Archive for November, 2010

I always skip the words ‘cos all the pictures are so bright and loud; better off than now ‘cos I’m still amazed you made it out alive after what you did ‘cos it’s good to be back….good to be back

November 27, 2010

Altho’ sometimes I’m better just sticking to words ‘cos whilst one pic might be worth a thousand of them, what if it’s the word tw*t (kinda) magnified a thousand times? (Yes, of course it’s a message for someone)

And the band is obvioulsy Tokyo Police Club off that now famous MP3 player called ‘When and Where and Who…..?’ or WTF did it come from? to give it, its current name

Words? They don’t come easy do they, not if you’re dissertation editing and the question of ethics arises. Y’see, all I’m allowed to do is improve the quality of the product; to help get the writer’s message across a wee bit better which is much more than just checking spelling and grammar but I’m not supposed to originate things…….it must be the writer’s original thoughts. Theoretically, I can only suggest re-writes. But let’s be honest…… 😉

Yes. Let’s be honest ‘cos this potential client did not hide the fact that he had copied’n’pasted most of it with no intention of doing anything for himself. He wanted me to do it all. After a wee bit of discourse, I refused to do the work. I know too many hard working students out there.

But, said friends, ‘jt, you badly need the money’ and ‘you cannot deep fry scruples.’ I shivered and thought of Tiny Tim (wtf is TT, Skippy?) and the coming of Christmas. Two days later he was in touch and apologised and game is back on but it’s not a big earner but…….’the coming of Christmas’?……….what on Earth is getting into me?

No. I like people who can spell correctly, which is why I am only too happy to go to a pre-Christmas event organised as a thank you to folk like me who do a wee bit of volunteering; it’s a mulled wine and mice pie morning…….mice pie…..an interesting event for a sober pescatarian like me. I’ll maybe carry a cold kipper and my own bottle of water.

But can I also recommend a Carol Service at the City Chambers to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Charity on the evening of Thursday, 16th December where the fabulous Singer Station take centre stage. Some of you may have seen them on Don’t Stop Believing earlier this year but maybe not realised that at least two of them live in care, one has survived bullying and one is a refugee. The Glasgow Islay Choir is also performing but I’m too much of an inverted snob to say anything about them.

I wonder if I should invite………..*pauses for thought*………  😀

Yet again mulled wine and, this time, mince pies. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. (Both events do have non-alkie drinks, but it’s interesting how little variety is available altho’ I understand why)

(I was going to say something disparaging about the Gaelic language (helicopter) but young 20 lbs, who is about to celebrate his first birthday, is learning Gaelic. I hope he likes his pressie. I hope his dad knows how to work it.)

Pescatorially, how am I doing? (Can I recommend The Mussels Inn in Hope Street? Brill food and briller waitresses. Thanks Uncle Colin. Do you really think she thought I was a Secret Millionaire??)

No, for the first time ever in my life I have had ASDA cobbler 😦 which is a smoked fish, with a touch too much Woodbine in it, and I bought an aubergine for £1. Possibly the best bargain since e bought four cucumbers for the price of two. There are rools about quotes given. Good luck with the end of maternity leave, btw.

‘Working mums are badass. It’s a balancing act and that’s the greatest challenge’. (Jessica Alba) I know a few and I think they’re amazing. Jessica also says of Robert de Niro (66 years old and someone else who sees his prostate cancer as in the past); ‘hot women were constantly falling at his feet.’ See me, see Bobby….so much in common.

And I missed football (not always a loss) on Saturday cos of the referees’ strike. I blame Celtic; this chip they have on their shoulder, seeing conspiracy theories everywhere they go. Mind you, that Hugh Dallas had a real Freemason’s haircut, didn’t he? But an honest man….on the level.

And finally, my thanks to L frae Troon for that amazing website (kept me going all Friday afternoon, unlike some…..), to W for an awfully interesting discussion on vocabulary the other day – we must do that more often, and to Jaymi for enveloping my Saturday afternoon in a vapour of drink and drugs’ influences (eh?).

And an amazing anniversary. It is now exactly five years (Start of Block 2) since I first met some students like Missie K, the Vampire Slayer and Cathcart Minor (who is not going out with a 17 year old). I think what is so utterly utterly amazing is that they became friends and helped so much when others, older, were conspicuous by their absence. They still are….really really good friends.

cya, keep(ing) fun and still wearing that badge? Yup, and looking at it brought the smile back to my face just now. 😀

Johnt850, brilliantly original and darkly cool.

