Archive for December, 2010

I wish you a hopeful Christmas, I wish you a brave New Year All anguish pain and sadness Leave your heart and let your road be clear

December 25, 2010

Greg Lake there obvioulsy, and when I say it’s the memories that make it my ultimate Christmas song, it belongs to a time when my alter ego was not long turned 21, was a trainee community worker in the Viewpark/Bellshill area and shared a flat with Viv, and Ken and Jean (I think the latter two were away) on the top floor of Otago Street, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow.

We’d had the traditional Christmas Day dinner of Koh-i-Noor takeaway chicken curry with free poppadoms and nippy onions and were wondering where to go for a drink, when the door bell rang. It was some friends who’d used the excuse ‘gotta go and see how John and Viv are’ to get away from a boring family gathering and had brought booze and pressies. A little later the door bell rang and it was some friends who’d used the excuse………..A little later the door bell rang and…….Two days later the door bell was still ringing. 

Viv was manageress of the first ever Laura Ashley shop in Glasgow. In Byres Road. She had to go and open up. We all went.

The Christmas we get, we deserve

So, after a week with two mother and daughter incidents – one in the car park at Dobbies Garden Centre, Milngavie (Jayne I showed you mine, where was yours?) and the other in ASDA, Summerston (honestly, I thought she was your sister, Dani) – all I want to do before you return to your left over turkey (I’m just sitting here toying with my long quorn sausage) is do some thank yous.

Obvioulsy for smashing pressies such as……(I’ll fill this bit in later once I get some)

To the Royal Mail and Post Office for one very special delivery. I don’t know what the gorgeous W and family made of it but it made my day;

To Dougie for the first serious invite of 2011, to his twenty-ninth (I think) birthday ‘piss-up’ somewhere in Glasgow on Friday the Seventh….could be a lot of tomato juice;

And to the makers of an individual triam…taram…Italian pudding with mars…massal……wine in it. No. No reason. Actually, to be honest, dear listener I was gabbling (eh?). I could feel light headed but I felt no desire to carry on. (He lied manfully (eh?) ) :D;

And I actually had some brill pressies ranging from a cafetier through to a whole range of gift cards which will  ensure that one afternoon I can sit listening to new music eating M & S food whilst reading new books through to all sorts of herbs and spices designed to improve my impeccably coiffed hair. (The drink’s still affecting me)

and maybe one day I’ll have hair like Greg Lake’s

So, and finally, please don’t forget next week’s Blog Personality of the Year Awards, published at 1800 on 1st January. Exciting, eh?

cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? It may have contributed to both incidents.

Johnt850, a high-end, high-concept thriller (No. Me neither)


I can feel you, you’re everywhere, shining like the sun, and I wished to God that kids like you could be like everyone. How many tumbles must it take before you learn to fly? I’m going to help you spread your wings, my universal child.

December 18, 2010

Annie Lennox, obvioulsy, from her album A Christmas Cornucopia. According to Wikepedia, she was born on Christmas Day in Aberdeen. It’s a song written, she says, ‘because the nativity is really about a child born in dangerous, impoverished circumstances.’ Nice and appropriate.

In which case would someone tell Susan Boyle that Hallelujah is not a ‘traditional Christmas song’, but is the product of Leo Cohen’s drug inspired brain and is based on hedonism and debauchery and adultery in the Old Testament. I’m sorry but I am past making allowances for that woman. Maybe Ben Brown should interview her.

And, yes, I, too, am in favour of drug legalisation. We already recognise there’s a problem by treating the victims of an illegal trade. Why are we not then recognising the solution, altho’ it does require an awful lot of work to make it happen?

(Easy, tiger, it’s Christmas…………I know. It’s the drums. Why don’t I do what I usually do with the Christmas blog and do cracker gags?………Oke, tiger.) It’s Friday, it’s five to five and it’s a cracker gag………

q      How does Bob Marley like his doughnuts?

a      Wi’ jam in………

(Sorry, W, what was it you said about my sense of humour? And Jaymi, well done. And Jayne, I do have one but I have no balls.)

No. The Christmas blog is the equivalent of a glass or two of nicely mulled wine in good company with some gentle humour.

Fat decorator wins X Factory with awful version of Biffy’s song!

Precocious talent (Cher) with brill voice, who dared to be different, doesn’t!

q      What does an angry kangaroo do?

a      Gets hopping mad!

So I was on a train going into town from Summerston (purely for the novelty factor as bestest friend Caitlin suggested) and there’s this man working intently on his blackberry and I had to sneak a peak and you have no idea the pleasure with which I said, in a very loud voice, ‘Red five on black six!’

Bells! Jayne, I meant bells!

