Archive for March, 2012

Like a record that’s skipping, I’m a modern man, And the clock keeps ticking, I’m a modern man

March 24, 2012

So last Thursday was the first day in ages when I felt I was at home. As much as I enjoy the delights of North Ayrshire (‘every week a voyage of discovery’), Paisley and Easterhouse, I had a lot to do in the house and its environs. Sleeping in would be good but let’s not get too ambitious.

It was a nice day and I was stood at the back planning what I wanted my gardener to do when he started soon. My revelry was halted by my next door neighbour; ‘do you know your toilet overflow is leaking?’ ‘No but if you whistle it, I’ll hum the rest.’ 🙂 But dear listener, it was. Drip, drip and drip. I felt my nice neighbour was suggesting something so I decided to pretend to be a real man. And went  to investigate.

Water was indeed dripping into the overflow but I could see the problem. That white plasticky thing needed tightened.  To most men, that would be simple….’to most men’….were I to be buried (once dead) ‘needing tightened’ are two of the many words I want tattooed on my gravestone. Five minutes later I had snapped my ballcock and jammed my stopcock. 😦 So I stopped. I know when I’m beat. Alex was phoned. Alex still hasn’t got back to me but he does need to be working on this side of the city before he does that.

So I improvised. A saucepan. And it works but I thought even better. A shower attachment from B & Q. Which along with the petrol station at Morrison’s is now self scan……’s a great way of getting to know the assistant. Except at Morrison’s where this large booming voice called out to me at Pump Twelve and talked me through it. As if I was a cretin. No. No comment.

But I passed the test and came home and fitted the hose only to have it squirt its way away from its mooring and to cascade all over a pair of denims. Which I was wearing. Only for the doorbell to ring (once)and the postman to be standing there with a parcel. ‘It’s the stopcock,’ I said. He smiled that knowing smile, which says. ‘there’s one on every round but never this early in the day…….’

Alex, please phone. Please come and see me. I won’t ask where you’ve been. Nor nothing.

Incidentally someone suggested emptying the contents of the dishes basin into the cistern. I am tempted to leave the fish head in just to worry Alex.

So when Study Buddie Fi told me she had taken Jay the Boy Wonder to the vet and her dog to the opticians, I could say nothing. I’ve been to the Orkney Isles before. Amongst other things I researched a TV doc on an old Englishman who lived on the island of Hoy called Harry Berry. The doc was called ‘The Old Man of Hoy’. Can’t think why. Hoy, itself, was a strangely frightening place, altho’ that could have been because my bed in the former primary school that served as a hotel still had a rubber blanket put there because of a strange nocturnal habit the previous occupant had. Two days before I noticed since you ask. 😦

And finally can I wish a big good luck to the good Doctor W who has taken to the streets of North Lanarkshire in her bid to stop children. I revisited the scene of our Summertime lesbian experience recently. It’ll be coming to the silver screen soon…….. 😉

Cya, keep(ing it fun) and still wearing that badge? The theatre in Easterhouse, where the scenes were recorded, recognised it.

Johnt850, who last week found that the two pubs at each end of the Shandwick Shopping centre are still called Griers and the Centaur. Some things never change. Except I didn’t go in. I went to the library. Instead. But Bingham’s was closed down this week.

Some of you may have noticed a piece in the Herald of Glasgow about this place and the plans for it as outlined by a smashing family friend called Jackie who comes from a smashing family. It’s basically a centre for children with learning difficulties but the site says so much more.

Many, many years ago I took Son Brian to see his first ever football match – Clydebank v Falkirk – which was one of the most emotional days of my life (*eyes misting up as I speak*) and soon time I hope to take Jay and Study Buddie Fi to see a Partick Thistle match. (Fi without a fag for three hours?…..Maryhill you have been warned, but Happy Birthday, this week XX 🙂

Davie died seventeen years ago last week and I was in an office at the BBC when the news came over the radio. I left the office and cried.

I am grateful to Son Brian for many things. Including this

Footie fans and non-footie fans, please watch and mourn a great footballing talent, and a nice guy to spend time with.


