Archive for November, 2013

‘Everybody has the potential to recover but every individual is different so what works for you might not work for me.’ (Ms F, quoted in a recent MSc dissertation)

November 23, 2013

And so, dear listener, I sit here wondering what the theme of the show should be this week. Could it be that I was seen by a cancer nurse this week and was told, yet again, that I have currently nothing to worry about; or could it be that Kenny the Shed Pimp is unable to fit my splash-back before Christmas so I have just put all the kitchen back together again and will soon have an empty freezer so I will then go and buy a new one? (Not cos it’s empty…but because it’s dying before my very eyes)


It’s going to be about Wednesday. The day I was able to tell my son that I was now able to tie my own shoelaces. And get the same kind of withering glance from him that I usually get down the phone but can I say a big thanks to him for driving. The day along.

Y’see, on Wednesday I wore a kilt for only the second time in my life. Why? Oh, didn’t I say? Well, dear listener, I graduated with an MSC in Alcohol and Drug Studies at UWS (Paisley) almost seven years after I ‘cold-turkeyed’ (alcohol basically) which was six months before the cancer was diagnosed. Anyway I have recovered from both. As you do. And can. 🙂

Anyway the last time I wore the kilt was to the Wedding of This and any Other Century and a very nice lady called Mel, whom luckily I knew, tied the laces of my brogues which has to be done in a very special way (Ah, brogues….is there a more working class shoe?) but unfortunately that last time she was not there to help me remove them. Which did lead to some problems driving down the Maryhill Road about one o’clock that Sunday morning.

The kilt fitter (rather than the kilt riveter) had shown me this time and it worked. Why did I choose to wear the kilt again? To be incognito I suppose and not to stand out from the crowd.

So let me say it now…..It was really brill to see Neil, Mary Jane, Kerry, Neesa and Evelina again and shame, you couldn’t be there Jo, but we will catch up and Anne? Keep going. You started later than us but if we can help in any way, just shout. 😉

The ceremony was held in the Coats Memorial Baptist Church in Paisley and I sat between Ewelina and Kerry.

Ewelina had never stroked a Scottish sporran before and I was happy to oblige; and Kerry….that moment when I said ‘I could murder a pint’? Maybe best leave that between ourselves?

And it was interesting when someone we didn’t know got their Master’s for Drug Design and Discovery. I think everyone else in the church went, ‘mmmmm……..cure for cancer, maybe?’ while one row at the back of the church (us) went, ‘mmmmmm…….more legal highs and street benzos’.

(Breaking Bad is not a fantasy. Make the chemist an Eastern European from behind the Iron Curtain and you have grim reality, and for those listeners who are unsure of what the Iron Curtain is, then check out Dominic Sandbrook’s otherwise excellent series on the Cold War. The only drawback is that Dom looks exactly like Mel Smith doing a spoof documentary……well not exactly, cos Mel’s dead and I have no idea…..)

Anyway back to those on drink’n’drugs at the Baptist Church, auditioning to run the Co-Op Bank and replace the Crystal Methodist. Or not – cos that would be in bad taste…….Maybe the David Laws Rule will apply if he pays it all back.

We were amongst the first to go on stage and it’s really good cos they’ve done it before and you progress slowly to the front and I did do the hair-flick but before I got on stage and then after that it’s a blur. I just followed Kerry. (Have you always been that tall?)

I do not remember anything that happened on stage until I was walking back down the other side and got back to my seat……we giggled a bit after that.

But what I do remember is at the very end, after the uni-high-heid yins had walked out (in a procession, not a hissy fit) then so did we to tumultuous applause. That I will remember for a long time.

That, and a brilliant speech from the honorary degree man, Professor Craig Sharp, who once won Man of the Year for his sexual performance. Did I get that right? My notes are crumpled. It was all that stroking. 🙂

And I did get an official pic taken. The snapper called me a natural, so I enigmatically said that I’d worked with photographers before. Which I have.

So finally, can I say a big thanks to my extended family and to my friend, e, who accompanied me to the ceremony and to the restaurant afterwards where I ignored the fine food and ate a posh fish supper, fritto misto…….I just needed food…….

And I do have photos to distribute…..if you haven’t had yours yet….

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Not this week. The kilt was hired and I didn’t want to return it with a prick in it.

Johnt850. MSc, PG (Dip), PG (cert), MA (but I’m only doing that for one week and one week only and can I just say that the Dip and the Cert are different PGs…….)

So nothing serious below the line this week.

Just a special request for Fields of the Nephilim.

Placedos belong to that twilight world of medical science that has never gained respectability (Gossop)

November 16, 2013

And so dear listener, I have a confession to make. Not the first time I have used this show to talk of my past and the mistakes I have made – many of which go back to my BBC background. This one, however, will fill people full of disgust because it does seem to go against the milk of human kindness from which I occasionally drink.

To my shame, I cannot stand Children-In-Need. 😦

To be honest I’m not mad keen on giving to any charity where you don’t know where the money is going to end up. Now I’m not suggesting anything nefarious as may be suggested in the oft-postponed Panorama which is looking at the affairs of Comic Relief and some others. I give to cancer charities – not a big bucket.

No, it goes back many years to one week when myself and the team took a radio programme around various railway stations in Scotland – in mid-November. No. The person whose idea it was didn’t come with us. Why do you ask?

Stirling wasn’t too bad; Aberdeen was vast and empty; and Inverness was freezing – the only relieving factor was watching Radio One’s team suffering as well. Then came Edinburgh Waverley and the presenter who wasn’t ‘paid to run’ and the annoying Balloon Lady of Edinburgh Waverley. No. You don’t see much of her these days, do you? I had ‘friends’ in those days – even in the East. One day it may be an Iain Rankin novel. 😉

I know it brings fun to boring offices and call centres but I so much preferred it when it was a BBC staff charity. However I did eat a very nice C-i-N cupcake and a Pudsey gingerbread man. Two pounds well spent. Thanks AJ.

This all came back to me when I was in the BBC earlier this week to be interviewed for Good Morning Scotland on a new drug called enzalutamide which is designed to help add quality (and approximately 4-5 months to the quantity) of life for men for whom prostate cancer treatment can no longer help.

The interview bore no relation to any competency based framework interview I had undertaken recently. Me and the doc arrived at 7 expecting coffee at least but the preceding interview was with someone in Thailand and the line was bad. We were thrown in. Five minutes later we emerged with the Scottish nation (and anywhere else in the world with access to iPlayer for Tuesday 12th November 72 mins into the prog) aware of the wonders of this drug.

And yes, I do talk quickly but by ‘eck, I sure as hell get the message across…….unlike competency based stuff.

And, yes, it was like a time-warp. Salli is still doing the meet’n’greet and Ken Garden was on the desk. Salli is one of the best known BBC ppl known to all those who have ever turned up to do a radio interview. I even mentioned her name in the Paisley Uny the other day (I still drop in from time to time. No. No reason, Well no, no’ really) and the lecturer knew her.

Do you know that the uny used to do Inebriation Workshops to explain the effects of believing that you were drinking alcohol but you were the one on the water (placebo)? Where , I asked, would I fit in? I’d be the barman.

(This is quite a serious blog but next week’s won’t be and we’ll soon be at the special, Christmas editions)

And finally, John Lewis, there is a reason why bears hibernate; and my local urban fox has damaged one of its paws. I know you’re not supposed to but one of these early mornings I stood for a wee while and spoke to it. It’s not that long since Summerston was farmland. Now the four and five bedroom houses extend past what was Blackhill Farm. And very soon they will stretch out toward Kirkie and Torrance over the Balmore Road, where there are a few bodies buried. But not the Balloon Lady. She’s…..

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, but will I wear either of them on Wednesday?

Johnt850, thoroughly looking forward to Wednesday 😀

So I was supposed to be going to a funeral this week. I changed a hospital appointment; I had liaised with relevant ppl; I had dressed appropriately; and I had left in plenty of time. It was in Daldowie to the north of Clydebank. I drove out the Great Western Road and missed the turning on the left but was not worried cos I knew that if I continued across the Erskine Bridge I would reach a large roundabout, swing back north and make the turning on that side of the road. No. The road off the roundabout was closed. I got lost and never made it.

The purvey was south side of the bridge as well and I know some ppl who had difficulty finding the hotel. I was sooooooo angry with myself.

So all I will say is that Margaret was the kinda matriarch of a well-known family in the Bearsden area. She was a great-grandmother of at least two…….I’m not sure about the American branch…but as far as I am concerned her, and her husband’s, influence was reflected throughout the entire family who are the most welcoming bunch of ppl I have ever known. Going back many years. And that goes for my son and his mum and my daughter-in-law. I will miss her.

I am so angry with myself.

