Archive for October, 2013

That Was The Week That Was (the lovely Millicent Martin)

October 26, 2013

And so, dear listener, sometimes it’s hard to make a quiet week interesting and this has been such a quiet week. It’s going to be a struggle but stick with me. 😦

I mean, at one point, the most interesting thing was Kenny the Shed Pimp coming over to remove tiles in the kitchen and more importantly sand down the surfaces. I’d removed a lot of stuff from the kitchen and he’d put down dust sheets but the white powder went everywhere – including up my nose. And I couldn’t stop sneezing – a wee bit like the last time. Actually, that’s probably what caused the bleeding.


Aye. I’ve started painting the kitchen (slate grey but it will need two coats and not fifty) and one night suddenly the nose (right nostril) started to pour blood. So obvs I lay on my back in the front room (tbh the only room other than the kitchen downstairs). I happened to be txting Buttons at the time and we agreed that bleeding and painting at the same time was not good. I should pinch my nostril. So I got up and made for the kitchen sink (not for the first time in my life) dripping a quantity of blood onto the carpet in the front room and pinched my nostril and then the phone rang.

It was Son Brian. Could he pre-register my name for the Hydro for ticket sales for Still Game in a year’s time – two tickets; him and me; my credit card – and yes, pinching nostril is good to stop bleeding. His wife (my daughter-in-law!) is a nurse. She should know. So I went back to the sink and dropped more blood. And rammed half a tube of Vaseline up my nose.

Vaseline in the kitchen? Don’t ask.

So it stopped. So I stopped painting and sat down to watch TV but it’s not working, is it? I’m getting sound but no picture. I got the Virgin engineer out and he done everything he could. Installed a box to stop power surges. Fiddled about and then said, ‘Your TV is fu**ed. Mind you,’ he continued, ‘I’ve seen them with picture and no sound, but never sound but no picture.’ Sums me up I thought. 😦

So Son Brian told me what to buy (my credit card) and the next day saw me down at Tesco in Maryhill where a very nice man sold me an Elsie Dee, smart, all singing, all dancing Facetube iPlayer 22” box. A steal at £89. When I say ‘steal’………the car park is still Tesco, isn’t it? 😛

Anyway Son Brian will help me plug cables in on Monday night. I will provide food (my freezer)……so I’ve been listening to TV. One night, many years ago, when cable was new and not so highly developed, I came home at 3 in the morning having produced a prog for Radio 5, and channel surfed. I found a porn channel with no picture but only sound. Like staying in a cheap hotel, it was.

So a quiet week? Yes.

Oh, and I met uni-Sharon. We had pleasant toastie-type lunch in Paisley. In a café which promised cous-cous with our toastie-types. Only the cous-cous never came. But we did get crisps on the plate. And greenery. 🙂

And this week’s rant of the Month? Would all the people who commented on how we should improve our eating and save on throwing out stuff by not buying salad in bags and buy fresh, like to visit the ASDA in Summerston? The staff are brill but the only way (and this is going to sound soooo pretentious)…the only way to buy fresh rocket is in one of those bags…..and the fish is in packets as well……I work in a project where the nearest food shop is Iceland (as advertised on BBC Two this week)…..Grow up and get real, foodies! (angry icon)

Actually I was in that project the other night and I would like to thank the young man, who said, ‘I hope I have a head of hair like yours, when I’m your age.’ (The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh) but he guessed at eight years younger than the alter ego’s age……. 😀

Back to quiet week……

Saw the rainforestriverman this week. He was up from London. Listen, rrm, just saying ‘Iain Duncan Smith’ winds me up. There is no skill in that. And I’m sorry. I don’t know coffee shops in that part of town. Only pubs. Give me notice, the next time.

And finally, this is being writ before the Celtic game for all sorts of reasons. I will say nothing about why we’ve been moved into the main stand (which is wooden and has been given to away fans this year and very successfully) just cos the Celtic fans have a recent history of letting off flairs at Firhill. Efficient policing would help stop that. But maybe Police Scotland is too busy closing down licensed saunas in Edinburgh. As I say, I will say nothing.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and maybe next week will be busier, with some news?

Johnt850, living in a house where the only thing in any sort of order are the CDs still in alphabetical order.

So, as we enter Movember and men, and possibly some women, grow moustaches to raise money for male cancers such as prostate and testicular, can I just say that I had my PSA taken the other day?

It’s a simple blood test and it’s only an indicator of how things are but I am very pleased to announce that it’s 0.7. Last time it was 1.3 and whilst that is still low it was upwards. This is back downwards and is my lowest ever. What seems a long time ago now, and pre-dates AJ and RJ, I was due to get the result of my first PSA post-treatment and I’d to go to the Health Centre to get it. e very kindly came with me. It was 3.5 and was well down on what I’d had before treatment. Now it’s 0.7. As I say it’s an indicator but it’s a nice one.

