Archive for November, 2009

Everybody’s got demons, demons in the night, So you better start believing everyday’s a fight, yes it is, So we better start believing We can make it all alright

November 28, 2009

Well maybe not everyone, but I am only days away from the annual night when my demons come out and if I survive, then I am three years sober and solvent free (the sober is obvious, the rest is known to a few friends). Throw in the fact that my PSA (prostate blood test) has finally started heading downwards after all the treatment I had last year and the world seems dead good from here.

That’s why I’m happy enough to play The Answer (great gig during the week, btw) twice in two weeks, altho’ as JC, producer, said, ‘Don’t make it a habit.’ I think it’s a musical reference rather than a drink one. More of JC maybe next week but can I just say…..What magnificent chips Michela had, JC.

And can you stress to your students that I don’t normally carry small jars of hand and face balm with me, available from Lush in Buchanan Street, to hand out to good looking young women as soon as I meet them? Altho’……

No. In the spirit of upbeatedness obviously pervading me this week I have had discussions (not quite lofty) with the Vampire Slayer and I have set her a task. There is a grail to be sought. (Crossword buffs amongst you will have instantly gone anag 1,4 and you wouldn’t be far away).

I have left it to her to call a meeting of the Great Council and to set the agenda for the task ahead (like, is skank or trailer trash necessarily bad?)

The last time there was such a meeting was a defining moment in my life (pudding….toffee…..sticky.) As I was saying to Missie K only last week, not only did I come to terms with various decisions in my life that night but since then I have acquired eight albums by Green Day, and a DVD of them at Reading.

Oh, and following the expert slagging from my gd frnd Clr that night the house was redecorated. I look forward to recreating the full experience, with artistic licence, in the screenplay. No. No reason. 😀 😀 😀

Indeed a marvellous example of the species, skank, albeit unwittingly, was on the train to Paisley the other day;

‘I genuinely can’t remember a thing I said to her, but I definitely didn’t say that. Count.’ It’s at moments like that you turn the MP3 vol down to zero but continue to drum your fingers….just in case.

But it’s a pleasure to write for Watson’s Wind Up on BBC Radio Scotland; the writing credit, the audience laughter, the cheque……I’m a showbiz pro.

So let’s get The X Factor out of the way. Yes, Daniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, it’s a singing contest. I saw no magicians, vent acts or fat Greeks dancing on TV the other night.

Let’s cut to the chase and let me take the heat off the 1.24 Girl. Let’s talk SuBo. I agree she has a good voice but on the evidence of the pre-recorded, second take we saw transmitted last week, she has so much to learn. She has no stagecraft. Please will someone tell her how to get on and off  the stage. And not to make faces. It’s not funny. I’ll stop there.

Anyway I notice that another X Factor person, Alexandra Burke, is set to play my home town of Peterhead, described in one newspaper as ‘a small fishing community’. No. It’s more boring than that. It’s the ‘White Fish Capital of Europe’. That’s how boring.

So it is no coincidence that sixteen miles up the road (Fraserburgh) the world’s strongest and most expensive beer is now on sale. It’s called Tactical Nuclear Penguin and retails at £30 per bottle.

Sorry. I’ve been spending too much time in the same coffee houses as Frankie Boyle. I was very lucky in that I grew up with the North Sea at the bottom of my road. Literally. Rocks. Sand. Water. That’s not a bad place to learn about the facts of life. And death. Although I should stress that one was much more pleasant than the other.

So, to Christmas and some dates are being filled in and my first cards have been sent abroad, including a world renowned soccer academy in the USA, and I’ve bought my first present by mistake (it’s a long story and I’m not referring to the one last year that never got given…..gulp, sob, gulp, but I await guidance again this year. I could always phone…..mmmmm…’d be my call)

And so to those who say they don’t understand this blog – remember I write it sober; to the blogmeister you show me yours and I’ll show you mine; to Son Brian your latest biggest day ever is in my diary for next week; to BBC Reevel, you really pressed that guy on garlic futures the other night; and to bestest friend Caitlin, it’s almost exactly one year now and so much has happened, but you’ve always calmed me down when needed, so ta – I mean what is there not to understand?

And that’s maybe the point. For the first time since I went self-employed I’ve just arranged to draw lots of money out of one of my business bank accounts, not for a certain expense or business matter, but purely to shove in my wallet and spend, not even on ASDA groceries or my bar bill, but to have in my wallet so that the Great Council shall have champagne if they want; so that if I buy a Chrissie pressie and it doesn’t get used then so be it; and as all good bosses should do, when I take my staff out for Christmas, I’ll pay the entire bill.

