Archive for September, 2012

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” (ray bradbury and thanks to Paul G for kinda suggesting it)

September 28, 2012

So in the week when the Scottish Government takes delivery of two new ice breakers cos ‘Scotland needs new ice breakers for the winter’, I have to start with this true story from the Maths Class I sat in on at my school in Paisley this week.

The white coated professor, realising that some of the students might not know each other, suggested introducing yourself to the person next to you and telling them your most embarrassing experience. Mine, in a situation like this, is to tell of the time when I was in a cinema and, taking my seat in pitch darkness, I sat on a man’s lap. I usually follow that story by saying, ‘and boy did he seem pleased!’ 🙂

No. Betty (not her real name) had to tell the truth and told her friend, who by the rules of the game had to tell the rest of the class, that her most embarrassing experience, was being caught ‘fellating her boyfriend on an aeroplane.’  To say the class was stunned was to say that Ricky Burns comes from Coatbridge. Did I really hear someone explaining that fellating was a posh word for blow job?  The professor paused for a second; obviously thought ‘what would Pavlova do in this situation?’ and moved on. Swiftly.

Later I asked Betty what her boyfriend did for a living. Apparently he’s clever and works in languages. He’s a cunning linguist.

Yeah. I’ll move myself on.

It’s been a strange week with a fair amount of swings. And roundabouts. I’d like to comment on the good Doctor W’s description of some of my writing as arty-farty academia by riposting….you’re the one with the PhD but thanks for the Rat Run notice. March is good. 🙂

But finally (as opposed to ‘and finally’, which is a totally different literary device) I have received the first of several disclosures which basically say whether or not I am a good and fit person to work with folk a wee bit less fortunate than myself. This means that I will be beginning some work as a volunteer in drink’n’drugs twenty or so minutes down the road and there is some paid work in the offie….sorry offing. No. I worried. As I do. Years and years ago I was knocked back temporarily from working in a boys’ home in the South side of Glasgow cos I was confused with another Johnt850. (okay. t850 is a pseudonym. You had guessed, hadn’t you?)

Actually can I go back to the school for another piece of humour? I still use the coffee shop next to the library with those nice lady librarians and one of the catering staff was looking at two different types of cookies – one with lemon and one with Sicilian lemon. ‘What’s the difference?’ her mate asked.

The reply? ‘Attitude, I suppose.’

I thought that was good.

Anyway I had two flat tyres on the way to the school and I had to get the AA (Automobile Association) to help. They took me to Kwik-Fit who were good, if a tad expensive, but I was back on the road within minutes. I was so calm. Shazza, and anyone else who has ever seem me do the jumpy-up-and-down thing when annoyed would have been so proud.  The cheque for £200 owed to me by the insurance company came in that day. 🙂

And well done on the job btw, Shazza x 😀

And I introduced the rainforestman to the Vampire Slayer – a meeting of great minds – until he said, in a loud voice, ‘Ah. So you’re the Vampire Slayer.’ Good grief rrm, have you never met a superhero before?

And I’m often asked how RJ is doing at her advanced age of two weeks and two days. Very well, thank you, and she is being well looked after by AJ and the rest of his family; altho’ she survived me pram pushing on Friday afternoon with AJ on the buggy board. I also survived that moment when suddenly I am in possession of two babies in two buggies cos their mums have run off chasing after the older ones. My nerves are good. But not that good.  Mind you I did receive some admiring glances.

But not for my right eye. I played badminton on Thursday night with Son Brian and Best Man Michael. I didn’t last that long.  I went to play a shot with a dive that Tom Daley would have been proud of except I landed on my Gregorys (younger listeners ask older people). I have now a jolly interesting scar and spex that are kinda holding themselves together….mmmmm….not good moneywise……. 😦

And finally, I watched the voyeuristic rubbish that was Channel 4’s take on ecstacy. John Snow looked so out of place, like, as if discussing people using an illegal drug, even under supposed clinical conditions, was pure rubbish. Just cos it’s illegal doesn’t make it wrong or bad. And cos it was a ‘serious’ study, nobody really raised the fact that some ppl think e’s are good…..

