything else nasty that’s passed through it in those last three years. Yeugh. But, mind you, in some other respects, things aren’t going that badly.

Step forward the blogmeister, for example.

I was concerned when you told me about an inbox being “so full that anything over half a meg was being bounced back”. However, nothing stopped baby Abigail coming through at 7lbs 9 at 3 am the other day. Congrats to you, Janice, Layne and everyone else who had a hand in it, as it were. I look forward to the pix. Seriously. I’ll send them onto Jeanette, aka my conscience. She sends me pix like that as well.

And congrats, as well, to both my gd frnd Clr and Missie K who, as we know, finished second in the recent Cancer Research Race for Life. Well, they both got silver medals, anyway. Turns out you raised almost £1 million. Well, you and some others, albeit very willingly.

You might just have made that total tonight, updated. I’ve just had a very nice phone call from Cancer Research UK telling me how well you did, and would I like to…… some more? So, I did. It’s amazing how far my benefit stretches. I have a very flexible friend. Well done, again. Seriously. I just wish I’d seen you both that morning, C & G. It would have been well worth the money.

Eddie Thompson would have been proud of you. (You expected a mention, didn’t you, dear readers?). My friend Brian describes Eddie as “a genuine man and a very gracious host”. That’ll do for me. Brian buys his round.

I’m beginning to feel much better, already……just in case.

So, well done, to the latest music writer to come from the Hills of Montezuma – I mean the Halls of Glasgow Met. Emma J……a gig review in a national tabloid! Superb. Hey, all I ever did was to correct the odd slepping mistake.

And I did check out www.myspace.com/innerpartysystem to hear more and I might be about to buy my first ever dance album. Sorry, son Brian. Another good looking woman, another visit to Fopp, and another dent in your inheritance.

Hang on. I bought the pies today in our visit to Lochburn Park, Maryhill’s other Field of Dreams, or as the woman in the Social Club, described it, Ionesco’s Theatre of the Absurd. As Sam Beckett once said, “What do I know? I could tell you more about radishes.”

And I don’t really understand what you’re going to town for, son Brian, that costs thirty pounds an hour. Still if you need dropped off in Chinatown, you need dropped off in Chinatown. Sounds the sort of thing Bruce, your step dad, would enjoy.

But the usual finish to a junior football match; two sending offs at the end, including the big fat guy from Yoker, and please would someone tell me that I’m not the only one so old, ill and frail that saying, “Oh, look. A Japanese soldier’s just come out of that undergrowth,” warrants only a very strange look.

It reminded me of a game a few years ago at King George V Park in Bearsden (I don’t think new towns like Cumbernauld have these parks) when the referee attacked one of the players after the game was over. Bet you don’t get that at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, Mr Rainforest Riverman. Fingers crossed.

But, hey I’m getting there. Without giving too much away, Clr+1, aka “the Jung Wan”, down at Maggie’s Farm, may be close to finding the tunnel wherein my mind games have been playing recently. Still a wee bit away from finding the light, and maybe too late for all those people I’ve annoyed recently. So seriously sorry, guys, if that’s the case.

And I was asked recently if I’d burnt many bridges during my alcoholic year. Not a question, I’ve ever been asked in a garden centre before, and the two six year olds at the next table looked very interested in my response. “Possibly significantly more people, recently”, I replied. The kids returned to colouring in a daffodil, red.

Peace and Love, and I’ll sign anything.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time” was first used in a movie in 1931 when an American airman jumped into a bull ring and was gored to death. After it, his mates said…… No. No reason. Just seems appropriate.

Maybe I just like using ellipses. It was Emma J, after all, who told me that it was the correct name for six dots. So, thanks.

And another nice piece in another national tabloid from crime writer Reg McKay, writing about his wife’s All Clear from cancer. Nice to hear of someone else who gave their cancer a name and, I agree, the stomach injections look a lot worse than they actually are. (I’m being brave) 

Reminds me, how’s Laura F doing, C?

I’m feeling so much happier than I did at the start. So far, so good and even more peace and love.

