Archive for March, 2011

They call it, oh, A nation fit for heroes The evidence is all overdue This zombie land for zeros From cradle to the grave, and beyond

March 26, 2011

I was going to start this blog by saying how Glasgow became a police state this week. On Tuesday the gorgeous W and I were proceeding east along University Avenue here in Glasgow when we became aware of an incident involving sixty-four police people, eighteen police vehicles, a canine unit, tactical support and, I am reliably informed, more support teams down Kelvin Way in reserve.

They were evicting some students from an almost derelict building which they had been occupying in protest over education cuts affecting everyone who believes in the ancient Scottish right of free education at all levels including university.

Apparently everything was fine according to the policeman in charge but one officer felt frightened and pressed his/her panic alarm and there just happened to be all these police in the Byres Road area…..oh, and the helicopter…..and the unmarked cars… least two.

Still it was a good rehearsal for sledgehammering ‘battling granny’ Margaret Jaconelli out of her Dalmarnock home on Thursday. Her lawyer was told at 5.30 that morning that the dawn raid had started. I was in communication with him by seven o’clock, by which time workers backed by high visibility police had smashed their way through ‘the flat’s defences’………all this happening after the Scottish Parliament stood down to stand in Holyrood elections.

The Commonwealth Games aren’t until 2014.  Before then they’ll be coming after the communists; the trade unionists; the Jews; and then you. (Martin Niemoller, date uncertain). The organisation of those Games are, it has been reported, a shambles but security’s looking good.

I was going to say Glasgow became a police state this week but it couldn’t happen, could it? So I won’t.

The opening track is from The Damned. You forget that Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett were once at the cutting edge of political broadcast satire, don’t you? Those two sentences make a strange juxtaposition, don’t they?

I got my new car, this week.

It’s a 1.2, 100 brake horsepower turbo Renault Clio, which apparently makes me a bit of a boy racer. The turbo bit means nothing to me altho’ I’m told by Northern Soul Dave that after a long motorway journey, say, I should let the engine idle for a while before turning it off. I did that once with the Megane after a trip to Bellshill (YMCA). Oh, hang on, the engine idled after I’d turned it off that day….not one of my favest days that day.

It has two sunrooves (why?) and the mirror on the driver’s visor has a sliding thing so you don’t see yourself in the mirror but why wouldn’t I want to see myself? The stereo is thumping and bumping (and whilst I remember can I apologise to wee Harry’s mum, Gill. When I lent him my MP3 player whilst we talked Hetherington Club stuff I didn’t realise the next track up was The Wu-Tung Clan. Hey, it increased his vocabulary even if that does mean he gets flung out of school.)

And on the subject of wee boys, can I just say to e, after a Friday afternoon spent in the Botanic Gardens before returning to an evening of dissertation editing (and me wi’ a sair whiplash tae) that I am only too happy to borrow wee AJ for an afternoon. What a brilliant way to meet women including four young Japanese women tourists.

And on the subject of small men, Ronnie Corbett’s autobiography is a fascinating read btw; and it contains the script for that Two Ronnies Sketch I ran a few weeks ago. It looks nothing on paper but it worked so well on TV – one of the few that did.

And on the subject of wee men, can I also say thanks to W for a couple of smashing pressies and, honest, the shortest distance from Hillhead Subway Station to Lilybank Gardens is via Dumbarton Road. (No. No reason) 😀 

Both pressies were bookishly books and one related to the fact that it is now exactly fifty years since American nuclear subs arrived on the Clyde and we were only four minutes away from being blown to pieces. You’d think a freelance journo and his friends and colleagues would put forward an idea for a documentary, wouldn’t you?

Well, we did several months ago and it got knocked back by BBC Scotland, kinda blown out of the water, you might say. Ho and hum. But what do commissioning editors know anyway? Sweet FA. After all that effort to save Six Music as well.

And finally, Missie K, don’t worry. I didn’t burn the tea. And your drivetime show on Mondays on Bolt fm continues to get better and better.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, but because someone said they were running late and then said they were on a train an hour early, I wore the wrong jacket……

Johnt850, signed autograph, anyone?

