Archive for April, 2009

Every day it comes to this, Catch the things you might have missed You say, get back to yesterday. I ain’t ever going back

April 25, 2009

A track there from the Lost Souls album from Doves, and my thanks there to top pop picker and PR extraordinaire, Heather C for her recommendation. It only confirms my belief that I do look a lot younger than I used to (not a diet I would recommend) and soon I’ll not look old enough to get served alcohol in a pub (let me think about the consequences of that for a while, dear listener)

Y’see I bought it in the ol’ Fopp shop for a fiver and the guy behind the counter asked if I was going to see them the next night…at the Barras. I smiled apologetically, murmured No, and left with a huge grin on my face. ūüėĬ†

I was so excited at being thought that young I went into the West End’s top deli almost next door and bought food. Yes. Me buying food. That’s excited.

That’s why it’s so nice when I meet up with people who haven’t seen me for, say a year or so, and they must wonder how old, decrepit and dribbling am ur. They’re soooo brave.

So step forward top tabloid journo Emma J with whom I had a seriously good meet the other day. You know some really cool places (We ate outside….in April. That’s cool. I kept my jacket on, it was that cool). But I just couldn’t do your job; imagine having to review a McFly gig, maybe go to the post gig party, maybe meet the guys….and before anyone says anything about me and the likes of Girls Aloud or The Saturdays…I don’t do stereotypes. Not now, not ever, never. That might worry some people. But I do believe in dreams and I do like helping them happen.

And my own favourite post gig party? A few years ago, it kinda involved Frankie Miller and was not so much a lost weekend in Amsterdam (different singer, I know) but a lost month in Kelvinbridge.

Speaking of which, and this will interest about one per cent of the listening audience, I recently came across a photo of me and Viv from way back. For the rest of the audience, immediately post university, Viv and I, aged about 21/22 lived in a variety of flats in the West End of Glasgow. (It’s okay Son Brian, you can ask your mum, only she wasn’t your mum at the time, but she was very tolerant) We were like the bag people of Hillhead. ¬†

I would walk in after a hard day’s work only to hear Viv’s catchphrase of ¬†“Harry the landlord’s been in touch. He’s found us a new flat. We’re moving again this weekend.” I should have realised then my destiny was to be downwardly mobile, to wit, a DOMO.

My favourite flat was in Partickhill, where my bed was in the living room. Made for interesting entertaining at weekends.

But business is booming. Well, at least the loss leader section’s busy. That’s the academics, former academics and now friends of academics (Hi David. Thanks Missie K) who I believe will one day be rich and famous and then I’ll send my invoice, so please excuse me for a second……

Nice seeing you again the other day, Kerry, Princess Heather, Graham and the fourth person whose name I did not catch; these are good words that are getting published Gazza; well done, blogmeister, just make sure you fill out the form properly (don’t get complacent just cos Sky’s budget coverage featured Planet Holyrood so much); and Jaymi getting the dates right for your exams is a good start. Good luck from us all. So far, so good.

And Vampire Slayer…welcome back from your holiday. I hope you got what you’ve been looking for. I still haven’t found it. See that road that you think leads to the council dump but actually leads to my reasonably sized but well proportioned semi? (It’s not an ¬†innuendo to everyone, okay?)

They’ve been building new houses there. The marketing blurb talks of ¬†‘a fashionable collection of shops, restaurants and bars within minutes of the development.’ No. Me neither. Poundstretcher? The First and Last? Summerston? The Wyndford’s closer to Byres Road.

Sometimes it’s like living in the Hinterland, which is a sp(l)iffingly good name for a festival taking place ¬†at the end of this week in Glasgow, including The Fall (with what lineup I do not know).

Actually I was talking to a journalist during the week who used to promote them in Glasgow in their earlier days. I was giving him some background on (my) alcoholism, when someone at the next table asked if I still had any addictions.