So I didn’t mind it too much when I see a report in a newpaper extolling the virtues of both white, and red, wine, albeit in moderation, except, of course, I can’t have any. Ooops. However it was nice to see the virtues of jelly and jam being extolled because we all know that “it must be jelly cos jam don’t shake like that”, don’t we? I think it’s rude before you google it. (Well, actually, I know it is)

And finally, my biggest disappointment of the week? Not the fact that Joe the Plumber is actually called Sam, has never served an apprenticeship as a plumber and has never earned more than $40,000 dollars in one year.

No. It’s the fact that I mis-heard a presentation announcer on TV and switched on to watch “Twiggy’s Frog Exchange” only to find it was clothes they were swopping and not actual frogs.

Now how about something happy to put on the turntable. I know. How about Mansize Rooster by Supergrass? No. Surely not. Missie K? It couldn’t possibly be a song about…… (count them. There’s six).

cya, peace, love and bring on the wall.

Johnt850

Whiskey and green tea nearly killed me (at the KTV). I was found in a hutong haze Climbing up forbidden city walls, like a Bond Square bandit being chased by William Burroughs

October 11, 2008

Wow! Imagine having William Burroughs in your hallucination. That would be like having a dream come true, as it were. My own particular alcoholic hallucination, before I got carted off to the hospital, involved your bog standard Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse coming charging in through the front door but they did clean their hooves on the way in.

And my thanks to my gd frnd Clr who, in her seminal (I checked. It’s allowed. It’s good) academic treatise on “Literary Generations”, tells us that Burroughs was a heroin addict, a homosexual and had bad eyesight. 

Also Clr’s tome tells us that Burroughs wrote a number of books including “Junky” and “Queer”. Mmmm, I wonder what they were about.

Now, Ernest Hemingway, he was a real man’s man.

Can I also say thanks to Missie K for suggesting Supergrass for today’s lyrics and I’m sorry son Brian but Missie K and Heather C are encouraging me to spend your inheritance on CDs. And any other good looking women out there who’d like to help spend my money, it’s your call.

Slight literary theme there reflecting that I’ve joined a University writing class, with lots of really nice people, and that gives me access to the University Library which, a seriously sharp man who works there tells me, is open from seven in the morning until two the next morning! He’ll be telling me next it’s licensed (of no obvious interest to me) and has a reciprocity arrangement with the Arches for club nights. (Parfery-person, if anyone knows…)

Work-wise not the most productive of weeks. Feedback from the fire-alarm interrupted audition was that I wasn’t student-centred enough so can I pass on my apologies to all those students I’ve worked with over the last six years or so and obviously ignored, albeit unwittingly.

But on a more positive note, I have arranged to meet an expert on starting your own business to discuss setting up on my own. This expert’s office is in a high rise on the Wyndford estate, North Glasgow. Seriously.

Now those of you who know the Wyndford estate (Elaine) may wonder what kind of business I’m going into. Watch for the new e-mail address; Luckybags.com That’s all I’m saying.

Incidentally, a pal of mine called Thomson will have to devise a new business address cos, for some eejit reason, his e-mail address has a “p” in his surname, not the best ad for a potential proofer or editor.

My thanks to a very foxy lady (Hendrix song. It’s allowed) for telling me about her change of e-mail address and anybody else out there with new accounts (e-mail not bank), keep me posted. I’d also like to say thanks to new pal, Alison, for her ten point plan for my new career and can I say that if you want to buy only one book about Robert the Bruce, check out her catchily titled  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wee-Guide-Robert-Bruce-Guides/dp/189987402X/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223322868&sr=8-4

Incidentally, Hemingway married four times and had a son called Greg who changed his name to Gloria. Mmmmm…….

Cancergytiswise quite quiet. Me? Mood swings, but I think that’s been obvious to quite a few people. But Maggie’s Farm was quite interesting as we ended up discussing the Weathermen following the She-Bush’s revelation that Obama knew one of them. All very Bob Dylanesque and from an era when terrorist bombers tended to blow up each other rather than others.

And we did discuss a new 10 minute prostate cancer test, but why do even five paragraph reports have to devote two of them to how big a killer prostate cancer is? It’s okay. I know. I’ve written pieces like that as well. 

