Archive for November, 2012

Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields Sold in a market down in New Orleans Scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright Whippin’ the women just around midnight….Brown Sugar. How come you taste so good? Brown Sugar. Just like a young girl should.

November 30, 2012

I know. Quite disturbing lyrics aren’t they? Yet very very recently people were sprinkling hunners and thousands of money to see the Rolling Stones, whose lyrics those were. And, in fact, could brown sugar be a reference to heroin?  Indeed lumps of sugar were in fact the way that acid was passed on before blotters and micro dots and, indeed, I have seen it written recently that the late Larry Hagman was a user of LSD in the hopes that it would control his drinking. Altho’ I keep believing I’ll wake up and find that his death was just a bad dream.

And this was soooooo not the way I was going to start this week. Skippy, what is that incense you’re burning?

Mind you, my alter ego, and not just pre-puberty, but pre-primary school may have had a crush on Billy J Kramer….but grew out of it when he discovered the Yardbirds, one of whose songs, ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ is not featuring on many playlists at the moment. Skippy, just the one stick at a time.  I’ve told you!

No. This may be shorter than usual and below the line this week will tell you a wee bit more about what happens this December cos it’s a busy month for me.

And this week is a busy week for the editing side of the Word Process It’s funny. I’ve been explaining to people that we are doing well out of the sizeable Chinese student community in Glasgow and Bristol and I thought I’d agreed to do an essay for each of three people. Turns out that we are doing three essays for three people (nine) so every so often I cast an eye at the InBox….just in case.

But people are strange. Those of you on Facebook will have seen the panic that revealed itself with the mass copying and pasting of something supposedly to do with copyright of material published on Facebook – a sharing social network. What Berner Convention? Why don’t people Google things before they pass them on? Mind you we could have had the Limmyesque situation when you decide to actually get your lawyer to check Terms and Conditions before you accept an Update.

But people are funny as in hahaha. When the public were asked for a name for the new road crossing between Fife and the Lothians, someone suggested the Third Forth Bridge. 😀

And what does Nicola Scherzinger mean when she says she wants to be the gel on Rylan’s hair? I may Google that one later. 😉

And my ethics app has gone in and a big thanks to the man who I dare not call Little Balloons after all his help so I won’t. But the Good Dr W explained it to me when she said that the less the Ethics App people have to discuss the better.  And if you have a wee boy at the moment (I may re-phrase that later) you could do worse than a dinosaur. Lots of mums I know see it that way. (At least two) I may have to work on size of samples and size of focus groups for this research………… 😦

And all that Royal baby fever that was sparked cos Prince William of Cambridge accepted a baby-gro. WTF is he supposed to do?  Unravel it thread by thread in front of the poor woman and utter a masonic curse known only to the Royal Masonic Lodge?

And apparently people complained about the name of a fishing tackle shop which had changed its name to Master-Baitz. I mean, get a grip! Em, when I say get a grip…….

And finally, I have never ever ever worn a kilt but there is a mysterious power driving me in that direction 😉

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? But before it returns to my lapel, a big, big thanks to all those who grew a moustache to raise money for male cancer charities.

Johnt850, impulsive and passionate but never bland……….but I do have a publisher.

And so to the next few weeks;

Next week will see me preview my sixth anniversary of sobriety and being substance free; the fact that the demons do come; but also an unrelated medical appointment which is worrying me.

The week after that will impulsive and passionate but not bland. Never bland.

And then it’s days before Christmas when we have the edition that’s known to older listeners as ‘It’s Friday. It’s Five to Five………..It’s cracker gags….’ And I may preview my new one word poem, ‘The Night After Christmas.’

And at the end of the year we have the Blog Personality of the Year Award. Previous winners have been 6 hours 31 minutes 34 seconds, a glass of whisky, a telephone call from Italy and a (then) three year old girl called Ruby. There is also a Team of the Year Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Nominations are now open.

And here’s the Palma Violets with a much better lyric than the one that opened the show……message? Maybe. Maybe not. And maybe it’s an infringement of copyright but you can’t share one thing and not the other.

every time i manage to get one more breath into this body, i will sing a song of thanks to you, my brothers, my sisters, my friends. may your sleep be peaceful and angels sing sweetly in your ears (alabama 3)

November 24, 2012

And so, dear listener, on a night when trees were bending back cos of the wind and the rainwater was already cascading into that gap under the railway bridge outta Summerston, I got the call. It was from uni-friend Sharon; ’My dad can’t make my graduation tomorrow. My mum will be there. Can you take his place?’

I may have misunderstood the message. Briefly. But, yes. I would be there.

