Archive for July, 2011

It’s not considered stealing Unless you’re getting caught But you’ve been caught stealing Tryin’ to take something you haven’t got. Shoplifter you’ll never learn When you commit the crime …….you gotta do the time

July 31, 2011

I really miss Woolworth’s down (the) Byres Road I thought, about twelve months ago, when I realised I needed new brown shoelaces, 18″ long. Wonder why it’s no longer there? It’s where I did my own first shoplifting. Well, the Peterhead branch. And I’d be tempted to say, well, that’s where we all did, didn’t we, but I know that some of my contemporaries (and this covers a wide age range) have been incredibly law-abiding over the years but some others have incredibly interesting pasts. Me? Most of it lost in the midst of Antiquary.

The song? Shoplifter. The band? Green Day. And yes, I am covering for someone but only Naomi Campbell will ever get me to confess. Or the alternative ending I have devised to the Scarlett Johansson movie would work.

And, it’s just occurred to me. Does Brad Pitt have something that George Clooney or Johnny Depp haven’t?

Sorry. there’s a lot of nuances and name-dropping this week. Actually Jennifer Lopez once asked me for an example of a nuance, so I gave her one. Coming soon to an after-dinner speech near you.

But it’s been a quiet week. It’s been a week when Glasgow has sat back and enjoyed the sun. On one morning I felt I was wandering about one of the quieter but classy apartment block areas in a resort in Spain. Tbh, the back gardens of a quiet but classy……..Oh, the innocence provided by a young 18 month (or so)  AJ when casing groundfloor flats.

One summer I worked in a boys’ home in the South Side of Glasgow. That was a Masterclass in shoplifting and breaking and entering. It is amazing what a well trained small boy can do. Particularly with mates. We went for a fortnight to a holiday camp in Rothesay.  Didn’t last the fortnight. The police asked us to leave after a few days but would the boys mind returning the contents of Rothesay before we left.

Next week also looks quiet. The gorgeous W becomes a gorgeous Z for the week, altho’ neither she nor I were invited as extras for the gay night club scene in the lesbian drama Lip Service, unlike two Glasgow councillors. Unless…..W?

And I will put my car into the garage. ‘There’s been a noise’, I explained. ‘It’s outside and I can’t hear it when the windows are closed and the music’s on.’ ‘Can you describe it, jt?’ ‘It’s The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die – the second CD with all the re-mixes.’ ‘If it’s the re-mixes, then, it sounds like the brake pads are dirty.’

I’m either being humoured here or they are incredibly good.

The running continues apace altho’ the funeral parties have been replaced by picnic parties in the cemetary….(now there’s a day out that’s not on the list); I discovered that when bored, whilst most people put books in genres, I sort out my t-shirts (and I have a photo to prove it); well done to Mike and Zara for their simple wedding in Embra which only cost £500, 000 and their 400 close friends (I don’t even have that on Facebook); and a big well done to the amazing Anne Wallace who ‘celebrates’ ten years of working with Glasgow’s homeless, drug addicts and women working as prostitutes. I got a phone call from her a couple of weeks ago asking if I could help with something. It’s not only journalists who collect phone numbers, y’know.

And finally, the nuance thing arose from the fact that I recently explained to someone that the subtlety of this blog was once ensured by the insertion of a comma into a simple sentence, which extended it into an erection gag…….’I thought about it, long and hard’……when what should I find myself holding in my hand but an article (from Scotland on Sunday) saying that the average size of a Scotsman’s man hood (worldwide) is second only to those ‘cheese eating surrender monkeys’ the French. ‘Better than all the rest’ as Tina would say.

I won’t be too precise about the average length but I love the fact that it was measured ‘as far as would be comfortable’.

It is a scientific survey.

cya, keep(ing) fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, and it’s just the right size.

Johnt850, president, treasurer, secretary and events organiser of the fan club. And now keeper of the diary :D.

And a quick word, if I may, about Amy Winehouse. Or what her death highlighted. Most deaths are untimely, btw.

There was debate about addiction; its nature, its causes and its treatment. In a microcosm, what I’m about to study. Why some people ‘use’ acceptably (the vast majority of people listening to this) and those who abuse (people like me).

