Archive for January, 2012

With your kittens on the patchwork quilt, Oh no, what am I doing in the house Jack Kerouac built?

January 31, 2012

I was actually looking for a different lyric when I came across this. The one I was looking for was The House that Jackin’ Built – a well know house classic. ‘Cos I’m getting tired of waiting for the results in the School’s Drink’n’ Drugs Essay Competition – Research Methods. I don’t think I’ve done that well anyway. [I didn’t]

I ended up writing about raves’n’that and housemusic’n’that and managed to work in Sherlock Holmes, the well known Glasgow hardman, Jimmy Boyle, a rave fanzine website, a BBC Radio 4 doc, several Sun headlines, a quote from Boy George and 3 movies including Irvine Welsh’s ‘Acid House’……… but no. No Lyrics. Well not overtly…….hehehehehe 🙂

(I don’t suppose I should use 🙂 given the subject matter really)

And we’d to devise a survey questionnaire but I’m not sure asking a group of 16 – 21 year olds

a)      Do you use drugs?

b)      Can I have some?

is really what the Professor was looking for. [It wasn’t]

I got an unconfirmed 61% for another essay and I’m looking forward to its confirmation. I’ll get it all dressed up, invite the family, go along to the chapel, have a wee word with the priest and have a wee celebration afterwards.

No. The opening track was The House That Jack Kerouac Built and was the version by the Go-Betweens – an Australian band but why do I think they have a Glasgow connection?

And can I thank Missie K at this point for looking after me (again) whilst we resumed the conversation which was interrupted by the wallet that was stolen but the incident was recorded on CCTV and will be shortly appearing on Pets Do The Funniest Things Just So Their Owners Can Win £250 And Be Humiliated By Harry Hill – or am I revealing a lack of knowledge of populist TV?

But this week’s Big News of the Week……many people consider me a Technofobe. I’m not. I just hate foning 150. I can dial 150. In that order usually. I press all the correct options until I end up in the queue called We Are Aware That You Are There But We hope You Will Put The Phone Down To Put The Kettle On Just As an Advisor Chooses To Answer Your Query…….Please Choose Your Music Option. Obvioulsy I choose Dance and I’m convinced there’s a klaxon goes off in Richard Branson’s Office and signs flash up saying *Drug Crazed Nutter on Line 4!*

So I tend to write to 150. And they send a man round. Except there always seem to be another man in the van with binoculars and a sniper’s rifle, trained on me. And the helicopter. Always the helicopter. Always overhead. Anyway what I didn’t realise was that the man also fixed my DVD player. He’d said something about giving me a Start and I said that was very kind of him but even giving me ten yards over a distance of fifty probably wouldn’t be enough. And he looked at me. And said ‘a Scart’.

But it was only when study buddie Fi was doing some dusting – it’s okay, Sharon, I am aware of the klaxon going *Thin Ice Alert! Thin Ice Alert!* – and switched it off and on and it says Hello and Bye when you do that, that I realised that he had got that to work as well. I have got a working DVD player. Now all I need are some DVDs. Betamax or VHS – what do you recommend?  

(Actually given the mixed success of Betamax and PepsiMax, can anyone tell me why Fat Eck is going for DevoMax? There was also a really weird but wonderful band in the Eighties called Devo…this is they…… and  a certain amount of Parental Guidance is advised)

And finally, this was originally written several days ago but I then hit serious hard-drive problems….so it is a now a slightly updated version…Slight updates are in square brackets……..and I’m not sure when normal service will be resumed…..intermittency may rool.

Cya, keep(ing it fun) and still wearing that badge? It now knows a much better way into the Buchanan Galleries Car Park from the Royal Concert Hall than it did before


So I haven’t said anything cancerly recently but this last week has been Macmillan Cancer’s Talk Week and I do hope anyone out there with cancerly experience has been talking about it so that people are re-assured that not every cancerly experience is a fatal or terminal one.