And so it came to pass that on Thursday morning, I mounted the steps of Thomas Coats Church, Paisley (helluva high. You can see Arran. On a clear day) and sat and waited and waited and then Sharon and Shirley and Cameron and others from last year’s Post Grad did the Walk and dipped their heads and got the thing and done the what. It takes seven seconds but it’s recognition of what you’ve achieved. 😀

My own particular first grad way back was no big deal altho’ the half bottle of whisky  a guy called Aeongus produced in the robing room off Bute Hall may have helped and I’m not sure my folks were that impressed having seen my sis already graduate a few years before. Or maybe it was the history lecturer stumbling past, who’d once tried to seduce me with cheap sherry, and his words, ’the devil looks after his own.’ 😦

But I saw my son graduate from Strathclyde Uny a wee while back and that meant so much to me as I wasn’t sure I’d live to see it cos of the alcohol and the cancer, but I did with his mum, her man and the lovely KT. And then there was this pub crawl through Glasgow until we reached a restaurant in the West End and then went to Vodka Wodka and I had said I’d pay the drinks bill……but it was worth it just to be there.

And then not that long ago I was there, wearing an old suit of his, when he graduated as a Chartered Accountant and what impressed me so much about that was the number of ppl who came to that graduation from abroad – that massive country – to be there and not just graduate but to be with pals they had spent so much time with. And studied with. And shared with.

For the rest of us from that Post Grad our time will come – be it a master’s holding us back or a wee deferment at present and even if I am deceased and in an urn, I want to be there……altho’ my hair was a mess on Thursday………but Kelly’s was amazing. 😀

And that includes Jo with whom I was studying in the Early Learning Centre at Paisley and only she knows why, the next time, my supervisor is referred to in this blog, it will be as Little Balloons but I think it is fairly obvious why we both agreed that this week’s Most  Annoying Man of the Month was the guy in the red shirt who brought in the chips…….

Anyway, Sharon, it was brilliant to be there and thanks for asking. I well remember the first thing that you said to me in Research Methods. And your mum was smashing….so proud of your TWO degrees and the millions of other degrees in the rest of her family.

I’m away for a wee greet. Skippy, play something.

Alabama Shakes. Good Choice Skippy.

But it’s been a busy week. For lots of reasons. Lots of editing came in there giving me little or no notice at the same time as I discovered that there’s a button that switches off the internal mouse. It was the next day that Simon at Resolve in Drumchapel pointed it out to me (0141 944 8052). And thanks also to Study Buddie Fi for helping out at ‘little or no notice’ and for the asap gag. I laffed. (It’s that very small button in front of the mouse pad thing….not my laff but the internal mouse button)

And finally, lots of ppl laffed when I said recently that sugar was a really invidious white powder – worse than some other powders with a bad name – and that cupcakes were the next addiction. Wish I’d put it in as a programme idea. Watch Addicted to Pleasure on Monday night at nine o’clock on BBC 1(or on iPlayer). Maybe you’ll believe Brian Cox rather than me. Coming next – Stephen Fry on why age is an identifier and not a definer…or why it is possible for me to be 42 for the rest of my life. The notion of televison was laffed at once. As was I. You heard it all here first.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? So indebted to all those raising money from Movember. I will spend it wisely. On raising awareness.

Johnt850, disappointed that I didn’t make that wedding on Friday night but I was frightened I’d fall asleep at the wheel. Instead I fell asleep at nine. In my own bed.

So as I approach the 12th December and my Sixth Anniversary, a very good question from the rainforestriverman –  ‘do you not invite the Demons by thinking about them in advance?’ To which I can only say that I don’t invite them and I know lots of ppl out there with the demons being there all the time. One man, who I have known for a long time, once told me ‘bout the time he had voices in his head telling him either to kill his wife or not kill his wife – heavy enuff in itself but he was driving a van on the motorway at the time. He has had brilliant NHS treatment and the depression went a long time ago.

One day last week, I was sitting in the café in the St Mungo’s Religious Museum with some men with a similar background to mine, when one of them told a story of alcohol withdrawal which ended with the words ‘And then he woke up in Gartnavel.’ Change the pronoun and that’s how the first chapter of my own Cold Turkey story ends. Damned clever these Demons.

Here’s the Blind Boys of Alabama with Doctor John doing their very distinctive version of Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World.

