Archive for July, 2012

If people don’t talk about it, then people can’t find a treatment that works (Ruby Wax, Ch 4 23rd July 2012)

July 27, 2012

So dear listener, this blog started when my (so far so good) successful cancer treatment started; it then talked about my (so far so good) previous recovering from alcoholism and latterly it has been talking about anxiety and depression – of which I have some experience but there are others out there about whom I care who have a lot more – hence the opening words from Channel 4’s doc on depression and see more later.

But, and Skippy and I have thought about this week’s subject for discussion. Long and hard. I have had another medical problem this week. For the first time that I can remember. Constipation. 😦

I am seeing the doctor about a urinary tract problem (a so much nicer way of putting it than bladder problem. Thanks Dr W) and it’s not that serious. It’s the kinda thing most men of a certain age get and ignore. (That certain age is when they are considered to be potty trained and are left to pee on their own) But it was the reason that my cancer was discovered so I pay attention to the needs of my urinary tract.

I was going to the surgery anyway and had to give a sample – eventually- and will find out results soon time. Mentioned the constipation and was given a script for a very sweet liquid. No. I did not read the instructions. Yes. I do drink these things straight from the bottle. And ate Senokot. And chocolate. And had acudetox. The result? Obvious. But not until Wednesday night.

The smell? Horrendous. The answer? Fork Handles. Pomegranate. From Poundstretcher.

It was an interesting introduction to t850 Towers for my new tart warmer. With tarts. I already had t-lights. Oh, the things I learned from Study buddie Fi. Voyages of discovery were not limited to North Ayrshire supermarkets. I can recommend the smell of Midsummer’s Night. It’s black. 😀

And no. No connection but I’ve just seen a pic of Prince I Am William wearing an Adidas polo shirt L Is the Royal Family now sponsored? And doesn’t his wife look like a young Lorraine Chase?

Oh, and name a famous Belgian other than Tin Tin or Poirot. Bradley Wiggins.

No, Channel 4 have been running some progs about mental health issues and stigma attached and the basic idea for my Domination Degree is now with the head of the school. I’ll talk about the Ruby Wax prog below the line but I also watched the Jon Richardson one about OCD cos some folk think I have that. I don’t. And I think this prog proved it.

Yes. I am tidy but surely everyone has a wardrobe where t-shirts are tidied and sorted every two weeks; where the clothes go from black denims all the way through to light blue; shirts are similarly co-ordinated; then someone else’s clothes; and then the actual black shirts and black trousers (altho’ I should point out that I am neither a neo-fascist nor a doorman at a City Centre club). And the underwear is in two piles but I won’t explain why. 😉

And anything I buy has all the packaging removed as soon as it arrives in the house, eg, the cardboard holding six-packs of Red Bull together or the plastic wrapping holding together five tins of tuna (so nice on toast with salad).

And all clothes, whether denims bought from charity shop or proper shirts given to me by Son Brian in box with those pins, get washed before I wear them.

And doesn’t everyone do this with dishes? Wash them; put them on drainer next to sink; pour boiling hot water over them; leave them to stand on worktop; and then put them away. No. No germs.

I remember talking to a young woman from Greenock –a heroin addict- whose addiction was under control but had been replaced by the form of OCD where once somebody left her house, she had to clean it all. Maybe there’s something in that where I am concerned.

And see the wee girl in the news story about the flu vaccine being given to children? I seriously thought they were jagging her up the nose!

But finally, isn’t it strange when you read a book and someone you know is mentioned in it and described exactly as you remember her? I’m reading this book by John Peel and his wife (I hate the word widow). It’s once Pig (his wife) has taken over the writing and she mentions one of the nicest producers I ever worked with – Fiona Couper – who is described as having ‘a schoolmarmish manner’. That was Fiona – cardigans and pearls. But she was soooo nice to work with. She used to work for Jackie – a well known young woman’s magazine. She made up the readers’ letters and the horoscopes amongst other things. She said.

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? It began life as volunteer in a rehab project this weekend.

Johnt850, missing the sand in his shoes.

So I’m not sure what to say about the recent plethora of mental health progs on Channel 4 and one on BBC 2 on Friday at the same time as the run-up to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics – not sure what that says.

Ruby’s was good. She has her own troubles with depression and turned them into her stage show. She encourages people to speak out but I know not everyone wants to. About any of the taboos. Including constipation. Within minutes of me entering various Glasgow hospitals after my Cold Turkey Sunday, my neighbours and family knew and so it wasn’t a secret. They must have seen the ambulance.

I was talking to my legal last week and it was he who was one of the first, two to two and half years ago, who said I should take pride in what I had achieved. And I now do. But it’s not arrogance. I have shared my alcoholism at conferences with Heads of Health Boards (LTCAS a few years ago) and quietly with people who have asked about my cancer at Prostate Cancer Charity information stands. Word of mouth will always be the best way of helping people. Trust me. Ask my legal and everyone else having lunch in that same restaurant.

I bought the new Gaslight Anthem album last week. None of the tracks are on Youtube yet. So this is one of their older tracks. We have still to dance under the stars and maybe then we can talk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgWzOElhs0w

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I’ve done some things that can’t be done And I have smiled inside the storm reaching higher to keep warm. I’ve known love and love has won. I burned my fingers on the sun. (Silver Apples….again)

July 20, 2012

And so it came to pass, dear listener, the call that I had been expecting for some time – a call for a driver required by the good Doctor W. Not a medical call (cos she’s not that kinda doctor) but another challenge to rank with that of last year’s Embra marathon and being an extra voyeur for Lip Service, BBC 3’s trendy lesbian drama. Altho’, our scene ended up on the cutting room floor. W was running in Tough Mudder. 🙂

At its simplest it is a 12 mile run (?) over wild and horrible terrain (?) running through mud (?), making your way through extremely cold water (this challenge was called the Arctic Enema!), having burning bales of hay thrown at you (?), climbing over tall walls (?) and finishing by running through some kinda electric shock treatment (?) to the finishing line. 😦

Those competing had to sign a death waiver; those spectating just a waiver. It was tough. 😦

At its most complex, it involved me with an incredibly early start (even for me) and getting lost in Motherwell at 5.30 in the morning, at which point I had to make the decision of asking for directions – was that person going home or an early starter for work? Y’see the back road I normally take having been to the Gay Cottager’s Car Park* was closed and I didn’t stick with the diversion signs. But eventually I did find WTowers and the trek began.

*I have no idea why I now give this car park capital letters and I have no idea why I have made it singular. Can you cottage alone? George? Michael? Any thoughts?

Anyway without the aid of her Sat Nav we made it in time for W to run in the first wave and for her to finish in about four hours which was amazing. My fave competitors, other than W, were the guys who did it wearing suits (!) and the five guys dressed as Ruud Gullit (!) and every woman who plunged into the ice cold water and came out of it with her…….excuse me while I go for my own cold shower at the point. It may have a different effect this time round.

With the aid of her Sat Nav we got away safely but it was me wot found my car. That yellow Post-It on the driver’s window helped.

I was reminded of the time just after Son Brian had passed his test and we took his mum’s car to the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond and lost it. And found it. Oh, the look of panic on his face. Now he lets me know in advance when he’s giving clothes to charity.

Or the time when Study Buddie Fi and Jay the Boy Wonder and me went to the living hell that is IKEA and Fi couldn’t find her car, until she pointed out that that day it was our car, since my own was parked at her house and if we didn’t find hers, then I certainly would not make it to mine. We found it pretty damn quick after that. But I have found a really nice candle shop just up the road from the school. I intend to buy a tart warmer. Or two.

I make no comment as to similar (temporary) losses incurred by us both in the multi-story of blessed memory just across from the uny library where I am writing some of this just now.

And can I just say one thing; the whole event was to raise money for www.helpforheroes.org.uk Any questions? Any problems with that?

And another one thing, patience, (as I’m sure you’ll agree Sharon) has its own reward. And another one thing, I got given a book about John Peel which, apart from anything else, drew my attention to this particular track. The man and someone’s guitar had talent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKotu3lrjKA

And finally, it was very pleasant to bump into the very serene e during the week altho’ I do feel bad about expecting her and bump to cross the road and pay for the coffees and to those wondering how the Domination Degree is doing – this coming week I actually plan to read some of the stuff I have printed off and listen to the new Gaslight Anthem album I have pre-ordered……but not eat crisps, chocolate or cashew nuts (unless out of LIDL in Kilbirnie…they were good.) And I have signed up for tai-chi lessons.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? It was smiling the whole time.

Johnt850, brushing the cobwebs off the running shoes even as we speak.

And I want to take this opportunity to thank again the folk who got in touch when I wanted to go back on the drink again recently. And talked me out of the idea one way or another. I’m mentioning this cos I was talking about this to someone who said, ‘Yes. It must be hell not being able to have the odd pint now and again.’

And I explained that there is nothing to stop me trying that other than fear. Don’t worry. I’m now going to get into theoretical stuff or talk about controlled drinking or people who say that you should avoid that first drink and then don’t. Sheep. Lamb. Nagging. (Sorry I meant to type ‘Hanging’ there! How weird was that? Somebody does control this keyboard at times.)

