Archive for October, 2011

Chicken lips and lizard hips and alligator eyes, Monkey legs and buzzard eggs and salamander thighs Rabbit ears and camel rears And tasty toenail pies. Stir ’em all together and it’s mama’s soup surprise

October 30, 2011

…..or, alternatively, Lem-Sip. Either should have the required effect. And, in case you’re worried, the opening words there came from Bruce Springsteen (62) but are not chosen just ‘cos it’s Hallowe’en. (And hi Jack, hope you’re having a brill time). Gosh, all these hidden messages. I feel like the Radio Padre in World War II, the amazing story of whom can be found in an amazingly good book on The History of BBC Scotland 1923-1973 by Pat Walker and some of the initial editing is amazing. No. No reason.

But yes, it is that time of year – when the Vampire Slayer tends to dominate the show knowing that she is out there protecting us no matter what the other world sends at us. And I’d like to thank her for sending all those photos…..phew….hard choice….I’d say go with Tuesday’s suggestion (*he says taking his life in his hands*)……brilliant disguise….even more phew.

But it’s been a real mixed week. No one event has dominated. I had hoped by hermitting I might get a lot of things done. For example, friend and colleague, the gorgeous W, ‘encouraged’ me into changing the kitchen strip lighting. Sometimes persuading me to do things rather than get a man in must be harder than, say, training a puppy. But, hey, it worked. And I’ve not had it off since. The kitchen light. That is.

(I was going to use the line, ‘but it needs touched up everyday’….but I decided against it. Random cluster interviewing maybe carried out later amongst a sample of the population about the qualitative nature of that gag)

Actually some listeners may remember that W and I were extras in Lip Service, the BBC 3 lesbian drama, and she went on to star with Brad Pitt and I auditioned as an extra for Scarlett Johansson. Word reaches me that Scarlett has, in fact, been filming in Wishae. Without me. Her loss.

One newspaper claimed; ‘while the other aliens resemble cats, Johansson has been made to look like an attractive human female.’  No. I don’t need much make up either. Or hair dye, Jo.

Oh, and cos I forgot last week, this week’s three letters of the alphabet are P – for punchiness, procrastination and pcrashing waves……….it’s a silent P….….okay?

But I can’t do everything for myself (ooh-er, matron) as I was saying to my gardener the other day. The oven in my cooker has died and the repairman from a shop near St George’s Cross has pronounced the view that the next time he’s over it’ll be to perform the last rites. Which, considering he’s Sikh, is quite worrying.

But I have entered the twenty-first century. I have a Blackberry and it’s all thanks to Dawn at Orange Correspondence who is this month’s Consumer Champion of the Week. Basically I had an account which didn’t exist, one that was perhaps remenin, rmens, was better long forgotten. Basically I was sent a bill and I paid it. So now, sitting on the floor in my house is this all-singing, all-dancing telephone, but it works and my first caller was Dawn……who couldn’t believe that I’d kept it in the box for so long. Yes. I have found her on F/book………..mmmmm

And then this book (launch), I referred to at the top. For some people like the author and Mike Shaw it was a labour of love. For me it was a paying job. Until Wednesday night when I met some of those mentioned in the book or who knew people mentioned in the book. Quite a moving occasion.

Except, quite a few of them actually gave me their coats to hang up; ‘Sorry. I thought you were a member of staff’ will never really catch on as a catchphrase, will it? And no. I had no saucer for tips.  

And finally, it’s been a difficult week for a few of my friends; recent, middling and long standing……it’s at the end of a week like this that I miss alcohol. A difficult couple of days. A settling couple of drinks. Except it wouldn’t be just that. Would it? One of the teachers got it wrong the other day; one drink’s too many, twelve’s too few.

Anyway, there’s Harvard referencing to be done. Skippy, fire up the Google………now that’s a catchphrase.

Cya, keeping it (fun) and still wearing that badge. That, and some mails and message and calls really cheered me up at times. Ta.

Johnt850, who plans to turnitin even as we speak.

And just a wee word, if I may about the university course I’m on. Some folk think it’s counselling. It’s not. That is just one of many ‘intervention’ methods. Lying in a trolley in the Western, just under five years ago, the last thing I needed was counselling………mmmm…..… diazepam……but some ppl have said I’d be good.