And why was I so grumpy? Y’see sometimes on a Monday night, there’s a City Halls prostate cancer talk on a related subject, except it’s no longer in the City Halls. It’s in the James Weir Building at Strathclyde University, except it’s actually in the Royal College Building. Yes. I do walk the streets directing people in. Did anyone talk to the two women sitting on their own? Shit. I meant to.

And last week’s talk was from two psychologists and it was about coping…….and accepting……and being happy to accept help……and there was just this tremendously sad feel to it all. I half expected to hear words like ‘suffering’ and ‘victim’. I stood up at the end and explained how important fun and humour had been to me during the radiotherapy days and I got some strange looks.

I did get some folks after, coming up and agreeing with me. And I’ve got be careful about this. Let’s just say there’s still a lot of people out there, in my minority view, who are happy to have their sugar stirred for them. And a lot of people who think they know how the sugar should be stirred. And how much.

So I’ll say no more. I’ll leave you with a link to Singer Station singing Don’t Stop Believing and I’ll just say, that if I ever do, that’ll be the day…….I stop wearing the badge. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g365uzekbck

There’s this fear I keep so deep Knew its name before I could speak, yeh. They know my name cos I told it to them But they don’t know where and they don’t know when it’s coming, oh when? But it’s coming, keep the car running.

November 20, 2010

Arcade Fire and for me it’s the drums, the drums, the drums. Years ago I put The Glitter Band (without the nonce) on at a students’ union and they were immense. Two drum kits – two drummers. The pounding rhythm of drum’n’bass ain’t new. It’s the drums, the drums, The Damned, the drums, the drums.

So only one story in town this week; and with a new Tory Government imposing major financial cuts plus a royal wedding up and coming, I’d cancel that holiday in the Falklands, if I were you……………My ex-wife creosoted the garage the day Chazza and Di got hitched. Me? I just sniffed the creosote. Ah, happy daze.

A couple of thoughts;

I heard Prince Charles described as ‘Prince William’s dad’. Could be problems when Prince Harry gets engaged.

And, Katie, he’s given you his ‘mother’s engagement ring’ (I can’t stop singing it either) but wait ’til he compares your cooking to hers. Actually, he won’t will he, ‘cos……..(at this point BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal, stopped watching for a Hugh Janus contributing to C-i-N and red penned fourteen of my options for a pay-off line, including the ‘tucked in a funnel’ option).

(Incidentally hot tip for wedding seating plans? http://www.saveourseat.co.uk/ Maybe they can also find me someone to go with……?)

Ah, Al you missed a good (formal) dinner the other night (logic? what logic? the drums are still going but the CD stopped a long time ago) but I now realise a problem with my conversion to pescatarianism (and not ‘presbyterianism’ as someone thought I said). Sometimes I need to order ahead. So I played with my meat and ate the vegetables. I was not a normal child. Plus ca change……..

It was a nice lamb shank, btw. Yes, I am reduced to childish giggling just saying it. And Liz in the ASDA remembered this morning that my regular order now came without black pudding and sausage……..which was really well remembered.

So to Job Search and those nice people (no sarcasm) at the Maryhill Job Centre are trying to find me something using my creative and teaching experience (the ‘and’ should be superfluous) when basically I’m looking for guidance in other directions. It’s partly the cancer thang (sympathy cos that was the reason for my year on Incapacity rather than ‘bad back’ but yet taking part in X Factory) and the BBC thang…..’do you know so-and-so?’ It’s nice but I’ve got to accept that these days……

But yet, but yet, but yet…….

I met up with a smashing bunch of folk on Thursday afternoon all of them involved in community media, all of them with a belief in empowerment, of people telling their own stories – the kinda thing I tried to do. I couldn’t make a TV or radio programme about the evolution of Scotland’s countryside to save my life, but give me a  recorder and someone with a crack addiction and I’m happy. They have a story to tell, even if people in management don’t think you should hear it. But then me and management didn’t always get on.

And then on Thursday night I was the ‘soul’ (sic) judge at the Ayrshire Inter-Club Video Competition down in Prestwick (Yes. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadass Song won it) and again this was a bunch of people who had stories they wanted to tell, slightly different from the domestic abuse campaign trail I’d seen that afternoon, with the most amazing tagline ever this week. I think it’s launched this Thursday coming.