Except for a guy called Gerry Hagan (59) from Coatbridge who I don’t know. He had symptoms of prostate cancer (which I did), he was given radiotherapy and hormone injections, which he describes as a ‘pressure cooker’ (Yup…I agree ‘cos that’s what I had) and he had thought his problems were urological (which I did). The difference? He had nine years between the onset of those symptoms and the diagnosis; I had just months. I, after all, was still being seen regularly by my GP ‘cos I was in the early stages of my alcoholic recovery.

The result? I have had successful treatment and everything is in working order; Gerry’s is terminal. He is quoted as saying, ‘Yesterday’s history and tomorrow’s a mystery so just live in the day.’

 This is who study buddie Fi and I went to see on Wednesday night [last week at Royal Concert Hall]

I’ve got the ticket if you’re my collector, I’ve got the fare if you’re my inspector, I’ll be the luggage if you’ll be the porter, I’ll be the parcel if you’ll be my sorter (The Damned)

January 22, 2012

So me and WordPress seem to have made up. 🙂 The weekly blog in its natural state is back up and running. And I have no idea what came between us. So new listeners might as well start here. Because it makes as much sense as starting anywhere else. Because this week  my wallet was stolen. And that, dear listeners, set the scene for the week.

It was to have been soooooo simple. A meet with Missie K to set the world to rights. I had booked a discreeet table in a top Glasgow City Centre eatery – or Pret-a-Manger as some of you may know it. The hot chocolates had been ordered and calm was about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world, but dear listener, I had made that basic of all basic errors.

I had sat with my back to the door. I had played the Wild Bill Hickock card and lost. Like Bill.

Bill was a well known Wild West frontiersman, sheriff, gambler and drinker and followed loose women and wild buffalo……. (okay. Let’s get the Clatty Pat’s gag out of the way)…and was a real showman. In one of my many previous existences (or was it a parallel universe?) I think I handed out flyers for Wild Bill and his show when it came to Glasgow in 1892…….. (or was that my elderly alter ego?) See below for details.

I was certainly there that fateful day when Bill sat down for a game of poker in the Number Ten Saloon  (how weird…my favest drinking place in Glasgow City Centre is Bar Ten) in Deadwood, Dakota.  It is said that Bill sat where he could see the door altho’ me, being pedantic, think he was actually watching the people who came in. One day a rotten, no-good, stinking varmint, said to Bill that he had a cold and would Bill mind swopping seats with him.  

Seconds later Bill was shot, dead, in the back.

Suddenly Pret-a-Manger should be seen in a totally new light. (A quick word with study buddie, Fi, if I may……..see how I return to something you’ve already forgotten about?)

No. Basically what happened was that it was cold by the door and Missie K and I moved seats. It was then that I did a very manly thing. Unusual for me, I know. (I have this urge to buy and wear eye-liner. Black). There was a significant weight difference in my jacket. My wallet was no longer there. We re-traced my steps to a sports emporium where I had purchased a replica Partick Thistle strip for a four year old’s birthday in February, only seconds before the club sponsor announced they were having financial problems. But no. 😦 (and Very Happy Birthday, Missie K…x….sorry for spoiling it)

Cards are cancelled and replacement ones have flooded in (except from UWS – why does that not surprise me?); an insurance claim has been submitted (I often carry £5,000 in cash); the police have not asked, as yet, why I carry a small mirror next to my credit cards (if I wore eye-liner, there wouldn’t be that suspicion, would there?); and the pills therein were totally legitimate.

I think the biggest problem has been re-setting my payments to Facebook and Google for the ads I have for the business  and trying to return Strathclyde Police’s phone calls….. ‘cos it was all caught on CCTV! The blaggard had been spotted and the game is afoot. The Baker Street Irregulars are all over Irene Adler even as we speak (eh?)  and Professor Moriarty is, I’m told, wrestling with Ideal Holmes over that waterfall in Rouken Glen Park…….The Sweeney it ain’t but I will keep you posted. ‘Put your trousers on…you’re nicked!’

(Incidentally last week’s blog which had restricted publication is tagged on at the end of this)

But, finally, that has not been my entire week. A planned kinda mini mid-week break was put on hold ‘cos of illness and pestilence, but I’d like to say a big Well Done to study buddie Fi for rising from her sick bed and taking me to a place where no woman had taken me before – Tesco’s, Kilbirnie. 😀  To the rainforestriverman for sending me what I thought was a photograph of a glass of wine but I now realise was the view from your holiday balcony; to the good Doctor W, whose attempts to take over the academic world by yomping round it are just slightly on hold; and to Son Brian, you were right about the IKEA notion……..