That was the year I knew the panic was over since we found out that anything could happen….anything could happen….anything could happen (Ellie Goulding)

November 17, 2012

So dear listener we are aware that there are a certain three words guaranteed to put a smile on peoples’ faces – altho’ there are variations. I have now discovered two definite words that are guaranteed to do the same. Brace yourself dear listener for you may not have heard them for some time. They are Angel Delight. 😀

My accountant, my ex-wife and my son’s mum and their husband came over for a meal. It was crowded. It’s not as unusual as it sounds. We have someone very important in common and he has always been at the forefront of things and never been used as a bargaining tool. And he’s not the only child (eh?) to have an alcoholic dad and to do well. In sooo many ways. Including wooing the lovely KT.

Anyway. I happened to mention to the good Doctor W that Angel Delight was the pudding and she instantly whipped, sorry, quipped, ‘Yes. With hundreds and thousands and scooshy cream.’ I mentioned it to BBC Jeanette and she said, ‘Don’t forget the sprinkles.’ I mentioned it to a drugs worker of my acquaintance and he wrote ‘angel delight’ on his wrist under the words ‘lottery ticket’. Somebody else said ‘arctic roll’ and somebody else said ‘peach melba’. There was, tbh, only one dissenting voice to the idea. Of ‘Angel Delight’. It seemed to appeal and brought out smiles. 😀 😀 😀

I may have gone awry with portion control, ‘tho’. Is it one packet per person?

The rest of the meal was pretty good as well.

Can I also, at this point, say Happy Birthday to my accountant, my ex-wife and my son’s mum and my uni-friend (compromise W ?) Sharon, who all share the same birthday but have never been seen in the same room together. 😉

And having birthdays in November does get me thinking about Christmas and I’ve been and gone and done my first Chrissie thing. I have been to the Health Centre and got two months worth. Of drugs. You never know. No. I have no idea what I’m talking about. He lied.

Moving swiftly on. I went to Hamilton on Friday night for a football match. I didn’t get one. I had met the rainforestriverman for a quick drink in a West End bar, just before I went for the charabanc. I wish I’d stayed. Good company, fresh orange juice and two women who seemed to take a fancy to us – as opposed to a one-nil defeat, a player being sent off and absolutely rubbish coffee. Had I known then………

And I seem to be making Wednesday a regular uni-day if anyone’s looking for me. Working with Jo, whose job from now on is to stop me saying things like ‘Sorry hen, I’m totally theoretically saturated.’ To passing women. It avoids strange looks. And Prof Marks, I am more than happy to run every freaking edition of this blog through any freaking plagiarism software you care to mention. This is far more original than any research by Pavlova. Not only did he not ask the dogs, he arrogantly assumed that he knew how dogs think. In a laboratory. An unusual setting. For dogs.

If Pavlova’d carried the research out in Cardonald Cat and Dogs Home, he’d have had more respect from me.

As would Heart of Midlothian Football Club, if only they were to stop asking their fans for money and, instead, asked their sponsor Wonga for a cheap loan. Until payday. Does no-one see the irony?

(Skippy, I may have a sleeping pill tonight, but maybe lock the rest up?)

And why do I dislike Children-In-Need so much? Well apart from the fact that if I paid taxes, I would expect the money to be spent on many of the things C-I-N seem to pay for? Many years ago I may have threatened violence against a woman selling balloons for charity in Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station ‘cos she was standing in the spot where I wanted to put The Singing Bloody Kettle and the Primary School choir. The bear has that effect.

And finally, can I quote my current academic research guru, a Twelve Stepper called William L White who said,

‘At the peak popularity of ‘co-dependency’, the most basic acts of human kindness toward others were framed not as evidence of compassion but of psycopathology.’ Why have I included this quote? Many reasons, including the one below the line.

Cya, keep (ing it fun) and still wearing that badge? No. It’s still the new Prostate Cancer badge. It’s striking.

Johnt850, not gone fishing this week

It is now almost six years since I ‘cold-turkeyed’ (12th December) and so many people have supported me since, altho’ some, a few years back, did turn their backs on me. Last year was my fifth birthday, and altho’ some ppl played a big part in fighting off the demons, lots of others (one very special) played a big part as well in giving me so many good things to think about – maybe all not thanked enough. But many were doing that, not even consciously from compassion, but ‘cos that’s what you do – to help. People do care. 🙂

I was thinking of this the other day when I got a letter in from the Health Board. I am to visit a urologist on 12th December this year. He’s the same man who told me I had cancer five and a half years ago.

Yes. I’m worried. Damn clever these demons. 😦

But I have the uni-lateral support of so many. Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enuff, Demons!

This is lovely – The Staves (thanks Ken)….Demons are you watching? This is my firepower. What’s yours?

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain (a rehab unit I visit from time to time)

November 10, 2012

Celtic, Newsnight and Jimmy Savile.

