Archive for February, 2009

Gimme a call You’ve got a phone Why don’t you turn it on cos I need to hear from you Do you know why?

February 28, 2009

An open ended question there from a singer and a song suggested by top music journo, Emma J (four bylines in three days!!!!! How good is that?) and for those of you who didn’t instantly recognise him, it was 19 year old Tommy Reilly, winner of the Orange unsignedAct 2009 with Gimme A Call, and he’s playing in Glasgow this week. Wonder what he‘ll look like in thirty years time, eh, Em?

Apparently, Vampire Slayer, he’s from Torrance. And bytheway, coming from my side of the Balmore Road, I still reckon the council dump is closer to you than to me.

But this is an amazingly important weekend for me in terms of dates. The blogmeister’s wee boy, whom we’ll call Small Path to protect his privacy, is two years old. And blogmeister, thanks for all your recent suggestions. Maybe I should be thinking launch party as well. Erik the Floodstalker, let’s talk. Why a party, Johnt850? I’ll reveal all later. But Happy Birthday Small Path.

No, it was exactly one year ago to the day when I had my leaving of the college where I taught (it’s a fairly loose word to describe my techniques) and many plans were made in Room 311, including the fabulously successful sticky toffee pudding night with four gorgeous young women (No. No innuendo. Too much respect) and many other plans were made and discussed. So far, so good (ish)…one or two still to happen, but I still dream.

I still say some guys have all the luck, but as someone down the ASDA this morning said to me, “If you don’t knock at the door, you’ll never get invited in.” I have no idea what we were discussing.

And I loved the newspaper report talking of a major drugs deal taking place at “an ASDA store in Summerston”. Um, there is only one ASDA store in Summerston and their three item breakfast on a Saturday morning with toast and coffee is a bargain. The crack cocaine on the side gag has been omitted. Simon Mayo would probably apologise before you had a chance to laugh.    

But it’s a year that finished in the company of other former students of mine. Step forward Richard and Oonagh who were brave enuff to tolerate me as their companion at the amazing performance of Comedy del Piero et Cacciatoria at the Ramshorn. (Glasgow Uny student actors) And well done to Cathcart Minor. (Can I just say the thespian gag does not work with male actors?)

Nice meeting your mum (again?) and Oonagh, how many cults do you have on your mobile phone (it’s okay BBC Al, my good taste pal, I used spell check) And the performance of the night?

The blouse that retained that young lady’s bosom, but only just. Every male in the house……..What? You mean she spoke as well? Wow, that is multi-tasking.

But before I mention my big event of the week, (No. No connection…just in case), can I break last week’s rule and say one final thing about the blook. Son Brian had only been given some chapters to read before he wrote his own. I didn’t want to spoil the ending for him, but I will for you, dear listener. I live. My gd frnd Clr contributed the final word(s). Mmmmmm…..

No, see the bit where I talk about the funeral purvey (I used to know a girl called Purvee. She never understood why I gave her the nickname Co-op and I wonder how many of you out there will). I actually mistakenly place it in a totally different hotel from the one where it really took place. Given the nature of the context, saying I was very drunk later in the afternoon, makes me feel incredibly small.

So, I’ll move swiftly on.

And given that it’s confession time, I might as well mention that in the latest edition of I actually write a piece that ends up in praise of Margaret Thatcher. Whatever happened to the Independent Socialist in me, Rainforest Riverman?

We know what happened to you. I mean, what does it take to kindle your passions these day? Seven-nil and you’re still behind on goal difference?

No. My big news is that my business, The Word Process, is being quietly launched, like, even as we speak. It is totally separate from this blog and will be announced elsewhere but Friday was soooo exciting. Two hours spent discussing insurance, then approving business card artwork, answering Oonagh’s texts (I’m not a cult, listeners, okay?) and an ASDA lamb casserole for tea. It, I later noticed, had red wine sauce. I’m living close to the edge, maybe too close?

No. I got a reminder during the week of my true status in life, apart from being badly dressed, Caitlin, when someone unknown to you, the listeners, and not that well known to me, leant over at an event and said “You still off the bottle, then, John? Me too.” A big shock for soooo many reasons.

But I’ve got to make the business a success. I seem to have promised employment to a graduate trainee for some time in the future. It gives us both a target, Missie K, altho’ I would confirm that that door I was knocking on earlier, can be opened to other people. The latter part of that sentence makes sense if you read it upside down. 