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? It’s taking North Ayrshire by storm 😉

Johnt850, who was there at the Battle of the Little Big Horn but on whose side?

No I want to take a minute to update you on what’s happening over the next three months – in university terms. I, and some others, return for one day a week for classes but for three days a week for the next eleven weeks I will be out on placement in a community drugs rehabilitation unit in the Greater Easterhouse area.

It is obvious I respect all confidentialities I ever encounter in this blog. I still pay my NUJ dues and journalistic ethics are higher than those of any politician, banker or, indeed, uny lecturer. After a couple of weeks shadowing, I then do the things (under supervision) that the other workers do and hopefully support people as they begin to return to a world that many consider ‘normal’. My own addiction is that of alcohol – for others it’s over-prescription of benzodiazepines by over-enthusiastic doctors.

I obviously can’t do Tales from the Front Line for all sorts of reasons, but my motorway driving may prove to be of interest…..and if I fail to be in touch with some of you, it’s not ‘cos I’ve forgotten, it’s ‘cos those I’m working with have attracted my attention. I’m scum and I know I am (Clydebank FC chant of a few years ago)

Incidentally, ceteris paribus, me and Fi won’t be down by the schoolyard on Wednesday. We’ll be at the Royal Concert Hall celebrating one hundred years of Woody Guthrie (I was a schoolboy chum) This is he;


When I was very young, which, given that I am 42, wasn’t that long ago, my father took me and my sis to football matches. Sometime my alter ego went to see Peterhead, then in the Highland League, at a place called Recreation Park. I got to stand with the grown-ups, which was good, ‘cos I learned a lot. And had no friends, anyway. In those days football matches started at 3 on a Saturday afternoon and the half time was ten minutes long and footballers drank cups of tea and sucked quarter oranges.

(Don’t worry. This ain’t Nick Hornsby)

Occasionally we came to the big city where football grounds were slap bang in the middle of the town surrounded by shops selling food and pubs selling beer and how often have I been that waif standing outside the pub with a bottle of cola and a packet of crisps whilst my dad and Uncle Willie nipped inside ‘just to use the toilet but there was such a long queue’……… but my thanks to the odd passer-by who let me have a sip out of their ‘bottle’………I was about ten.

Oh Happy Day(s) (when Jesus walked…Edwin Hawkins Singers and thanks to the great John Peel for playing that. Anybody got any good books about the man I haven’t read?)

Nowadays football times are dictated – sometimes indirectly – by TV companies and football stadia are created out-of-town to raise money and have big car parks and seem to be in the middle of huge retail parks and so it was that, on Friday night, me, #soulboydave and Mad Dog Rab found ourselves in Hamilton walking towards Hamilton Accies football ground (it’d have been daft going to any other football ground), thru a car park more suited to filming Spooks than anything else and surrounded by Morrison’s and Sainsburys’s and Asda, that it hit me.

I love supermarkets!!!!!!!!

There. I have said it. I have come out of the frozen foods aisle. As well as the drinks cabinet.

I’ll be honest. I’d hate to work in one. I am a voyeur. I love looking at new shelves and seeing things I’ve never seen before. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m glad I became a life-long pescatarian just over a year ago. Each supermarket is different. Take Morrison’s in Largs. What brilliant pixs of the esplanade and I did not realise that gluten free pasta was not next to pasta…….supermarket porn…..I feel a professorial chair coming on.

Can I incidentally say thanks to #soulboydave for this gag – ‘following a credit agency’s review of Sweden’s economic policy, it has been decided to downgrade its credit rating from AAA to ABBA’ – and can I express my concern for the future of Scottish comedy that Mad Dog, the new head of the Comedy Unit, laughed at that. (And to the rainforestriverman, it’s another leading Scottish indie).