And I’m sure, like me, you were devastated by the cancellation of Deadmau5 at Braehead and, therefore, on Radio 1. I’m being serious. For those who wondered what happened, here’s his site.

But if you’re looking for something more mainline, can I recommend Deana on Dino on Radio 2 on Christmas Day, in which Dean Martin’s daughter recalls memories of her dad. No. No reason. Other than the fact it’s really good. And a Demus production.

Plus RIP, Captain Beefheart. You and John Peel played a major cameo role in my life earlier this year. Thanks.

q      What do you call a man who used to be interested in tractors?

a      An ex-tractor fan.

And there will be a small blog next week at the end of Christmas Day when I’ll probably list all my pressies. Don’t know what I’ll put in the second line. And then the week after that I’ll be publishing The Blog Personality of the Year Awards at 6 o’clock on the evening of 1st January, just in case any Liverpudlian punters fancy a strange bet or two.

But I was down at the Beatson Cancer Care Centre earlier this week for what I hoped would become an annual check up (see serious bit below but not just yet) and whilst always an emotional experience, there is always a certain element of fun attached to it.

I saw a different consultant from before. Not a bad thing. I think it’s important I meet new people and whilst I’ve not met many this year just ending, those (plural) that I did meet obvioulsy made a big impression on me. What’s this, jt? Is the favourite maybe not the fave? Could there be an outsider, an etranger, coming up on the rails???????

Anyway, he left the room. So I read my notes.

omg! I am weird. I have seen it in medical black and white. Did I really talk about marrying my psychologist (lol!x), I’m not ‘tee total’, ‘is writing what he calls a ‘blook”, my cancer was bad but no sign of spreading, ‘GSOH’, and my fave bit – altho’ it should be remembered I am 42 – ‘he is a 53 year old young (sic) journalism lecturer’. 😀

I had a consultant who kept it fun which is why I chose him rather than the surgeon’s knife, but an awful lot came flooding back, including the obligatory tears.

q   Why did the man get sacked from an orange juice factory?

a    He couldn’t concentrate.

Incidentally I have seen coffins in the shape of gaily coloured aeroplanes and buses and kayaks, but where? And I don’t mean HIGNFY…….I mean, I really have……where?

And finally, I saw a really bad  TV comedy prog during the week called Desperate Fishwives, which is based on the idea that amateurs speaking the doric are funny cos they’re amateurs speaking the doric. It didn’t work. And I say that coming originally from Peterhead but ppl in the North East don’t understand the doric. For years I never had a part in a Nativity Play when I was at school. I was always the narrator, but yet the story never changed…………always the same ending. I got really weird looks when I suggested a re-write. I think it was the condom gag.

cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? It was grooving Friday night.

Johnt850, whose resolutions for 2011 have already been written, by the rainforestriverman. The TLA is JCB.

So, to cancerly matters…..and let’s get this out the way; it was the result I was expecting. That very specific blood test I get (PSA) has doubled (oops but not worrying, just yet, cos it’s a relatively low figure) but statistically we don’t know enough, so I’ve to go back in six months rather than a year and I’ve to get the PSA test done a wee bit more often during that period.

It is probable that my levels bounce about a wee bit more than make good graph reading and we’ll find out more over the next few months, but like everything to do with my prostate there is always a wee bit of up and down (I’ll leave that innuendo with you). 😀

Anyway, there’s the doorbell. That’ll be the Carol Muggers. The mulled Buckfast is ready.

Merry Christmas, dear listeners, and here’s my fave gag… might take a second or two…….

q    What’s brown and sweet and glides around an ice rink?

a     Bournville and Dean.


Because I always feel like running, Not away, because there is no such place. Because, if there was I would have found it by now………

December 11, 2010

Y’see if this was a normal blog I’d be complaining about how we can’t cope and how lousy the Transport Minister was and so on but pffffffffffft. Like millions of others I just got on with things. I work basically from home, I eat for one 😦 and my car started every day. I dug myself out and went, slowly, where I had to. Socially? Horribly quiet. All invites will be accepted.

Not without adventure, but more of that later.


Scotrail, you are rubbish. Summerston is not some twee fancy pants middle class railway station out in the sticks. It is on the Glasgow North line featuring Kelvindale – Maryhill – Summerston – Gilshochill – Possilpark which, looked at it in that running order, resembles my descent into Irvine Welsh territory had I not cold turkeyed. I looked at your website!

‘Subject to short notice cancellation’.

Nothing f**king ran for a million days from Summerston but the steps to the platform were always gritted…..just in case.

Parents – my heart went out to you. I looked randomly (No. No reason) at North Lanarkshire Council’s website and I felt for lots of folk who had to make lots of decisions about schooling and travelling and nurseries and all sorts of things. (I know a few people in NLCC area btw, not just, well, anyway……….)