It was good, if frightening fun, but luckily on the night there could be only one winner; a brilliant wee animation from Stewartry Camcorder Club about a drunken Santa. It was fabulous.

So maybe yet, maybe yet, maybe yet…….

So in a mixed bag (eh?) big thanks to Jayne for both (but you are buying both coffees and caramel shortcake the next time); to a guy from Washington DC (I got that wrong) for recognising me; to Kirsten for being Kirsten; to Helen for being Helen; to Jim for organising Prestwick; and L to frae Troon for seeing me safely there, showing me Flanagan’s pub and, and, and I can’t do the Puddock line. 😉

And to W, what must your mum think of me? Apart from the reported comment. It was a bit like delivering an empty envelope, wasn’t it? (The drums are getting louder even as we speak). Sorry.

And finally, something of interest below the line to Son Brian (and possibly others) from a grumpy dad (except I’m not the dad to those others and I hate that ‘boyish’ line….’not that I know of anyway, ha, ha….’).

It’s a bit legally, but here goes……

Cya, (keep)ing it fun  (see below the line) and still wearing that badge? It’s para 7 (keep reading)

Johnt850, ‘bookish’ and totally untechnical, and destined never to be materially successful, but yet, but yet…..who cares?

So I’m in process of re-drawing my will with the help of top legal eagle Mike. No.  There’s no real reason for it other than the last one was drawn up twenty years or so ago and there are things like para 7 ‘bequeathments and who gets the badge’? Any requests before I leave it all to Son Brian? Serioulsy….music’n’stuff? Books (lots of them) or pictures?

No, it’s a bit of my new will (para 15) I want to quote, viz.,

‘I wish my mortal remains to be cremated in a humanist funeral with the song ‘Anthem’ by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band being played as my coffin is carried in and the entire song ‘Whistling in the Dark’ by They Might Be Giants being played as my body is translated to the flames.’

That is sooooo keeping it fun and sooooooo made me smile when it turned up randomly on that MP3player. I almost wish I was there to lead the conga line.

‘I think I’m going to have to put you back in your cage

Yeah, that’s until you learn to act your age

Back in your cage, your cage, your cage.’

The 1990s

You will not be able to stay home, brother. You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out. You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip, skip out for beer during commercials, Because the revolution will not be televised

November 13, 2010

And that’s a request (kinda) from the NUJ Chapel at the BBC ahead of this winter of justified Dis-Con-Dem-t. (Et tu, Vince?) Altho’ the Wu Tung Clan say it will be televised. And that slightly worries me. Not the televising of the revolution but the fact that the WTC and Gil Scott-Heron were already on this MP3 player I found in the house. Obvioulsy I must have ‘obtained’ it during my alkoholic gap year but did I really go out with a Black Pantherette in 2006? Here? In Summerston?

So I’ve got some serious cancerly stuff which will be below the line but don’t go straight there ‘cos I’ve not written it yet. So most of today will be a load of nonsense (eh?) but can I just say the first sensible words yet in Movember came from women (and you wonder why most of my friends are female but, yet, I’m not gay) The sensiblest of all was Michelle Watt who well described the basic symptoms and said, ‘Any worries? Get it checked’.

So before I mention my friends can I mention stv’s The Hour where not only have they stopped making sausage and egg pie but they must be aware of my conversion to pescatarianism (ethically justifiable) because they produced an onion tart which was fried onions and garlic philly cheese on top of rolled out pastry and slammed in the oven. Imaginative or what?

No. I was drawn to the Herb Lady. No. Not pot-pourri and scented cushions. Fireworks vodka. Serioulsy. Get a bottle of vodka. Put chillis in it and leave it for several weeks and then strain. Into a nice bottle. The burn, Ellroy, the burn…….my tongue came so close to sticking to the screen……. 😛

Drooling swiftly on.

And my foray into Job Search has started but I want to keep details of my first session down there fairly confidential. ‘Cos she was awfully gorgeous but has a very distinctive first name. And seems to be busy most Saturdays coming up soon. One knock back I can take. Two knock backs and I’m happy to settle for being good friends. Oke?

And it occurs to me that knockback is one word, not two, otherwise the plural would be knocks back. It’s not a word I use often.

(I’m good – usually – with dissertation words www.thewordprocess.net )

And as for this idea of putting cards round the door (singular) ? No. No result. Yet. But, let’s have some concrete reality, shall we?

To……….