Also I was told that when MI5 recruit, as they did recently at my school in Paisley, the recruitment people get app forms that say ‘I’d be very good at handing over documents in car parks cos I blend in so well’. How the hell do you practise those skills? Apart from acting out Spooks?  No. The dogging accusation against me in Airdrie was never proven. Honest. One lousy sheep and you’re tarred for life.

But speaking of supermarkets……….and thin ice………can I say a big thanks to study buddie Fi, for the day out to Largs in her charabanc, complete with dog and small boy. Lots of highlights; including being refused entry to a council car park on the grounds that we weren’t in a car, altho’ we were. This raises two questions;

Why did the machine think we were not in a car when actually we were – and it’s a big one. The car.

And why would people without cars pay to get into a car park on the front at Largs?

But finally, my thanks to Fi and the ensemble for a nice day out and to four year old J, who, when I asked if he would recommend investing in property in the Garnock Valley, said ‘NO!’; my apologies to Morrison’s for the incident with the iron brew sorbet; and I won the argument that the farm that offers rugwashes does exactly what it says on the fence. But we did pass this amazing building, which suggests that maybe we should have looked at football grounds in situ, before selling them off. It’s an old cinema, now called Radio City, with apparently a radio studio (think the RKO building)………I don’t think it does much broadcasting but seems to be more of a community centre but it must have made quite an impact on me. Cos it featured in a recent dream of mine with Bruce Springsteen and and, and….Gosh is it that the word count? Well it can all wait ‘til later.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? It’s about the only thing that supermarkets don’t sell. It came from Fopp.

Johnt850, who thinks that being a mudda is tuff enuff in itself – but wtf do I know?

So I’ve not talked about cancerly stuff for some time. Regular listeners may remember about a year ago that I mentioned two people , important to me, who were about to go through cancer treatment and both have come through their treatment without any real problems – as most people do these days. The image of the Big C should be done away with.

My own cancer remains the subject of regular checks every six months and that specific blood test remains steady at 1.1 (worry not about that figure’s meaning) but I think one of the big things I get from going to the Beatson Clinic (and not research centre but they’re doing amazing work there as well) is a reminder of how lucky I was that mine was caught – not early – but just in time.

It’s a wee bit like the fact I call myself a ‘recovered’ alcoholic and not ‘recovering’ – we can debate all we like about certain semantics but one thing I can never ever forget is the word ‘alcoholic’. An addict by any other name. Sorry. Just felt the need to say that. No. No reason.

Last week I used lyrics by Silver Apples for very good and special reasons. This is they. Yes. I’m not sure either but I reserve their right for them to be they. John Peel would.

But I have sailed upon the boat That flew when there was room to float And I drunk out of the magic urn And I have slept inside the shade encircled by the love we made And I have kissed the face of dreams

January 8, 2012

So I was talking to Sunny D down the ASDA and she’s got an exam coming up dead soon and Good Luck and I was saying that despite all the years of lecturing and editing it has been such a strange experience doing all the research and writing for all these assignments particularly over the Christmas period and it has left me all quite exhausted and I’m sorry I missed the 21st party Caitlin but I’ll probably drop the pressie off with Colin and you’ll get it soon. Hope you had a good time. No doubt Son Brian’ll tell me. When I next see him.

It’s been quite strange as well in that I chose, for one of them, to write about the media’s coverage of the rave culture of the eighties and nineties and its effect on our perception of drink’n’drugs today – it all came out of a curry-based discussion with me, the rainforestriverman, Jock, Dennis and Skippy – and I devised a survey – and I’ve incorporated movie DVDs, a Radio 4 programme, Sherlock Holmes and a jolly interesting website called Fantazia…….. and yet somehow I feel it ain’t academic enuff. Can’t think why not. But it was fun to write and research and I’d like to apologise to my neighbours for blasting out Old Skool Happy Hardcore at 3 in the morning. Many times 😦

The white coated boffin who is the Prof (notice how I’ve seamlessly upgraded from primary school to uny*) talks of thai chi means tests (sp) and random samples and so on so I think I must have slept thru his lectures – actually I had a fantasy about Katie Boyle and her saying ‘nul points’ but it was quite sordid – but I really appreciated all the help and support from my school pals. Ta. I hope I helped a little…..