Black coffee, maybe; I still have a collection of those plastic stirrers I used to chew (contrary to urban myth, I don’t remember eating a whole one during a live broadcast but one was involved in an unfortunate incident involving me and a student known as the Parfery person) but what, I was asked, about Red Bull? I laughed and then remembered the can of the stuff I carry in the glove compartment of my car. Obviously just in case…..but why? I wonder what my gd frnd Clr would make of it. I wonder.

(btw Fangs are on as well in that festival….No. No reason)

So not so much on the general cancer front this week ‘cos of a conversation I had earlier this week with a guy I know. Sometimes, my joke about how being given six months to go would help publishers sell the blook seems really tasteless, and it also put some mails I received on Wednesday well into perspective.

But a big thanks to my heroine of the week, bestest friend ever, Caitlin who not only stopped me from making a real tw*t of myself (choose your own vowel) but noticed how I turned my anxious anguish into a PR opportunity. So here’s a totally gratuitous mention for a charity you and family and friends are involved in;¬†¬† ¬†

As I always say, one good tern deserves a large juicy haddock. (No. No known innuendo but no doubt someone will read some impropriety into it.)

And hero of the week? Liam Buchanan and his 93rd minute penalty goal which soooo keeps Partick Thistle in the hunt. Next week it’s Airdrie United (Death to the Diamonds). It’s enough to make you send out a simple aggregated probability tree. Exactly. Sorry, Craig. No one could possibly read anything into that other than exactly what it says. Totally gnarly, but in a grinding the sandstone kinda way. I’m considering taking up skateboarding.

But in a world where a top businessman, who believes that ‘boring is the new good’, makes it into Who’s Who, anything is possible. Mosspark applauds, but the Green Gate still wants paid. It’s an Otago Street kinda thing.


Johnt850…wanna see my board? It has attitude. No. No stereotype. Never.

Don’t say it’s easy to follow a process There’s nothing harder than keeping a promise

April 18, 2009

Wise words there from The Editors, and so true, even if that promise is sometimes made under the influence of the grape and the barley. They came to mind the other day there when I was buying Son Brian lunch whilst handing over his Grand National winnings for a bet for which I paid.

Yes. I am buying his silence. Clearly, he knows too ¬†much about something (gulp, sob, gulp), and btw BBC Steve, I’ve worked out how I can pay you that consultancy fee. ūüėČ

Naw. We were discussing Son Brian’s first experience of corporate hospitality. He was about seven and it was a Scotland v Pakistan cricket match (client entertaining when you’re an estranged dad). The match was called off but the hostility (sic) went ahead.

The next day I was back…as a cameraman for an Asian cable TV network. I’d made a freelance promise ¬†(probably under the influence of the grape and the barley)¬†which I kept¬†and I got paid.

It’s one of my many first rules of journalism. If you make a promise or say you will do something, DO IT, or else you get a bad reputation. Not that I would ever say anything bad about anyone but even my patience can be tested.

But it’s been a weird personal week for a blogger like me. There’s not much I can say about my business side of things cos a lot of it is now commercially confidential, but so far, so good; there’s been an interesting, if unexpected, development on the blook front, but I can’t say anything…just in case; and I seem to have lost one thousand pounds (¬£1,000) ¬†on some shares (albeit unwittingly) which is a bit of a nuisance but doesn’t stop my spending plans. ūüėÄ

Regular listeners will recognise four clrisms in one sentence there. Ground-breaking or what? Okay, to most people, it’s a what. But to me……..? I’ll explain later.

But what has been really good and ground breaking this week has been the number of bylines of people I know, ranging from tabloid gig reviews and interviews through to the quality horse racing pages; and helping to welcome a new writer to¬†¬†through to being interviewed for another website (The Away End) along with Prof Phil Scraton about the media coverage of Hillsboro’ some twenty years ago.

Justice for the 96, (many of whom were children).

(and if you can’t find the article let me know and I’ll pass it on. I cried)

No, if I have helped with some writing, or can help, or whatever then good (and they’re not all current or past Met students.) I can share the excitement. I still have the tape of the first doc I was ever involved in and not only did my name appear on the screen, but it was voiced. Seriously.