Weather forecasts were, in the main, right but they are only a forecast. But we’ve got to learn to trust them. I was meant to be attending a kinda office party on Friday. Earlier in the week the forecast said things would be a lot better. It was cancelled several days in advance. Friday morning was fine.

But well done to the War Veterans who made it to Broughty Ferry for their book launch.

And motorways……heavy snow fell at a time when the motorways and main roads were already clogged up with rush hour traffic. Snow ploughs and gritters don’t live on the M8. They’ve got to get there and if side roads and slip roads are jammed they can’t get through until these roads are cleared.

And supermarkets……what an amazing opportunity to chat up women and help them carry their shopping home and…… moving swiftly on…….. 😀

Btw, I love the smell of last night’s incense sticks first thing in the morning. Don’t you?

To this week’s adventure.

It was Thursday and one year old AJ got in touch and said he was going to Yorkhill Sick Kids for a regular check up, so I drove over and parked the car at the far side of the Botanic Gardens where another car had been and met up with him and his mum. We walked down and everything is fine with AJ. And at this point, dear listener, I should stress that, on occasions like these, I stamp the word FRIEND across my forehead altho’ my alter ego does want to stamp YES. EVERYTHING IS WORKING across his.

But that question (my role, as it were) has never been asked but there have always been looks of amazement, (sorry that should have read ‘admiration’), from many younger men……for all sorts of reasons……and I am well used to them, having been out/met up with friends like AJ’s mum (e), L frae Troon, the gorgeous W, Missie K and the Vampire Slayer, all incredibly beautiful women (just plucked at random there) during the course of the last few months.

But that question was asked. In Waitrose. Next to the carpet shampoo aisle. (Gulp….)

Did we know the name of the big new stationer’s that had opened halfway down Byres Road? (I mean – do we look that sort of person?) Well sadly, Yes. We did.

‘Ryman’s’, we cried out in unison, and to our embarrassment. We slinked out and I returned to my car. Chastened. Only to find that snow had hardened and I couldn’t get over the lump.

A phone call was made and, minutes later, wearing a high visibility jacket, carrying a spade and a bucket of grit, came AJ’s dad. This man is a hero. This is the man who, six months ago, at his son’s Naming Day at a posh castle in Ayrshire, explained to the guests that there was a good reason why I had parked my car in a rose bed. As I do. Sober.

AJ’s dad dug me out. I didn’t help. I am useless at times. I drove home very slowly but actually did drive home. I did not dump it. My ten year old Megane is brilliant even if it is white and you can’t see it if you’re in a helicopter and it’s snowing. Actually not just my Megane but all those women mentioned above are brilliant and I hope things are okay with you all.

But AJ’s dad…….ta. It is not too late for e to nominate you for the Blog Personality of the Year, but it is for me alone to vote.

And finally, on the question of voting, I do have £5 (five pounds) on Cher to win the X Factory. At twenty-five to one. I have only seen The Sing Off between her and Mary Byrne, but whilst Mary has a good voice, Cher’s can only get better, if she just screws the nut……Same beneficiary as the winnings from Spain’s successful World Cup, btw……and it’s my turn to pay 😀

Cher was sooooooooooo amazed at the folk who turned up at a recent gig. She says, ‘I thought it was just going to be my gran skanking out in the corner’. Son Brian was worried I’d do the same at his graduation a couple of years back.

(and yes, this was written before Saturday’s show)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? I use it to reflect the sun onto the snow in front of me. It melts straightaway.

Johnt850, a tiger for the techno and the trance.

Y’see I had planned to do jokey stuff about how online retailing will never catch on cos you need to see what’s in the basket, the price of fish, and why a Christmas Carol Concert in March would be a brilliant idea for publicity and awareness for a charity. But I didn’t.

But then maybe one day I’ll lose my enthusiasm for saying, ‘Why not?’

That’ll be the day when I reach University Avenue and turn back.

Amazing kids at Yorkhill. Amazing people working with them. Things may not always turn out as you expect or hope (Trust me. I know. I am that tw*t). Grow up, yet still take risks, young people. Seize the moment, seize the opportunity and don’t use the weather as an excuse. AJ didn’t. Nor did the War Veterans.

Carpe diem

I’ll tell you tho’. I got ecstacy but I need some company. You got that mystery. Lord I need a plan. All I got is a compromise and a bag full of alibis. Lord as empty as the bottle of whisky in my shaking hand.

December 4, 2010

Peace in the Valley by Alabama 3 can only mean one thing. This week sees the fourth anniversary of Cold Turkey Sunday; four years ‘clean and clear’ – four years ‘sober and solvent free’. (10/11 Dec) Thanks to all the support team. 😀 I think all I miss now is the normality of drinking alcohol. Missing a train, buying a paper and then going for a coffee is not the same as then going for a pint. It’s a small price.