I was quite moved to read, thru F/book, the open-minded views of two former students with whom I had the pleasure of working (cos I never taught). They make the point that every addict is someone’s son, daughter, brother or sister or friend. Or tutor.

Cos when I first met (I think it was first meeting) Angela from Coatbridge and Siobhan from Cumnock (both good writers btw, and I hope their experience of education has not put them off writing) they did not realise I was a recovering addict with cancer; they just thought I was really weird – with cancer.

Since I dried out, cleaned up  my act or whatever, I’ve spoken to a number of addicts and I can never say that my way of sobriety would work for anyone else. All I can do is to use my experience to say that I have a life without alcohol. Sometimes that’s the kinda ressurance an addict needs.

It may be difficult to understand how my life works BUT I am alive to live it. And I enjoy it. Usually. (Upstairs in the Doublet was understandably quiet after the Thistle game on Saturday)

This week’s closing link is for new teachers everywhere. If you can’t make out the words, just Google them. Enjoy your new career, S***. Your dad uses asterisks all the time. 😉 But he doesn’t abuse them.

I said Mr Purple People Eater, what’s your line He said it’s eating purple people and it sure is fine But that’s not the reason that I came to land I wanna get a job in a rock and roll band

July 24, 2011

So the original idea had been to use the colour purple and its significance in a chance meeting which has led to sooooooooo many other recent smashing meetings – to discuss first impressions. And then it got taken over by a real event involving my alter ego. But today, and just today, we’ll pretend it happened to me. Stick with me. This is important. This is my universe.

Remember how my friend and colleague* the gorgeous W and I were extras in BBC 3’s girl-on-girl drama, Lip Service? Well, another chance came up. Scarlett Johansson (26) wanted extras to take part in her new movie which is about an alien sent to Earth to pick up unwary hitchhikers and harvest their organs. Men were wanted. Under 50.

So the d.o.b. was entered on the form and photo sent, and I was invited along. I wore black as did everyone else. And I was called through for a five minute conversation.

The nice casting lady had her finger on the d.o.b., was obvioulsy doing the sums, looked at me and said, ‘No. I don’t see a problem.’  And then she asked me a wee bit more, and I said, ‘a journalist.’ Why? Did she want her phone hacked? And she pointed to one of her fellow casting people and said, ‘Until a couple of weeks ago, he worked for the News of the World. He’s got a few days here.’ And I felt bad.

And then she asked me about what interested me about doing a Post Grad in Alcohol and Drugs Studies. And I said, ‘The alcohol and drugs.’ And she said, ‘That’s not the first time you’ve said, that is it?’

And then I asked her out for a drink and she said…..No, that bit didn’t happen and that’s another bone of contention but we’ll leave that for another day, as we will the goodly * beside friend and ‘colleague’ W……..

She learned so much in such a short time – the nice casting lady. The most open of minds. Someone suggested recently that I was taking advice from KT because she would tell me what I wanted to hear. No! I knew I would disagree with her, but I knew her opinion was based on considering the evidence, not making an assumption based on the label and not the actual person……. 😦

Skippy, It’s okay. I’m ready for my medication now………Yes, the purple ones……….mmmm……….those heart shaped ones look nice. Apparently purple stands for luxury, wealth and sophistication and and is also the colour of passion, romance and sensitivity. 😀

Anyway, I’m still waiting to hear if my alter ego has got the gig. I spoke to one young man – so lean, fit, tanned and toned that I thought I was looking into a mirror. He told me he was an actor who did lots of auditions. Must be a rubbish actor, then, I thought, if he doesn’t get any actual work.

Time, I think, for a musical break while I work out what to do next. This is Jimi Hendrix and, yes, Jimi, she did……

Incidentally, later aged people tell me about a book called Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche (or similar). So what does it say about me when a recent Morrison’s Credit Card shopping came to just over £90 (Ok…it’s a lot of pot noodles but they are veggie)….and the only discount I got was 20p off two quiches. Why can’t I have a week or so of being rough’n’tough?

So, quick thanks to my personal trainer, Jason, for sorting out my running style; to Missie K, not only for a nice lunch, an excellent show (with Steph) on Pulse FM, but an amazing idea which, if it happened….well, I would be soooooooooooo sorted and made up; to the Vampire Slayer for sharing her holiday photos on Facebook but two of them looked identical; to award-winning Helena for the idea and I’ll talk to Nick; and, for me, the star of the Phantom Flan Flinger Farce was not Rupert’s wife, Wendi (sp), but his lawyer Janet Nova, who moved at a speed unknown to the big burly bodyguard who’d placed himself at the wrong side from the main door. Doh!