Oh, and does anyone know where I can buy mints with a hint of chilli in them other than a shop in Balloch?

And on the subject of wee blue man cancer badges, I do hope you all went into Marks and Spencer’s and bought one for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month or keyring or special boxer shorts. I don’t wear boxers but I do worry about getting the message across about prostate cancer.  

I say once again that it is not a disease restricted to old or retired men; my alter ego was in his early fifties, but looks so hellishly good looking and young and just soooooooo does not do stereotypes. I got so pissed off at a recent info stand , just ‘cos so many ‘older’ men said that ‘I’m fine. Thank you’ that I took out my aggression by blowing up Prostate Cancer Charity balloons and hiding them all over a certain garden centre. Just past the Angel of the A80. Heading North.

Y’see, if I want to unstress, then I hold out the palms of my hands like so and slowly turn them over and lower them down to my side but it doesn’t always help.

Sometimes this does. it’s the Vaselines. I’m flexible. Why not use me. And the Clio. The dressing up looks fun. Doesn’t it? But you can always dress down.

And they say that a hero could save us I’m not gonna stand here and wait I’ll hold on to the wings of the eagles Watch as we all fly away

March 19, 2011

And at one point this week I could have done with a super-hero; someone just to lift me out of this world and let me look down on things. It was just after 5 on Monday night, on a train to Motherwell, to talk prostate cancer to a group of men with what I still call learning difficulties, and in the wake of some good writing news, that I got the call. From the Aviva car engineer. My smashing white ten year old Meganne; that the other driver ran into and taken full liability for……..He told me it was a write-off.

I said, ‘I’ll be off this train in ten minutes. Can we talk then?’ He said, ‘No. I finish at 5.30.’ I thought, ‘You cant. You can’t even wait a few minutes until I can grieve privately and not in front of a carriageload of strangers.’

I thought back to that actual crash and how she seemed more upset than me. ‘Here, let me console you’, I said, grasping her. Firmly. ‘I must phone my boyfriend,’ she said. ‘Console yourself,’ I said. Don’t you hate it when a good looking woman lets herself go to fat like that? Within seconds. Before your very eyes.

I liked Green Lantern but my favourite was always Batman cos he was do-able. He was a real man, who just dressed up and did things. He didn’t need to be from another planet with all kindsa powers including x-ray vision. Even at the age of ten, I realised the power of X-ray vision 😉 and when I saw at the back of the comic you could buy x-ray spex I wanted them but my parents didn’t have dollars (and I suspect that it was then that they realised I was not ‘normal’ for Peterhead…..)

I think I may have mentioned this before but my alter ego was about 42 and was with Son Brian one Saturday morning when he was taken by surprise by Batman in a quiet corner of the MacLellan Galleries. (Doesn’t sound good, jt) But I should explain it was a man dressed up as Batman (Not much better, jt).

I mentioned this to the gorgeous W and she worried about people wandering the streets of Glasgow surprising men in art galleries. I explained that the Vampire Slayer was real and watched over us all and everyone was safe. I didn’t say anything about the Vampire Slayer dressing up. The cold shower is running. Two of my fave women there in one paragraph.

So thanks to the blogmeister for choosing the music (Nickleback); sadness about the death of Michael Gough; Jaymi has left the ASDA for the excitement of a Charing Cross bar across the road from the Hilton; I’ve done nothing yet with that photo rrm; and yes, the BBC has snapped up a script of mine.

It was through a group of like-minded people called Write Camera Action! who meet regularly at the CCA in Glasgow and enter by a door other than the front one and act out other peoples’  fantasies. Mine may well end up going straight to online but I’m quite chuffed. Lots of reasons.

Oh, and on the dramatic action front, check out a drama on BBC Radio Scotland, 1030 Sunday, 20th March called The Special Relationship also on BBC iPlayer. Let’s just say I’ve already heard it and liked it. But also check out the Jazz House on the same station on Wednesday at 8. At night. Shona produced it.

So grasping the horns of the thistle by the bullrushes, my car is dead. In fairness to her insurance company a quick and easy settlement was reached and I think an okay one. So I walked into a shop that sells cars just up the road and asked if they sold any white ones. And they said no. So I wandered around a lot and then I saw it.