  • It’s spelt UNY!!!!!!  Uni is a prefix you put in front of words like cycle to indicate that it has only one wheel.

But a big word of thanks, as ever, to study buddie Fi, whose whistle stop tour of Paisley on Thursday afternoon fair took my mind off my final reading of the assignment just before I submitted it. Luckily I did read it again the next day only to discover that twice I had written ‘dugs’ instead of ‘drugs’, which actually made it a highly original piece of academic research. Post Grad Research in Drink’n’Dugs…….Actually I know people…..

I’d also like to thank Fi for ensuring that one teacher’s abiding memory of jt850 is me being called obediently to heel at 3.30 on Thursday afternoon. Maybe I was a puppy in a previous existence.

Actually, it’s a week when a few folk, okay, women have called out the name John. Which is mine. Which is good. Cos it meant I knew they were talking to me.

Sunny D – cos I was wandering in the wrong direction through (the) ASDA; e, or was it AJ mastering a very loud voice – who then very carefully guided me thru the fallen over trees in the Botanic Gardens (the good Doctor W would have been in her element with her chainsaw); and a former student who recognised me in an arty gift shop off Byres Road. I always find it interesting who they ask about and what they thought of them. And there’s one man, none of them ever liked. Well except those he felt destined for greatness……..he ignored the rest. 😦

And I caught up with the Vampire Slayer during the week. We tend to meet in a dark, secluded location, where we can talk freely without other humans being aware of her presence. Some people might know it as Starbuck’s in the Buchanan Galleries. But she has an aura. People got up and moved from a table just as we arrived. And took their tray of cups with them. How often does that happen? Proves the power. 🙂

Reminded me of the days, L frae Troon, when I used to use the phrase temporary erectile dysfunction as soon as we entered a bar and big butch workies would gaze at their large glistening helmets, and gave us a table. Actually I don’t mean they stood up and presented us with a table. I mean they vacated one. (I was given a Christmas present of Kingsley Amis’s The King’s English. It is brilliant, isn’t it Fi?…… Fi?……. Fi?)

And this is Florence and the Machine. No. No reason.

And finally, I worked with Bob Holness. Once. He was the first ever James Bond – in a radio series in South Africa. I had an involvement in a TV quiz show called Catchword (pres Paul Coia) and he took part in a pre-recorded Christmas Special which for legal reasons (nothing to do with Bob) was never transmitted. He was a genuinely nice man who enjoyed working in TV and radio and recognised that it was a team effort. Amongst other things, I had to collect him and some others from Glasgow Airport. The plane bringing one other was late. Bob’s catchphrase that day? “I’ll go and get us all coffee, shall I?”

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Its 2012 adventures have already started. I didn’t know there were soooo many charity clothes shops in Byres Road. And the variety. And the value for money.

And all I got was one small stumpy candle. Luckily I read nothing into it. It was fun. Fun, For Fun’s Sake – FFS

Johnt850, who is still technologically in a trance from all that dance music over the last few weeks. Wow! Hope it was worth it.

So it turns out a few folk missed out on the news of Billie Jo Spears’s death which I announced in last week’s Blog Personality of the Year Awards (see last week’s blog…obvioulsy). She sang a lot of songs that some folk might think were just about socks; some might see it actually as love. Here’s another one

When I’m feelin’ down Your love is a pick-me-up And what comes around went that way And when I’m not feeling up to par You come along and there you are Giving me the strength Giving it all I have to give Giving me the strength

January 1, 2012

Skippy, dig out my tuxedo; the one with the yellow and red (PT) sash – and treat yourself to a new black dress.  The one that makes you look like Audrey Hepburn needs replaced. (Sighs)…..Audrey Hepburn, why I remember when she…..anyway, the car will be here soon. We’re off to that most glittering of nights……..The Blog Personality of the Year Awards 2011. Can’t be late. We are the judge; we are the announcer; and we are really happy as we turn into the new year.