Jayne – awfully good documentary at GFT about Fairfields but why did Helen hit me with the paper plate? And I’m thoroughly looking forward to the Prestwick film gig. And I’d be more than happy to help Kirsten with her research into the lives of women in Govan. No. No innuendo.

Jayne’s daughter – thanks for being there. 😀 😀 😀

Jayne’s daughter’s dad – did you have to be there? 😦 😦 😦

Jaymi – brilliant idea for a book (here we go again). I have idea for plot and characters and will start it off; I will then commit suicide in a very public yet bizarre fashion involving one hundred buttered rools on a Sunday morning; this will allow you to finish it off and gain lots of cash and kudos.

W – pescatarianism (ta) and intro to various forms of dance which I find myself practising on seemingly deserted railway stations (Summerston, Wendysday night and I was applauded) but also I didn’t realise how awfully often I say ‘awfully’ until you pointed it out. Gosh.

The lady in the dentist’s waiting area (Maryhill Road) – who told me she was on medication before she told me she was listening to a crossed line on her mobile but, ‘Son. It’s no’ switched on………..’

The Vampire Slayer – I know some folk who’ve moved to ‘a house, a very big house, in the country’ near Aberfoyle and they’re worried about the possibility of vampires but that’s not our patch, is it? (Stuart and Anne, enjoy)

Jack London – for saying in 1876 that ‘after God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad and the vampire, He had some awful stuff left with which He made a scab’. (small trade union point but there are lines I do not cross)

Jock W – I do wish you hadn’t phoned me when you were out walking your dog. I got confused and did something unspeakable to the neighbour’s cat. 

Anybody I know called clr/Claire* – I’d forgotten the B52s had named a planet after you. (When dancing was dancing – see various YouTubes)

* cancer connections to three……….

And finally, research has shown that half of all adults go a fortnight or more without washing their pyjamas. Not me guv, I don’t wear any.

cya, keep(ing) it fun and still Wearing that badge? Gosh, yes.

Johnt850, a man with a lot in common with Giles Coren

So to the serious cancerly bit. This blog has always been open and honest. It’s why it exists. As many folk know I say, as far as I am concerned, my own prostate cancer is sorted but every so often I get my blood tested. (PSA test). And I did recently. And it’s gone back up (mathematically) quite considerably which is the wrong direction. Now, this is not necessarily bad news; that the cancer’s coming back or anything like that. It just throws you a touch. Actually it threw me quite a lot. For a day or so.

As did a report in the Herald of Glasgow which I didn’t fully understand. It talks about how research has shown that ‘deaths from high-risk prostate cancer can be cut by giving men hormonal therapy and radiation treatment’. Yes. Me. I am still here because of that treatment. It’s not new.

But its description of the eight weeks of daily radiotherapy that I had to go through, and the PSA news, brought back lots of memories of tears behind the bike shed at the Beatson. 

And then it said, ‘However, radiotherapy is not ‘a soft option’ for prostate cancer’. Well, speaking objectively, I never thought it f**king was and if my cancer (and I want no proprietorial rights) did come back, then that is an option I no longer have available to me.

I’ll maybe freeze the fireworks vodka, shall I? Safer that way, perhaps. Eh, Skippy? Gosh, yes, jt.

We didn’t notice any time passed We didn’t notice anything We sit side by side in every class Teacher thinks that I sound funny But she likes the way you sing….I can tell that we are going to be friends

November 6, 2010

Y’see I’ve known Missie K and some others as good friends for about five years since they were knee high to an NQ but it was just the other day that I was talking to her about the different dance steps for techno and trance (I can do basic techno but not hardstyle whereas trance always seems to me to a lot more grounded) and there is a kinda look and something in Missie K’s voice that says, ‘jt, act your age’, (42 since you ask) and puts me in my place like no other.

Now some of you know where my recent interest in these dance forms comes from (and I do like trance whereas techno……..) and it’s the same source as my current interest in vegetarianism (long story) and there is good news on that front. Vegetarianism. Not the source.

I have found a brill book which is more than just recipes; I have found the lentil counter in the ASDA; and I have used it as a chat up line.

She was looking at the filled rolls looking for those without meat and I asked was she vegetarian? ‘Well’, she said, ‘I eat fish.’

‘A pescatarian’, I cried. Well, slap my thigh with a sea bass. Was she impressed? It’s rhetorical.