I’ve heard he’s into leather and what they both do when they’re together, Curtains twitch in suburbia tonight, I’ve heard they’re not real brothers cos their mum went with another, Taproom gossip in suburbia tonight

March 20, 2012

Gossip, innuendo and rumour – that’s all that’s associated with the tabloids but opening on a serious note for once, I’d like to say big thanks to the Daily Record for the coverage last Wednesday (14th) of the need to get the decision not to allow abiraterone to be administered to men diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer, overturned. My piece was written as an open letter to Alex Salmond but anybody and everybody needs to be told.

On a less serious note, it was good to realise that my ego has limits. My photo has been in various publications on many occasions over the years but never, ever, never have I seen it as massif as it was (on pages 8 and 9 online just in case you missed it or on my Facebook wall) in the paper. But, hey, I do look good for a forty-two year old who’s been through everything I’ve been through……..and the wee blue man cancer badge looked good and it’s still Prostate Cancer Month and they’re still available from various outlets including Marks and Spencer’s for a few days yet.

(The wee blue man cancer badge is separate from the badge referred to in the closing titles)

I’ll keep you posted and I’ll move on, but to where? Actually I do have an important anno to make.

My invisible friend, Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo is still alive and still well and still choosing the music. (Reverend and the Makers since you ask and I am always as surprised as you with the end choice) However both Skippy and me are still having wee tekkie problems with the blog, which is why the Youtube vid at the end is a copy’n’paste link and not straight in. Skippy, your aunty Sharon was asking after you, btw.

Gosh, imagine if someone reading the Record thought my alter ego was, perhaps, slightly younger than the 57 which was left in brackets after his name? Truth will out.

Naw, it’s been a few days when I’ve been reliving my childhood of several centuries ago. North Ayrshire has many attractions 🙂 🙂 but it’s also easy to get to places like Largs and Irvine and the Tesco, Kilbirnie. I’m not going to say things like it’s like being on your holidays when you’re down there ‘cos it’s no’. The likes of Irvine Beach is brilliant but there is something about it that just doesn’t have the allure of the Riviera.

Ppl pick up the dog dirt; horses and their riders run up and down; and there is sooooooo much space. However, Jay the boy wonder made the right call with the ice cream from the ice cream vendor – it was boggin’ – and there was one crummy portaloo for a bog. Now I understand what the problem is.

Naw, the childhood that came flooding back was from the former fishing village of Peterhead which was sold, along with its environs, for a mess of potage to international capitalism in the shape of the North Sea oil industry and a marvellous beach just down the coast called Cruden Bay got dug up so that oil pipelines could come ashore. In Peterhead itself was a small grotty beach by the big bay that became full of supply boats and oil rigs.  It was called the Lido (eh?) and was very popular. It was also free. Imagine!

Just up the coast. Across a river and over a bridge (for which you had to pay to get over) was a marvellous set of sand dunes which roamed for miles but they had to be reached by a bridge (for which you had to pay to get over). Very few people went. Sundays it was popular with courting couples (Yes. It’s a euphemism) and underage drinkers. Or both. No. No comment. 🙂 Nup. I don’t know why it wasn’t more popular.

jt, are you listening? It was over a bridge for which you had to pay!!

Anyway, a big thanks to Study Buddie Fi for helping me to relive those moments of my youth and others (don’t even go there) but taking me to these places (‘every week a voyage of discovery’) but the more I think about the Ship Inn, Irvine, a mixture of memories come back – some good, some, well, not so good. Psychologists call them cued memories (or are they queued?)

And finally, recently I promised a link to the good Doctor W’s amazing children’s book………soonly. It currently awaits my collection from the Royal Mail Post House, next to Maryhill Juniors’ Football Ground where my post-cremation party may be held.but some people must have copies ‘cos it has some good reviews in the Amazonian cornershop! 

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup, I just don’t understand why it wasn’t in the Record pic!

Johnt850, bed and wardrobe dismantler to the gentry.

So I suppose I did the serious bit at the start this week. Well, as some of you know I’ve been doing a Creative Writing Group Workshop at my placement.  Yes. Thank you. It has been going well.