Maybe I don’t want to be rough’n’tough if it means being thick……..maybe just one night?

And finally, Son Brian, speaking of women lawyers in my life………the subject of my will came up recently. No No reason. I was on a bus to Easterhouse at the time (regular listeners?) and it was discussed. Yes. You do get everything, including the mini Buddhist Garden and the collection of incense sticks (used) BUT you also get a prosperous business ( which attracts a lot of investment opportunities from Nigeria) and you also get this. The blog. In perpetuity. I’ll knock off a couple before I go. But after that it’s all yours.

cya, keep(ing) it  fun and still wearing that badge? I’m sure Scarlett’s poring over it even as we speak. 😀

Johnt850. Available. Obvioulsy. But anything but ‘bland’.

So, I think I’ve done the serious message. It’s a word thing, innit? A user is not an abuser and an addict can recover. I’ve said these things before but they’re worth repeating.

Except, poor Amy.

It’s really sad. I was not a great fan of her voice, but I recognised her talent. There are people on TV as I write this talking about the demons she faced as if they’re a thing of the imagination. No. They exist. Believe me. And they don’t go away. Hers, tho’, are perhaps more high profile than your work colleague, family member or friend. What can you do to help, rather than disparage or denigrate? I know where I got my support from, and it wasn’t college management, after my alcoholic breakdown.

In a totally different context, someone recently said, ‘Never say never’ and I just said, ‘I am around’ – and apparently purple people are easy to live with but hard to know. I’ll move myself on. Swiftly. Other than to say Sheb Wooley wrote and performed the opening number.

And if I suppose if you’re going to finish with a purple track, it should be this one; suggested by a listener. It’s Prince – as we’ve always known him in Summerston.

The writing’s on the wall It won’t go away It’s an Omen You just run, it’s an automation Now! The writing’s on the wall It won’t go away….It’s an Omen

July 17, 2011

So I’m often asked where I get inspiration for the choice of lyric. Well, this week it involved me researching into the motivation of Ruta Gedmintas who plays Frankie in the BBC 3 series, Lip Service, about good looking lesbians in Glasgow and, apparently, before she plays a sex scene, she listens to the music of Peaches but tracks such as Tent in your Pants and Slippery Dick didn’t quite lend themselves to my usual opening lyric. So I kept it mainline with The Prodigy. ‘Cos, this week, me and W were amongst the extras in Lip Service.

Another suggestion was a collaboration Peaches did with Mercedes called Pony Ride but it ain’t about gymkhanas and I would like to thank the website Great LezBritain, described as ‘a fortnightly stroll through the very best of British lesbo-centric entertainment and culture’, for its help with my thespian motivation this week. And I passed on much of what I learned to my friend and colleague, the gorgeous W. I can explain. But will I?

Skippy, pass the Pro-Plus, please. But, first a moment, without safety harness, on the high horse.

Dear Gordon Brown….you did a lot for the morale of people whose families are affected by cystic fibrosis at the time when you spoke out in the Sun how about how your family had been affected by it. If you had reservations about the reporting at the time, why did you not say so then? Why did you continue to accept the friendship and support of Rebekah Brooks? Why did you wait until only your second House of Commons appearance since your resignation as Prime Minister to mention your concerns? Annoyed that News International didn’t support the Labour Party last time round? The Guardian apologised. Why don’t you?

Yes, I do know the theory of illegally accessing voicemail – ‘phone hacking’ is such a vulgar term. Incidentally, if you do know your voicemail PIN, is it 123? Or 147? Or are you one of those people who think it funny to change it to 666 or 888? Maybe you’ve kept your general password as PASSWORD, ‘cos nobody else will think of that, will they? And if you’re a Rangers fan, are you the only one to choose 1690 as your bank PIN? (Celtic fans – 1967 – and PT fans – 1971)

(Note to self……..Dear self, you were doing really well with that young lady the other night, but when she gave you her mobile number, did you really have to ask her for her mum’s maiden name?)