You’re right. I need to relax more. I have already ordered my copy of the dvd, “Zombie Strippers”, out next week.

And there’s also a few birthdays coming up soon (twenty-firsts and twenty-seconds), so I’ll take this opportunity……just in case. Happy birthday, appropriate friends and neighbours. Enjoy New York, Lauren.

And before Suspicious of Strathclyde starts worrying about my methods, a good memory is a basic journalistic tool – although it does help to find an old copy of a class register, about four weeks ago. Hey, I had it in case I needed to do updates. Updates’r’good, so far, so…..?

Okay let’s talk football, instead. I don’t like Ronnie Brown singing Flower of Scotland; did Charlie Nicholas really describe one of Scotland’s iconic players as a nation’s “taliban”; Iwelumo, after that miss, why don’t you go back to where you come from (Coatbridge, I believe); and to the tabloid letter writer who suggests that the person who scratched “Holly Goalie” on a Rangers player’s car was not necessarily a Celtic fan…how could we possibly have made that assumption? What were we thinking of?

By the way, the great Hunter S. Thompson (cf C’s “Literary Generations”) saw Hemingway as a mentor and guide. They both committed suicide in very similar ways. Mmmmm……I think I’m happier with last week’s Olde Worlde poets and even Franz Kafka’s scab.

You’re right. There’s a bit of writers’ block happening with the blook. It needs a wee bit of a push. But hang on. What’s this? Inspiration from Tony Blair’s old spinmeister Alastair Campbell, talking about his documentary on depression; “I’ve benefited from being open…as the openness of others (has) helped me.”

Throw in the importance of keeping it fun and that’s the reason for doing the blook, team.

Suddenly, I’m in the frame of mind to do a couple of thousand words after I’ve published this. I feel inspired again, project team, you’ll be terrified to hear.

So in that vein.

As many of you know, over the last six months or so, I have become very reliant on e-mail and have made so many mistakes in sending stuff, just cos it’s there. My favourite newspaper columnist, Alison Rowat of the Herald on a Saturday, (read her, journo students, she is just so good) has just published her e-mail etiquette guide. If only, Alison, you’d done this weeks ago, I might still have some friends.

Yes. I am Pavlov’s dog just waiting for that ping and, yes, signing off with a kiss….”is it a sign of matiness or a peck on the cyber cheek too far?” I have sweated blood over that one, even on occasions explaining why it’s there in the first place, and seeking guidance on the matter from my conscience aka Jeanette.

Part of the problem is that a lot of my correspondents are just a touch younger than me and I am often asked if I actually know anyone older than myself. There’s always my ex-wife, I suppose. She’s much older. 

Oh God, it’s her birthday soon. Thank goodness I remembered. Hang on. What would Hemingway have done? Married his nurse I suppose. Now there’s a thought. Mmmmm….. 

cya

Johnt850, for whom the bell tolls

xx (a wee bit tongue in cheek)

And after all this time How can you stand there Look at me and smile? Now are you just waving or drowning? It’s so hard to tell when you’re so far away

October 4, 2008

Almost the only words, there, of poetess Stevie Smith that any English student ever remembers, sung by the lovely Kirsty McColl.

And can I say thanks to pop-picker, Heather C, for your suggestions for extending my collection. It was raining today or else I’d have been down the ol’ Fopp shop buying them. I note what you say about the genius of Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip (Dennis, I have no idea what H is talking about) except to say……

This London electro duo are due to play Strathclyde Students’ Union this Thursday the 9th. Any Strath students out there, you can sign me in, any time. It’s always your call. So far, so good.

And “Thou Shalt Always Kill” might yet be a blog lyric, H, except for the Clash reference. But their X factor audition on YouTube is immense. Impressed or what? No. No reason.

I think this week’s blog might be a wee bit of a catch up. Updates’r’good. I like updates. Not so sure about sequels. After all, who remembers Tennyson’s Charge of the Heavy Brigade? Well, apart from me, that is?

So the first bit of catch up is that Noddy wasn’t at the Thistle game. He was at his final ante-natal class. His wife wasn’t at the game, either. No. I don’t know where she was.