I asked them to do an evaluation of me.  They did. And it was good. But my favourite came from one young woman who, when asked what she gained from the course said that it reminded her that she had an imagination, which she’d forgotten all about. That alone………… 🙂

This is for her. 


Generosity is giving more than you can and pride is taking more than you need

March 13, 2012

Wise words there from the Sun’s Holly, 22 from Manchester quoting the Lebanese poet, Kalil Gibran, and I know she’s a Page 3 girl but like so many people I know she can be underestimated in terms of their abilities. People have surprising talents and I’m sure all the girls who do Page 3 research these things for themselves. That’s the only reason I read it. Honest. Altho’ I have been hiding the cutting from ppl and was very embarrassed when somebody found it on my desk. The words ‘blog research’ sounded so ‘limp’.

And of course, last week was International Women’s Day…….well obviously just one day. Otherwise it’d be International  Women’s Week. One of the ‘girls’ in the class claimed that it was still a patriarchal society and not a single man in the room disagreed. Read what you will into that.

Mind you it was a strange week for those of us who aspire to work in drink and drugs rehabilitation. There was a report which suggested that LSD should be taken in order to help alcoholics cure their addiction. The report’s author, Professor Looney Boffin (made up name), said, ‘It’s puzzling why this treatment has been largely overlooked.’

Yup. It beats me why David Cameron has not incorporated it into his next Tory Manifesto. Sounds a pure vote grabber to me. Sometimes I do believe in the school of thought that if we banned alcohol and gave out free Ecstacy the world would be a better place. But maybe I should wait until I’ve passed my Standard Grade in Alcohol and Drugs Addiction before I break such taboos.

Incidentally, and whilst I say very little about my placement for obvious reasons, I did do Naloxone training recently. It is what you can administer to someone who you believe has OD’d on opiates. It is very contentious and I’ll avoid the contention, if that’s okay.

Two things tho’;

First (but not firstly) I joined the group with the folk who use the centre just as one of them……..all of us currently clean. We started off with a quick flipcharting of an A-Z of drugs. Now I worked out that when they came to me I’d either be L (LSD) or N (and I was going to offer Nicotine) but blow me down in a Force Nine Gale with the ship on an even keel, currently avoiding thin ice, when I was asked for M. My thanks to the silent voice beside me who whispered ‘Magic Mushrooms’………under other circumstances, I might have said ‘thanks’.

(And yes, I could have said Methadone but my mind had gone blank)

Secondly (permissible) ‘cos we were doing CPR we got four top body crash dummies to practise mouth-to-mouth on. They came in a bag called Little Anne –itself spooky. Even spookier, apparently, was my request to take them home, clothe them and put them in my car and drive around just to prove how popular I was. But wouldn’t anyone? David Cameron, you can have that one as well. For nothing.

And I mentioned recently how every week was a voyage of discovery with Study Buddie Fi. This week? The Council Tip, Kilbirnie. Can I just say that I didn’t realise that I was not allowed (Health and safety presumably) to press the red button that opened the ‘hopper’ and that a special man had to do it. I’ve been thrown out of many places in my time but never a council tip. I think. 😉

Incidentally, a very special word to Fi for pointing out that toad in the dark in my back garden. And for seeing me safely to the multi-story car park on Monday. I had to leave the class early to goBeeb (see below).  It’s not often I need help with premature evacuation……….. 😦

And here’s a totally gratuitous vid of Reverend and the Makers the

And finally, just the usual housekeeping if I may…….to e and AJ, YAY!!!!!!!!……to the good Doctor W, I have not taken the huff; I just have a different recollection of events and, anyway, you were the one who said…… Auntie Sharon, thanks for the wedding cake and the advice….and to the blonde haired waitress in the Italian restaurant on Saturday night, can I just say I wasn’t really asking for your phone number. No. No reason. But I did end up ‘lashed to the mast’ later. 🙂

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? This month I’ve swopped it for the blue man cancer badge. Have you?

Johnt850, whose face was incredibly red when the guest lecturer suggested a jolly interesting ice breaker (details available in a separate wrapper).  

Naw, this week’ serious bit is reasonably easy to do, ‘cos it’s available on BBC iPlayer. Here’s the link below. One hour 18 minutes in.