Apparently it’s called a Parrot (some kinda bluetooth thing) and I thought I want that. By chance it has a Renault Clio attached to it. Yeah. ‘It’s a 1.2, 100 brake horsepower turbo,’ the salesman said. I asked to look in the boot. Scraped a piece of grass off it and asked him how I opened the petrol cap on my hired Vauxhall Astra. Serioulsy.

So I’ll need to get the road tax thing back and stuff like that and can I say a mega-thanks to those who offered thoughts on car auctions and salvage and stuff. I just need access to a car just now. Just in case.

Now, on the subject of Personal Injury………my thanks to all those who offered their advice. And apparently Catherine down the road got her kitchen done up with hers. I have genuinely been whiplashed. At the busiest time of the year for dissertation editing. When I seem to be spending most of my life either processing words ( or waiting for students to send me those words. My fave tho’ is a Nigerian who sent me money (honest!) and then phoned me to tell me to cash the cheque quick.

I seem to have run into a problem with his Oxford referencing so I may be looking to sub-contract.  

But back to being whipped (or whatever.) I’m on Ibuprofen which I inadvertently mixed with something on the first night and it was really nice. I seemed to have phoned people, all of whom were very polite to me. Some of them I knew. The next day I read the instructions.

And finally, I’ve got to go to the physio. Monday. To get checked out.  So my week in a nutshell. Me. A nutshell.

cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Actually, I wasn’t on Monday night. There’s a lesson to be learnt there.

Johnt850, and I had no idea how to switch off the lights on the Astra either so I just went out when it was dark.

And I was going to use this bit to mention some prostate cancer stuff cos it’s Awareness Month and can I say a big thanks to the Milngavie man who put a twenty pound note in the collecting can? Took me ages and three knives to get it out. I’m in Dobbies Garden Centre in Cumbernauld this Thursday, 24th 1000-1500. I’m Aware.

But instead, this is for my White Meganne W796 RGG. Ignore the opening line and come in on the drums and imagine me, the Meganne and the open (Great Western) road…….every day after the sandblasting was done.

Riders on the storm Into this house we’re born Into this house we’re thrown Like a dog without a bone An actor out alone Riders on the storm

March 12, 2011

And can I start by saying a mega-thanks to all those who have said nice things about me getting to study (Post Grad) drink and drugs at a University in the Wets of Scotland near Paisley (No, Rab, aka Limmy’s producer, it is not one of those where people are paid to test drugs, so at no point in the experiment will I need to be subdued) but one or two bureaucratic bits’n’pieces had to be overcome.

However, dear listener, I have proof that I have a degree! They had to blow dust off archives to find the details originally entered into a buff coloured ledger by a quill made out of a feather plucked from a pregnant dodo. I didn’t realise I had still to re-sit Scottish Literature. In fact, I don’t remember studying it. Maybe ‘study’ is too strong a word.

But I am confident enough to start clearing a shelf or two for the rag mags and society memberships I am sure to pick up (maybe ‘pick up’ is not appropriate these days) and isn’t it interesting what you come across at times like that. Obvioulsy, at one point, I had an idea for a TV prog looking at how the alcoholic is portrayed in literature. I still have the notes.

Apparently Krook, a character in Dickens’s Bleak House, died by spontaneously combusting – ‘an event sometimes associated  with alcoholism’. Nope. I think I avoided that one. And Winky the House-Elf in the Harry Potter stories is described as depressed and a heavy drinker ‘for a House-Elf’. Not that I know that many house-elves.

No, you’re right. I’ve not been out much this week. It’s been a busy two weeks for some very large pieces of ‘proof-reading’ and the other stuff on the books is of a smaller dimension and maybe more fun in some respects. But screen-reading, as opposed to screen-surfing, fair takes it out of your eyes I realised the other night when I realised I had done too much.

I was sitting staring at my bare feet as they perched on my desk (I was wearing clothes over the rest of me, and my feet were actually still attached to my body) and I realised that the toes on my right foot are toetally different from those on my left. I mean, they’re not like just the mirror image kinda thing you’d expect. So after ten minutes I gave up and googled Stephanie Beecham. No. No reason. 😉

And I see KEN LOACH is casting for a new movie in a Scottish whisky distillery. Don’t ask. I’m not sure either.