Y’see, Skippy seems to have been to some social marketing seminar and has come back with her head full of all kindsa Search Engine Optimisation notions but I don’t want millions of ppl reading this and me becoming rich as a result. No. It’s about bringing the plight of many, who are ignored, to the ears of a caring community – you, the listener.

So I’d like to say a big thanks to a uny pal, Kerry Mac, who brought to my attention the lack of thought given to unused coat hangers. Apparently, when they have nowhere else to go, they end up in a bin. How sad is that? I didn’t know this happened. I am crestfallen and think there should be some kinda fund-raiser. Hangers-in-Need or something similar.

And yet, and yet, and yet I walked the Glasgow streets recently in the company of the good Doctor W and we visited the likes of Hollister and Jack Wills and other such middle class enclaves and there they were – hangers holding up price tags for vast sums of money. Sad. 😦

And did I really lick my lips as we walked past the Whisky Shop in the Buchanan Galleries? Yes. I did.

I’ll move myself swiftly on.

But I did help out another worthy cause this week. There was a charity run for Movember down on Glasgow Green – a really big event – and I was a steward. Teamed up with Dayna (mid-twenties)* and we told people where to go. 5K runners that way and 10k runners that way. It was so nice to see so many folk out running to help raise funds for male cancers such as testicular and prostate cancers. I must stress that apart from help with my own cancer approx a few years back, some folk there have been big helps with other problems – the support team – and I do what I can to help. can help with all sorts of things. Just be careful what you ask.

  • A recent experiment may well be repeated but in the meantime, let’s stick to what we know. 🙂

And of course I must mention Celtic (charity and East End of Glasgow). How come if you celebrate your centenary year in 1988, you celebrate your 125th in 2012? No. You do the sums. However I missed the PT win over the below-par Pars on Saturday. No. No reason. I lie.

Altho’ I did notice Rangers’ Sandy Jardine talking about the 140th anniversary of Rangers. That’ll be the Rangers that died recently conveniently owing millions of pounds they’ll never need to pay; and not the new co (barely 140 days old) sitting on top of the Third Division.

Maybe it’s the marketing guys that can’t count….other than profits.

And another anniversary this week was the twentieth anniversary of the Glasgow Hilton. Eh, the memories, rainforestriverman? I was kinda involved in its early PR and well remember the taxis that had ‘Take me to the Hilton’ on their side. And the opposition who had ‘Now take me back to the Albany’ on theirs.

But one particular BBC news story had me really worried. Until I realised they were talking about Ash trees and not ashtrays. Pronunciation, pronunciation, pronunciation……so I was delighted to hear a guest on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show on Friday night say it Prymark and not Preemark. It’s a minor triumph but it’s always nice to be right. Occasionally. 😉

And this week’s ‘I can’t quite make this news cutting into a joke. Why don’t you have a go?’ competition….apparently, this week, police raided a drug dealer’s house in the middle of an Ann Summers party. They had to apologise to women trying on sexy underwear before arresting a suspect in Swansea.

Is that a truncheon in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me? 😀

And finally, isn’t it nice when someone sees a book and thinks of you. So I’d like to say a big thanks to Missie K for providing me with a copy of Albion Burning – a popular history of LSD in Britain. I have vague recollections of LSD reaching Peterhead when I was about 16 or 17……….some guys I was friendly with had a band. They had ventured south of Aberdeen. Once. And they had access to a van. Rock AND roll.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? For one month and maybe one month only I am wearing the recently re-branded Prostate Cancer badge. It’s bigger than the wee blue man cancer badge.

Johnt850, here, in the friendzone, smiling. 🙂 bravely.

So it’s likely that you’ll be reading this having recognised the efforts of many during wars both recent and outwith (now) living memory. Considering people for what they are and what they have achieved and not considering their stereotype or their age.

On Thursday I will be attending a service a few miles outside Glasgow where those who died following problems with drink’n’drugs will be remembered. I, myself, will remember a conversation I had earlier this year and a prayer I offered late one Saturday night. It was answered and I could not be true to the work I want to do if I did not acknowledge the life that was saved. Even if……..

And I fulfilled my side of the bargain……or whatever the right words are.

Anyway that’s partly why I won’t be going to that dinner on Friday night. Enjoy, men in black. Ties.

Right, June 2013 beckons and a visit to the cinema.  And somewhere in here is the good Doctor W but which one is she?