And I am lucky. Not everyone has that kinda reading. 😦

Here’s Jack and Victor – so genteel……

People tell you not to take chances And they tell you that there aren’t any answers And I was starting to agree But I awoke suddenly in the path of a lightning bolt. (Jake Bugg)

October 19, 2013

And so, dear listener, in a week when everyone (?) was wondering how well Michelle McManus would do at the Mod in Paisley, can I begin this week’s show, by saying congratulations to a friend of mine, originally also from Peterhead, who, in her first season of teaching herself the clarsach, won both the Elementary Solo Cup and a half share in the Clarsach Duet Cup. Step forward, Anne Stephen, and well done. 😀

(Skippy, what’s a clarsach?)

My parents wanted me to learn to play the piano. My sis had done so. Therefore it was kinda expected I should. My parents worked that way. However, I wanted to learn to play the guitar. Even at the age of seven, I wanted to be the axeman – keyboard players never really made it up front. That’s where I wanted to be. I tried to learn the piano. I enjoyed the chats with the woman teaching me, but I now realise she was married and it was doomed never to go anywhere, altho’ the age difference might also have played a part. 😦

But I never ever thought things through.

(Thankfully very few of my sister’s clothes fitted)

But I did notice that this blog’s favourite Gael, Catriona, and her husband BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal, chose this week to go to Stornoway……..mmmmmm

I was out at the school library this week to pick up some articles I’d ordered only to be told by a librarian (yes, that librarian) that they’d been forwarded to my mail address. I realised that I’d not read through the Blackberry message telling me that.

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘that just sums you up, doesn’t it?’

(Said with a smile,tho’) 🙂

It’s been interesting being back at uny but without the purpose of the last two years. They were good fun, and some very good friends emerged. And I still can’t get away from the image that was Monday mornings. When all the rest of my friends were making major marketing decisions, defending murderers and passing laws, I was deciding whether or not to get a second cup of coffee for that morning’s lecture in the company of Jo, Study Buddy Fi, Audrey and uni-Sharon……now I spend time arranging gowns and highland dress and so on for my graduation…….(when I say gowns, that has nothing to do with those of my sister’s clothes that did fit, but I did use to do ‘drag’ in my student days for charity)

And I still work in housing projects on a relief basis where one night recently, I opened the door to one resident who said, ‘You might as well leave it open. The police are two minutes behind me.’ And they were. But it got easily settled. Honest. That’s the project that I thought might be haunted.

I’ve just seen Sir Tom Hunter on TV. I was his first PR and I did a good job for him. He’s just said that the story of Andrew Carnegie, millionaire and philanthropist, should be taught in the schools. Fine as long as they mention the fact that he broke strikes by using the hard arm and murdering tactics of the Pinkerton’s Agency and bussed in scab labour.

And finally, continuing to name drop. I was delighted to see Andy Murray getting recognised by royalty but even more delighted to see that BOTH his parents were able to attend. Judy, who’s not a pushy mum, gets a lot of publicity but Will, his estranged dad, has put a lot of effort into helping Andy as well. Now who do you think I empathise with? And I wonder how many tickets Andy got? Did he have to get extra from a ballot and pay £10 each for them? Wonder what kind of purvey the Palace put on?

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Beginning to shine it up even as we speak.

Johnt850, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger

So I’ve been aware for some time that the blog has been lacking the cancerly and alcoholically stuff which was, after all, the original rationale for it – particularly the cancerly stuff. It was to be like a newsletter to folk but since then it has taken on a life of its own. But the mentions are about to happen naturally.

We move into a time frame when there are anniversaries and cancer conversations (not check-ups) and the tears when I graduate (and my ‘thank you’ speech that the UWS ‘heid’ bummer knows nothing about just yet). But we move also into the world of PSA tests and Movember (I’m helping with a fun run on a Saturday morning in Movember).

I was with Doctor Fiona just the other day getting repeat scripts (I occasionally use a sleeping pill called Zoplicone and I need to get it personally) and she took two bloods – one for the PSA and one to test for Diabetes which happens every second year. It was just after the Schools Week exactly seven years ago that Dr Fiona took another blood – ostensibly for Diabetes – but then contacted me to tell me that I had too much alcohol in my blood system, and across a crowded surgery, spoke those immortal words, ‘Cut back gradually and we can help you. Whatever you do, don’t cold turkey.’