It’s an interview I was asked to do at BBC Radio Scotland at fairly short notice. It was one I did for the many men who have died of incurable prostate cancer. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned about not giving up and a couple of ppl said it helped them. Roy was an inspiration to me when I started doing awareness work for the Prostate Cancer Charity. It would have been awful easy for him to stay at home or go to one of those self-help groups and complain but he didn’t. The phrase ‘giving up’ meant nothing to him. The idea of asking for ‘an extension’ has a different meaning when you’ve been given four months to live. Please listen to this.


Ooh, I can’t sit still with the hippy, hippy shakes I get my fill, now with the hippy, hippy shakes, yeah, it’s in the bag….ooooh, the hippy, hippy shakes

March 4, 2012

So I was going to wish Sharon Happy Marriage (eh?) with Lady in Red but when you actually read the lyrics, then I realised that Kenny, possibly the second nicest man in the entire world, might take exception and my head off…….but many will understand the meaning of the lyrics I’ve used.

Brilliant reception. In Spateston Bowling Club. Where? Next to the Osprey. Where?  In Spateston, obviously. It’s a nether region of Howwood. Where?  Near Paisley. What?  No. Me neither. But every week is a voyage of discovery in the company of Study Buddie Fi, and Jay, the four year old boy wonder, who entered manhood this week when his mum asked him (and me) which of two dresses she should wear. Good choice, Jay, btw. No. I often plead temporary blindness at moments like that.

But, hey well done to both Kenny and Sharon……..:)

And can I explain the post-it on the interior of my driver’s window. It says, ‘Don’t open the window’.

Y’see I now take my car to school in Paisley….and park in the multi-story at a fave spot with nice memories which also overlooks the lecturers’ rooms and you should see what they actually do read…phwoar, Page 3 of Addiction Today is a sizzler!

Anyway, I electricked the window down and collected the ticket on the way in, avoiding a cut lip by putting it on the seat. I then tried to electric the window back up and it didn’t. So I phoned the AA (Automobile Association) and they sent a van. With a man. Whose van couldn’t get in. So I had to come out and was able to pay on the way out to meet the AA man. I parked in a bus stop and proceeded to show the AA man what was wrong by pressing the button that wouldn’t work. Only it did. Red faces and hissy fits and jumping up and down in frustration and annoyance’r’us.

Hence the post-it, officer.

However I am now one of those annoying people who have to get out the car to collect and pay tickets in things like multi-stories. Altho’ it did work to my advantage down at the SECC Car Park the other day, when I belted the man in the collecting bag in order to pay so he told me to get out of his way. So I did. Saved six pounds.

Incidentally, well done to the Good Doctor W’s first foray into children’s fiction. Next week…the review…..but can I say the editing looks exceptional. And my thanks to Son Brian for dressing me the other day. No he didn’t actually put clothes on me. I am after all 42 and he is after all 25. If you do the sums, btw, your mum should start worrying in a couple of years’ time. No. He supplied the suit and tie I wore the other night (and my thanks to Fi for explaining why there are still threads across the pockets stopping me from putting stuff in.) 🙂

And finally, a big sorry to all those PT fans with whom I did not hook up yesterday for the fabbie win over Hamilton. I was attending a soiree in Milngavie. In the afternoon? Yup. Skippy gave me the wrong post-it note but my hosts were very hospitable. If a touch suprpised.   

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? No. Not to a wedding where there are impressionable children.

Johnt850, aka the Baked Potato Boy.

It’s funny but I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about ‘giving up’, and I’ve seen a lot of people blame other folk without doing something for themselves but without going into any detail I’ve got to say this;

I’ve seen some brill professional and personal examples of people who do not give up no matter how difficult the circumstances. They work hard at not ‘giving up’. For me, ‘giving up’ is easy. It’s called two bottles of whisky and light the touch paper in the Maryhill Crem. For all those who make things happen, I salute you (in orange juice). For everyone else, I despair………

Most other tributes to the Monkee, Davy Jones, featured Tork, Nesmith or Dolenz on vocals. This strange Japanese recording is the boy himself.