But I did get out on Friday. I went to buy new pots’n’pans. I’ll keep them in the box, e, worry not, until you and AJ get a chance to see them, and (serious voice) there had been a pedestrian knocked down at the Science Park roundabout but my lane was moving and then it slowed and then another car hit me. In the back of my car. She’d been watching out for cars doing u-turns and hadn’t watched for flow of traffic.

By the time I’d got home she’d admitted full liability, arranged for a hire car, a garage to come and fix it, and I had her phone number. And her partner works for the NHS. But, hey, it’s a possible future plan of action, if tricky.

It’s the third scrape the Megane’s had this year as well as the big one last July. Chunky Chips lorry on black ice; car transporter on way to Helensburgh; and now this. Tbh,  I feel quite shattered. And got no work done. Ho and hum. And problems today (Saturday) as well. Must keep a record.

Coach Z in Homestar Runner was seen drinking Listerine (a dead giveaway) and Withnail of Withnail and I drank lighter fuel and went blind but was he not based on a real actor who had a funeral on a Scottish island which may have been the basis of the short story read by Alan Warner at the EdinBookFest attended by me and the gorgeous W? Y’know, sometimes it’s tortuous but I get there. 😀

Nice idea, btw, W – a virtual Workers’ playtime; to Howlin’ Prowlin’ Wolfman Missie K, attack the mic cos very few radio deejays do these days; and to players of the mighty Thistle well done – to hell with poncey Arsenal v Barca on widescreen TV in the comfort of peoples’ homes when you can watch such a brill victory over Queen of the South in the pouring rain and snow and that was just us in the stand.

And finally, when I Facebooked how good comic genius Mark Millar was at the Glasgow Book Aye Write Fest, which took place in the Mitchell Library with its amazing coffee bar, full of amazing ppl but not decaff coffee, little did I realise how much comic fans care about the writers as well as the heroes. Millar, amongst other things, and he admitted this, makes a good living from writing words for SwampThing and Kick Ass (someone actually turned up dressed as Kick Ass and sat in front of me! The embarrassment! For me!)

He did, however, talk about one of his latest projects, Death of Spiderman, but refused to give away the ending. (Oh and Flash Thompson (sp) and Ms Marvel are also on my lists of alcoholics……….interesting, eh?)

cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Don’t think the woman who crashed into me, didn’t notice it.

Johnt850, Should be fine. Feeling quite confident. Why the f**k not? (anon)

So no serious stuff below the line this week. I’ll be doing some Cancer Awareness at Dobbies Garden Centre in Milngavie this Thursday aftrenoon and all day in Cumbernauld the Thursday after but the gig in Motherwell this Monday is a wee bit more special by way of an audience. It’s a charity called Neighbourhood Network. This is their link;

Let’s play some music. This man was no work of fiction. It’s Jim Morrison. It’s the Doors. Attack the mic.

Ladies Don’t Stop It. Shake It Round and Round. Feel That Bass Bumpin’ and Rock To The Beat. This Beat Is Steady Bumpin’. They Jumpin’ Off Their Feet…….I’m gonna party hard like there’s no turning back……

March 5, 2011

And welcome Dear Listener to a special Club 18 – 30 edition of the show and that was the quiet and unassuming Black Eyed Peas there getting us off to a slow and gentle start.

Y’see what happened was that, for some reason, I was sent a Club 18-30 Members’ Handbook and it’s given me all sorts of ideas. For the Summer. No. Not quite those ideas. Bare with me. For example, I now have a promo code that gets me 15% off the Nike 6.0 Spring 2011 Collection at Kickzoo.

And according to the product placed phone quiz I did, I am ‘a trendsetter with a pixie haircut and a goth-inspired look to prove it.’ (Well, I did buy a new Mouse Pad (black) from Poundstretcher the other day).

And something else did get me thinking a wee bit about Summer and exotic holidays. Or weekends away.  A dissertation client for whom I did some long and very short notice work not only paid me, but gave me a sarong from her homeland of Malaysia. It’s beautiful. And it’s the same colour as the jogging hippo. A photo has been taken. 