And another wee while back, the day after my first stint as a TV presenter, I was at the dentist and he said those immortal words, “I saw someone on TV last night who looked exactly like you.” Before I could say it was me, the drill was in my mouth and the moment had passed. Slightly more than fifteen minutes of fame but at least I was a contender.

And it was a great day to be following the Thistle. We had a smashing day in Greenock. (I’m willing to repeat that sentence if anyone wants me to). The only problem being that we were shoved into a ridiculously small space, instead of being allowed on to a very empty terracing.

And it was really nice to finish off the evening in Sloan’s Bar off Argyle Street. It was always one of my favourite pubs. I can’t remember when I was last in there. Yes, listeners, you may take anything you want out of that.

Evening Times headline of the week? Residents Saved by Guitar Hero. Is this a program on Nintendo or Playstation, and are we taking Aerosmith?

Actually one of my own guitar heroes was profiled in the Herald…the great Steve Earle, 54 years old. I’m tempted but I’m happier being a permanent 42.

He has his own mantra for keeping him on the straight line (old fashioned test for being drunk). It’s different from mine but if a philosophy works, it works.

If a philosophy works… works. If….a philosophy works…it works.

Sorry, I’ve been watching too much Stewart Lee. I want a suit like his. I think I’ve seen one. In Glasgow City Centre.

And I’ve been using those new Lynx bullet things. They’re good. It wasn’t so much the scent that had the effect; it was the fact that I’d to undo most of my shirt to spray it on that gave the game away. She moved swiftly away.¬†

Good news that the MOBOs are to come to Glasgow and it’s worth saying that this blog’s answer to Rihanna and Beyonce are, even as we speak, on the continent searching for new talent. No doubt I’ll hear.

Incidentally it has been a good week to be a blogger. Iain MacWhirter described people like me as having ‘sociopathic egos with extreme views’, whereas Prof Brian McNair of Strathclyde saw us as ‘the new commentariat’ and in a normal Harry Hill type fight, Brian you would win, but the winner by a Cumbernauld mile, is my gd frnd Clr and her seminal* work , Literary Generations, where internet blogging appears on the same page as Tom Wolfe; rather with him than Damien McBride any time.

* I check the spelling every time. It still worries me.

Can I also recommend In The Loop, a brilliant movie for fans of profanity, politics and journalism (or even two out of three)? Before you ask, Glasgow Film Fest, and not a download from Pirate Bay.

I must stress that the line uttered by the Cabinet Minister about watching a movie about sharks rather than hotel porn is much funnier than hinted at in the press, cos of what the papers don’t quote. But there again, I’ve never been attracted to a Bronze Whaler. (It’s a type of shark, okay. It’s a joke. Okay?)

And this week’s seriously cancerly note comes from Lindsay Cochrane, the Daily Record’s Top Teen Angst Queen, the bestest thing ever out of Airdrie. (No cheap gags involving train times, and I even avoid saying Death to the Diamonds. Respect.)

Y’see I kinda ignored, selfishly, my own family during my cancer treatment, before, during and after. Maybe it was cos so many brilliant people were helping me and you’ve seen their names here over and over again, some of whom had also helped in the alkie rehab. I learn from my mistakes but, sometimes, I need them explained to me.

So, if you know children affected by a relative’s cancer, then try¬†¬†. It will help. Trust me.¬†Lindsay knows what she’s talking about. Maybe I should ask her about my concerns. Lots of other things I need answers to as well.

So, hasn’t Strathclyde University done well this week? No. No reason, but Caitlin as an editor will make a hard taskmaster, or is that mistress? Only time will tell.

I should point out that there are other good universities out there. I seem to remember being at one. Next door to all the good shops in Glasgow’s West End, it is.


Johnt850 M.A. (ord). Philosophy worked, but only just.

