Archive for July, 2013

Up and down the City Road, in and out of The Easel; that’s the way the money goes…pop goes the weasel (not sure)

July 26, 2013

And so dear listener, there has only been one story this week; that of the horse-riders in Manchester who, having been refused at the Maccy D’s Drive-In, entered the main restaurant and eh, inadvertently left a horsey mess there. One tabloid tried to replicate it but the real replication came from some Clydebank equestrians (eh?) who tied up outside Greggs (y’know, the one next to Christies the Butchers) and, eh, entered to buy well, who knows what? Suggestions anyone?

I, myself, had a recent experience of the Maccy D’s in Linwood where, in the Clio with Buttons, we received a request for a quarter pounder (don’t even go there!). Now the problem (amongst many) is that the window on the driver’s side does not shut for about half an hour after it has been opened. So I don’t open it. So I have to get out and shove my money in the slot at the multi-storey car park but I know I need to do it.

Maccy D’s burger-servers are not used to seeing a whole body in front of them but they coped…….

Okay . Enuff procrastination.The royal baby. What about it?

I have no problems with Kate and Wills (eh?) sharing their baby with the nation. As it were. They seem a nice couple as I was saying to Harry’s father only the other day (No. I’m not going there, either. Don’t worry, my legal friends…).

No. It was the wall to wall coverage that annoyed me. Could we not just have put one camera on the weasel where the birth was to be officially announced? Maybe then it might have been in focus.

However, those who know me and my ego, will be well aware how much I would love to have been part of the traditional process whereby the eyes of the world would have seen me being the press guy taking the leather satchel out of the hospital to the waiting car; or being the passenger in the car with the motor-bike escort dashing to get the message to Buck Pal; or being one of the two people to walk out in front of all those people on the Mall to blu-tack (or whatever) the official notice to the weasel (and full play to the Sloane who milked her role by returning to make that one final adjustment to the weasel).

Meanwhile Clarence House had announced it on Twitter.

Twitter came under severe criticism from Nicholas ‘Scab’ Witchell who, when my new broadcasting hero Simon McCoy said that there was word that Katie’s hairdresser had gone in, dismissed it as a mere twittering. Katie’s hairdresser is Amanda Cook Tucker – a lovely lady who made a fine job of Katie’s hair. Skippy has composed a limerick all about Ms Tucker, but I fear we may not have enuff room for it. No Skippy, not even the first and last lines.

And wtf was it about the name?

When Son Brian’s mum went into the Queen Mum’s to give birth, we (cos I was kinda involved) had a good idea that it might be a boy or a girl. No I’m not sure why, but we felt fairly confident enuff to have names for both eventualities (and we didn’t know the sex….or indeed the gender…in advance). We called son Brian eh, Son Brian…… why could the royals not do that?

And I do understand the problem concerning any acronym arising from the initials of the names chosen. William Alfred George was a definite No-No……and William Orville George was never quoted, but hey, George Alexander Louis? GAL? The boy is scarred for life in the school playground. Having said that, rainforestriverman, did we not know someone called Gally who went on to win Superscot with Jane Franchi and his nephew? Sorry. Jane was the host.

My choice of name for the royal wean? Well given that the next days were followed by flashflooding, thunderstorms and lightning and I’m sure I saw a plague of locusts over the Viking Bar in Maryhill Road…I opted for Damien. Prince Damien of Cambridge. It has a certain ring to it.

No. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole televisual experience. Not. I kept switching on to see the ways in which the BBC, Sky and Al-Jazeera were coping…..I’m now waiting for the next draft of the domination degree to be returned to me. I’m cool. It was interesting that I bumped into another lecturer from the same office who said, ‘It’ll all be written in journalese…you’ll have to make it more academic.’

That and the fact that it is jam-packed full of primary sources, brilliant research and brand spanking new thoughts…..academia can’t handle it all…..

So a quiet week but a quick thank you to the Vampire Slayer and Missie K for the first meeting in some time which took place in the hallowed chambers of the Banqueting Suite in the Great Hall of Bar Ten in Mitchell Lane. Many decisions were made – I’d a cheese’n’onion toastie – but the usual Chatham House rules apply.

And finally, the football season is now under way….My PTFC season ticket has still to reach me but there is a new-fangled technology in place at the Field of Dreams that is Firhill and it has still to be tried out. We will be going to places I’ve not seen in years and it’s a big adventure. But one thing will keep us going this season; We Are Partick Thistle, We Score When We Want!

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yeah, but the next few days are quite important for it.

Johnt850, who was told by that same lecturer to turn it in and keep it hard bound.