And on the serious cancerly front, I’ve missed the last three Thistle games cos I’ve been training to be a volunteer speaker type person for the Prostate Cancer Charity. Still a long way to go, but the idea is that I and the others can help at stands, do talks and stuff and maybe help folk become a wee bit more aware of what’s involved with the cancer. It could be colleges or universities, master bakers or major broadcasters, rich or poor…sorry I’m getting carried away. There’s a few folk do it.

Y’see, it is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and in the middle of it I go for my next check up. My PSA levels (basic blood test) went up a bit last time (to be honest, if I’m looking for sympathy from good looking women, I say they actually quadrupled…….from 0.3 to 1.2, which is still well okay, but see if they go up again, then I might be looking for more sympathy.)

However, based on my training, I have a few questions to ask; like why did I originally get a test that no-one else seems to have got? I describe it in the blook, but either not adequately enuff or my gd frnd Clr is incredibly non-squeamish. After all she’s still talking to me one year on, as are so many people. It’s been an interesting twelve months. And I’m still here..sober and alive. Cool, eh?

I wonder if I know Tommy Reilly’s mum?



You Can’t Start A Fire, You Can’t Start A Fire Without A Spark, This Gun’s For Hire Even If We’re Just Dancin’ In The Dark

February 21, 2009

Bruce Springsteen there and members of the blook writing team might have expected Peace In The Valley by Alabama 3 to celebrate, ‘cos we finished writing the blook last week. I’ll explain the presence of The Boss in a second but, C, I’m sorry.  I didn’t expect that piece of music to take so long to be sent over, legally (educational purposes…it’s okay). However we got there. Thanks guys. 48,000 great words, if not necessarily in the right order.

The blook is now being sent to the publisher man and the agent who showed interest and I shall never mention it again…..just in case….unless.

And I think we’re close to getting the word “blook” recognised in the upper echelons of society.

And there is no narrative thread to this week’s blog. The blook took up most of the week, I made a real mess of being too clever last week, and I was at a black tie dinner last night and I woke up this morning with a hangover. No. No relapse. Did I just kinda absorb alcohol? Sorry Jaymi in Asda. I was just grumpy today. The answer’s “Not a Problem.” I only wish I could remember the question.

Actually if Danny Wallace hadn’t got in there first with the “Yes Man”, I’d have written the “No Problem Man” (except, of course, I have a problem). I could have sold it to Holywood, except the closest I’ll get is the fabulously new and exciting website What If it were successful?

But I used to drink. Clean for over two years now but it didn’t stop my taxi driver saying, “Haven’t seen you for some time, John. This you going out for a wee bevvy?” Shamefully, I said nothin’. If Summerston had cocks, they’d have crowed.

No. Dancin’ in the Dark is there for a reason. It was featured in the brilliant Limmy Show on BBC 2 earlier this week with the brilliant recovering smackhead and the phone call from Hell sketch. And we’ve all been there, haven’t we? No. What I mean is we’ve all made a phone call we later regret, but, hey, I know people from Priesthill. It’s okay.

No. It was brill for three reasons. It was produced by my mate Rab, it had a scene in Maryhill Juniors Social Club, where I want my post-cremation party (they need four weeks notice, Son Brian, but I’m working on it), and the prog featured ma scheme! Or at least where Barrisdale  Road used to be.

The News of the World exposed it a few years ago as a street full of drug dealers, so the Council knocked it down. Don’t know where the dealers moved to (he lied) but the local Community Council has no plans for a Homecoming, they tell me.

Incidentally the Anti Drugs message really hit home when I heard one anti-drugs campaigner talk of her earliest drugs experience; “I first took cocaine in the Groucho Club in London.” And that’s meant to put people off? There are some TV researchers for whom that’s a career aspiration. Which reminds me. Don’t forget about those Edinburgh International Television Festival applications. No. No connection.

Okay. Since you ask. They moved to the Wyndford. No. Not the ….oh, never mind.

I need to get out more and I’m working on it. My diary says “Oran Mor” (nice), “City Halls” (that’s fine) and “Comico Presents His Prestigiously Prestigious Commedia del’Arte Troupe”…so that’s okay…hang on….Comico what? This better be good, Cathcart minor. It sounds awfy arty farty and what do I wear? I need something that says “I am not the father of any student on stage (seriously). I am a former tutor who met a former student in Byres Road and foolishly said, “Sounds good. Yes. I’ll buy a ticket.” ” What if it’s in Italian? Is there a half time raffle? Did the adtrailer arrive okay, C? (I’m rubbish at copy and paste)

And am I safe out on my own? Well, Missie K might have an answer to that. She saw me in Queen Street Station the other day and came over to see if I was okay. Very kind it was too. However, can I just say that what Iwas holding was actually an empty espresso cup from Costa. But a pound coin is a pound coin is a pound coin. Next time we’ll just do the coffee.