Time flies by when you’re the driver of a train, Speeding out of Trumpton with a cargo of cocaine, I get high when I’m the pilot of a plane, Touching down in Camberwick, I’m stoned out of my brain

April 11, 2009

Janice Forsyth on BBC Radio Scotland this morning was discussing listeners’ fave Childrens’ ¬†TV progs. That contribution comes from me and Half Man, Half Biscuit.¬†Happy daze. No. No connection to my own student daze. We didn’t have a TV. ūüėĬ†

And yet somehow appropriate on an evening when, as¬†I left the pub and¬†walked back to the car, I was aware of all the many citizens of the West End of Glasgow in mourning and marking their team’s defeat at the hands of the only football¬†team mentioned in the Bible by the simple act of rolling their own peculiar aromatic brands of cigarette and….

What am I talking about? We were appalling and with just four games to go the season is almost over, but it’s been a fun run (and Good Luck to Bean and BBC Steve in the Ruchill 5k soon time) and I’ve enjoyed it and that’s what was missing from last week’s blog – fun. A big sorry to a smashing guy I never met. The mantra was missing, albeit unwittingly.

No. The person who was most¬†offended by¬†me most last week was me. I’d one of those days when I kinda regretted being open about alcohol, maybe I should just have said some kinda breakdown and left it at that when I went back to work, and then I saw a headline that said “Killer’s alcoholic mum”¬†¬†and I thought that my own son’s headline could easily read, “Reasonably okay young man’s alcoholic dad”, and so? Your point is?… I’m back to being cool and open and alright so far, so good, about it and remembering the secondary purpose of the Blog…to flirt.

So, a big welcome to Tracey my enterprising new mentor;

to the Vampire Slayer, whom I hadn’t mentioned for a while, and whose photo turned up in the Times of Evening, again. A dangerous game you’re playing with the Paparazzi, Torrance One;

and to the Torrance Other One….do you remember¬†our weekend in Skye?

It was radio. We didn’t need to be on that fishing boat coming in live to Portree Harbour. We could have cheated. Well no. It was old school BBC, wasn’t it?

And to those who ask if I ever flirt with the members of the High Horse Level Committee? The blogmeister seems to be happily partnered, with smashing weans, and so¬†I’ll move swiftly on, shall I, but with a smile on my face. I like smiles. ūüôā ūüôā

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro (Raoul Duke)

But I loved the story during the week about the Australian dog that went missing for four months, swam through shark infested waters and survived on a diet of wild goats, and its owner said, “I wish it could talk”. Well, how on Earth do you know it did all these things? What is it with Australians that they must have talking animals with adventures?

And the dog’s name? Sophie Tucker. Seriously.

I did approach¬†my mate¬†Big Al, the BBC’s Bad Taste Supremo about¬†the possibility of a limerick contest and he advised against it.¬†Not sure why.

But a big thanks to him for¬†arranging the biggest visit the BBC¬†has been¬†involved in since The Visit with The Boy David, and to my gd frnd Clr and my bestest friend ever Caitlin, see where you had your food?….Apparently, there’s been so many farewell and redundo parties there recently, it’s known as the¬†Departure Lounge…..just in case.¬†But I’m optimistic. And you guys made a really good impression. Nice one. ūüėÄ

And whilst on that subject, to my friends at the Record, I didn’t realise today’s edition was a scab edition until after I’d bought it. Sorry… It went unread into the bin.

And on the subject of optimism, if you want to be slightly reassured about the future of TV in Scotland, check out April’s edition of Scotcampus and a piece written by Eleanor Capaldi, whom I do not know (so I won’t), but who has a much better grasp of what broadcasting in Scotland is about than many politicians.

“What’s that, Skippy? The entire Airdrie United playing squad, management team, directors and Section B have fallen down the disused mine shaft? Good. We’ll just leave them there, I think.”

But reverting to type…..really brrrrrrr-ill piece, Emma J; superb PR, Heather C (don’t forget the outreach aspect of Scottish Ballet and how about Carmen and Get It as a headline, eh? Okay. Maybe not); Kaleidescopes do happen eventually, Missie K; and Alastair (bear with me on this one folks…I’m as hetero as the next man, he says, talking with a deep voice and looking out of the window. Phew. Didn’t know Russell Brand had moved into Summerston, did you?)¬†no real¬†crisis out of a drama¬†this week thanks to¬†the lovely O from Napier….mmmm. I can explain, Al. And if you didn’t get a mention in this week’s flirt-ometer. Worry not. I’ll¬†worry for you. It used to be my role in life.