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup and it is looking forward to the weeks ahead.

Johnt850 – beware anyone with a similar name.

And just a wee word about the nature of friendship. But this time not saying how many folk have been part of my support team but how bad it feels when someone gives up on me – when unfriending someone is more than deleting me from their Facebook.

One example that recently came to mind was in 2008 when I was only just recovering from cold turkey and cancer. I contacted some folk I’d known from the BBC days and met up with them all individually. However, when I tried to keep the contact going, a few months after meeting up, I was told by some of them, that they were ‘too busy’ to see me’. That hurt. Maybe that explains some of the things I do that others may find strange. I keep doors open.

The value of that came when the rainforestriverman met the Vampire Slayer…… I’ve known since university (the first one) and the other as a student I first worked with seven years ago when a sweetie jar of condoms made for a strange but good friendship. These are but two people I can count as friends. Never say never to meeting ppl. You might be well surprised. 🙂

Here’s a wee bit more on the subject of icebreaking.

with a degree in some vagueology, the fresh air industry was calling, and with an inability to blush and an enthusiasm for crawling, twig boy chose the media, he loved its lack of grace and overcropping (the nightingales)

September 22, 2012

So where to start this week? With one of those e-mails where you hit Send rather than Save? No. Least said, the least said. Except to say Sorry but I worry. Or the fact that I felt a wee bit like a milk monitor at the Paisley School during the week? (Actually some memories came dribbling back to me recently. One of them quite frightening). Or a possible future piece of father-son bonding which terrifies me? 😦

No. Let’s start with Billy Connolly – a man whom I have met a couple of times. I think the longest conversation was, ‘F**king wet, innit?’ to which I replied, ‘F**king right, it is.’ It’s this thing about age. He agrees with me and Paul Weller, who I’ve never met, that we should not be defined by age, cos it is just a number. Some of his tips? Stay Into Pop Music. Don’t Wear That Beige Shirt. Don’t Get The Old Guy Haircut.    

(And my thanks to Nessa for saying at the school kinda reunion, ‘I see you still flick your hair, jt’)

And, yes I did speak to the assembled Post Grads….I just knew I would…but not the walking ad I suggested it might be to some people, but about something else. But, hey, they now know me…….Do you know it’s exactly a year since snash, crackle, white noise, fzzzz, shooky shooky, brrrr, whirr, whirr but hey, you never know. 🙂

shooky shooky ?

And I did manage to catch Ross Kemp’s Extreme World where he visited Glasgow. Now much of the pre-prog publicity was about the guy who tore his toes off cos he’d frost-bite BUT Kemp took three recovering/recovered/former addicts to one of the toughest places in Glasgow – The Butney! It’s just past the ASDA and over the Maryhill Road and until recently was baaaaad, and they said it still is. But it’s not that long since me and Study Buddie Fi and Sasha the Wonder Dog walked along there, and another time,  me and e and AJ as well. Nae sweat tae us. Come on Kempie, come and have a go if you think you’re hard enuff! 😛

It’s down by the canal and, reportedly, got its name cos that was the starting-off point for convicts going to Australia …… to Botany Bay.

And it was here, dear listener, that a memory came back. Of a man called Davie. Who claimed he lived in a gypsy encampment near Balloch near Loch Lomond. And he drank in the Maryhill Tavern. He’d an eye that was semi-closed. And he knew people. Baaaad people. But liked the BBC………Other memories that came back this week were in dreams and were more childlike. But Davie was baaaad. His contacts were not on LinkedIn. He knew people.

And so I missed the meteor shower (I was at a party) but the wee wummin who served me my scrambled eggs on Satyrday morning lives on the sixth floor of the Acre Road flats and she saw it and did an amazing one woman show in the ASDA café with all the hand actions you naturally associate with a meteor shower and I felt as if I had been there it was so graphic.

But it was a good party but I do miss alcohol but I know I can’t have it but when you see people’s inhibitions being loosened, you can’t help but wish you could join them. Sorry. I think I’m making it sound more hedonistic and bacchanalian than it actually was.

Two words that were used extensively in a book lent to me by the man they call Bean called Out of It and it’s the kinda sociological history of drink’n’drugs that makes you wish the book was not so much scratch’n’sniff but scratch’n’snort but of course, I cannot openly advocate the taking of currently illegal drugs but I can’t help but be envious of the likes of the Bimin-Kuskusmin tribe of Papua New Guinea who do a kinda reverse Twelve Steps in which they progress onto more potent substances as they try to achieve the status of senior elder. It seems to involve them climbing up a mountain, doing without sleep and living off a certain type of mushroom.

My favourite Step is Six which involves a lot of root ginger, a lot of fasting and no water. In addition, the ordeal is augmented by ‘the application of a stinging-nettle frottage to their inner thighs.’ At which point the author adds, helpfully, ‘Initiation is not meant to be easy.’

Anyway, I’ve now met one of the bridesmaids, and we’ve discussed an option for the Wedding which involves ice-cream and basketball, and I’ve now met the best man twice and he, Son Brian and me, are playing badminton later this week. It is years since….. and it was knackering then but as long as I take plenty of root ginger and stinging-nettles with me, I should be fine. And, slowly beginning to look forward to the Event. I’m now touching appropriate bases.

And finally, to those who know what I’m talking about with regard to a site for sore eyes, maybe it’s not the age factor, but the pretty pix where they’re holding up a wine glass, saying they’re ‘social drinkers’…… 🙂

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? We asked one hundred people and they said, ‘too right, he freakin’ is.’

Johnt850, not so much a milk monitor, more a cream boy.

So the one serious thing I want to say below the line this week is that I was talking, at the party, to two doctors about some of my own recent experience (they wanted to know why I was doing drink’n’drugs in Paisley) and I had another memory flashback.

My own recovery from cold turkey and cancer took a lot longer than sometimes I think it did. Sometimes I need reminding of that.

Here’s Mumford and Sons

Here’s this week’s Stolen Gag of the Month;

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Shit! Stop the funeral!

And here’s a Paisley band called Close Lobsters with a track that sums me up sometimes. 😦

You’re the only one, you’re the only one, I’m so wrapped up in a blaze, hoping this is just a phase But when all is said and done I know you are still the one (the black keys)

September 16, 2012

Except AJ is no longer the only one. AJ now has a sister called RJ (and not RA as I may have told some people) and she was dropped off by a passing stork on Wednesday cos she was awfy heavy at 6lbs 14.5 ozs and as far as I know all involved are doing well. e’s husband, and father to the Js, txtd me to tell me……always nice to hear from the husband. And dad. 😀

Told some folk at the BeeB as we were recalling a night out my ex had watching some male strippers a long time back. (Mmmmmm….were things ever the same after that?)

And anyone else who might think the lyrics are directed in another direction is entitled to their opinion…. 😉

I’ll move myself on and for once I want to mention the football. Following Partick Thistle is something that is done between consenting adults and I’ve been doing it now for four years as part of my recovery. The guys I go with are smashing and have never put me under any pressure to drink – in itself a justification of my decision to say openly, I am an alcoholic – BUT Bloody Hell, Stuart and the man they know as Bean, your description of the new ales you’d been sampling this week was mouth-watering. And Bean I never thought I’d hear The Three Judges and IKEA in the same sentence.

The Judges is an award winning real ale bar that I have not visited for approximately six years. I was never totally accepted there as I am a lager drinker and they only let me in once I’d agreed to put a twig in my pint. My sexuality was also doubted but I am used to that. 😉

(Interesting use of the present tense there, jt…..)

But interesting times for the Harry Wraggs (Jay the Boy Wonder, there is plenty of time) and interesting times for Scottish football and it’s a long time since the divisions have been so open and can I misquote Mr McCoist after their result with Annan…….’Rangers. We don’t do winning away.’

I’ll continue moving on, shall I? 

But there’s obviously a downside to being a Royal when you’re told about these topless pix; the upside? Being told about it in Kuala Lumpur. On business. Looking at a lotus.