It was almost very embarrassing. You know what it’s like when you’re wearing headphones and you’re obliviously singing a song without realising it. And you know that one from Buckcherry. Yes. That one. Well it wasn’t it. But it could have been very embarrassing. It was the other one.

And I’ve got the Doctor Who Exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Galleries pencilled in for March. I was talking to one of the curators involved during the week and he tells me they’ve painted the Exhibition Area black. He says, and I quote, “It makes the area look, like, really dark.” 

And if none of this makes any sense to you, dear listener, worry not. That makes three of us. So far, so good.

As much sense as Big Al, the BBC’s Top Taste Man (great gag last night btw….) who, when asking after some of this blog’s regular personnel, wondered why Caitlin did my ironing (I have manly needs) and was my gd frnd Clr the texty one… least I think that’s what he said?

And the corner shop must be doing well for the Rainforest Riverman cos he was invited to the Brits during the week. He sells a lot of top shelf magazines. “B & Q Stacking Systems”, for example (kerching!)

He sent me a cple of txts on the night and I have the answers here: “No. Charlie Nicholas is not the vocalist with U2. He just thinks he is.” and “James Corben is not a comedian. He just thinks he is.”

And finally, dear listener, on a serious cancerly note; a basic good luck to Jade and Jack.

Plus their spinmeister, Max Clifford, came through prostate cancer treatment a few months before I did. We’re coming up to Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so don’t just dust down last year’s blue man cancer badge. Buy a new one.

And any male members of your family fifty or over? Get them to get a simple PSA blood test once a year. It could save a life. Theirs. It’s not just an old man’s disease. I’m not an old man.

I’m handy. Try me.


Johnt850 (offering you more bang for your buck. Am I allowed to say that, Big Al?

Here’s the news from the BBC, Everyone including me, Is waiting for the chequ-ah For playing on the record

February 14, 2009

Inspirational words there from the legendary band Fangs. And those of you wondering why The Word Process website is not fully up and running yet, might be interested to know that my designer (!) is also a record producer and has been ‘in studio’ all week. Fang things come first. Check out

Those of you wondering what John used to look like should check out his appearance with the legendary bis performing Kandy Pop on Top of the Pops in 1996 (YouTube) and want to see what he looks like now?…same band eleven years on with the fabulous track Secret Vampires (also YouTube).

Now not only have I  just blown my chance of a discount but I sounded really weird there saying all that pop picker type stuff but no weirder than Nasty Nick Wichell suggesting viewers check out the Queen’s new website.

So, in the spirit of true investigative journalism (no sneaky journo tricks, C) Johnt850 arranged for the Rainforest Riverman to go along along the Mall and he smuggled out a secret report;

“…. little bits of smoked salmon on pin-heads of bread, some mini-sausages (McKellar Watts), warm scotch eggs with quails in them and then I resorted to the peanut bowls as Iwas still peckish”. Wot? You were so hungry you ate the bowls and not the peanuts. You can take the boy out of working class culture but……so far so good.

Actually many years ago he and I, drunkenly but normal drunkenly if you know what I mean, used the peanut bowls at a Hogmanay party to arrange where to meet the next day at an Old Firm game being played at Ibrox. No tickets, no jackets and no money, but we were young. We just got people to lift us over. We were twenty years old. Happy daze.

And it was him who double dared me to run with this gag. (Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be).

There’s been a lot in the papers recently about the demise of squirrels. It’s because we’re eating them. Have you tried Walkers’ new Cajun Squirrel crisps? Which was the question put to me recently by a really nice looking female market researcher. Well she certainly ticked all the right boxes as far as I was concerned. And did I have any suggestions for new flavours? Well, I said, I quite fancy the idea of some red hot spicy beaver. (Kerching!)

Was it worth it? Well let’s just say a charity will benefit from a decent donation once I’ve got its correct details. Cos correct details are soooooo important. Thanks, B.