No. The importance of avoiding that first drink came to me at the first of the few AA meetings I have attended. Avoid that first drink and you’ll be fine. So I do. 😀

There’s a line in a James Ellroy book about a guy who’d been off the bottle for a long time but then had a drink and enjoyed, ‘the burning session as the whisky flowed over his throat.’……I miss that sooooooo much..….avoid that and I avoid finishing up in the canal. 😦

Anyway back to John Peel’s book. Many years ago, my alter ego’s dad bought a job lot of 78s (ask a museum) and they were mostly highland pokers and stuff but at one pint, sorry, point, I found this. It was a defining moment in my appreciation of music. Of music and the man-woman thang. Enjoy.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OU1cRcSnEE

Be yourself and the right people will love the real you (from a certain page on Facebook)

July 13, 2012

So I’ve succumbed and submitted. I’ve given in to the PR hype that is Fifty Shades of Grey and I want to say something about it but I may be a wee bit unsure of what it is all about. I mean I stood in B&Q for about a full hour with the Dulux Colour chart at that page and I got no ‘come-ons’ whatsoever.  Mmm.  Not so sure.

But I did get an inkling when former colleague and top pop film critic, Siobhan, quoted the line; ‘he took off his socks individually.’ I did try to take mine both off at the same time but I couldn’t. The heels get in the way. 😦

But I was reminded of one time when an ‘amour’ said to me, ‘So glad you take your socks off first, jt. Some men never take them off at all.’ Mmm.  No. No comment.

But it did give me the courage to bring down my collection of those books from the attic. My favourite was one called Happiness is a Warm Cat. Or similar. And I must find that Steve Martin pussy gag on Youtube at some point. And in case anyone thinks I’m being rude it’s what we editors call a justified lexicographical juxstaposition. (Steve’s is much funnier and more honest than anything Mrs Slocombe ever said.)

Incidentally, Siobhan, and sorry about the Bananarama gag the other century, how come we never found all these experts in Salford that the BBC is finding now? If Cary Cooper won’t come to the BBC then the BBC must go to Cary Cooper.

Elsewhere, I have obtained volunteer work in recovery in a project in the West of Scotland. Usual confidential rules apply. Nice ppl. I was being shown around the place when this worker man says to me, ‘I know your face.’ I hate that. Apart from the fact that I’ve worked in so many places and met so many ppl, there are thirteen and a half months when I remember so little, but I know I did a lot. The evidence is there in the MP3 player with the Wu Tung Clan on it. It’s a symbol

Anyway, back to this nice man. So I asked him what kind of job he’d done before. Turns out he was a warder in Barlinnie. Tricky. But then it turned out he knew Millie who used to be the manageress of the Clydebank FC Social Club all those years ago. No. I don’t understand how we made that quantum leap either but this is for anyone who managed to last to the end of the Saturday night dance down at Kilbowie. This is how they ended the night. To hell with a slow snog for the last dance. Life’s tough in the lower divisions Seb Coe, sorry, Sevco. 😀

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEGjClp0Sjg

Don’t follow in my footsteps. I only walk into brick walls (thanks Angela and I may use that one day) but what next Mock the Week? Invite David Cameron and Gideon Osborne on?  That was sooooo establishment.

That was really weird. My brain said ‘or’ but my fingers typed ‘and’. See, rainforestiverman – someone else does write this. And there’s what looks like a rooftop protest happening on the bungalow across from me. omg, I hope they’re meant to be there. I have a semi, incidentally. But they are throwing tiles down on to the pavement.

Anyway. Caught up with AJ and the very serene e the other day. AJ has the same fascination with stones that Jay the Boy Wonder has, and I must ask about the donkey stones one day. And it’s interesting how realistic some of the DVDs are these days for young ppl. I remember sitting with study buddie Fi watching UP and thinking how realistic it was, especially the waterfall. Hey, if I can talk to an invisible bush kangaroo, then a talking dog and a house being uplifted by balloons is plausible.  But there’s a bit in Looking for Nemo which is based on an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting……..a shark saying ‘My name is Brian and I’ve not eaten a fish for three weeks.’ And how nice to see a dentist administering novocaine. We can get our information from such interesting places, can’t we?

And finally, a really big Well Done to Jonny Marray, who I had never heard of until Satyrday morning.  Andy Murray was not, as some slack journalism described it on Monday morning, the first British man to reach a Wimbledon final for seventy-four years. Jonny had done it the day before.

Cya, keep(ing it fun) and still wearing that badge? In fifty shades of cerise…..

Johnt850, fascinating and raunchy.

My alter ego first saw hardcore porn when he was about 14. Peterhead was/is a fishing town and much was brought in by dads who hid it in sheds or whatever having popped into Danish ports. Magazines like Color Climax and Red Hot Dutch and others. And one son (not me) found the stash and brought it in.

Now I’ve no real point to make here bout porn itself. No ‘it never did me any harm’ conversation but I do wonder where the real interest has come from in the aforementioned book. Has Waterstones, for example, had a rush to the Erotica shelves? Or has the push come from somewhere else? Is someone trying to re-kindle some interest, maybe?

