I get my friend when I need one, I need someone to be one, I take anybody I can get, And sometimes I wanna call you, And I feel like a pet. And I’m lonely, but I ain’t that lonely yet. (The White Stripes)

I am afraid, dear listener, that I am not a great fan of the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ but there is a scene in it where Clarence, the trainee angel, is sent to Earth by St Peter to help Jimmy Stewart. ‘What’s wrong’, asks Clarence. ‘Is he ill?’

‘Worse than that’, says St Peter. ‘He’s discouraged.’

And I was. The big essay had come bouncing back to me with another’s voice added. The criticisms are well-meant and I understand their rationale. But are there limits to my academic ability? Yes. Have I reached them? Maybe. Am I going to give up now? No fuc*ing way!

Sorry. Up to that point I meant to sound spiritual. I was going to talk about some intervention that played a part in reviving my determination but that did happen. Within minutes of the txt arriving. In a drink and drugs rehab group run professionally – and geographically not that far from Bearsden……as Concorde flies (younger listeners please Google). I’m not allowed to break confidentiality but I won’t let these folk down. Not a single apostrophe will be out of place. Not a single typo. Not a lot of point coming this far and giving up. A bit like staying off the booze and if I can do that, I can do almost anything.

(We’ll leave the question of relationships out of the current equation, I think. I don’t think even Clarence, the trainee angel could solve that. What do I do or say that scares them off? Skippy? Any thoughts?)

Anyway. This is an important edition of the blog. It’s the 300th.

Excuse me a second. I was on a night shift last night – 2130 to 0730 – and it was quite difficult and 999 don’t seem to want business these days. And one of the downsides of a busy night shift is that you don’t get to eat your whole piece. So I’m currently munching my way thru a feta and roasted cheese wrap. I know it’s trendy. But I am. I kinda kid on that I am a trendy West Endy or a trendy Wendy as they’re known. And can I just quantum leap and say a big thanks to the good Dr W for the lovely offer (or two).

Now. Where was I? Oh, yes. Being trendy and in the West End. I ate, for the first time ever, in the Hanoi Bike Shop just off Byres Road (rainforestriverman, you’ll love it) and tofu has never tasted so good but why, oh why, was the seafood soup done in a chicken broth?

And, e, boy, did I miss an opportunity when that woman in the library asked how old RJ was. I must get tee-shirts printed that say ‘only a friend of the family’ on the front and ‘divorced nd looking’ on the back. (Altho’ recently I was quite happy…….)

Anyway. Where was I? There’s a famous revolving door that allows you to enter the school building where the school library is. It’s not working at the moment. There’s a sign that says ‘Revolving Door Not Working. Please Push.’

Except students don’t seem to be able to read these days. And they certainly can’t push. So they give up and walk round to another side to the building and come in that way.

And Kallum Higginbotham has signed for the mighty Harry Wraggs. So we’re happy with the exotic sounding defence. Now we’re going for a stereotypical Northern Soul frontline.

So. Where was I? Oh, yes. The 300th edition of the show. Eh, what else can I say? Other than it was never expected to stay this long. It was supposed to be your basic ‘I’ve got bad cancer. Can I share it with you?’ type of newsletter. Only it developed and took on a life of its own. It’s written to a template but not an obvious one. One of the school teachers talked about me plagiarising for the blog but, no, it’s all original – all my own observations, both mentally and of people.

It reflects much of my life as a radio broadcast journalist both in documentary work and live broadcasting where, more than any form of journalism, you hear people’s voices speaking their actual words…….with only a little context. One of the most amazing books I ever read was Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I stole it from a Mobile Educational Resources Unit during an Adult Literacy campaign of many years ago…. yet we’ve never ever solved the problems caused by teachers failing to teach some but not others. Freire’s book was about overcoming a new culture of silence in industrialised countries, where education often means socialisation.

And finally, I enjoy writing. I enjoy using words. Maybe it’s time to buckle down and write to the template. Grindstone, here is my nose; laptop, here is my soul.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes and it’s only two words and gets its message across.

Johnt850, kinda missing the Russian Roulette that is getting from Johnstone onto the motorway…..

I make the point that so much of what I do has only been made possible by the amazing support team I have had over the last six and a half years. I was going to attempt a full list but time and tiredness is against me. There is nothing to stop me publishing the list separately. I may do so.

So one final tale at the end of what has been an emotional blog in many ways…..it is so embarrassing, isn’t it, when you’re paying at the Self Scan and a condom falls out of your wallet…..isn’t it? No. No reason. (Wonder where the use by date is?)

When I was younger, so much younger than today, this was a piece of music that, when I heard it, I knew everything was going to be alright. In it, faith I have.



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