And before you ask, I didn’t go to any classes at all and I turned out alright. But son Brian, to be going shopping on a Saturday afternoon instead of coming to the game? Obviously I blame your mum. She went to those classes. Possibly put ideas in her head.

And also Dave from the crew recently went hillwalking in the lake district wandering lonely through the Wordsworth route, apparently, but never saw any daffodils.

Hang on. What’s happened to the usual New Journo style of the blog? It’s being taken over by olde worlde poets. It’s metamor…eh, metamrophi…eh, it’s changing. Whatever happened to the courageous conversations now so popular, particularly at the BBC? Let’s go back to what this blog is supposed to be about.

Quiet down at Maggie’s farm, but pleasant enough. Didn’t meet Clr+1 but I do have this picture (of a broken bar stool leg) which keeps me going, but hang on, when did it metathing into a bar stool? Mmm.

And to the wee girl at the game who asked me about the blue man cancer badge I wear? (It’s okay. She was with one of us). All I could do was explain that I’d been ill and was a lot better. She then spat our her pie and went to the toilet with her dad.

And to my gd frnd Clr, one of my small but faithful team of blook copytasters. (27,000 words since you ask and some of them quite good). I note your comments about reading the most recent versions, but maybe just read the most recent one. It’s always the latest update. Pffft.

Sorry, C, I’m being cheeky. All three of you…your efforts are seriously appreciated. Yes, folks, I’ve reached one of the most embarrassing bits in the book so far and now three more people know a part of my life that I thought would always be undisclosed. It happened just the once, okay? Your silence is seriously appreciated…just in case.

Education for the masses. It’ll never catch on. When I went to the Uny, I was one of the top three per cent in the country. No. I don’t know what happened to the other ninety six per cent.

And, whilst I’m in a cheeky mood, nice to see the latest group of Second Year student journalists at the Scottish Parliament, exactly one year to the day after my first visit there. Nice to be updated there by Kevin C, “the man who replaced me at my desk, but not in the students’ hearts.” No. Seriously. That is a real quote. I used it in an e-mail I sent to Kevin on Friday afternoon, albeit unwittingly.

You’re right, Kevin. I was frightened “the Spaniards were going to give me the bum’s rush for being a one-legged jakey”, but what is more frightening is that it took me three pages in the blook to say all that. You do it in one sentence. I’ll get the drinks in, shall I? Pass on my reagrds to Lisa B.

The reason I was at the Parliament? It was in connection with the Days Like This competition. Check out the website www.scottishbooktrust.com/ , look up the Days Like This bit, and check out the brilliant piece by some dude called John Thom(p)son, who is in no way related to the writer of this blog.

And a couple of updates on things I noticed in the newspapers; one, where a letter writer told us an easy way to remember how to spell appaloosa. I’ve never, ever in my life had to find the right word for a spotted horse, have you? No. I didn’t look it up just now in the dictionary, did you?

And my favourite tabloid columnist, the one who doesn’t write her column “for charity or a good cause”, but for money. Apparently she recently saw a documentary on the Treeman of Indonesia and had been wondering how he was doing?

Global capitalism is imploding (hurrah!) and she’s hinging oot a windae on the seventeenth floor of Cumbernauld asking, “Has anyone seen the Treeman? How’s he doing?” How kafkaesque is that?

Yes. It’s jealousy. I have latent talent (spot the anagram).

And I walked past the Kelvin Hall recently – it’s close to Maggie’s farm – and I saw all these young international acrobatic gymnasts going in and what really impressed me were their coaches, the men and women they look up to. They were all standing outside having a last and final draw at their cigarettes, especially the Ukranians. I almost texted Yulia Tymeschenko there and then, but she never returns my calls.

And finally, this blogger’s dilemna. I was told today about a sex scandal involving an SPL player which was pulled from a Sunday tabloid last week. Possibly a wee bit more than terracing gossip, cos there’s a legal “hands off” doing the rounds. Unfortunately this blog, altho’ published Saturday for Sunday, quite often doesn’t get read until Monday morning by which time…..You could always e-mail me. It’s still cyberspace.

So, as they say down the Bradford and Bungley; Fixed. Done. Sorted. We certainly have been!

cya

Johnt850