So, what, Johnt850 are you up to next week? Well thanks for asking. My sis is up from London cos it’s her birthday. The main birthday meal takes place on Tuesday evening (Please feel free to send txts and mails to her early that night on my numbers) in the bosom of our strangely functional and extended family, coping with my latest addiction – smiling. I like smiles. ūüėÜ

But also, and this is dead important, I am about to move from Incapacity Benefit to Self Employment, and I’ve some meetings this week to confirm it all, including some grants of several hundred pounds coming to me, which, cos I’ve already spent some money on softwares and upgrades and stuff, I can legitimately spend on self. Now that to me is a lot of clothes shopping, lunches I can buy, DRINKING! and lots of FoPPery. It’s your call, and yours, and yours, and…..¬†Get in touch.

And on the cancerly front? Personally quite quiet, but to those incredibly objective and really kwl people who gave me references, Step One of my volunteering with the Prostate Cancer Charity is due to begin this week. What have you unleashed, and would you say the same about me again today?

Moving slowly but meaningfully in that way that my new neighbour Russell B does, can I offer to my sympathy to the Downing Street official who has just resigned over ‘juvenile and inappropriate’ e-mails? No. No reason. Of course, I wouldn’t. Mine were texts. Ho hum. ūüė¶

And finally, in the belief that Cumbernauld smiles better (Sorry Michael) I loved the story in the Herald Diary about the C’nauld Home Economics schoolie who, when told the recipe called for three tablespoonfuls of water, asked, “Heaped or level?”


Johnt850, who needs to buy better Factor 30, C. Mine ran in the rain. It’s the closest I’ve come to pounding the streets in years. Still, I could only smile. ūüėÄ

So, if it sounds sarcastic, don’t take it seriously. If it sounds dangerous, Do not try this at home or at all, And if it offends you, just don’t listen to it.

April 4, 2009

The Disclaimer is a really brill track from The Offspring and I’ll explain why it’s there later. Plus I’ve an exclusive as to why¬†I once did something Fred Goodwin could only dream of….but first, what a day of near misses. Aaaaargh!

The romantic bet on the National didn’t quite work. This time last year I was about to start sandblasting (aka radiotherapy), the blog was just a twinkle in the eyes of me, the blogmeister and my gd frnd Clr, and the notion of following a football team all the way to Perth was one of the last things on my mind.¬†

Last year’s horse was Comply or Die, its jockey a recovering alcoholic. It was such an obvious choice. It won.

This year it came second but my very large bet was on it to win. Aaaargh! Son Brian was, however, really clever with his bets. He phoned me from the airport and told me how much to put on and on what. It’s a no-lose situation for him, isn’t it? But there’s always next year.

Indeed it’s¬†cos the sandblasting worked, ‘there’s always next year’, so, many¬†thanks¬†for the irrational reason that pointed me in that direction, altho’ it will always be a strange story in the telling. Gulp but it’s always your call.

And then the football. I thought I’d just be popping along every second Saturday to Firhill. Little did I realise I’d end up travelling by train in the company of an incredibly svelte and sophisticated bunch of guys who would be quaffing calvados, black beer and red beer and that was just the guy sitting opposite me.¬†¬†

Can I also say a big thanks to the lovely bar staff of the incredibly small Greyfriars Bar in Perth, the drivers of the local taxi company (our motto – “We’ll drive you to drink”) and the¬†very patient passengers of¬†the train back from Perth, cos no matter how carefully we put ladies’ bags up and down on the luggage rack and put away our rubbish, you can always feel the sober looks, and that’s just amongst ourselves.