Oh, and last week? The Vampire Slayer was disguised as Catwoman (that was a Catwoman outfit?); Yes, Roky Erikson is weird but thanks to the rainforestriverman for sending me Roky’s biog,  The 13th Floor Elevators, the Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound; and the Anvar Khan/Tommy Sheridan meet was in a radio studio, live on air.

But how, I hear you ask, do the good people of Maryhill rate their new Tesco? Well, my focus group are some folk on a methodone programme whom I meet from time to time (long story) and they point out it has no Greggs, no Farmfoods and no pound shops (unfilled units) no taxi rank and the opening offer of two bottles of spirits (Baileys) for two pounds (£2) was, Tesco claim, a mis-print. Aye. Right.

Maybe it’s for the Wendies of this world (ppl who live in the West End. Of Glasgow) and not the rest of us.

But my jobsearch has started (more below the line) but Skippy found me a nice job from jobseekers.direct.gov.uk (‘no specific qualifications’ needed). It is, serioulsy, for a ‘warfare specialist sensor submariner’ whose task it is to ‘work out where the enemy is, without giving away your submarine’s position’……..except when it’s on a sandbank off the island of Skye presumably.

But in the same area (Maryhill, not Skye) I have had my PSA (blood test) taken ahead of my now annual cancer chat but I continue to despair at Movember, as ‘awareness’ raising, every time I read, ‘I get myself checked regularly’. No. Very few, if any, NHS doctors will ‘check’ you for a potential prostate problem unless you’re showing basic symptoms. For me it was as simple as going for a pee too often during the night.

But speaking medically, my computer went into computer hospital last week. In Drumchapel. You’ve sooooooooo much got to trust the computer doc haven’t you? I mean, did he read that mail I’d already saved in draft????????????? and sent Friday afternoon. No. No reply. As yet. 😦

Wasn’t too sure where all the bits’n’pieces of cable would go when I got the machine back so I took a mobile pic, saved it to the computer and then deleted it from the phone. Twat‘s exactly the right word, thank you. (Think about it)

I actually came away from the Drum with a very badly bleeding right hand (long story) where the thumb joins the rest of the hand and I had this really horrible experience of driving back from the Drum to Summerston with my right hand dripping blood out of an open window and all the driving being carried out by my overworked left hand. 😉 and I’m not sure what it says about that journey, but nobody bothered. I’m not sure what it says about my ability to drive with one hand either but let’s not go there.

And so to the fireworks party I attended Friday night midway between the Drum and Scummy Summy. It’s called Bearsden. At Colin’s house. I like family fireworks parties; I like the home-made sausage rools (I was told they were quorn, oke?); I like watching the fifteen year old swearing he’s only had two cans of lager; and I couldn’t help but notice the good looking and strangely familiar young man in the corner. Oh, yes it was my son. Brian.  

Him and Colin were the fireworks lighters but I pulled. The really dangerous job. I was the guy who sorted out the fuses. It is a really dangerous job. I broke my thumb nail.

And then on to a pool tournament where I made the mistake of beating the local boy, Jack, in the second round. Not a good thing to do. I threw my semi. Final. Safer that way.

And finally, doesn’t stv’s Michelle McManus have a large poppy ?; Craig Charles is playing the Buff Club, Friday, 26th (Nick!); my mate Jayne’s new documentary is being premiered this Wednesday at the GFT; and can I apologise to the nice young lady on a recent train for my bad language…..whilst listening to some trance on MP3phones, I apparently exclaimed, ‘Ooops! Shit! Oh Dear!’ in a v. loud voice. Actually she laughed. And then the train terminated.

cya, keep(ing) it fun and still Wearing that badge. 😀

Johnt850, more a younger Gibbs from NCIS than an Horatio Caine from CSI Miami.

I was going to use this bit to explain why I agree that alcohol is a greater threat to society than hash, crack or smack but Kenny McAskill and the Scottish crime figures did that for me the next day.

Instead can I say a quick word about jobsearch through traditional means? I have signed on and off throughout all of my working life, so when it was raining I tried to make an appointment by phone. Once I’d found the unlisted number for Maryhill Job Centre I then found myself going from an 0845 to 0800 to 0845 to 0800. The next day I went down in person, was given the correct 0808 number, phoned it and it only took a 30 minute form filling over the phone before I’d given enough info to be given a ‘work-focussed interview’ this coming week.

I’ll keep you posted, shall I? I’d like to be a sandbagger’s mate, I reckon.