I’d be rubbish. I’m too judgemental in that I laff too much. I’m the kind of person who would say to someone, ‘that was a f**king stupid thing to do.’ And the one example that came to mind recently, (and someone out there knows what and who I’m talking about), well,  some of C’s stories were worth listening to in themselves. That’s what worked that time.

(That and the Pitt Street police station story…..rivalled by a conversation I had with a surveyor at a flat my sis owns….we cldn’t work out which was worse………his two cancers or my one cancer and the alcoholism. We were rolling about the floor laffing.)

I’d be a lousy counsellor but at least you’d leave laffing. And optimistic.

Actually, I feel Dawn from Orange would be a brilliant counsellor. But she laffed a lot as well. Probably ignored every law of call centre training.

Anyway, I’ve still to make it down to the AC/DC exhibition at Kelvingrove. I’m still keen to go and if anyone’s not been, then let me know. This is they. Maybe it’s been a rocking good week after all.

I’m a fighter, I’m a poet, I’m a preacher, I’ve been to school and baby, I’ve been the teacher. If you can show me how to get up off the ground I can show you how to fly and never ever come back down

October 23, 2011

Paisley High Street is an amazing place on a Thursday morning. Which is not to say that it isn’t the rest of the week. It’s just that I tend to get out the station, hoodied up, and head for the gang hut for the first drink of the day, on Mondays and Tuesdays. Normally. And most of the shops are actually large cardboard facades with pictures of what shops look like. Brad, you should have shot some of the movie there.

Anyway, the last couple of Thursdays I’ve been and gone to the school library (big building with books) and made sure the teachers see me, kinda thing. It’s also quite good for doing the tons of admin that go with student life these days. Or Council Tax exemption as we call it.

Last Thursday, there was a tribe of Native Americans (Red Indians kinda) doing one of those chants and experiences to an amazing sound system which had me dancing in County Square (I made £3.64); this Thursday past, I thought it was some strange farmers’ market being set up. When I walked past it on the way back to the train, laden with books (*coughs*), it turned out it was a Tunisian Arts and Crafts Fair.

Mostly ceramic tiles and bowls with a few olive stalls in between. They didn’t seem to be doing much business in the morning. Wonder how they took to the news of the death of Gadaffi in the afternoon. I know Tunisia ain’t Libya, but it’s all Arab Spring innit? Anyway I bought nothing. Too many books to carry. 😦

(It’s no Arab Spring in Egypt for the Coptic Christians now the Muslim Brotherhood and the military have taken over. It ain’t good news for us either, but politicians hate history. And its lessons)

Moving on……

Anyway, today’s opening track was Bon Jovi (No. No reason)…where is my Easy Rider bandana, Skippy? Dennis Hopper was 74 when he died. That was the day I backed into somebody else’s car, parked in a rose garden and drove off across a castle lawn in Ayrshire. Em, last year, actually.

What a subtle link. If a touch cheesy.

So can I say a big thanks to AJ, and his mum, e, for introducing me to Jo Jangles/Bo Jingles and Hamley’s (legitimately). What a wkd place that is. All these women dressed up in such strange costumes, especially that woman with the fluffy tail and as for that giant teddy bear dressed in pink. What a trip. See me, see subways, see carrying weans and weans’ buggies.

And the name of that sauna near St Enoch’s that I was trying to remember? It was called St Enoch’s. How could I forget? Its name? Or was that the place that sold audio cassettes?

Some other bits’n’pieces;

To friend and colleague, the gorgeous W, good luck next week and when you reach a big daud of water…stop. You’ve kinda reached your destination and the English Channel.  🙂

Actually it’s good to have another book title, thanks, and the original might work as a series of short stories so I need a friendly publisher to help with submission et al. Must have GOSH. And access to a good proof reader.

To the Vampire Slayer (you’d be amazed how many pairs of shoes I have but I think we’re talking different styles here) and Missie K (so far you’re the only one I’ve told and you are some domestic goddess)….don’t forget the agreement. You know where to find me.  🙂

To my new school pals, I think Lonely Hearts ads are over-rated. Okay. I didn’t get a single reply to one I once placed in The List but it was written over several bottles of wine at a very strange time of day in a Portakabin in a car park at the back of the BBC in Queen Margaret Drive. I may have over-emphasised something. In the list.

And if Portakabin’s lawyers are reading this, BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal, it actually was one. A Portakabin.

And finally, one or two people have been asking me about Movember. I was soooooo sorted to see in my latest copy of mixmag (the world’s best dance club and clubbing magazine) the following in the guest list section;

Movember Returns

It’s the fifth anniversary of the hair-fund-raiser:

What? Oh, I get mixmag for the massive tunes review section and the ‘what to wear in the Ibiza clubs’ photo shoot………It was just bad timing that their suggestion for an alternative Hallowe’en costume, rather than being a witch, was to go as a sexy Gaddafi.

But if I can help, please ask………

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? You have no idea how many ceramic tiles I was offered for it.

Johnt850, mulling over sixteen to one. Those are good odds.

So STV decided ‘we have a winning format. Let’s change it.’ And I’m not referring to The Hour. Let not the fact that I appeared on it once influence the fact that I liked it as a simple tea-time show.

No. STV had The Football Years – a glorious mix of good goals, unseen archive and interviewees speaking for themselves against a black background. So they thought ‘what else is popular? Music.’ So they thought ‘we’ll do something the same. Except……..

We’ll put a good looking presenter (Claire Grogan) in Oran Mor (well known media spot in West End) and then we’ll have a panel of pals discussing records and we’ll include a token woman (Joan McAlpine) and we’ll break the rules when we want to.’

 (The Proclaimers’ 500 miles came out in 1988, so it’s not a song of the nineties or doesn’t Harvard referencing count these days?)

However, in amongst the egos and stupid hairstyles, there is Pat Nevin, a really, really nice guy. I missed this first time round. But maybe this is the right time to listen to it. There is a schoolbag to be packed. 😉

My excuses lay me down My emotions make me drown My endeavour takes blame. At least I have a name.

October 16, 2011

So I said to Skippy – ‘New school. New start. We’ll be fine as long as you leave the matches at home (particularly the big box) and do not mention the incident with the lollipop lady. There are no lollipop ladies at this school. It’s a wee bit more grown-up.’ Skippy has been told. So far. So good.

But we seem to be settling in okay. Most of the ppl I’ve met are women, sorry, are really nice (I actually typed ‘mice’ there which would be an interesting add to invisible bush kangaroos). It is really good to be able to discuss alcohol and drugs in such a well-informed, open and non-judgemental manner. And then we go into the classroom and the teachers are really good as well.

But me and some of my mates are real hardcore. We escaped the playground one lunchtime and went for food elsewhere to a café (well café by name, pub by nature) where I had ‘weird’ lasagne and student discount – the lasagne was veggie and I think the waitress was just being fun; the student discount was 20%. Suddenly these things are important.   

I seem to have become some kind of prefect (or class rep to give it its Sunday name) which will come as a surprise to all who know me and my unassuming nature, and the question of discipline has already arisen which will also come as no surprise.

Many, many years ago, my alter ego was Milk Monitor at his primary school (so long ago it was in black and white and BlackBerries worked). This involved going round all the classrooms and taking orders from the teachers as to what they wanted, contacting the main man and getting my team of mules to deliver. Okay, so I skimmed a few bottles off the top; but there were dames and the bike shed…….

Sorry I was miles away there.

Naw, the class rep thing is one of the many school matters which will not get a mensh or heads-up in this show. Suffice to say there was a training session and there was a goodie bag. Very studenty it was. Altho’ I was disappointed only to be given a contact for free condoms and not any samples.

(Just over a year ago, I did a prostate cancer awareness stand at a Health Fair in Bellshill 😀 Not many attended. 😦 I left with a very nifty condom pack with condoms (soooooooo many flavours) from the Terence Higgins Trust and a leek, two potatoes and an onion from the Healthy Eating stand. I also composed a very filthy gag in the car going home.)

Mention of the Cancer Charity there…a wee clash of diaries meant I missed a posh awards dinner where the Charity received an award for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. And really well done. But my feeling of letting ppl down dissipated a wee while later when a Facebook Friend contacted me for help in getting organised for Movember when moustaches are grown to help raise money for charities such as the Scottish Prostate Cancer Charity. Feel free to contact me. Or the Charity,

Speaking of diaries……..friend and colleague, the gorgeous W, I will contact the rainforestriverman whose emporium, you and soooo many others use (altho’ technically he’s left) and see if they do diaries with North Lanarkshire School Holidays in them. Little did I realise, all those years ago…….Anyway, that’s your Christmas sorted. And I’ve still to give you that CD. With those photos. 😉

Me? I’d be happy with a book by a long since dead but still important radio broadcaster. But that’s just off the top of my head.

But I do think there’s a need for a support group for parents of non-meat eating children. (Son Brian, worry not…… are soooooooo not included)

And the three letters from this week’s alphabet are T. For trawling, train drivers and tarantulas (that last ref being for you, L frae Troon. Actually that makes four)

And this week’s music choice was Stone Sour. Thanks Jo, and as I say, maybe a year ago……. 🙂

And to one of the blog’s current fave raves, the Vampire Slayer…….you’ve got all the talent Britain needs. No. No link. Superhero protection rules apply. 🙂

And finally, this week’s award for humility goes to Lorraine Kelly who, on looking at a TV clip of herself from ten years ago, declared that her then haircut and the clothes she wore made her look a lot older than she is today. Me? I’ve always looked this good. Some hairstyles never go out of fashion.  

Cya, keep(ing) fun and still wearing that badge? To Kirkcaldy and back. Or Hell as it became known.

JohnBoyt850, either an egotistical maniac or very beautiful yet very thick….thanks Fi!

So just a wee word about a couple of bloggy things. That word is reassurance.

Can I just reassure new and not so new listeners that the blog is all about me and what happens to me albeit with ppl whose identities are disguised in order to save them from the great god Google; that I take no offence over the words alkie/alcoholic when used in my presence – it’s when the word ‘scum’ is attached to it that I get/got annoyed -; and can I be reassured from some ppl from whom I’ve not heard for some time that I’ve not said anything horrible.

Maybe my e-mail went straight to spam; maybe Facebook has been playing up; or it may be that you have unfriended me and changed your mail address/Facebook without telling me (altho’ the last time that knowingly happened I think most ppl took my side).

Anyway it’ll soon be Christmas….nights out and that……now that I know what the school expects of me, flexibility is returning to the diary (along with actually looking at it) and I’m keen to keep up with all friends.

Skippy feels the same. This is a tribute to her someone else put together. You will have to copy’n’paste. It’s worth it.

Rubies and pearls, Treasures of the nights, Staying in a room, Watching figures of ice….You can have them all, You can have them all…..Tell me all about it

October 9, 2011

iN the various outpourings for Steve Jobs, iDidn’t say anything. iDon’t think iOwn anything Applish; iDidn’t share any obits on Facebook; and iDon’t think iRead any obits. But iDid hear one extract from a speech he did to American college students. Four words;

“Stay Hungry; Stay Foolish.’

Don’t worry, Steve. All the rich sensible people who made lots of money out of you will just iGnore those words. iVe been living them for years.

I didn’t quite share those words with young AJ the other day, tho’ – he is just weeks off the age of two after all – but we did spend a lot of time pondering the fact that shrimps are born male but as they grow older, they turn into females. I did my pondering in a deep voice. It’s the one I use when I park my car in the gay cottagers’ car park at Strathclyde Park.

And for those of you wondering what to get a friend’s two year old for Christmas, a leaf does wonders. When it’s windy (sp) it keeps them quiet for hours. That, and putting stones in their mouths. No. I didn’t do the actual putting in………honest, e …….

He was asking how school in Paisley was going and the answer is very well. It’s possible that some of my new chums may be listening to this for the first time, so can I explain that this is written by Johnt850 and his pal, the invisible bush kangaroo, Skippy, who for about two hours every weekend take over the computer of the guy with the long, but well cut, salt’n’peppa hair whose F/book pic was indeed taken in front of the bar, Mono, in Glasgow’s King Street, altho’ that day’s adventures started later in another bar, Laurie’s, and moved on to Easterhouse and a TV drama about lesbians. In July. This year. Sober.

And a quick word with friend and colleague, the gorgeous W……the thing that I miss, having taken that decision to be a lifelong pescetarian last year, is roast chicken crisps and wine gums (gelatine bovine). There are no good fish alternatives. Prawn crackers are crap.

Why don’t we market herring-crisps?  And mackerel-gums? Hello…………? Okay. No. No hyphen. 😀 W, it should be said, is vegetarian.

And in my current obsession for alphabets – and concerns about the best way to ask a woman out (given that ‘would you like to go out for drink?’ is kinda knocked on the head the minute that I explain why I’m drinking tomato juice with Tabasco and Worcester Sauce in Bar Ten….*) I was drawn to the ‘sex writer’ Flic Everett (author of Red Hot Sex, price £3.70) and his suggestion of Alphabet Dating;

 ‘A is for Afternoon Tea at a classic hotel. It shows you’re not just after one thing. If that fails, try B is for Booze!’

Jeez! AJ’s books carried better ideas and used the entire alphabet! 😉

For me, this week’s two letters are B for Balance, S for Soup, P for Patience and O for the Only Ones whose music opened tonight’s show.

*You never see this problem considered in any Agony Aunt column, do you? Certainly not the Daily Record, more and more an English newspaper printed in Scotland. 

And going back to school for a minute (or nine months in my case) it must be the only course in the world where you can walk into a room and start a conversation with someone you don’t know with the words, ‘Are you doing drink’n’drugs?’ and get the answer, ‘Yes. All morning.’ All very non-judgemental unless you light up a cigarette in the middle of a large piece of green grun in the middle of the school grounds and a man with a shirt and tie and a badge leaps out and says, ‘It’s a No Smoking area.’

There are no signs, dear listener, banning the bevvying of Buckfast. Ah, Happy Daze. Foolish temptation, tho’ 😦

And finally, a quick word (or two) about Scotland’s soaraway victory over Liechtenstein, the other night. (I watched it at home. I never made it to the pub. I was too busy assembling an assignment). Liechtenstein, I’m told, has a population that matches that of Bellshill and Larkhall combined AND last year Spain, by winning the World Cup for the first time ever, made me and W (kinda) a lot of money. I have no high hopes for Tuesday night but, please God, make me more than pleasantly surprised. In sooooooooooo many ways. 

Cya, keep(ing) fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, but, tbh, it’s on the inside of the jacket. Well, you never know.

Johnt850, as yet unrecognised in the company hierarchy.

And this, for any new listeners, is where the serious bit happens. Quite often I used to speak of my own cancer which was why this blog started. The cancer came months after the alcoholic cold turkey. But I feel I’ve recovered from that as well.

So instead, I’m going to quote the words of Michael Palmer of Edinburgh band We Were Promised Jetpacks (last week’s Scotland on Sunday) who has just finished four months of chemotherapy and 17 sessions of radiotherapy.

“That’s the bad side of cancer but there’s an upside that nobody likes to talk about.” He means all the sitting around, watching hypnotically trashy daytime TV and being brought crisp and ice-poles by his mum.

“Great, eh? Discount all the vomiting and it would have been the best time ever.’

iDon’t normally play indie guitar bands but this week iMake an exception. This is they. For everyone who dies of cancer but isn’t as famous as Steve but contributes to the world just the same. And Michael, who obviously wasn’t hungry ‘cos his mum looked after him but remained foolish. And a young man who’s been off nursery for two weeks now. But not cancer. Something else. Take care.

Reminds me of the first time I went to space. It was such a long journey. It took, hours, days, years. ….That takes me back to the first time I stepped into space. You were there! You were there with all my best friends!

October 2, 2011

So I went for a curry on Tuesday night (bare with me dear listener. This is no ordinary curry. This is a jt850 curry. Just as this is no ordinary blog. It’s a jt850 blog) with three (male) friends. From a previous Uny. And I thought they’d invited me. But, no….they’d invited my alter ego. The one they’d been at Uny with. I should have realised there might be a problem when I noticed we were sitting at a table for four. So I pulled out a chair for Skippy. At the table beside us. And fed her from my plate.

I managed to hold my own (insert your own single man gag there). I nodded sagely as appropriate (pension? what pension?); I smiled fondly as we discussed characters from the past (who?); and I pretended to be drinking when the number of years married was highlighted (many of mine were reasonably pleasant). But I only came alive when the Vampire Slayer was discussed.

I will bite many bullets but I will not reveal the Slayer’s real identity.

I digress (No. That’s not an apology. That’s my intent) 😀

There is a secret society which originated in the North East of Scotland called The Society of the Horseman’s Word. It’s where the idea of the horse whisperer came from.  It’s one of those societies, apparently, where if you are not an initiate but someone passes on some of the secrets to you, then that transgressor dies.

The person who passed on some of those secrets to me died. Not long after he broke the code. A heart attack. They said.

Now I’m not saying I could stop a rampaging horse and cart down Paisley High Street (I was told a long time ago) but given the right materials I might be able to calm it down. Have a quiet word. That kinda thing.

And spookiness of spookiness, the name of the transgressor arose during the night’s conversation. Skippy and I exchanged worried glances. But no-one noticed. Seriously. He was mentioned.

And thanks for picking up the tab (as in the bill), rainforestriverman. The next one’s on Skippy.

So I enjoyed school this week and I am going back. Well not tonight. I spent Saturday afternoon in the Aragon down Byres Road and I think I was as tomato juiced as a celibate orang-utang. I got one helluva shock when the barman asked if I wanted more Tequila. He meant Tabasco.

And, Missie K, I did not get an alice band. It was too wet. But I love Blondie’s ‘finger in the socket’ image. Actually I must drop her a wee note. Let her know of my services. With discount. 😉

Yeah, I am in school for two days each week (Monday and Tuesday) and the rest is various forms of self-study through the Blackboard (kinda like Narnia’s wardrobe, I suppose) and the library’s in Athens  and it has been pointed out to me that the academic version of ‘critical’ is not to stand there and say ‘that’s f**king crap, man’ and then walk on.

No. They need references. And I don’t think they just want someone to stand there and say, ‘jt knows what he’s talking about and if he says, it’s f**king crap, then it must be.’

Tbh, I would love the first week to have been five days. There was soooooooooo much to take in and soooooo many ppl to meet and I did. And it’s really hard work…….Not that anyone would be jealous of me being at Uny………

And can I just say to my friend and definite colleague, the gorgeous W  that, had the BBC accepted either the prostitute radio programme idea or the Holy Loch one, then the kitchen would have been re-decorated. Now there is no need. What? Take a picture and send it? Idea! But serious thanks. Big help. 😀 😀

And to the equally good looking e……..I think you’ve made the right decision……maybe I was a wee bit jealous …..anyway, Good Call……. 😀

Oh, alphabet time….hang on a second….C is for Codswallop and R is forthe Two Ronnies (they came back this week). If this blog were planned, then I would be aware I have just created an albatross which may well be the elephant that is in the room. For twenty-four weeks.

But one small complaint about school. When I went to dry my hands. After washing them. The side of the dryer said Bunnie,  Hand and Face dryer…….Bunnie?

And why were all the headline writers so coy about the MP’s wife who stole a kitten from her husband’s mistress? Not one headline with the word ‘pussy’ in it. One day I will find Steve Martin’s pussy gag and I will play it.

And finally, I rarely mention football in this show but after Friday’s fantastic five-nil frills at Firhill, I want to mention the man they know as Bean, whose son’s packed lunch for primary school (Glasgow West End, let’s not forget. I have passport) was chorizo, olives and humous. What, said I……’no taramaslata?’ ‘Naw. Can’t afford it and humous ‘cos of the problems with the economy.’

Well, that’s a double dip recession for you……………kerching………..I’m here all week and the salmon’s good.

Cya, keep (ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? I have another from the same source. I must wear it as well.

Johnt850, academic scholar to the Comedy Unit. I must write some words for them soon. Hogmanay approaches.

So five minutes into my first day at school, I outed myself. As an alcoholic. No. No real reason. I don’t believe in horoscopes, so why not? But what I need to do is make sure that my new chums know that I’m quite happy in pubs. Or Starbucks. Or curry restaurants. Skippy doesn’t go everywhere with me.

Now, speaking of alphabets and football, I’ve taken some criticism recently for playing so much house music, so here’s something different. It requires two or three listens and watchings. The opening track was from LCD Soundsystem; this is Half Man Half Biscuit and the Referee’s Alphabet. I like J is for Jew Jitsu.