Maybe it was worth being cried ‘scum’, ‘unlikely to cope’ and all these things…..maybe even the cancer helped…….maybe one of the greatest freedoms in the entire world is not having to do things that people always understand. Maybe……. No. No maybe. Definitely.

So if you’re not happy, don’t really understand what people or lecturers are saying, and it’s maybe only cos they wrote a book they’re there, you’re not alone. They don’t always know best. That’s my view, not a visual. Generally.

Today I helped arrange a meet for two good people. They both agreed without any fuss and it will be done. No. No hassle. It’s how it should be. Real journalistic PR. I’ll let you know when it’s published.

Yours, always keeping it fun, (smiley, smiley, george smiley)



‘Welcome to a new kind of tension, All across the alien nation, Where everything isn’t meant to be okay……..’

and then the drums kick in…..(Sorry, neighbours….this was written about five in the morning…..)

American Idiot. Green Day.

Can I embrace a moment with you? I missed my chance a thousand times before. I swear that I am going to miss no more. I will die in this place reading in the papers, Another frown, another face hoping for a rebirth…Discomfort, I will wait for you.

November 21, 2009

Not my original choice this week but I like The Answer now I understand which band it is with that name that I like. Top pop picker, Emma J, is as confused. I had previously chosen something not quite as happy cos it’s not been a good week, work-wise but….well, let me explain. Get it over and done with.

Basically one income stream from the BBC is not going to happen and another with a nameless College in North Glasgow is not going to happen and another BBC stream may be diverted into the next financial year. Ho hum. It’s  a bit of a nuisance. 😦

However, it does not excuse me saying to Son Brian; ‘I’ve had worse weeks.’ (He was standing on the balcony of his hotel in Hull at the time overlooking the Marina there. Serioulsy). That was just poor/pure self-pity and is not me. Had that happened in the early days of the blog, the Editorial Committee would have had me by the balls and…… (pauses briefly and leaves the room….returns a few minutes later). Is it me or are cold showers no’ as cold as they used to be?

(Sorry I’m practising some of the screenplay stuff I’m writing and L, frae Troon, last Monday night….the Christmas lights? Scene 71)

So we move on. Maybe I forgot to send on one of those e-mails that I’m supposed to send on to create world peace….just in case. But thanks to those folks who I told earlier this week about the week and who sent on best wishes and I’m following the first rule of freelance journalism – my freezer is full. I will not starve.

Even if I’m the sort of person who, when told the word ‘gullible’ had been removed from the dictionary went to get my copy of Collins to check.

But silver clouds when the door slams in your face and for the Vampire Slayer, Missie K, and an anonymous third who I shall not name cos to do so might identify a prof of yours who I’m told is rubbish at five-a-sides,….flexibility and bendiness remain the order of the day, you know what I’m saying;

bestest friend, Caitlin, I am such a creature of impulse but the actual ideas are worth working on;

and Siobhan, nice facebook quiz;

and my gd frnd Clr……. (stands up from computer and goes through to kitchen to re-arrange the cards for the screenplay yet again, sighs and eats an individual cheesecake from Morrison’s with a plastic spoon) No. No reason. (Well, actually they’re my latest addiction….sticky toffee, since you ask. Really nice….and sticky….and toffee) 😀 😀 😀

But this is maybe not the best week to get my latest PSA test.

Yes*. This long after treatment finished it should be lower than it is but there is a slight problem, but it’s more technical than anything else. No. No reason (bites lip bravely). If The Sun says all my bits are working then who am I…….? I’ll keep you posted.

*Like much of the blog, there is no real reason for this ‘Yes’ to be there, but it just is. It may just appear again like the penguin in Gregory’s Girl.

Incidentally I watched the programme about John Smeaton and did anyone notice that the Guy Fawkes masks they chose were actually from the movie V for Vendetta ( a marvellous irony, eh?…No, I don’t understand what I mean by that, either, but it sounds good) but I do know, and not ‘cos I did Politics at Uny, that Smeato didn’t stop the BNP in Glasgow North East….the voters did.