So why is Nick Witchell a ‘scab’? Well, a scab (in trade union terms) is someone who does the work of someone else when they’re on an industrial dispute. In 1989 there was a pay dispute at the BBC from which I did not prosper as I was working three months’ notice and it was settled after I left – with no back pay.

Witchell was one of several well-known faces to cross the line that day, but for some reason (which I can’t substantiate) he is the most reviled. Not even Robert Preston is seen in the same way. Being a scab is the real reason that Prince Charles doesn’t like him. Honest.

This is my favourite piece of Household Cavalry type music; it’s from Thunderbirds – the Movie

Strangers waiting up and down the boulevard, Their shadows searching in the night. Streetlight people. Living just to find emotion, Hiding somewhere in the night. Don’t stop believin’, Hold on to that feelin’, Streetlight people.

July 19, 2013

And so dear listener, various questions kinda dominated my life this last week. Like on Monday I’d agreed to be interviewed, on behalf of one of those organisations for which I do some work, about how they treated their volunteers. Their first question?

‘How was your weekend, John?’

Openly and honestly I answered;

‘Not very good. A relationship of just four weeks came to an end at the weekend.’ 😦

Now full play to the interviewer for merely passing a reflective comment and then moving swiftly on to the meat of the interview which lasted 15 minutes and, I hope, was helpful……more of the relationship thing in a minute but not heavy.

The second question occurred on Wednesday after I’d left the school library where I seem to be spending much of my life at the moment. It was to go to a follow-up hospital appointment to one of a few months ago – the incredibly slight urinary tract problem. I turned up on time at Gartnavel, having negotiated my way through the smokers who now seem to be congregating on Great Western Road, and presented myself at the desk. On time. The male nurse spoke;

‘Oh, all those appointments were cancelled. The letters went out on 27th June. Did you not get one?’

Now, dear listener, I may not have the greatest of social lives, particularly after…..well anyway……but never ever would I turn up for a medical appointment if I knew it was cancelled in the hopes that it had been reinstated……For once I was speechless………

And the final set of questions have come from my domination degree supervisor, who I know reads this cos some of the tracking down the side made references to this blog. No. No reason. So I will be careful in what I say…….but I thought hermeneutics were a sixties tribute band….. 😉

So a quick word about the break-up. She is a lovely lady. The original blind date was a lovely idea. The now alphabetised CDs remain untouched except for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, cos there’s some space between them and the shelf above and I’m going out for a short walk anyway. Back in ten……

Skippy says, ‘We can’t run away from the past particularly if bad memories arise from people in whom we put our trust but if we continue to let them dominate and ruin the present, then they continue to win.’

Right I’m back. The domination degree is a good read; it’s just not academic. Nor am I. I do know I’m being made to work hard and I do appreciate that and yes, I am glad the actual work raises a number of questions and I worry and then I meet a guy in a project who has struggles and is one of the few to hear a (very heavily edited) version of my story and realises recovery is achievable. I hope he achieves it. I’m just the relief…….I’m not sure when I’ll be back but I know I’ll be sober. I hope he is.

Son Brian and Katie have returned from their island idyll after the wedding. At least I got a txt with the word ‘home’ on it so I assume that’s what that means. 🙂

There is a summit meeting of the Grand Council called for Tuesday but I have still to find a location (I’m meeting up with the Vampire Slayer and Missie K – I suspect it’ll be Bar Ten). 🙂

Six year ago, thanks to my sis’s generosity, I sailed on the Hebridean Princess – the boat that Brad and Angelina are hiring. It was the summer between me beginning to recover from my problem drinking and before the cancer was discovered. Interesting year and the making of me. 🙂

I walked past a pub in Paisley the other day and it had a board outside offering beer and lager served in jugs and fish bowls (swallow responsibly) and it was slightly incongruous (sp) to be standing in Paisley High Street to hear unemployment figures being pumped out through Radio Clyde being brought to the populace through charity shop speakers. 😦

And finally, and in a slight break in routine cos I want to say something about tonight’s choice of music. I was talking a in a group setting recently to a man who had been clean of alcohol for not quite as long as me and who was dreading going to a family party. I asked the usual questions and made the usual suggestions and hope they helped but it brought back memories of the family party I attended recently where all those in my company know I’m relatively fine in these circumstances. One walk in the fresh air and even then I was nicely monitored.

I also got a txt that night from someone new to me who was worried. She needn’t have been but the thought was lovely. I’m often too impetuous and too quick to do things. Sometimes I need to be told. Can I just say that all the fruit juice and the eggs are now in the fridge? 🙂 🙂 🙂

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes but little else in this heat.

Johnt850, a little bit stabby as they say in the Vale.