My gd frnd Clr and I recently got lines crossed, y’see (not for the first time, eh…..albeit unwittingly but my fault, of crse) and I’ve given a couple of donations to a charity that she had mentioned, thinking that it was a small cancer related charity. I should have noticed that, in the literature they sent, the word cancer was never used, but no bell rang. Wow, what an advert for my research skills but does good work. Check it out.

Rock is dead. Long live scissors and paper.

And there’s a kinda website thread tonight/this morning/whenever cos I found the actual blog of Lindsay C, the Record’s Top Teen Angst Queen and left a calling card. (I’m not sure about that line…just in case…I’ll come back to it). I won’t be a regular visitor but it’s nice and fluffy and pink but more in a McFly way than an Aerosmith way. Guitar heroes know what I mean.

However, once again her top tip is so wise; “Yes, she is annoying but, most of the time, your mums know best.” Mumms, eh? I used to be good with ‘the mum’ but recently….. It was left to my old friend Ian G who pointed out the problem. It’s there in an old music hall song called the Oldest Swinger in Town (Dennis, Ian’s a man with your musical tastes). Only one line in the whole song applied…..but it sure hit home. C’est tout que je dis. La mere est le mot. : )

Aren’t the R ‘n’ B Sisters cool but in a hot kinda way? Yes. I know it’s gratuitous but they know too much. I just like to mention them now and again. The blogmeister understands.

Incidentally, Caitlin, I’ve good news. There’s money in the business bank account. Altho’ not officially launched, the business got some paying work in last week. To be honest, it’s slightly more regular than a Coronation Day salesperson, but is amazingly similar. 

I heard a wee woman in Byres Road the other day say, “Ye cannae keep track o’ all they holidays”. Well you can when I proof read calendars, but I worry that it might be too specialised. What do you think, dear listener? Sometimes I worry about going agony-flip. Hope that’s not rude. It’s a Skins reference. No. If I’m still on air after the beaver gag, I’ll be fine.

Mmmm…..wonder if the roses arrived safely………but how will I know? I’m like a coiled sponge.

On the prostate cancer front I was at a presentation today where I amazed the nurse doing the powerpoint. (C’mon. We did all those Clatty Pat lines during my sandblasting….and when I say “all those lines”……) My score on the Gleason Scale a year ago was 8.5 which, like, meant it was, like, ‘aggressive’ as in ‘not very nice, especially at my very young age where prostate cancer is concerned’ kinda way. It was the ‘point five’ that threw her. She’d never heard of that before. Maybe it stood for ‘very’, we decided.

I like Paris Hilton. I like people with the same surname as hotel chains. I used to go out with a girl called Betty Radisson. It was so relaxing. (I don’t think I got that quite right, did I?)

And finally, good news on the blook front. My really brilliant team of readers are considering and cogitating over the 3,500 words supplied by Son Brian as his contribution to the gloriously dark humour of a tale of death, disease and dependency. Reading his words really threw me. I mean all that money spent on his education and his spelling was carp.

And at this point, dear listeners, I was going to feign fake tears and pretend reading his contrib was all too much.  Dramatic effect and so on.

Em, this is no pretence. Sorry, guys. I’ve just kinda lost it there.  cya


It’s one thing to start it with a positive jam And it’s another thing to see it on through And we couldn’t have even done this, If it wasn’t for you

February 7, 2009

And I chose Stay Positive there from The Hold Steady for a very special person – me. Sorry. I was feeling a wee bit down, in the middle of the week, so I was going to do one of those introspective self-deprecation blogs that I hate reading. Indeed, even at one stage, Thursday I think it was, I found myself with a very strong image of a glass of whisky that didn’t go away for all of ten minutes. Highland Park since you ask. I could even taste it. In my imagination, I hasten to add. Mmmmmmm….Highland Park, 40 years old…..mmmmmm

But I’m fine now. So, what happened this week then, Johnt850?

Golly, wot a jam Carol Thatcher got herself into! Nobody, however, seems too bothered that she, apparently, called the tennis player a Frog as well.

Anyway this allows me to talk about BBC’s Nationwide again and my thanks to the Herald Diary for protecting my identity by mis-spelling my surname. (How can you mis-spell ‘t850’?) Having eulogised about the programme all of last week, can I now be honest and say I hated working on it.

I joined the prog at the same time as David Dimbleby. I broke two major UK stories from Scotland in my first few weeks and then we went to war with Argentina. I don’t think there was a connection. But it did mean they didn’t want anything from Scotland and I spent most of my time on the War Desk in London, which was really interesting and really exciting but I resigned after six months. The programme lasted barely a year after that. Big connection!!!!!!!