Hogan Sinclair says that she’s heard alcohol withdrawal is worse than heroin withdrawal. I don’t know but I do know I cold – turkeyed several weeks later without planning and it was Godawful….maybe if I’d planned it….but then as that librarian might say…’that just sums me up, doesn’t it?’ I never thought it through.

I’m often asked if, when I’m on a night shift, if I ever sleep? Of course not! Here’s Avici and does anyone know what I can do ‘bout the length of these links? All you have to do is click on the link. Go for it. And on the way out, ‘Wake Me Up’

Accept that you might never be rich, or famous, or hugely successful but you can still make a difference (Hogan Sinclair – the author and friend)

October 13, 2013

And so dear listener, I have a date for my graduation and, yes, it is my graduation. Sunny D down the ASDA reminds me that there will be other people graduating and, indeed, I will know some of them. But for me it is mine. I will be the centre of my attention. Indeed, almost even as we speak, I am practising the one-handed hair flick for the moment just after I’ve been ‘capped’ whilst clutching my parchment for the on-stage photographer.

All I need to do is to pay for the event. Not the whole event but for me. 🙂

I remember my own first graduation in the Bute Hall at Glasgow University a long time ago. We assembled at about 10.30 in a wee room just off the big hall and Innes (but spelt in the Gaelic as is being spoke in Paisley this week) just happened to have a wee half bottle in his sporran and I had a very enjoyable swig before doing the business.

And what will I be wearing? I will quote Lorraine Kelly who says, ‘There is nothing finer than a bonny bloke showing manly calves in Scotland’s national dress.’ 😉

Meanwhile I still lack a full-time job altho’ this week I have loads of shifts at weird times. I may fall asleep at any time but I have more to do. But I do feel, in a small way, that I have achieved something which shows that there is potential in any one, even ‘scum’ like me, as I was once referred to by a college line manager – even if it was said in the third person. Proud but not arrogant. Me. He was just a coward.

And if I ever need reminded of what could have been I can go back to ‘The Underclass – A Quiet Uprising’ by Hogan Sinclair which contains some remarkable verbal images…… well worth a read and available from Amazon in various forms……

And whist I’m plugging things can I say well done to the new DG of the BBC whose first decision was to add a new presenter to the BBC. For those of you who haven’t heard the news, here it is;

And I don’t know why Youtube links are so long these days.

Elsewhere can I also say well done to BBC Scotland for commissioning Scot Squad, a comedy loosely based on the news Scottish Police Force. I saw the pilot and liked it. Nice one, Rab. 🙂

Can I also say a big ‘well done’ to those who have been accepted to volunteer at the Commonwealth games – the Clydesiders – and I do hope someone explains to them the historical significance of the term, altho’ I doubt it. People do understand that Clyde the mascot, who is a thistle, is designed to be a non-sectarian representation of the Glasgow footballing scene, don’t they? Skippy, what colour of tablets did you give me this morning?

And why are we commemorating the start of ‘The Great War’? There are good and bad reasons for doing so, but to suggest that it will be like the ‘Diamond Jubilee’ (David Cameron) is insulting to the many who lost their lives and does not recognise the social upheaval it led to, including the growth of socialism and a new involvement in society by women…….

And finally, in a somewhat truncated blog, can I say a big thanks to Mumsnet, for the most interesting post-coital discussion I have ever read. Me? I just wait my turn for the bathroom. For many people Mumsnet is the group of, well, mums, who brought down Gordon Brown and to whom Tories Clegg, Cameron and Milliband pay great respect. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then Google Mumsnet + penis beaker……

Penis Beaker? It almost sounds like a character from an adult version of Sesame Street doesn’t it?

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge……yup it’s the only thing keeping me going as I go from a back shift well out of town to an early shift well into town

Johnt850, practising my acceptance speech even as we speak

And not much to go below the line this week. I’ve kinda mis-estimated my time schedule. But good luck to all those going on holiday or planning to cope with the schools week by staying at home……..cya soon 🙂

One of the nicest things is when you tell someone an old gag and they’ve never heard it before and they’re a few years apart (mother and son) and they laff and they mean it. The gag?