So I’d a wee bit of difficulty picking tonight’s music. The opening lyric picked itself. An awful lot of current music is about breaking up (I think that’s what Trouble by the amazing Neon Jungle is about) and the hermeneutics of all the lyrics troubles me. I blame Taylor Swift. So I’ve gone for a shouty and tuneful one but please, please, please read nothing into the actual lyrics especially about the driving. I made one bad decision in Johnstone High Street when I thought I was being waved on by a cyclist but others realised my stupidity and impulsiveness and watched over me. I hope it wasn’t that.


I can be wilder than the wind,119 miles an hour, I’m in a whole other dimension, Dancing doubles on the floor, You think I’m crazy, a little bit hazy, But I’m stone cold sober (Paloma Faith)

July 14, 2013

And so, dear listener, I write this after a lovely day working in one of those housing projects for the homeless where I work but never name. This one is en route to a very scenic part of Scotland but is not on the route of most holiday-makers or day-trippers. This is one of those areas where you instantly recognise you got in the wrong lane at the last roundabout but I like it. 🙂

Don’t worry I’m not in too contemplative a mood but for most of the shift I’ve been staring at a poster called ‘When is Ecstacy not Ecstacy?’ Hopefully all those people who have headed off to T in the Park have read well…..And altho TITP itself is zero tolerance towards drugs, it does allow drugs workers and trained paramedics on site to deal with drugs-related issues. Maybe one day it’ll allow labs to check the quality of gear purchased.

Just a thought….meanwhile back at the ranch.

John Inverdale – a man whose ego is so big that it was once said he travelled the world not so that he could see the world but that the world could see him.

And I’ve received some word on the dissertation degree draft. A txt arrived suggesting just one area that needed improved. I was soooo chuffed………a couple of hours later the second txt arrived. No. There is quite a lot still to do. 😦

And I’ve done that bowel cancer test screening thing – or poo sticks as some ppl call it. I’ve sent it off but I’d give that post box another ten minutes if I were you. No. No reason.

And I’ve railed (sp) before about how easy it is, in modern day society, to complain but word reaches me that forty-two years after its release someone has complained about the Railway Children (yes, the one where Jenny Agutter saves the train from crashing by waving her red bloomers at the train but I always preferred Sally Thomsett and no-one can remember the name of the wee boy anyway) on the basis that it encourages children to play on railway lines. Serioulsy.

So praise where praise is due. I would like to thank the lovely Buttons for helping me to tidy up the mess that is my CD collection. Next week we put it in genres…..only kidding!

Actually the previous night we had travelled down to Largs (and very nice it was) and watched a man whose car park ticket kept being rejected by the pay station machine whilst everyone else was able to put theirs in and get theirs back out. It looked, for all the world, like one of those candid camera (for those of a certain age) stunts which is why when I went to pay I made sure my hair looked good and I was smiling. I smile when I open my fridge door only the wee light is broke and some of the shelves are held together by gaffa tape, so maybe it is time for a new one…….

And thanks to e for the wee stroll on Thursday from the far side of the Botanic Gardens all the way to John Lewis at the top of Buchanan Street to collect pram wheels and back again. I done okay and I bought two colourful t-shirts from Officers Club on the way back. That is ‘colourful’ as in ‘not black’ but there are many shades of black and they’re all nice. 🙂

Oh, and I had my PSA test done last week (that’s the one where they check to see if the cancer might be back).It’s gone up to 1.3 from 0.9. Which is meaningless to most ppl and worries me a touch but it’s not that long since a nurse stuck her finger up my bum, so I’m cool……

And a big thanks to Scottish Water after last week’s mains burst for coming to my house so quickly altho’ it was just an airlock. They marked me as ‘urgent’ which was very nice of them but I won’t tell you, the world, why just – in case you do it…….that’s plain brown envelope stuff. I did get in touch with a friend whose house had been featured on TV and it sounded bad……Missie K who knows about these things tells me the road will be closed for some time and then she told others cos she does traffic news on the radio. 🙂

And finally, yes, the pub along the road from me (The Scotch) has been closed cos there was too much cocaine dealing on the premises. By the management……

Cya, keep(ing) it fine and still wearing that badge? Polishing it up for the new season even as we speak

Johnt850 – contriteness personified. No. No reason.

I shall say nothing of Alex Salmond’s embarrassing, egotistical, ill-advised, crass and naff attempt to flag-bomb David Cameron and thus draw attention away from Andy Murray’s amazing victory last Sunday nor his claim to have seen Andy at the last ten Wimbledons although Andy has only played at eight nor his hypocrisy over not attending the Open at Muirfield this year cos it’s an all-male club when he attended an Open in England two years ago at another all-male club and sending Fergus Ewing instead and maybe the real reason is he’s attended too many freeby sporting events this year anyway.