I, however, take comfort that most of the City Centre and West End pubs featured this week in The List’s Best Bars Guide are known to me. Acceptance. It’s December’s word.

But I don’t wake up all smiles or anything like that. I still want to bury my head in the pillow and I have a pounding head, altho’ now I blame the fact that I fall asleep with the MP3 headphones on – all that techno and trance. Thanks, W. And Jaymi, thanks for the massamam curry suggestion, suitable for a pescatarian such as me.

Moving steadily on.

‘Thanks’ may be this week’s word. I’m not Tesco’s biggest fan…..for all sorts of reasons, but mega – Ta to the staff of Tesco’s in Perth (not the 24 hour one) who opened up the doors of the staff quarters (that’s not quite right, is it? Skippy took the message) to Son Brian, KT and their friends and loads of others who were snowed up (and under) in Perth following the rugby last weekend. ‘Brilliant’ is how he described them.

You never stop feeling for them, do you, no matter how old and rich they get? Altho’ I think my parents gave me up at an early age. For adoption. Several times. The other families never kept me. No. No reason.

Ruth in Malaysia (yours is the second Skype request recently) saw my Facebook status and made this astute comment about her own situation; ’28 in the shade. We’re going to build sandcastles.’ but she is over this week.  

But lots of bad weather this week. Traffic going through Summerston was in convoys……as usual. It’s safer that way.  Kenny the Shed Pimp was leading one of them, at snail’s pace…..basically cos he’d slowed down to talk to me. I was walking.

And to Kenny and others who didn’t see my alter ego on The Hour at the beginning of September, here’s the link, altho’ it was slow to buffer; 

And thanks also to Tam a former student of mine who posted this memory of my first day teaching him and some others;

‘If memory serves me well I do believe you walked in, called Ewan a redneck and complained about people complaining about the weather. Ahhhh the good old days, eh JT? Still doing your Groucho Marx thing with the coffee stirrers?’

And that was me in recovery, altho’ maybe I was over-compensating. And on another occasion I entered the classroom, doing a Bruce Forsyth impression and another time I kicked a scrunched up notepad straight into a waste paper bin. Just like a real newsroom.

The first (and only) record I ever recorded was ‘If I Had a Hammer’.

And can I say how much I agree with, former Clydebank FC supremo, Jack Steedman’s comments about Scottish football but then I would, wouldn’t I?….as Mandy Rice Davies almost said. (Not the Scottish football bit).

It’s interesting cos my alter ego (I am 42) should be old enough to remember the Great Freeze of 1963 but instead remembers the Great Sex Scandal of that Year. At the age of nine (9), he was comparing pics of Mandy and Christine Keeler. (Mandy won).

But then my/his ring finger on the right hand is much bigger than the index finger meaning I/he has a greater sex drive than most and was always more likely to have prostate cancer…….or have I misunderstood that research?

Incidentally I celebrated my sobriety in the Aragon down Byres Road…….as you do. And I loved a comment that came in recently to the blog (please feel free)……’makes me want to drink alcoholic beverages’…….em, me too. Especially when I read what was written the previous night……….

Which reminds me; There are a number of social invites out there to a number of people, some of them outstanding (that’s the people as well as the invites) – AJ had a great party without me, btw (you may know him as 20lbs, but we think he’s now old enough) – and I owe nothing on any credit card. C’est bon, ne’st pas? And I’ve bought most of my Chrissie pressies altho’ one is a pressie I wanted to give someone  a few weeks ago. (Yes. The original line was full of innuendo) and I am happy to come to you. Always. That’s a general ‘you’……I’m losing it again. It’s the drums. They never go away.

Christmas pressie shopping? I went into one of the shops off Byres Road I use and the young lady said, ‘will it be your usual, jt?’ And I said, ‘No. I’ve an idea for something different this year.’ And that, amazingly enough, dear listener, is a true story. As is everything in the blog.

And finally, it will soon be The Blog Personality of The Year and nominations are open. Yes. I know who the favourite is as well, but it doesn’t always work that way. In Year One, gd frnd clr came second to a three year old, and last year it was a phone call from Italy (and good luck to all those sitting exams that haven’t been cancelled) so if you’d like to nominate someone (Lifetime Award and Team Award as well), please do so. Voting is limited to me.

cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? You bet the ring finger on my right hand I am!……just in case.

Johnt850, off-book but still going with the flow.

So nothing below the line this week as everyone has had a hard and, in some cases, disappointing week.

‘we’re just waiting for the light to shine on a brand new day’

(Also from Peace in the Valley