And I am thinking about the Christmas office party for my one man business (turns away from camera and sobs, swallows pride and looks pleadingly into camera…..Voiceover….‘All it would take is maybe a couple of hours of your time , just hours before your own office party’) C’est mon appeal mais c’est toujours ton appel. 😉

Incidentally, whilst I remember, nice to see The List featuring some of my own fave bars in Glasgow, including Bar Ten, Upstairs in the Doublet and Brel down Ashton Lane, but can I draw your attention to page 8 of the current edition, where they’re looking for a list of Hot Ten Talented Scots nominated by you, the listener, well maybe in this case, you the reader. Why not nominate me on ? See, clrly, the self-pity is ebbing away even as we speak.


And I’ve to choose a bit of dialogue from a movie for the class as well. I’ve watched Debbie Does Dallas a few times now, but repetition of the one word is not good dialogue. So, it could be American Psycho, a gentle comedy, and its descriptions of food. It’s like reading the labels in the new Waitrose, in which I have not been yet. I have a friend. Who has. So far, so good and don’t the former Somerfield staff scrub up well.

And I’ve just spoken to someone whose judgement I trust who has heard the new Susan Boyle album and says it’s very good, but I tell you Wild Horses wouldn’t make me buy it.

I hate Children-in-Need but that’s because of an unfortunate incident a wee while back with a woman selling balloons in Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station and a presenter who was not paid to run, he said, but to everyone else involved, I hope you raised a lot of money, unless of course you’re a business presenting a cheque for a suspiciously well rounded sum of money.

Gary Tank Commander BBC 2 Scotland watch it and laugh.

And finally can I say a big thanks to Robin Galloway for not only growing a moustache but actually explaining in his column how prevalent prostate cancer actually is and why the moustache thing is happening.

(Laughs quietly, goes back through to kitchen, picks up one card and stops………..) Yeah, I haven’t a clue how it ends either. A bang maybe, rather than a whimper?



Except to say thanks to the Comedy Unit for the mail about the contract for some stuff they seem to like. It’s not  a lot but it will help pay for beers, pasta, coffee and tomato juices in the run-up to Christmas. You know where to find me. I’m handy. Try me.

And another thing. You should have known from the start The problems in hand are lighter than at heart. Be like the squirrel, girl, be like the squirrel. Give it a whirl, girl. Be like the squirrel.

November 14, 2009

Wise words there from The White Stripes and whilst it might seem quite innocous, try it turned up to vol level 11 and beyond in the ASDA car park with the windows open. Scared the hell out of the folk waiting for the free bus to the Acre Road flats.

Must have been what it was like at the Alice in Chains gig at the Barrowland (no ‘s’ and it’s safe) during the week and nothing like their dreadful performance with one song on Jools’s show the other night. Sorry about that, blogmeister et al. The ‘heads-up’, not the performance, that is. 😦

But before I go any further, can I just say one thing; everything in the blog happens, with maybe a slight embellishment. It was my gd frnd Clr in her semenal work Literary Generations which I (in-gag deleted) the other day who drew parallels between blogging and New Journalism. Albeit unwittingly, but to be on the same page as Wolfe and Thompson was a tremendous fillip in early daze. Serious ta.

So, yes, dear listener, I have been through the front doors of Bubbles, the Sauna on the South Side but for what purpose? My thanks to a number of ppl who contacted me to confirm it was in Merrylea ‘just beside the American Golf Shop’ but was now demolished. But, no, they had never been in. I merely make an excuse and move swiftly on.

And the reference to new shops in the Byres Road area was not about Waitrose and the (soon to be) Tesco’s Extra but some amazing new shops just arrived above De Courcy’s and anybody wining and dining with me in the Ashton Lane area in the near future (bookings being taken and some are being discussed and please feel free to get in touch) are welcome to come and see them with me. (C’est toujours ton appel, btw) 🙂

I was La Maisonette’s first ever customer yesterday. A birthday present for Son Brian’s mum, since you ask. No. I’ve never remarried. No. No reason.

And not all my presents for people come from Papyrus and Urban Outfitters. C’est tout que je dis. Actually, Francophiles out there….the gag that finishes with the line, ‘That’s You, That Is’, what’s a good translation?

But Gary: Tank Commander is back on BBC 2 Scotland. PT fans are soooooo talented. And the rock that says Limmy on Tour remains untouched in Summerston – cultural centre of…….Summerston. And someone must have died violently recently at the bottom of the road, cos there’s lots of flowers saying whatever flowers say at a time like that. Must have been someone local ‘cos no-one’s pinched the flowers.

And when I tell ppl I spent Friday afternoon in The Social, they all assume I mean the Job Centre and not the bar/brasserie place in Royal Exchange Square where I actually was.