But then I’m the kinda guy who made 20p in the Gent’s toilet at Queen Street Station recently. How? Well it costs 30p to get in there but sometimes there’s a buckshee 10p in the slot…on Wednesday, there was a 50p. It’s amazing what I’ve found there in the past. A very nice black umbrella on one occasion.

But I did get my car back altho’ there seems to be some dubiety as to whether the other party are actually taking full responsibility for turning at 90 degrees in front of me despite the No Right Turn sign. I should have taken some pix with my mobile. How ethically wrong would it be to put the driver’s name and phone number out on the Interweb? Just askin’.

However I have the horn. s of a dilemma. Y’see once upon a time, in that Multi-Story Car Park In Paisley of Blessed Memory, the driver’s door window failed to shut after opening upon which AA were summoned (the Automobile one) only for it to shut, so since then I had stuck a yellow Post-It on it to say Do Not Open….the bodypopping workshop say It Works but I am sacred to try it. When should I give it a go?

And speaking of AA, the PC I use at the school library, cos it seems to be the quickest, has one thing in its Favourites – Alcoholics’ Anonymous……..It was noticed by the Post Grad freshers in Career Guidance who were being shown round the library by one of those nice lady librarians. There’s lookin’ up and down, and there’s lookin’ up and down.

And finally, I may have had doubts last season, but Jackie McNamara? He used to be a Tim but he’s alright now……..and that’s as sectarian it gets with the mighty Thistle. 😀

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, and its fame is spreading. No. Not for that reason.

Johnt850, the quietly respectable Renegade Master with hidden depths.

So I did one of those Prostate Cancer health information stands I do from time to time but this was more like a Trade Fair cos it was mostly other cancerly groups who were there – networking.

I wore one of the new t-shirts – black with the new logo and topped off by wearing a long black shirt and I looked good – but one of the amazing things about the other night is that so many of the folk who were at this one were from self-help groups; not professional health workers and it was like the advocacy I want to be researching for the Domination Degree – people with actual experience speaking out and offering places to go for help. I’d love to see addicts, somehow, doing that but I’m not yet sure how.

It’s a dream but just cos it’s mine doesn’t mean it can’t work. Sometimes it just needs one book – of any size – to start a movement. Ten to twelve thousand words is a nice wee ambition. Not everyone believes in my dreams but I am alive to have them and I have the courage to dream; no pension but just that courage and I ain’t never giving it up no matter what Common Sense says.

Common Sense built all those roundabouts in Livingston and look where it got us – lost. It was a man on a bike who told us where to go. 

Or Craig as we know him.

So the other night I saw a documentary on Fairport Convention and I think I saw both them and Steeleye Span many years ago. I didn’t like them much then. I’d hate to see them now. Omg! So here’s the very lovely Ida Maria with some mayhem 🙂 🙂 🙂

I wrote this book because I wanted to. Nobody made me do it and I did it on purpose. I was certainly not forced into it by circumstances. It would be dishonest to attribute it to any other person. (john booth davies)

September 7, 2012

The opening words there from a book called The Myth of Addiction and the book makes the point that no-one forces alcohol down our throats, forces us to pop that pill or to stick the jaggy needle in our arms. We make that choice….

BUT last week’s blog came in for a wee bit of criticism ‘cos it was a wee bit heaveeeeeeee. I could say sometimes I have no control. But I do. It’s lighter this week.

I was trying to think what to write about this week as I was walking thru Grand Central Station in Glasgow the other day when I bumped into a mate who told me he was waiting for his grandson, with some pressies, ‘cos it was his first birthday…’so how old is he?’ I asked. Foolishly.

And then there was the man who recently asked me how long I’d been a lifelong pescetarian (eh?) to which I replied, ‘about two years…..’ (eh?)

But my fave bit of conversation this week belongs to Oscar the Blade Runner who said that a complaint from him to the organisers of the Paralympics had ‘fallen on deaf ears’. See those hard of hearing bastards, Oscar….they don’t listen to a word you say, do they? But you were wrong, Oscar. You didn’t have a leg to stand on.