There is a mist which enfolds the couple (eh?) and seconds later they arrive at Glasgow’s most prestigious location – Maryhill Juniors Social Club, Lochburn Road, just behind the Job Centre. The Great and the Good have arrived. It’s Freebie Night.  People like Michelle Moan and Fat Eck Salmond have turned up cos they heard a fridge door was being opened.   

‘First of all can I welcome any new listeners to this award ceremony which is like any others with various categories and it is totally a fix from start to finish…unlike any others which shall remain nameless. Let’s be honest.

But first of all, again, can I just say, personally, for myself, me, what a spliffing year it’s been, with loads of new friends and some really amazing experiences with friends from before and all kinds of things too numerous and emotional to mention.

Great start to the year and it finished with a bang………C’mon……How many of you would have been disappointed if I’d not used that hoary old chestnut……….? Moving swiftly on…….But maybe not soooooooooooo fast.

Team of the Year was a simple choice. In September I started a new school. In Paisley. I was awfy worried about meeting new women…sorry, people…but I shouldn’t have worried. I’ve met up with a great bunch of people, including Kelly, whose three words of advice (‘Delete the nutter’) was the best I’d received in a long time. But also to so many other beautiful women like Audrey, Shirley, Jo, Sharon and sooooooooooo many others, and of course my amazing study buddie, Fi, without whom I wouldn’t have got such good marks in my first round of writing……..or barred (almost) from the library, or passively smoked so much, or………Anyway, really well deserved. So who’s going to come up and accept the award? Oh, you all are……… 🙂

Three days, seven hours and twenty minutes passes with much kissing and hugging

Now, it’s time for The Lifetime Achievement Award. It goes to my sister, Sheila, who’s had an interesting year in sooooo many ways, but whilst she has had much to worry her, I’d just like to say many thanks for all her support which will continue for many years……she tells me……..Mega mega thanks. 🙂

And now to the actual Personality of the Year Awards….(fanfare of strumpets)……….Thanks for the envelopes, Skippy, and for writing some notes for me.

So I’m going to start by coming from behind….Eh? Skippy! (sotto voce) Skippy, when I say I’m doing it in reverse order, I mean…oh never mind…

In Third Place, and a late arrival on the scene, is Hurricane Bawbag, which captured the imagination of sooo many and resulted in soooooooo many ppl foning in sick to the call centres where they worked the next day. 🙂

Check out This has both omg! trampoline! and the Gregg’s carrier bag!!

In Second Place is a daud of grun’ at UWS (Paisley). It’s next to the library and the under-grad café and the offices of the lecturers who spend their entire day researching drink’n’drugs. It’s next to the world’s most dangerous revolving door and is in full view of real hard working labourers on a real big building just by the multi-storey. So much has happened in that small space in such a short time. I want to dig it up and take it home with me…….. 🙂

And finally, (never ending drum roll)

In First Place……is…..6 hours, 31 minutes and 34 seconds. It was the time that friend and colleague, and now the good Doctor W, took to run her first ever marathon in Embra….sorry……her first ever marathon. In Embra. I was honorary roadie and rucksack holder for the day. And was very proud. And inspired to buy my own running shoes. They were used but I failed the five minute barrier. They are back in the box.

So Doctor W, rest easy this year and enjoy. No more challenges for you. What? You are kidding? Well, it’s been some time since I’ve been to the Gay Cottagers’ Car Park in Strathclyde Country Park. Just say when. But well done to you and everyone else who took on challenges this year. 🙂

My new school pals, especially. Many of them gave up a comfort zone to do this Post Grad. I am delighted to have them in my support team, even if they didn’t realise they were being co-opted. And as friends.

The last five years have been a challenge for me and I’ve loved and learned so much. If you’re unhappy then think about making that change. But don’t think too much. Just f**king do it and stop complaining. We live in uncertain times. Enjoy them. As the song at the top says, Give Out But Don’t Give Up (Primal Scream)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes. Cos it helps me to let the crazies run free.

Johnt850, quietly happy at the end of a good year. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Except, almost un-noticed in December, Billie Jo Spears died. This is her song about socks in the open air…eh?…Skippy, a word, please. You’re spelling is rubbish, btw….but so many thanks to so many people and one very, very special person.