And this is why I’ve played The Disclaimer cos I think I’ve offended some people and I don’t know why. I’m not bothered about those people who, when I first came out of the drinks cabinet (as opposed to the closet) two years ago, described alcoholics as ‘scum’, or¬†said that sooner or later I’d revert to the bottle…so far so good, but maybe some others more important to me and I’m crap at seeing these things cos I¬†don’t take that much offence these days and I’m really crap at bridge re-building. Maybe it’s something I’ve said, or written in the blog.

I owe too much to so many people to want to lose any, c’est tout.

(There is one reconstruction outstanding, which, whilst it will never be the Kingston,… even the Bell’s or the Squinty would still be good).

So if I have offended, albeit unwittingly, tell me. You have my numbers and addresses. Please use them.

One group of people is using them and whilst it’s not producing much income I’m still working with academics and former academics, helping where asked, cos I never give an opinion unless asked cos WTF do I know about anything, let alone bridge building? Can I say that if you do give out my details to other folk in the hopes that I can help (and I have no real objection as long as it’s sensible – it’s a freelance thing) can they at least introduce themselves properly?

My favourite was the student, sorry, academic who wanted my views on binge drinking…then or now, I wondered.¬†

But all that’s too heavy. Let’s get back to nonsense.

I was told this week I’m putting weight back on and you know they might be right. I remember eating twice this week, unusual, I know and it was during the second of these eatings, that I was told a number of things about Fred the Shred. The second of these I’ve now put in the hands of a journalist specialising in that sort of tittle tattle, but the first goes back to his student days. In the late seventies I was elected unopposed to the position of Libraries Convenor at Glasgow University Union. Three years later Fred stood for the same position and was humiliated. He was gubbed.

It may not seem a lot just now but it might help if you’re an RBS shareholder.

And didn’t Marianne Faithful look good on TV last week, almost as if chocolate wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

Younger listeners, if you want to embarrass older male members, ask them to correct that statement, and, also, if your parents come from the North East of Scotland, ask them where they got their basic sex education from, cos Gerry Davis who narrated Living and Growing, the best sex prog ever (are you listening Jacquie Smith’s husband?) died recently.

And whilst we’re on an artistic bent, Fangs launch their new single SICKO this coming week, Scottish Ballet’s Spring Season launches with some amazing new works commissioned by the amazing Ashley Page (No. No reason and No. I have never written a sentence like that in my life) and Mark Radcliffe has a new book out this week as well. That’s one index I will be checking but we were both young at the time.

And also, architecturally, I couldn’t help but notice a photo of Cumbernauld, home to the amazing Missie K, my gd frnd Clr and The Dykeenies. Is that really a Video Drive-In, slap bang in the middle of a pedestrian walkway beside a shop called Dee’s Rolls?¬†

Guitar hero on a mobile phone? Whatever next?….maybe even that strange pedestrian¬†bridge by the SECC would be good. Ho hum.

Sportingly, I was down at the city centre hotel used by the Iceland team before the game during the week (My taxi driver, Caitlin wanted to drop me at the side entrance and not the front door. It must have been what I was wearing!) and whilst sitting amongst them, I couldn’t help but notice they were drinking tea, coffee and soft drinks…and they lost!!!! However, I think even George Burley¬†would have noticed that his goalie had had an overnight hair cut.

And finally, on my own cancer front? The cancer man is happy with progress and has passed me over completely into the hands of the Good Doctor Fiona, who tells me her plans are to ‘normalise’ me. Dear listeners, believe me, I look forward to keeping you posted. Indeed, I do. And it’s maybe something in this area that has put me in a strange mood.

I recently heard one woman saying that her husband had been diagnosed last year with prostate cancer and he’s ‘only 57’; five years older than me then, and nine years older than Frank Zappa. It will always irk, but there again, it gives me more years to ‘keep it fun’. I intend to…’No offence, know what I mean? Here let me put that up on the rack for you.’

I know a guy who fell asleep in a luggage rack once.  


Johnt850 with the Factor Thirty in use this week, C, but I feel the need for a dongle. It’s going to be a long hot summer from now on (TRB)