And the Winers’ Club did meet last night and only time will tell regarding its impact on World events. I’m still coming to terms with the fact we had a Powerpoint presentation on Tin-Tin, the Belgian boy reporter. Serioulsy. I’d like to say I was tomato-juiced out of my mind, but I stay amazingly surprised at the number of licensed establishments in Glasgow who don’t stock it. The look I get when I ask for a virgin, Mary. 😉

But I absorb enough of the vapours and the vagaries to have a hangover without feeling the need……..worry not, support team.

But bad news from the Dinner for Son Brian from your Uncles Brian, Dennis and Jock. You’re….you’re….you’re paying for the next curry. Not. I tried, guys, I really did. Aaaaaargh!

They do do a good Virgin Mary (it was a joke, okay?) at the Lansdowne, where you can watch Scottish international football matches (if you must) when a bunch of rugby playing Fijians and First Scotrail combined to make it difficult to reach Dunfermline if you’re a PT fan but to see it described in The Times of Evening as ‘the pub hidden in a housing scheme’ came as a real surprise.

But speaking of PT fans with talent a big Well Done to Erik the Floodstalker, and his mate Martin, (both Caley Uny journo students) and their big Local News coverage of the Glasgow North East by-election. But before anyone accuses me of having any reservations about journo courses can I reassure journo students everywhere that, when Darryl (about to leave the Herald) Broadfoot says he learned more from (now dead) former colleagues than any journalism course could ever teach, that I think he was referring to just one, but WTF do I know….just in case.

But get out there! Come on down from the Tower Blocks and talk to people. There are a million stories out there, just waiting to be told. It’s what I love about travelling on trains, altho’ big apologies to Liz for the other day. Out of uniform it’s a totally different story. (Can I say that? Actually Jaymi said it, so I think I can) 

I think I meant Ivory Tower just there, didn’t I? Just Come on Down, anyway. You want introductions? I can do introductions. 😀

And am I bovvered that we have a Prime Minister who has sight problems and writes with a thick black felt pen and seemingly can’t spell? Naw. Iraq, Iran…does it matter? (It’s a joke okay?) Incidentally we don’t elect Prime Ministers in this country. The party with the most seats in Parliament wins.  Its leader, which the party members choose, becomes PM. C’est tout. So the cheap Kharzai dig doesn’t work.

So how much is fact, how much is fiction? How much is fantasy and how much embellishment? To quote Wolfe himself ‘Even hostile parodies admit from the start that the target has a distinct voice.’ Clrly I have absolutely no idea what that means.

And finally, in a week when nothing continues to happen – e, BBC, longed for meets and Leona Lewis phoning – can I say a further thanks to all those, including some sports pundits I was with, who are currently sporting moustaches to bring awareness to male health issues. No. I wear the ‘blue man cancer badge’ all the time. Yes. There’s a reason. But serious thanks.



Incidentally rainforestriverman, ‘blue man cancer badge’? Not one of mine. I think it works out 50-50. So far, so good, so I can’t stop laughing some times. So, What the Hell?

I am a one way motorway, I’m the one that drives away then follows you back home. I am a street light shining, I’m a wild light blinding bright burning off alone. It’s times like this you learn to live again (and so on)

November 7, 2009

No. No message there other than to say Sting‘s a pretentious tw*t and I was so glad that the Foo Fighters followed him on Jools Holland the other night even if they did sound a wee bit like Status Quo.

And speaking of guitar heros, how you doin’? Long time no…….

And in a complete non-sequitor (honest) can I say how long it is since I held a decent twelve inches in my hand, although seven inches seem okay. I refer, of course, to the new computer game DJ Hero which reminds me of the Co-op camp in Rothsay and Uddingston Community Centre et al. I’m tempted. As I was then. I succumbed in just one of those situations….just in case. But I’ve never been to Bainsford.

Scratching and mixing and the other skills go back a long way and the first guy I remember who did more with records than just play them was the brilliant Robbie Vincent. He played a lot of soul like northern soul Dave and Craig Charles do on a Saturday night, but now head 2 head, so maybe this week, with gd frnd Clr’s permission, we can keep it funky. 😀

Incidentally, Jaymi and James Ellroy? I am just soooooo jealous but I’m not saying for why.

And the screenwriting class continues. Tutor Jim (I call him that cos he’s my tutor and he’s called Jim) has set us dialogue tasks. Now unfortunately I have been trying to develop a character from real life (No. Not one of my usual very patient people) but for some reason I have to set my dialogue in a porn establishment.