I travelled far and wide to prisons of the cross.What did you see there? The power and glory of sin. What did you see there? The blood of Christ on their skins. I travelled far and wide through many different times. (joy division)

November 3, 2012

Basically, dear listener I’m knackered. And bloated.  I should come home elated after a football victory but towards the end there I felt I was shouting more than usual cos a couple of guys behind us were complaining so much – you know the kinda thing – and I thought I’d treat myself to a fish supper but I wolfed it down. I feel bloated. I might go back to waist size 32 inch jeans for a few days….. 😦

Anyway, it’s been a strange week. I even found myself agreeing with Ricky Gervaise when he said that ‘piracy doesn’t kill music; boy bands do.’ That, and X Factor. Although I did disagree with Danny Baker who, when complaining about bad treatment from the BBC, said, ‘that’s no way to treat someone who had  cancer.’ No Danny, speaking as someone who started his treatment for cancer five years ago I would say, that having cancer is not an excuse or reason not to be treated as badly as anyone else.

I was involved in some unexpected hospital visiting this week for a member of my family and I am always amazed at the resilience of people in hospitals – workers and users. It’s about making it easy for each other. And I lived off chocolate for most of this week, which was maybe why the fish supper seemed so appealing. I liked hospital food when I was in after Cold Turkey Sunday almost six years ago. I had three meals a day, cups of tea and was offered a choice. Considering how little food I had eaten in the weeks and months previous, it was a joy. That, and the jellies. 😀 😀 😀

I took some stick, btw, from some people who said that the BBC was not as middle class as I said it was last week. And then on Wednesday the BBC Traffic News talked of flooded roads on the Switchback, Anniesland and Jordanhill – some BBC worker from Bearsden obvs had a bad morning’s driving and went straight to the Travel Desk. Summerston? Flooded under the railway bridge as usual but you just drive through it. Like any council scheme (as Summerston originally was) there is always only one way in or out. That way the Lumpenproletariat can be controlled.

Altho’ on the question of class can I congratulate Pippa Middleton on her new book Celebration which was a revelation as I flicked thru it? Quite genuinely it is the first time I have ever seen the rules of an Egg and Spoon race written down, altho’ I tried hard but couldn’t find the rules of Strip Billiards as played by Prince Harry in Las Vegas.

Oh, and I did have a very important meeting at the Paisley School but it never happened – my supervisor wasn’t in…… 😉

And I was asked recently what I look for in a woman. Well, these days, single/unattached helps, a natural smile and a first name five letters long beginning Consonant Vowel and three other letters. Lots of people now doing lots of counting.

And can I say thanks to the assistant in the book shop at the school in Paisley for complementing me on my dancing? It fair cheered up my lunch hour.

And can I also say thanks to AJ, RJ and e for a jolly interesting trip to Tesco’s which gave me an idea for my first Christmas present of the season and I have been up to the attic to take the tree down and see what cards I didn’t post last year…if you know what I mean.

Maybe Andrew’s Liver Salts would help. Is it true, cos my folks told me, that you’ve got to drink them/it whilst it/they are still fizzy? And I once had a mate who was told to take some pills with food so he put them between two slices of bread as a piece’n’pills

And one day I’m going to drive to East Kilbride via Paisley ‘cos I keep seeing the signs. CHILDHOOD MEMORY ALERT!!!!! We had relations in EK and our folks didn’t drive so we took buses everywhere and one day, when I was 9/10 (that’s nine or ten, not nine tenths) I felt the heat on the bus and walked some of the way and when I got to the house we were visiting (and the people in it) it was decided that the best thing I could have was a hot toddy. No, I don’t  remember the rest of that day, nor the many years that followed it to be honest…

And finally, why is my dentist in Maryhill now called Peppermint Studios and why is it offering ‘stilleto feet cushioning’ and I have a strange feeling that that is not what I think it is but I might have an interesting Google after Skippy goes to bed but, Study buddie Fi, that filling has now been fixed. 😀

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup and will still wear it once I get my ethics application approved so I can go out and interview the ‘nuts, sluts and perverts.’

Johnt850, who has no idea what a ‘pinheaded weasel’ looks like, but believes there are more than enough of them in BBC management.

So one of the things I will be doing in the big essay I have got to do is to write about and define recovery, which is difficult, cos even the likes of the amazing William L White have difficulty in doing so. It’s not just abstinence or sobriety but, to many writers, it’s something you know when you see it. To me, part of it is having the confidence to explain to many new people that what has defined me most in recent years is that I have recovered from my alcoholism and cancer…….

……but mind you I don’t always get that far with new people.

This next track is from someone who is the epitome of recovery but from a different health problem and it’s dedicated….(but in a quiet kinda way and in my head)…..and this is the original but I heard him perform it live a couple of years ago at a quiet gig in the Mitchell Library. The voice is different but the emotion is indescribable. Inspiration for recovery or what? My stomach’s not so bloated now.