I remember having a conversation like this with a former sauna worker in a hotel in Bellshill.  It was basically about dual standards and the ppl who had used her services. I once heard a lovely (or sad) story about a woman who wanted to spice up her married life and bought a subscription to one of those channels. Turned out her husband had had it for a few years already.

Think I’ll stop there. I’ve a long journey ahead of me. 🙂

In the week when the Rolling Stones celebrate fifty years of being over-rated for most of them, this is the World’s greatest rock artist, Jack White, with Many Shades of Black and I have them all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrGmj3m_82k

I am very proud of my daddy’s name altho his kinda music and mine ain’t exactly the same. Stop and think it over and put yourself in my position if I get stoned and sing all night, it’s a family tradition

July 6, 2012

I think I should stress straight away that that is Hank Williams jr speaking and there is a myth (?) that in a certain bar that if the owner/manager played that on the juke box, then  it was a lock-in night. It was a C14 night. The number on the juke box. 

So there I was sitting in a coffee house in Gibson Street with a former studently of mine – O – now there’s a story – when Son Brian sent me a pic. It was a pic of one of the many canal bridges over the Maryhill Road, but more importantly it showed the road underneath it. It was flooded. At which point the heavens opened and we ran for it. Gentlemanly I gave O my brolly and I got into my car.

I drove for Summerston and it was bad. It was badder when I got onto the road into Summerston – we all had to drive on the pavement until we got to the road under the railway bridge. It was flooded with a van stuck in the middle. We were turned round. There is another way in (not via the dump, Vampire Slayer!) on the way to the riding school. It also involved driving on pavements and I thought this is quite fun. Until I got home. My hands were shaking. I had been terrified. 😦

North Glasgow had it bad. I understand a lot more about what flooding actually means. Not everything but I live to learn. A little understanding is not total knowledge but it helps.

Bunny Austin? We once had a top tennis player called Bunny? Bet you he knew how to shave.

And I was taken with the story of the terrorist alert on the motorway due to the smoking e-cigarette altho’ the arrest of several others near by with guns in their car may have contributed. I was reminded of one of the first times I met Study Buddie Fi (altho’ to be pedantic I only met her for the first time, the once). She removed an e-fag from her bag and ‘lit’ it. At which point there was this amazing sound of amazing music. How sophisticated, I thought. Turned out it was her mobile going off at the same time 😀 ……but it doesn’t explain why there were ppl outside the Abercorn Housing dressed as lizards the other day. Or did I have a David Icke moment? 

And can I say thanks to all those who helped me celebrate my Date of Birth last week – an event some know as a birthday. Amongst my favoutite pressies were tomato and fennel soup and salmon risotto with a poached egg on top of it. But can I say serious thanks to Son Brian for the highlighter pens for to help me with my Domination degree (and no, strangely enuff, I didn’t tell O that that is what I call it).

The nice lady librarians removed them from me very gently when they saw me highlighting in the books they look after so carefully…..and I didn’t know this but I have £10.80 printer credit to allow me to print and had in the first two terms as well. I never knew. Tax payers, you are so kind to me. 🙂

But the most disgusting looking drink in the entire world must be the pineapple, mango and kiwi fruit from Starbucks. But it was very pleasant. It also meant that my name was not scrawled on a cup. Does anyone else forget the made-up name they give? But I’ve yet to do Hugh Janus.

(I also didn’t realise flash dances in railway stations are choreographed. I felt such a fool)

And finally, there used to be a joke that Byres Road was full of actors and folk who took part in River City. On Tuesday night I saw a potentially award winning performance on the ‘soap’ of a  woman falling into the depths of alcoholism – ten times better than anything ever shown on Corrie or Eastenders. The self-delusion, the low self-esteem and the mood swings – and the phone call you forget making. It was all there.

If you have any genuine interest in broadcasting in Scotland or in how the media portays alcoholism, then watch this on iPlayer. Interesting thing is that she works in a health centre and will know there are many paths to recovery. Wonder which she’ll choose?

cya (keep) ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, but should I wear it to job interviews?

Johnt850, currently extremely fed up with Virgin Media.

So I seem to have done the serious bit already. I do not plan this blog. Sometimes I’m not even sure I write it. I was going to write something about this being  Mental Health Awareness Week and did anyone know. I was also going to mention a mild panic attack I had.

But it was mild and very often the subway trains do sit at the station and not go anywhere for a minute or two. But for me it was too much. I had to get up and leave. I had felt powerless and I hate that. For someone self-employed and studentl, sometimes time takes on too great an importance. Or is it because everyone else tells me how busy they are? And I’m not. Maybe more on that next week.

There is a myth (?) that initiates to acid must watch Fantasia. This is the heavy metal version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyQM69JsK1c