Right. Back to the extras. (And I promise that next week will be a hypocrite-free zone – no David Laws, no Jeffrey Archer, no Gordon Brown – the exception will obvioulsy be me, the squeaky clean addict.)

Basically W and I entered through the side door of a City Centre pub, had the once-over and were bussed to a secret location (John Wheatley College in Easterhouse) where we had to wait in the bus, watching the stars eat location catering which – as someone who has used it before – is always good, and were then escorted into the building and put in rooms – well large rooms, with other people.

And then the waiting started, and if you’ve seen Extras, there is a lot of waiting, and then I got called. But not W! (She did get called a few minutes later in case you were worried there). We were an audience for a stage production of …well I can’t say too much, can I? Ok. One hint. It did involve a young woman being tied to a chair. That’s all I can say.

We had to do wild applause, quiet sniggers and silence. We hung around a lot. We ate polo mints. We discussed what everyone else was wearing. We were discussed by everyone else for what we were wearing. I sat with Leanne at the edge of  a row. W was in the middle of a row behind me. And we were very tired by the time we got the bus back to the original top secret starting place. In the main cast bus.

And yes, we would do it again. And if you get a similar chance, bring a friend. The polo mints help. No. No reason.

And finally, I was going to talk about meeting up with top script editor, Jayne (oh, that I had a script to edit); a wee day out with AJ and e in which my roadyesque and goferesque abilities were used to the full (mm, not sure if that adjectival impro worked); and the amazing win PT had over Celtic’s top team (of youth players).

Instead I will just say I have received an unconditional offer from UWS (Paisley) to do a full-time Post Grad in Alcohol and Drugs Studies and they have recommended SAAS funding for the fees. Needless to say I have accepted. 😀

cya, keep (ing) fun and still wearing that badge? But not on the set of a lesbian drama.

Johnt850, who is a bit of a drama queen himself.

And this week’s serious below-the-line is a bit worthy but important to many men. It was reported that boffins (I’m tabloid and proud) are closer to discovering genetic variants which will make it easier to diagnose prostate cancer in men. But not every cancer is aggressive and not every cancer needs treatment – this applies to any cancer as long as you confront your fears early enough.

The Herald, remarkably shoddy in its use of prostate cancer stats in recent years, has updated them, including the fact that it is the biggest male cancer killer in both Scotland and the UK and that more than half of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men older than 70 (seventy) years. Even my alter ego has got ages to go before then.

But the stat that always annoys me is the fact that my son has a much higher chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer because of me. I didn’t get it from my dad. It was my lifestyle that enouraged the cancer.

So to make it up to you, Son Brian, here’s a wee reminder of your recent trip to an idyllic island off the west coast of Scotland, with KT and other members of the extended family.

It feeds on your soul No longer afraid so no longer you fight Addicted to turning into a creature…of the night You’re never alone as you join with the tribe Together you meet, forever alive No matter your creed No matter your colour……As a creature of the night……..

July 10, 2011

I must get out more. I am trying, but I’m not sure I’m reaching everyone. Maybe my new laptop’s censoring my mails – in, and out. (Blogmeister? The Spam bucket?) Because the business relies on e-mails, then so, to a certain extent, do I. 

And the opening music, obviously, was DJ Hixxy’s version of Nightlife, (the Dougal and Gammer Remix), and my thanks to the rainforestriverman for selling it to me. Or was it Cancer Research down (the) Byres Road? 

Except my diary is not as flexible as it sometimes was. Recent hospital visits have been replaced by trips, as an interested visitor, to a number of addiction and recovery centres, to give me an idea of ‘field’ provision before academia sets in. Hopefully. But all confidences must be respected. Even the funny ones.  

And there’s a lot of essay editing work out there still. Students in their last chance saloon for their final, final submission of work. Or before they have to leave the country.

But, like one or two others of my acquaintance I have been visiting swing parks et al. With appropriate wean. Where possible. Or AJ as he is known to others. (Altho’ I think I can speak reasonably well to others of that ilk).  Pollok Park – in between Pollok House, with its murder mysteries, and the Burrell Collection – has a smashing play area. If a low yummy mummy contingent. excepting the obvious.  And I only took the one pic before I realised it is no longer the done thing to do. But a speedboat ride sounds good.