But, no, (Name removed to protect my technological embarrassment) I will not be sending on mobile pics of me in that sarong 😉 , altho’ I now have a brilliant one of the Kingston Bridge taken from a Hilton Hotel bedroom the other night. (Long story but the rainforestriverman was in town and the toiletries I took from his room are much better than the ones I stole from that other hotel)

But I’ve done other things this week. I’d drooled about a ‘beloved hipster bar’ called Chinaski’s I know, only to find it looked shut but isn’t, after I took a friend there; I’ve listened to Nick at Demus mix a smashing radio drama (where did the idea for it come from, I wonder?) and I’ll let you know when it goes out; but that meant I missed Missie K on Bolt fm’s lunchtime special on Thursday; and I’d like to say a big thanks to a really good looking blonde called Heather who was my guide and mentor when collecting money for The Prostate Cancer Charity (Scotland) at Ibrox last Sunday. It is not a place in which I feel comfortable (my politics are not theirs), but we raised millions and that was just me and Heather. Thanks to the Rangers fans.

I did not stay for the game but went instead for chips and got a massif portion on the grounds that, ‘I’m no’ makin’ fresh ’til the end, son, so you can have all that’s left.’

Oh, and Son Brian, I spent a little bit more of your inheritance on a new pair of denims. I did throw out a pair or two recently. Someone did ask if I didn’t keep old clothes for D-I-Y or gardening or something and then realised it was me they were taking to. Oh, and is a waist size of just under 32 good? 😀 A new belt came with them.

And it was all going so well until yesterday morning when I knocked over the mini Zen Garden I have, or now had, on the desk beside me. FFS now actually stands for f**ked Feng-Shui, and W, you know how I argue that my carpet is coloured ‘sand’ not ‘beige’……well, it seriously is cos I can’t see how or where the sand from the garden has fallen or in what shape. The rocks look fine but only Buddhist time will tell. Oooooooooooops. I’m now really scared to hoover.  

So, I’d like to thank AJ’s mum for the semolina and I won’t tell Zen if you don’t; and I’d like to thank AJ for playing with me in that park in Hotspur Street. Ah, the joys of being freelance – like working until eleven o’clock last Sunday night and up again at 5.30 the next morning to do the second reading of that dissertation…..

Summerston remains fairly quiet, btw, despite families feuding following a High Court decision to jail two men for at last 18 and 17 years respectively following the killing of another. So far it involves apparently another machete attack; shots fired through windows; and a hit and run by a 4 x 4. However it does not as yet involve the police. Where’s all this happening? The bottom of the road and turn right. And stop.

But meercats continue to be exploited! A press release from St Andrew’s Aquarium, in St Andrew’s, is headed ‘Kate, Wills and the Pitter Patter of Tiny Feet’ – apparently the aquarium has named two of their meercats Kate and Wills ‘cos it was a ‘regular haunt’ of theirs when they were students.  

And finally, I’ve received a lot of advice this week on a particular matter but as there’s no real need to make a decision, I won’t.

cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Well, no, ‘cos it’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and they want me to wear one that says I’m Aware, but I do wonder how much more a badge that says Sex God would do for the image of men who have gone through the prostate cancer experience.

(Or go to Marks and Spencer’s Menswear and buy the wee blue man cancer badge!)

Johnt850, a tekkie tw*t as the gorgeous W well knows

And, so to this week’s serious news – I have been offered and accepted a Post Grad place in Alcohol and Drugs Studies at a University in the West of Scotland relatively near Paisley Gilmore Street Railway Station. Just down the road from Cardosi’s Carvery, the Students’ Union and across from a multi-storey car park, but I don’t want to be too specific.

I would like to thank e and W already for their patience in this matter – they are told even before Son Brian about some of these things and he’s happy and I’d also like to thank the Vampire Slayer for her help with the pencil question, and anyone else who’s had to listen to my excited squeals over the last few weeks.

There will no doubt be references to it over the next few months but they will be of an even more general nature.

This is Paulo Nutini. He’s from Paisley and he’s wearing New Shoes. I wonder if….(as I do occasionally…..)…..No. No reason.