But as I say, I shall say nothing.

Instead I want to quote the much-maligned Andy Castle;
‘In the sunshine, raising the trophy, we think about his town, Dunblane, we think about his background, we think about his family and we tip our hat. A Scottish champion at Wimbledon.’

I don’t often watch tennis. I did last week and thoroughly enjoyed it but sometimes, like so many things, it depends on who you watch it with… I say I enjoyed it. 😀 😀 😀

Here’s Jack White and the Raconteurs; there, indeed, are many shades of black.

All that you desired, when you were a child was to be old, was to be old Now that you are here, suddenly you fear you’ve lost control, lost control (Bastille)

July 5, 2013

Concepts of mortality beginning to kick in.

‘cos yes, it’s been a busy few weeks….a time for reflection – a time for maybe growing up and counting my blessings and the good things that are happening….a realisation that I’ve achieved a lot and maybe I should set myself realistic goals….. (*wistful music*……maybe Kris Kristofferson or Barbara Streisand…….maybe get my hair cut short…maybe…..AAAAAARGH!)

Stuff that for a game of sodjers! Skippy, fire up the Renault Clio! Vampire Slayer, what’s happening? World, I’m back, I’m definitely back! (the great Charlie Endell played by Ian Cuthbertson, I think)

And, yes, I have been told by someone I trust implicitly that diets always start on Monday, so I’m starting mine on Sunday evening bout 7.45 and that’s a sign of my continued rebelliousness ..…but it’s not mid-life crisis.

And, yes, I did have a birthday last week and good friendships can be harmed by being reminded of what the next one is. I plan to spend more time in the universe that is parallel to this where my age remains constant and for ever…forty-two…

So the wedding of this and any other century did happen. It said so in the Herald of Glasgow personal announcements. So I asked Son Brian if that meant we were doing it all again this week. I got one of those looks I get from him down a phone line by text. I can hear his voice on text; others I’m learning and I kinda expected the phone call, Buttons, between the Men’s semis…….. ‘the Men’s semis’…what kinda image does that portray for day-time TV? What’s your favourite bit of Wimbledon? The men’s semis.

And, yes, the only reason I ever watch the Uni-boat race is to hear the commentator talk about the winning crew throwing their cox in the water….No. No reason…..but see below for my own childish laff of the week.

I have, somewhere on cassette (small plastic box containing thin tape), an ad for apples that never made it beyond being recorded. It was only in the recording that they realised that ‘French Cox are bigger than English ones’ was not a winner.

And this week’s Con-Dem MP Taking his Duties Seriously of the Month Award goes to Immigration Minister Mark Harper who has gone on a visit to Algeria despite breaking his foot in a Soho dancing club. ‘The Tory MP took a tumble while strutting his stuff on a table during a night out in the trendy London district.’…

But thanks to those of you who helped mark my birthday with cards and congrats and stuff. My favest memory? Discovering an exhibition of Ronnie Woods’s paintings and Bob Dylan’s line drawings in a wee gallery in Prince’s Square in a poverty-stricken part of Glasgow. That, and being tempted by my lunch partner. ‘s beef bourgignon. (Skippy, did that work? Yeah, breaking the sentence like. That?) But many thanks Buttons. I chilled.

(I’ve got two notes here that say ‘Sharon plus feet’. No. No idea)

And I like the idea of a wine and Maltesers night….

And the domination degree draft has been sent to my supervisor. I had had a conversation with a woman in the chemist who said ‘well, if you’ve reached theoretical saturation then maybe you should submit the draft and see what yir man says.’ Seriously…….we are well read in Summerston.

And finally, I phoned up the spiritual leader of Tibet. He sent me a large goat with a long neck. It turned out I’d phoned Dial-a- Llama. (M. Jones)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? It’s happy in the sun like most of us!

Johnt850, still showing that photo, e, to ppl; y’know that one where you can’t tell where the carpet ends and the kilt begins.

So I know people who hate Facebook and I understand why. I used it a lot recently to keep ppl posted on the wedding and was happy to do so. That for me is what it’s about. My security systems are poor but I would never broadcast anything about being away for a week and the key’s under the mat.I like the randomness of it

Following the fb publication of that pic (the carpet and kilt one) this came in from an 82 year old aunt of the partner of a friend of mine – a good friend from PR days;

‘John, did this really happen to you? My husband recited a rude poem

In days of old When knights were bold And Scotsmen wore no britches They dragged their cocks across the rocks Those hardy sons of bitches…..’