I know quite a few assertive women. And I like the idea of someone being, not ‘old’, but at ‘a later age’.

I would like at this point to make some apologies;

To the  lady in the black boots with the large piece of rope – I’m sorry. It was a natural assumption to make. I was not aware you were a groom in the stables.

To the woman taking the entrance money – Okay. I got a couple of words wrong. I meant to say ‘I am about to be a student’ not ‘I am a student’ – can I owe you the rest?

And to the gorgeous W, can I apologise for mis-spelling your name? Now you may ask etc, etc,. but I am a journalist to trade and we get nothing right……do we?

I will miss the News of the World. I liked the way it exposed cant and hypocrisy. (One such cant was Jeffery Archer who initially denied paying a prostitute, Monica Coughlin, £2,000 for her services as headlined. Later in court, he was exposed as a lier and perjurer). Its tactics, recently, were at times too dodgy in connection with people who had done no wrong. But that had been a different crew in the newsroom. That stable was now clean. Lot of decent people losing their jobs, tho’, and as I write this Rebecca Brooks ain’t one of them.

(Mind you if Rio Ferdinand hadn’t shagged as much as he did, for example, what would the NotW have written about? Well, other cants like St David Beckham, St Gordon Ramsey and St Hugh Grant….Get caught? Then ponitificate. And I do not claim to be squeaky clean. Amongst other things I am an addict. No-one really bothers to ask about the other things. Well, not ‘no-one’. And they got answers. Maybe that’s why some people are glad to see it go. They might have been next. )

Okay, I’m coming down off my high horse. With or without a length of rope. And the tangerine. I just hate griefers in real life as well as the virtual. No. No reason. Actually I’m a grump. 😦

But the running’s going well (ish). I am back on target. I may have a running buddy. She’s 24.

And I ran through the streets and not in the graveyard. And I did that thing of keeping running, altho’ I wanted to stop, ‘cos a runner was coming towards me. I said Hi in a deep voice as if I was trying to control a dog with the same name as a famous graffitti artist near an old house in South Lanarkshire which looks as if they might have filmed the final scenes of Apocalypse Now there and I’d be happy to go back. Sorry? What was the question?

The thing that frightened me most as a child was the cartoon, Pinocchio, and the idea of being sent to the Bad Boys’ Island.

And finally, just to remind people of why I was such a crap college teacher…… I did try to explain to students that sheds can make the news. Why? Because good journalism is about telling someone’s story. I think this is a lovely tale. More up to date cuttings are available. 

cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? No. I took it off before I entered the childrens’ playpark. I disagreed with certain aspects of Mark”s Law but I understand the reasons for it.

Johnt850, previously with a penchant for punk but now trancefixed by techno (Okay. Half of that I plagiarised, but which half?)

As menshed above I have been out running but I was very embarrassed by the idea of going out in the black three-quarter running trousers, but then I recalled one of the most red-faced times I’d ever known – when I’d used the phrase ‘I am an alcoholic’ in front of complete strangers – not at an Alcoholics’ Anonymous meeting but a dinner party, with my sister present. I put the trousers on and went out the front door.  

Christmas, 2006, the idea of doing without an alcoholic drink (or…..?) for four and a half years would have seemed an impossible dream. For many people being ‘clean’ still is. It doesn’t mean I can’t have other dreams, tho’, just ‘cos they don’t fit into your stereotype of what you think is best for me. You might as well put the whisky in front of me now……….

I used this lyric a few weeks back when talking about the Embra marathon. This is The Shamen. There are 19 re-mixes on this. No. No reason. And in Ebenezer Goode, the only drug reefered to is the government approved narcotic, tobacco. Saddle my high horse, Skippy!

How do you fight such a savage?…..With heart, faith and steel. In the end there can be only one.

July 2, 2011

A quote from MacLeod,  Highlander, who was immortal. I’m not. I have merely celebrated the anniversary of my birth and remain 42, but the Highlander reference(s) are a reminder of another (fairly recent) anniversary of my own. There may be more. And, anyway, I know lots of MacLeods………even thru a former marriage. Mine.

I was asked quite recently if there would ever be another Mrs t850? Hey, if I got the right offer, who knows? But she would have to be one helluva an amalgam of current female friends.  I’d be happy to travel ‘tho. Regularly. But not on the new M74 extension. It’s south of the river. 