Why are pirates called pirates? Because they aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr! 😀

I do think that people who read this on their phone or tablet miss the symmetry or balance of the blog. Here’s a band called A Quiet Uprising;

And those children who have never worked, like their parents before them, don’t have the self-esteem that comes with being productive and having the routine of work. We shouldn’t be angry with them. (Hogan Sinclair – author of ‘The Underclass – A Quiet Uprising’….and friend)

October 6, 2013

And so, dear listener, I am in the middle of my latest most momentous occasion ever in my young life – job search. And it ain’t easy. Despite what Ian Duncan Smith says. And the DWP site is the worst of them all. Impossible to be specific. Or maybe that’s deliberate. Heaven forfend that the lumpenproletariat should get the jobs they want. (It’s okay Skippy. I will try and keep the blog politics free. Worry not)

I want to work in the areas of addiction and/or homeless support and it would be wrong to say what organisations I have applied to without prejudicing my applications. However, I do think it safe to say that I may be at the turning point of my forty-two years and am about to rise, phoenix-like, from the hashish, sorry, ashes, possibly within the broad band that is the BT family. Or not. Maybe. 😉

I’d offer a prize to anyone who could guess the references, but uni-Sharon would walk it. But there are always alternatives – for me freely available most Fridays.

And some of the application forms are mind-numbing and I accept that they have to be as common-denominator as possible and the social care ones are fairly straightforward in most places but one of my previous employers has changed its name – the college where I worked – and one has changed its location – the BBC. And it can be very difficult to explain my self-employed status – . But, hey, something will turn up. 🙂

And I was over at the Beeb this week – my annual visit to a reserved parking space. And it’s nice to be recognised. By a couple of people. I was there to have lunch with someone I had not seen for approximately twenty-seven years – since Son Brian was born. And what was nice was that Chippy (as in carpenter cos she’s got a qualification in woodwork. I may think of a better pseudonym later but I’m writing this just after a busy Glasgow city centre busy night shift. Ah Campus Frat Bar, how I’ve missed you at 3 in the morning)…….sorry, what was I saying?

Aye, Chippy remembered that I had described the drive home from the Queen Mum’s with a several day old Son Brian and his mum as the most carefully I had ever driven in my life. And it was. And then when we got in we had gins’n’tonic and cheese sandwiches.

Last week Son Brian and my daughter-in-law KT came back from their belated honeymoon in Dubai and Mauritius…… 😀

And no, I have no intention of introducing the grandchildren word into any conversation cos of what that would mean for me but if that happens then my name would automatically change to Jay-Tee, Grandfunkfather. Thanks Chippy. 🙂

Anyway I was crap at woodwork. What was the point of making a chisel holder when my dad didn’t have any chisels? My one memory is of hitting a woodwork teacher with an off-cut of wood. Tbh, I was throwing it at someone else and the stupid teacher got in the way. And no, I have no idea why I was throwing at anyone in the first place. But boy did I pay for it……

Power-drilling – the new car maintenance…….

Can I make one political point, Skippy? Thanks. Why don’t we actually employ people to clean our streets, take on social care roles and build social housing, thus giving people wages and taking them off benefits and giving them money with which to spend and pay taxes? I know I did economics at uny so long ago that Adam Smith sat on my right and Karl Marx on my left but Keynsian economics still makes sense.

Thanks Skippy. I’ll resort to my usual pot-pourri of nonsense that disguises the good points I make.

Mind you job apps are like applying for Commonwealth Tickets, very expensive lottery tickets or bets in bookies; once it’s been sent off or the money handed over it should be forgotten, so that anything that comes back is a bonus, so don’t complain. Anyway I don’t think Uisean Bolt and a number of other top athletes will be there. He is already hiding behind the cloak of his coach deciding and as Scotland is not an independent nation – yet – how can we offer him the same tax breaks he and so many others received in London last year?

And finally there is actually no room for any pot-pourri. As the man once said, ‘there will be no pot-pourri in this blog.’ (Say it out loud to appreciate)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Polishing it up for interviews even as we speak.

Johnt850, who was described earlier this week as being ‘like butter’ by a former student. Whatever could he mean?

So I suppose I should say something about the TamCowandGate affair. Off the Ball was the inspiration of a smashing guy called Alan de Pelette and I was involved in the original series which was presented by Greg Hemphill. I then produced, and wrote for, the prog on many occasions until I left the Beeb in 2004. Tam has been taken off presenting duties cos of some things he wrote in the Daily Record last week for which he has since apologised.

I’m not going to comment on what he wrote. What I will say is that Stuart and Tam were difficult to work with as an editor and producer cos they wanted to do things which were just not ‘on’ and it had to be explained to them why they could not be done. Once they accepted that they were brilliant and one day I may tell the tale of the programme’s part in the transfer of Rab Douglas to Celtic and the Saltire we bought him.

Anyway I feel Tam was badly let down by his Record Editor who should have removed the offensive paragraphs about ladies football but didn’t and then compounded that felony by two of the most cowardly disclaimers I have ever seen. Tam’s humour does seem dated and sexist at times to many (me included) but it does appeal to a lot of people but sometimes he needs to be protected a bit……and produced a lot.

And so for all of you who were at the Hydro to see Fleetwood Mac the other night, here’s Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac;