Archive for November, 2011

You better come home Speedy Gonzales, Away from tannery row Stop alla your a-drinkin’ With a floozie named Flo. Come on home to your adobe And slap some mud on the wall The roof is leakin’ like a strainer There’s loadsa roaches in the hall

November 27, 2011

I was a child prodigal. I think mum hoped I’d be a prodigy but, bright as I was, I discovered women at an early age. Or to be more precise, I discovered Gail Summers. It was unrequited. She was ten. And can I, dear listener, kill a myth that seems to surround me by explaining I was ten as well? No. No reason. But hey and ho.

No. The reason I mention that (kinda – if there’s ever a reason) is that at a very early age my alter ego cut from a newspaper (dad was very annoyed – he was reading it at the time) an article about drugs references in modern music.  It was the usual stuff – Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit, the Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky and almost anything by Bob Dylan – but it’s only in the last wee while I’ve become more aware of these things.  As in the lyrics above.

(Next week – Childrens’ TV……..more than met Zebedee’s eye..…and in a previous blog I did highlight drugs references in Thomas the Tank Engine but I am slightly worried about some of the lack of social care exhibited by local government in The Gingerbread Man and is the fox an allusion to heroin?….Skippy, my medication please….any f**king colour)

So what novelty record are you giving this Christmas?

Which reminds me. Cos Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year and similarly New Year’s Day, the broadcast of the blog those days might be affected. Newer listeners might be unaware that there is a Christmas Special and there is also a Blog Awards ceremony with a Personality of the Year Award. Previous winners have been a glass of whisky at the Edinburgh Bookfest, a phone call from Italy from the Vampire Slayer and Missie K, and BBC Steve’s 3 year old daughter Ruby….who now comes to Partick Thistle games.

Nominations are now being invited and will be totally ignored.

Meanwhile things progress at school 🙂 I got my first mark. For sums. And it’s 62. Out of a hundred, altho’ I’m not sure what that is as a percentage. (And my thanks to all those I’ve told like W, e, Sunny D and Liz…….must tell Jaymi….for telling me where that stands in Academia and can I just assure my friend and colleague, the gorgeous W, that no child was harmed in the making of that video)

Met up with study buddie Fi again. In the library. I sat with laptop, blackberry, loads of books and articles and a total blank screen. Writers’ block and, unlike at home, I cannot do the usual things to unblock the block – sharpen pencils, tidy t-shirts, make soup and change socks, altho’, technically there are no signs prohibiting this.

I/we were told off for talking. I tried to explain that my most recent library experience was Hillhead Library. With the Toddlers. ‘No. I’m not actually a dad. Of any of them. I was invited in by AJ.’ Bizarelly the Paisley School librarian had never heard of AJ. Nor the fact that he is celebrating his birthday, like, now. Happy Birthday and Happy Retirement (ha!) to your mum……..

Oh, and I’ve now visited Beith. It was dark. That’s all I’m saying. It’s in the country and there are pix on the road warning you that cows are about to leap out in front of you.

(And does anyone else, like me, panic when they’re driving thru the Clyde Tunnel only to see the road markings which say Stay in this Lane actually point in a different direction to the one in which you’re driving?)

But can I recommend a very nice restaurant called the Blair Tavern, Dunlop, which isn’t in Dunlop and also isn’t the very large house with the big driveway with both an entrance and exit so it wasn’t that embarrassing when we drove into it. And can I say a big thank you to the two women at the next table who moved from discussing this week’s Day of Action on behalf of the future of the public sector* to swopping mobile pix of intimate operations.  

*I think they called it something else but as other people have suggested thru Facebook et al, we have a day off to celebrate the wedding of a balding RAF officer and his burd and it’s called a holiday and a boon to the economy – people are out there defending their current terms and conditions of employment and deserve all our support.

And now they’ve changed the law of succession, what if Katie does nothing but produce boys who decide to become Roman Catholics? No. I’m not sleeping well. Why do you ask?

(Excuse me a second…the envelope icon is flashing)

And finally, and whilst saying thanks, can I say thanks to Caitlin (whose 21st is in my dairy…..) for having an uncle Colin who treated me to lunch in a fusion restaurant called Opium (I’m a recovered addict….it was research…ok?) For those of you who know the Byres Road, it used to be the Peking Inn in Hope Street. Bizarrley (2nd attempt at spelling it) it had two veggie options in the starters but none in the main course….bazaar.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, and it ain’t half seeing the world……well the West of Scotland

Johnt850, a common enuff name but not a common guy.

And speaking cancerly for the first time for some time….many thanks to all those who’ve been raising money for Movember including Eric the Floodstalker, Falkirk Dougie, Sporty Paul and William the student…..your money is spent on research into things like a mechanical device which will be able to probe and measure the hardness of the prostate tissue.

Good……but did they have to call it the E-Finger Project? Serioulsy? 😦 But, hey, twenty seconds of discomfort and it saved my life.

And speaking of the Status Quo – this is from High School Musical

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Saw a dragon shake cathedral walls while a steeple bell rang out in anguish calls And I turned my eyes to see a bird fly overhead and I dreamt its wings of freedom could be mine instead…..

November 20, 2011

So I started the week in the classroom with a confession. No. Not that one; nor that one; certainly not that one; and only the Vampire Slayer knows that one – not even Skippy knows about that. No. It’s the fact that I am now a total technophobe these days.

I’ve not always been like this. Once upon a time I did lots of things for myself (this is an innuendo free blog – okay?) but when I took on board this semi, other things seemed to get in the way. It started harmlessly enough with Kenny the Shed Pimp (and I’m still waiting for those estimates, big man) and somehow it spread.

I admitted to several things in class. For example, my BBC connection on Cable TV is not good…except when I stand on the stairs with the remote control in my hand and then it’s perfect. All I have to do is switch the box off at the socket (and I’ve done that before) and it’ll be fine. But if it’s not, then I’ll have to fone 150. And my record with them is not good. 😦

On one occasion I was reporting a problem and I got really angry cos they kept cutting me off. It was only later I realised I had a dodgy battery on my phone and I actually needed a new phone. 😦

The light fitting problem is now well documented and then there’s the printer. I hate changing the ink on it. It doesn’t like it. It needs to be persuaded. It has to want to change. And it gets a wee pouted lip daring me….I’ve tried motivational interviewing and I’ve tried Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. To be honest, and to my shame, I’ve even threatened it…’if you don’t do as I tell you, then you’re going to bed without any supper’….that kinda thing…….and then obviously, as soon as I leave the room, it moves into position……’I’m ready to take your cartridge now big boy’…that kinda thing.

And it manifests itself in different ways.

On Wednesday I planned to spend some time in the school library but I was in Govan for a meeting with the Prostate Cancer Charity (and can I say a massif thanks to all those doing something for Movember). I did the sensible thing. I printed off AA directions as to how to get there. From Govan.  Straight onto Paisley Road West. So how the hell, Glaswegians, did I find myself south of Bellahouston Park? Once I was onto Mosspark Boulevard (and that brought back memories, rainforestriverman) I was fine. Particularly as the rest of the directions seemed to involve bars of Paisley e.g. turn right at the Afton Bar onto Causeyside Street……..cooking with gas I was (except my fan heater’s dead in my oven)

Anyway, I get to the school where I’m due to meet my study buddy, Fi. Drove into the multi-storey, collecting my ticket from the machine on the way in, clutching it in my mouth as I drove up to the top floor in search of a parking space. I find one out in the open air – no problem to find on the way out.

But we have another problem. The ticket has cut my lip. It has caused a paper cut – the most dangerous cut known to man. I panic. If I do the studently huggy thing that studentlies do, it’ll look as if I’ve taken a chainsaw to Fi. Go to toilet; do not pass go. See just how bad it is. So I do and whilst I’m there I decide to use the urinal for its intended purpose and (some listeners may wish to look away at this point) I feel the need to spit. It’s a male thing. I think.

(The only serious time I have ever spent in ladies’ toilets I have been in drag and I didn’t see anyone spit)   

Anyway I spat…..a horrible blood spattered spit all over the urinal. And the man (a workie) standing next to me, happened to glance over a second later, saw the blood spattered mess and said, ‘I’d get that seen to if I were you, mate’, zipped up and walked away.

Oh, and I couldn’t find my car when I returned to it. I didn’t know that that multi-storey had so many levels open to the sky and, yes, when I got to the bottom, I had to stop the car, pull on the handbrake, get out of the car to put the ticket in and then obviously I stalled it on the way out……..but thanks to my study buddy, there are two intros now written……:D

Other points of note this week – I’d like to thank almost two year old, AJ for his help in chatting up that blonde in Tesco’s Maryhill and well done to friend and colleague and time traveller, W, for academically being in two places at once last week and well done for both (‘rug users’, eh?)

And finally, can I say thanks to the young woman in Glasgow Central Station who gave me the wee fix of honey and lemon Beecham’s the other morning in a cardboard cup. I felt the burn, James Ellroy, but I didn’t go back for more.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, and it’s been joined by two more for Movember. There’s still time.

Johnt850 – I used to be self-deprecating but I gave it up cos I was rubbish at it.

And this week’s serious message below the line is slightly different. Under the Freedom of Information Act it’s been established that investigating the unsolved killing of Emma Caldwell has cost almost £4 million. Emma was killed at the age of 27. She became addicted to heroin following the death of her sister from cancer and began to work as a prostitute to feed her habit.

Four Turkish men appeared in court in connection with her death but the case against them collapsed after ten months. I have a very good friend who looks at miscarriages of justice in a very specialised field and I understand the need for evidence that matters and is correct and proper.

But the money is well spent, if one day………No. No reason

I have no real idea what this vid is. It is not what I was looking for. I was trying to find something musically techno but failed. Sometimes keyword searching is soooo hard. 😉

(2 minutes silence)….In Flanders fields the poppies grow between the crosses row on row that mark out the place. We are the dead…….

November 13, 2011

It’s funny. I don’t think Siouxsie and the Banshees were ever invited to the Festival of Remembrance that the BBC televises every year. This year saw people like Sir Cliff Richard and Katherine Jenkins, paying tribute. It’d have been nice to see someone like Siouxsie at some point over the years.

Anyway, my first three essays have been handed in. So can I say to all those who have supported me in recent whiles in this venture that I am doing everything you asked of me. And more.

I sit quietly at the back of the class (me and Skippy), quietly taking notes, quietly absorbing what is being said and quietly not speaking to anyone.  The teachers hardly know me. I say nothing. Quietly.

The details of the next three assignments are now on my kitchen wall, hiding the dirt. Altho’ with working light*, I can at last read them and plan them. Phrases like ‘harm reduction’ and ‘the disease model of addiction’ now pepper my everyday thinking and conversation – which should make it so very interesting this coming Friday when I’m at one of those formal dinners I attend from time to time.

The name of the group? The Winers’ Club. Altho’ food is taken, it’s like a West of Scotland version of the Bilderberg Group. Kinda. Without those leaders of the Western world who have dropped us right in the Euro-shit.

  • I confess. I did have to get a man in eventually. The motor had gone. Unlike me.

Anyway, back to Academia, and whatever I may or may not achieve (a pass and a job in addiction work are the targets), I want to say Well Done to friend and colleague, the gorgeous W. I won’t say for what (publicly) just yet ‘cos you will have hunners of people to tell down (the) ASDA.* Wow……I’ll tell Nick and Linda. 🙂

*Y’see I honestly have no idea who listens to this blog, and I don’t want to spoil things.

* Why do some asterix work and some don’t?

Elsewhere, me and my school friend Fi  – also quietly spoken. Also sits at the back of the class. Quietly – recently carried out a recce for the class Christmas party. What is it about women and hunky, Italian waiters in (wait for it) black shirts? Don’t they understand the inherent symbolism as they look closely into the eyes of good looking women but they give me the bill. (The unintended  use of the plural there intrigues me as much as anyone else)

Still, whereas some places give out mints at the end, this place gives out small lollipops. Don’t they understand the inherent symbolism……… (*bangs head against brick wall and retreats into parallel universe for fully five minutes*)

Incidentally, also saw the movie The Rum Diary, which is an adaptation of the amazing book by Hunter S Thompson. It’s the story of an alcoholic journalist played by me, oops, sorry, Johnny Depp. (It’s like looking in a mirror. It’s uncanny). It is so much my life story.

Well, Tennent’s down (the) Byres Road, or the (Ex)press Bar in Albion Street or Off The Record down Anderston way on a Friday are incredibly similar to a Puerto Rican carnival. I think.  I shared the ambitions to expose corruption in society altho’ can I stress, as former BBC person, that Santa Claus does exist – to say otherwise was a sackable offence . Or at least a letter of apology to a young listener (cf Tam Cowan). But I have never, ever, done that thing in car. With another man. 😦 ooops that should have read 🙂

Amd maybe it is the essay writer in me but I want to quote some folk this week. For example, Andrew Eaton-Lewis of SoS;

‘I wish the media (or other folk) would stop obsessing over what different ages of people should be doing with their lives. Yes, lots of thirtysomethings (and fortysomethings and fiftysomethings) listen to pop music aimed at teenagers. Why on earth, shouldn’t they?’ Well said, Andrew (38) from me (42).

Incidentally, MI5 are recruiting via the school playground. Their very subtle leaflet – ‘Do you have what it takes to be quietly successful?’* – suggests that you only discuss your application with a partner or close family friend. She’s called Katzia Zatuliveter, 26 from Russia and she’s just finished her latest affair with a bearded Lib-Dem MP. Shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

  • This week’s three letters of the alphabet are Q and R – for quietly relaxed.

And finally, can I quote the wise words of the smashing Grainne Braithwaite, concert promoter, talking about Frankie Cocozza’s nosedive from The X Factor; ‘I know more people who work in offices who take cocaine than do musicians. Frankie is behaving like a DJ or a footballer. Not like a rock star.’

Me? I just wonder how many other Scottish entrepreneurs are out there. Waiting in line.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup, and it’s bringing lots of good luck all around. 🙂

Johnt850, quintessentially robust in a quietly relaxed kinda way.

Long time ago I helped a Second Year Newswriting class discover that the poppy is used as a symbol of remembrance because it was one of the very few plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields at the end of the war to end wars.

Recently an American SWAT team burst into the apartment of an author called James Hogshire, claiming he was running a drugs lab. The police team confiscated several bunches of dried poppies wrapped in cellophane which had come from a florist. He was charged with ‘possession of opium poppy with intent to manufacture and distribute’.

One flower meaning so many things to so many people. No. No reason. No moral tale. Except this week it became a political football. That shouldn’t happen. I was in the George Square area of Glasgow on Sunday morning. Those men and women there are what it’s all about. Despite everything in recent years we are in danger of forgetting.

This next clip was probably Rowan Atkinson’s finest moment. He should maybe have stopped then.

Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up So I can rock the night away I’mma burn it up tonight it’s going down By live via satellite And I’m seeing angels in my eyes

November 6, 2011

Skippy, have you transcribed these lyrics correctly? And colour coded them? Good and that was, of course, Kim Kardashian singing the closest I could to find to a jolly interesting software called Turnitin which has done various heads in this week. That’s head as in brains and not in any other sense. I think.

What? You were expecting more AC/DC? Maybe a wee bit more of that later but, oh hang on, my new Blackberry’s ringing. Back in a tick. Then we can talk….It was Kim. Again.

Actually, it was sooooo embarrassing earlier this week. I’m just getting used to the buttons. I hit Call instead of Send. I thought I was talking to an intelligent, interactive voice mail. It was a person and it was not the person I thought I was sending the mail to…it was her daughter! I honestly don’t know if that’s a defence in law.

It could be a wee while before I’m down the Clyde Valley again. And before anyone sniggers, that’s nothing like an innuendo. Oh hang on, there’s the B/berry….It’ll be Kim.

No, Turnitup is a software that checks your references and whether you’ve been copying off other ppl’s jotters; them that’s not curled their arms around their work. Remember them? It’s really weird ‘cos you’re asked to list your sources but I’m NUJ; I’ll go to jail rather than reveal my sources. Are you listening, Andrew Lee Ball or, oh f**k, was it Bell? Oh no. I’ll not sleep now. Till Brooklyn.

Actually I did take some photos of almost 2 year old  AJ on Friday (bit of a lack of link, there, jt) but there seems to be some kinda software I need before I can do anything with them like transfer them to PC and I should stress that I had e’s permission to take them……can’t be too careful these days, particularly the angle you take pics from. In park playgrounds.

Altho’ what they got away with on Top of the Pops was amazing, I realised watching some of the obits to Jimmy Saville. I met him once. Yeugh. Didn’t like him. Horrible man……..oh, there’s that B/berry again.

Anyway, mention of AJ reminds me that’ll soon be his birthday and we’ll be into the party season, and the school Christmas disco/dance. We’re already practising in the school gym;

Deadmau5 or Slam or Swedish House Mafia, it ain’t quite, is it? What do you do with your legs, I hear some of you ask? Next week the Running Man.

Oh, sodding B/berry….there it goes again……’Kim, if I’ve told you once’……Mind you, I woke up the first morning to thirteen mail messages. Now if I can restrain my enthusiasm and wait ‘til I get to the railway station before reading/deleting then I’ll look like everyone else at half past seven in the morning.

(It’s not quite a blues song is it……..’Woke up this morning. I’d thirteen messages on my Blackberry…..’)

So Good Luck to friend and colleague, the gorgeous W, and don’t forget that Health and Safety for slugs is important to some ppl, and believe in what you’re doing. You do, and I think that’s important. I’ve finally finished the polo mints which shows how often I wear that jacket. And to the Vampire Slayer, thanks for sharing your experiences of Turnitoff, which is maybe what I should do with this new phone. However, VS, there is an exhibition down in London called Shoes for Show which, according to the PR blurb, features some of the most ‘fantastical items of footwear you’ve sever seen’. Its location? The Loading Bay, Brixton Lane……….And wow, those Nicholas Kirkwood Alice in Wonderland inspired stilettos are to die for.

(Worryingly, that last sentence was not PR blurb, but me L )

But speaking of exhibitions……me and a school pal, Fi, went to see the AC/DC exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery. It’s an amazing collection of electrical sockets, circuit boards and transformers. Not. Everyone was dressed in black. Except Fi – lady in red. And we got student discount. And again I didn’t need to show my card. We stood in the mosh pit and watched a large video screen. With AC/DC on it. Donnington, probably.

And I wanted nearly every jacket on display but I was persuaded against buying the AC/DC hoodie at £46…….wise decision……..if not on my part.

Wish I’d never got that B/berry…….it’s doing my head……..what volume control? Where? Brilliant. Now I can enjoy The Best of AC/DC in peace…….

And finally, can I refer all fans of football to a new site? It’s called www.footballmemories.org.uk. It’s not all memories of great goals but there are some more specific things about being a fan. Kinda nostalgia but realistic nostalgia. My own personal fave? I was at Kilbowie the night the Clydebank Youth Team beat the Celtic Youth Team 1- 0 in the first round of the BP Youth Cup. Oh, what a night. Late September back in……….the midst of last century. Celtic’s zonal marking was awful and the Youth Team manager was fighting to keep his job.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun, and still wearing that badge? Yup and hoping it brings someone luck this Friday.

Johnt850, of larrikin spirit but with a brash exterior hidden by many well-appointed affectations.

So nothing serious below the line this week. There’s a kinda grey/gray area where I don’t want to talk too much about alcohol and drugs without it sounding too much like me spreading ‘the word’….even if it is open-minded and realistic discussion.  Anyway, there’s more to uny life than studying….isn’t there? 😉 No. No reason.

So this final piece of music is dedicated to my mate Sharon. It’s Black Lace doing the voice track to Sweet singing Wig Wam Bang and the lead singer of Sweet was Brian Connolly who was reputedly the half-brother of Scots actor, Mark McManus who got his first major acting break in Australian TV series, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. Kevin Bacon, eat your heart out. I hammered it in five!