But it’s a week for honesty. (And I’m going to hate this bit). I’d like to apologise to my gd frnd Clr for suggesting last week that I was better at multi-tasking than her. I realised my mistake when my mobile went off and I answered my MP3 player. Lucky I wasn’t ironing at the time.

Note to Caitlin…bear that in mind when the time comes. I don’t do ironing. (Note to Caitlin’s mum and boyfriend…it’s not what you think it is. Honest. Just in case)

But a big thanks to Clr and some others, cos the blook (combo of blog and book) is about ready to go back to the publisher man who showed some initial interest. Clr has been reading the blook and has made some good suggestions regarding content. One chapter has still to be finished. So far, so good.

Okay, C, I’m happy to describe you as “tall and willowy” and, okay, I’ll lose “buxom”. Not a problem.

But in all seriousness, the blook is best described as a darkly humourous look at death, dependency and disease so it’s got some very graphic descriptions of things 🙂 As I incorporated Clr’s suggestions I found myself wondering, ‘Oh God, she now knows that’ and ‘My God, even my ex-wife never knew that’ and ‘Hang On, when I did tell her that?’ My face will be sooooooo red the next time we meet. A possible portent of things to come, maybe?

But I know where to find help. Step forward, Lindsay C, the Daily Record’s Top Teen Angst Queen (You can have that one, L). L very kindly dropped me a wee note last week. (No Dennis. It was not a personal reply). Now that you remember our first meeting, L, can you remember your first words to me? Scared the living daylights out of me, they did.

But thanks for this week’s Top Tip; “If the person you fancy is already attached, then it’s time to move on”.  Listen, I’m tired of ‘Good Looking, Spoken For’ women. I need to move on, but where?

Maybe I need older, wiser counsel. So Happy Sixty-Fifth birthday to a mate of my mine, Ian G, from Maggie’s farm in Dundee, a real hip-hop guy as opposed to a hip-op guy.

Y’see, I do know older people. Just can’t understand a word they say. It’s like they have a language all their own. They do things like complete sentences and spell all the words. Like, rlly wrd. I’ll swear I saw Ian on TV the other night, in black and white, singing with Bob Dylan, or did I confuse him with Joan Baez?

Moving swiftly on. Actually do you know who else I saw on TV the other day? (And this is even more “in” than usual. Sorry, listeners.) The Parfery person is starring in Eastenders. (Is she playing Danielle?) Seriously.  That is really taking Film and TV Studies to new limits.  

And I suppose, cancergytislly, I should draw attention to the ‘spoof” video about prostate cancer available on . It’s the one starring the football manager, Craig Levein. My mum told me that if I can’t say something nice about something, I shouldn’t say anything at all. So, I’m saying nothing. Albeit wittingly.

I found it patronising and unfunny.

One thing I did learn from it, tho’, was that 1 in 13 menwill be diagnosed with cancer of the prostate. That, in itself is long odds, longer than I thought.  Throw in that I was 52 when it first showed signs (young for prostate cancer) and I was then a practising alcoholic. Gosh! What an amazing combo! It’s almost unique! What odds would I have got?

But I never thought to ask at the time. Nae luck, eh? A chance gone.

Oh No! Self-deprecation has just kicked in. I need a tomato juice and I need it now, with the amazing habanero sauce. I’ve said it before that a Virgin Mary (and I’ve had few recently) is not a soft drink. It may be non-alcoholic but to all those who slagged it, have you had the guts to try it yet? I thought not. My shout then for the first round. For the second? You have that Highland Park. I’ll just watch.

It’s being so upbeat that gets me down sometimes….sounds like a song from The Cribs or Starsailor or All-American Rejects. I mentioned those bands to a young lady mathematician from the High School of Glasgow’s Sixth Year today and she just looked at me. Basically, I think I’m all the bogeymen her dad ever warned her against in one go. Like, today, he did. “Junkeyman alert!”

I should stress her mum and dad were there as well. Yes. Her first name does begin with ‘C’. They all tend to be ‘C’ or ‘G’, don’t they? I’ve got to be so careful sending e-mails these days.

“This is deejay Johnt850, keeping YOU up all night on Station S.W.A.L.K.”

Yes. It’s almost that time of year. What do you think, Lindsay, should I go with the red roses, or will I only get my fingers burnt, my knuckles rapped and my hands chopped off? Again. 😉

cya, tout le monde