Even a  recent trip to Strathclyde Park saw the Clyde on my right hand side all the time heading there and if the running keeps up then there’s a ParkRun there I may try. Pollok Park is south of the river. And the running schedule worked beautifully last week. I found my pace.

You talk funny. Where are you from?…..Lots of different places. (get the idea?)

So almost slight setback on the Uny front in that my academic reference almost didn’t find its way to an anonymous University in the West of Scotland near Paisley, but I love the fact that this academic year will see Missie K and the Vampire Slayer doing honours and me doing a Post Grad. Who’d have thought, eh? There are some people out there who mean a lot to me. They are but two. Except there can be only one.

(To those of you who think I use this blog to send out messages to certain ppl, I haven’t the foggiest where this ‘there can be only one’ is going…..)

No, basically as some of you know, an operation to someone close to me has gone really well and so I seem to have more time available than previoulsy expected so, support team, in its widest terms, I want to go out and play whilst there is room on my credit card………before the Uny library beckons. (It’s funny the things that make people jealous isn’t it, W?) But if we’ve not been in touch recently, then Skippy will be knocking on your door soon. Or you can knock on mine. Maybe I need cheered up. 😦 -> 😀

If your head comes away from your neck, it’s over!

My fave Blue Peter presenter was Konnie Huq, but I was also a great fan of Magpie‘s Susan Stranks….oh, the limerick possibilities, and Val Singleton was not a lesbian. She did not cop off with Joan Armatrading that night, and when I read a newspaper article recently that talked of anti-social binge drinkers, I immediately thought of people who are against social binge drinkers, and I saw a reporter I know, in Paisley, who specialises in undercover work, but what do you do in that situation?

But, there again, I live in an area described by the NotW (police figures) as one which suffers much more theft and violence than Onthank where The Scheme was recorded. And no. I don’t know ‘the devoted grandfather’ along the road who was jailed for five years for supplying cocaine worth about £250k. 

[after some passionate sex]…Heather: You can do that to me forever if you like, my Lord…… (sorry) Highlander…..Aye! I will…….

So how did I spend my birth anniversary? Well not down at Hardlife, The Arches, (hardstyle and hard dance) altho’ my alter ego seems to have been djing down The Tunnel on Friday. I saw the poster. But hope. I live in. I did various things including going to see the amazing Leon Russell at City Halls. (Please feel free to Google him…I can’t find good Youtube footage.)

And finally, thanks for the various messages, cards, etc and other birth date anniversary stuff including, amongst other things a voucher from my ex to the rainforestriverman’s corner shop allowing me to buy ‘Pump Up the Volume: A History of House Music’ and can I reassure Son Brian, who worries about these things, that it is essential university reading.

But is it true, as he claims, that swearing is banned at universities? KT agreed with him (Ketchup, Ashton Lane since you ask and I had the Spicy Mexican Beanburger) and I always take heed of what KT says. Except I didn’t on Saturday night, and you didn’t expect me to to, did you, KT? But I think it better that I don’t follow your advice than some others.

Cya, keep(ing) fun and still wearing that badge? There can be only one.

Johnt850, Did I tell you?…….in all our years…..(No. Not Highlander) 😀 

But in some pre-Uny reading into the notion of addiction recovery, I read the following; ‘successful strategies include moving away from old social networks and engaging the support of family and friends to establish a new identity.’

The BBC moving to Pacific Quay south of the river was a big help to me from that PoV but killed much of my social life. Mixed blessing.

My alter ego has not been inside Tennents in Byres Road or The Three Judges at the bottom of Byres Road in over four years. No. No real reason why not, but see that bit about the ‘support of family and friends’…..that’s why sometimes I knock a wee bit hard on some doors. I’m a wee bit afraid they might never be opened to me again.

Hey Rockefeller, I hear you liked Candy. She said you were kinda kinky. 

So, like many people I watched Glastonbury but the problem with Beyonce is being unable to watch her without thinking of Gary, Tank Commander.

Earlier this year I bought an album called The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monae. This is she, top act at Glasto, but it is ten and a half minutes long but stick with it and just think what you can do with the remaining four and a half. (Grease – the movie)