I laffed. A lot…….It came in at about midnight after one of those shifts when you’re glad your co-worker watches the CCTV when you go investigate a missing phone. Just sayin’ that’s all.

Here’s The Proclaimers…Were they at the wedding? Or did it just seem like it?

It was fun, fun, fun when we were drinking (Noah and the Whale)

July 1, 2013

And so, dear listener, I was going to spend much of this show talking about how Son Brian and the lovely KT had played such a big role in my recovery from alcohol and cancer; they were amongst my first visitors in hospital – they took me out to pubs and introduced me to soft drinks – and I never ever want them again to see me learning to walk with the aid of a zimmer as they had to do in December 2006……but I’m not going to.

I think all I want to do is to ramble on a wee bit about the day itself and then put myself….sorry…the blog to bed.

To be honest, it was just a great day and I do hope the woman who fell ill during the church service is okay. It did actually happen after the minister (a man born to be a minister) had pronounced them husband and wife, so that was okay….and KT’s dad had organised a wee slideshow presentation for the waiting masses whilst we were waiting for the bride to arrive (on time but that’s KT). No the presentation was pix from their respective very early years including a nice one of the t850 family at a birthday party pool tournament. 🙂

But show me a gun and I jump it. There was the rehearsal on Thursday and some drinks and I took my kilt home to try it on…and it fitted….and all the other bits made sense…..except the shoes. Friday was quiet other than some driving lifting Son Brian and Best Man Michael back from the hotel BUT, dear listener, it was there that I saw the place card….KT t850….or something of that ilk. 😀

Saturday gleamed dampish but some drinks and photos at his mum’s house and a big thanks to Mel who tied my shoelaces for me. Too well as it turned out but more of that later. And then groom’s party limo to wedding……and church service…..and then out to the thronging masses of Bearsden…and I did not wave. I had been well warned.

More photos at the hotel which is a hotel in a house just outside Strathblane in the country but I’m not naming it. The weather held but there is a very significant tree there which figures in many marriage memories…(Hi e…hi c)…and many photos were taken there. And can I just apologise for kicking over some glasses with champagne in them……it was not a gesture of sobriety.

And the meal was good. I had the veggie option which was a goat’s cheese tartlet followed by a stuffed pepper. Others had a salmon and prawn terrine and chicken in haggis to follow…..but my one and only gripe and it’s not just this hotel in a house outside Strathblane in the country that does it……the waiters come up and offer red or white wine but I ask for more orange juice…the waiters come up and offer red or white wine but I ask for more orange juice…I get it on third time of asking….what can I say?

And what if you only drank rose?

(There’s an amazing dissertation which has been totally forgotten about for the moment which will explain a wee bit more about our fascination with alcohol)

The speeches were good; the bridesmaids were lovely; the flowers were flowery; and the dancing started…..I loved the way that people mixed. Maybe I’d never noticed these things before but being sober does strange things…like it opens your eyes….the band were good (basic ceilidh with them calling out the steps) and they supplied a half-time disco as well…..’but jt, you don’t call it half-time at a wedding….’ You do when the buffet is rolls’n’sausage or bacon or, and especially for me and other non-meat eaters, rolls’n’potato scone……and a damn fine evening was had by all. 🙂

What happened in the dance stays in the dance. I didn’t see anyone fall over. I didn’t see any anxious mums phoning home only for the sound of their weans to echo all the way through the gardens of this hotel in a house just outside Strathblane in the country. And I was not tempted by any drink including cocktails (wtf is a Woo-Woo? I know there was vodka and cranberry juice in it but…..) or the wee shots contest going on at one point…….

And I went home on the bus or at least it got me to where my car was parked and then we come back to these bloody shoes. I didn’t think I could drive in them so I decided to take them off. In the dark. Mel had tied them too well. I could only half un-do them so I ended up driving down the Maryhill Road very slowly with tassles on my clutch (which has always been one of my favourite country and western songs) but I got home safely……and took all my clothes off…before packing them the next day (and a special thanks to next door neighbour Mary for ironing my dress shirt.

It was an incredible day and two very brilliant people got married. To each other. How long have they been going out together? Longer than I’ve been sober and that’s almost seven years….

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? No. Not at the wedding.

Johnt850 one of a small but growing number of t850s

And can I say thanks to new and special friend Buttons* for helping me to calm down by taking me to the vet’s in Linwood on Sunday afternoon……No, that doesn’t sound right but that’s another story for another day……I have cake…..

*a name chosen by my friend and it is apposite and it is very rare that ppl get to choose their psedo, speu, pen-names but some ppl are very rare 😉 Moving swiftly on, here’s Bastille. I couldn’t get rid of the ad this time;