(Bad taste, or an example of how we use everyday language to sigmatise ppl?) Oooops!!! Heaveeeeness alert!!!!!!

And. To. Carron. Kerry. And. Sharon. Can. I. just. Say. dot dot dash dot dot dash dot and Kerry if u want to come up to Paisley for a cup of coffee don’t let Carron stop u.  x

Skippy, do you really know Morse Code? Are you sure we haven’t said anything rude?

Moving swiftly on.

And a lovely sign in a chip shop in the Merchant City (don’t ask) proclaiming that they fry only in organic vegetarian oil. I suspect that may well have been what those chips from that kebab house the other night were not fried in. 😦

And I notice that the thief David Laws who stole £30,000 from you, the taxpayer, is back in Government and that Chris Grayling, who stole £127,000, is in charge at Works and Pensions…or Benefits as some of us know it.

And wasn’t Friday night full of entertainment? I followed Gill and Dave’s Comedy Rave on Pulse 98.4 by a smashing documentary on the Undertones who came out of Belfast during the Troubles. As one of them said,’ the Clash would have killed to come from Derry’. Eh, would they? Really?

And also on the entertainment side can I recommend a blog by another one of my former students. It’s called  and it’s a superb antidote to all those Radio 1 deejays who say how good bands are at festivals when they’re not. So when Blondie recommends a band, they are good. This is Blood Red Shoes, 🙂

And can I just say a quick word about that car crash? It was nothing to do with lights or road signs. In two parallel lanes of traffic heading North (cos it’s the only way you can go at that point) this woman turned at 90 degrees right in front of my car – not just moved over but turns as right as a perfect right angle on the picture in front of me. Ninety freaking degrees……The extent of the damage to my car? Twelve days. 😦

It’s okay Skippy. I’m fine but can I say thanks to the nice neighbour who asked who I was mourning for ‘cos of the candle in the porch. I had to explain that I was going to throw out the remnants of a fish dish the night before but it had been raining. The stink was horrendous.

And my thanks to Missie K for an interesting afternoon in The Lab.

The picture in front of me? It’s an original of Bart Simpson created by Son Brian at the age of very young and this week he’s 26. Years old. Son Brian. Not Bart Simpson. It must be really annoying to him that I’ve decided to stay 42 for the rest of my life. But well done to you and KT for persevering with me. Especially after Cold Turkey and Ward 8A.

And finally,…ach stuff the ‘and finally’ I’m in tears. Excuse me a second.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup. Except it’s now a wee bit wet.

Johnt850, a well-known, tattooed, sexy, dancing monkey. 😀

So I am often asked, occasionally, why I went to the Community Addiction Team in North Glasgow rather than Alcoholics Anonymous when I came out of Gartnavel after my Cold Turkey. Five years ago. Well the answer is geographic.

Not ‘cos the Addiction Centre was next to a (formerly) well known area of addiction surrounded by the night club Frampton’s (did I really go there? Clatty Pat’s was bad enuff) and the Viking Bar and McDonald’s and Tesco’s and (as it turned out) a cannabis farm at the back of the Centre but it was just along the road from the Health Centre I went to with doctors Fiona and David (different Fi) and a guy called Doctor Des Spence, who was tremendous the day we had to break into mum’s house ‘cos she’d collapsed

There’s been a big debate about methadone and its efficacy in the Record of Daily.

Talking about the bad days of heroin addiction in the nineties Des was quoted as saying that ‘something had to be done, so needle exchanges opened and GPs started prescribing methadone. The reasons were simple – methadone reduced street drugs use, crime, infection and stabilised people’s lives …….Methadone is a huge advance compared to chaotic heroin use in the short term but the long terms benefits are less certain…..Perhaps resources should be spent  on rehabs or to support the work of voluntary groups like Narcotics Anonymous.’

No. No reason other than to say sometimes it’s worth reading below the headlines. And to say we all need to take responsibility for ourselves and we have the ability to make a choice. Even if that choice is to ignore a No Right Turn sign and turn right.

In the week when I learn that LCD Soundsystem are no more, here is my favest track by them