Now this is good ‘cos it gives me a legit reason for my hard-drive history. But it’s given me  a really red face in writing it. Incidentally, younger listeners ask older male members if they remember Bubbles, a Sauna and Massage parlour on the southside of Glasgow which stood in a building all on its own seemingly in the middle of a field. Well, it still exists. 🙂 🙂 😉

Incidentally, in another non-sequitor, can I say Hi to Siobhan, one of my favouritest ever students who once said to me, ‘Not now, John, not now.’ Next week, The Question. Regards to Fiona btw.

No. I’m just a wee bit annoyed with the BBC Trust (and if anyone else has views about them, then I’d be happy to hear them). Have they no sense of humour? No memory of childhood? When Frankie Boyle talked of Rebecca the swimmer as being reflected in a spoon, to me it brought back memories of those concave and convex mirrors in amusement arcades. How we laughed. But then I grew up in Peterhead.

Not every gag can be accompanied by the words hahahaha……….but then even at the age of 42 I’m old enough to remember the days when to work for the BBC meant you believed in the existence of Santa Claus and specific instructions from on high as to when you could mention Christmas. No. No reason.

However, I’m not too sure I remember my alkie thirteen months that well. I must have been really boring when people look at me now and laugh and say things like, ‘Well I still keep my fridge full jt’ or ‘I still laugh at that story about the electric blanket jt.’

That last one comes from a High Court lawyer who attends that Winers Club formal dinner thing I go to and it’s that time again, next week, Friday 13th.

We’re not a secret organisation, like, say, Bilderberg* although membership is by invitation; as a committee member I have access to only eight addresses; and the goat is a volunteer. We have politicians, professors, businessmen, broadcasters and lawyers amongst our members (I am there to remind people of why it is important to stick in and get a good degree. I didn’t. That is possibly why I am its public face) Oh, and we have the manager of a football club as well, kinda. And yes we do set interest rates and the rest of fiscal policy. So far, so good. I just wish we made these decisons before the others reached the brandy.

*At the College where I used to work, somebody asked me about Bilderberg and I started my answer by saying, ‘It’s a secret meeting where……’ and someone else in the room said, ‘If it’s secret how do you know about it?’ Yes. He does have responsibility for student journalism. Worrying isn’t it?

I didn’t make it to the fireworks party, Caitlin. 😦 Did you? I got held up in town.

And wise words from Lindsay C, the Record’s top angst queen. Respect is indeed a two-way street. The rest is a bit too obvious were I to quote.

And this week’s Heroes of the Week are the taxi drivers at the top of Byres Road who boxed in the East European Big Issue pimps who think they run the world.

But I do think it’s important we get over the message about drugs accurately and whilst I’m more on the side of scientific advisers than politicians (remember that interview I gave you Parfery person?) I think the kids on the streets will really get down to the wise words of a boffin on the recent BBC Scotland prog  ‘How to grow your own Hash’ with the gorgeous Sam (what a woman) Polling. It told you almost everything apart from naming that shop just off the Saltmarket.

The boffin made a comparison between ‘drinking a pint of beer or a pint of port.’ Yeah. The Summerston Zombies (their ‘menchie’ is YSL) doing in the cheap cider in the graveyard with the fireworks and the AK47s know exactly where you’re coming from with that one. It’s a wee bit like Andre Agassi saying he now regrets taking crystal meth in the years he won lots of tennis championships, millions of dollars and pulled lots of women. And your point is?

And to all those I’ve invited across to the West End in recent months, if not years, the shopping just got better but the restaurants are just as good. C’est ton/votre appel(s). That didn’t really work, did it? It’s kinda Stingly pretentious, isn’t it?

So, and finally, can I say a big thanks to all those who raise money for cancer charities (I’m selfish. Okay?). I’m a lousy fundraiser. So whether you do ceilidhs, strange Facebook pages, run 5k or grow moustaches, can I say thanks? I’m an awareness man myself but not always formally. Thanks. Serioulsy.



And incidentally to set all sorts of things in perspective this weekend including football matches, being upset by Twitterers, getting voted off reality shows and falling out with friends, here’s a track by Siouxsie and the Banshees. At least these days we can bring bodies home. It’s called Poppy Day and it’s exactly two minutes long with reverb.

…in Flanders fields The poppies grow Between the crosses Row on row That mark our place We are the dead…….

Perspective is good. Isn’t it?