I’m not sure about whether I like the cone on the statue of the Duke of Wellington – not when it costs £100 to take it down but, this as many people now know, is how the cone gets there. 🙂

All my time is gone, all my time is gone. So familiar, I hear the music in my head (Huey Morgan and Fun Lovin’ Criminals)

November 9, 2013

And so dear listener, I had three job interviews last week and have not emerged with a job. There was a time when I’d have been pretty upset and may have turned to substances known and unknown to get over it. 😦

Now? It’s a case of learning from what I did and didn’t do.

First, I got three interviews. I had been really worried that there was something bad in my app forms or personal statement or something similar or people had decided that at the age of 42, I was too old.

(Yes. I know they’re not supposed to let age be a consideration but they were still using quills and ink when I got my first degree…….) But I did get three interviews in three days so that’s encouraging. (As well as tight timing)

I learned a lot about competency-based interviews and one of my interrogators is going to go over how I did and give me good advice. And she’s going to be a referee for me. And one knockback letter said that I am ‘clearly a candidate well worthy of careful (sic) consideration.’ So all is good. 🙂

I continue to apply. I will get there. Wherever ‘there’ is.

So there’s kinda happy feel to the blog today……a kinda gratitude list of the airwaves. Naw……that’s too much. Even for me.

But I seem to be picking up on shifts again. If anybody is looking for me on Boxing Day afternoon I’ll be in the East End. I’d a pleasant wee short shift in one of the City Centre projects on Wednesday night and was well impressed with where the WPC displayed her poppy. But I ate chips on the way back to the train. If only I had the willpower of a Herbalife shaker. (I well remember the shakes I used to have….Herbalife they weren’t)

It paid for the lunch I had the next day with good looking lady in Buzzy Ware’s in the courtyard area of Prince’s Square. Easy come, easy go. With the money. But I was well impressed (that’s the second time you’ve used ‘well impressed’, jt…sorry Skippy) by the two dads (I assume) who were looking after two babies at the table next to us. Took me back to when Son Brian was that age. Now he can buy and sell me. 🙂

I never did anything like that with another dad. I did go to things like Mothers’n’Toddlers groups and got ignored. No mum, even those I knew, came anywhere near me. But did I and the weans care? No. We were too busy having fun. But, hey, I was the Playgroup Newsletter Editor one year. My son’s mum nominated me. And at the AGM that year I was the only man amongst fifty women. I got a bottle of whisky as a Thank You. What does that say about me and/or our culture?

And I’ve almost finished painting the kitchen and yes, I did do it with a brush (or two) so it does look as if I did it. Yes. I could have used a roller but ppl might think I’d got a man in. It’s defo me what dunnit. A wee bit more to do to it and then it’ll be open in time for Christmas. 🙂

And finally, I have a couple of hospital appointments this week; both of which are kinda cancer related but they are more conversations than anything else. One is in the Urology Department at Gartnavel which is where I was greeted, a few months ago, by a male nurse with the words, ‘Your appointment’s been cancelled. Did you not get the letter?’

The other is in the Beatson Cancer Centre also at Gartnavel. I know it’s a place that saves life but I am sooooo glad to go in and come back out. The memories are many – but mostly good.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Not for the month of Movember, I’m not.

Johnt850 – doIreallyspeakdeadfast? AndamIreallyhyper?

And speaking of Movember…..I had the pleasure to stand in the freezing cold and rain and hailstones and help stick flagpoles in the ground and inflate a Start and a Finish sign and to generally heckle and encourage approximately 800 runners who took part in the annual Movember Run on Glasgow Green. They were amazing.

Now I do not know why they were running; some do 5ks and 10ks and appreciate a slightly more competitive run; some may have been fundraising and there were a few who had t-shirts with names and faces on them. I have tremendously mixed feelings about when a well-known name goes public about a health condition – even when it’s as low-key as Billy Connolly’s was – because of the way it is reported.

So I don’t know what drove all those people on Saturday morning – even the wee kids who did it – but I, and the others there from Prostate Cancer UK, really appreciated it. Your monies will be well spent. Thanks from everyone who has come through that particular cancer (and the other male health issues) but your efforts make it so much easier for people like me to help create awareness, let alone fund massive research. You deserve publicity as well. 😀

Now where’s the Lem-sip?

And this is Elvis Costello and the Attractions with Shipbuilding. No. No reason. Well, no….no really.

Does anybody need to be told over and over / Spitting in the wind comes back at you twice as hard. (Lou Reed)

November 3, 2013

And so dear listener, this week I entered the jobs market in that I had three job interviews – one knockback so far 😦 and obvs it was the job I wanted least 🙂 I won’t say too much ‘bout them; suffice to say it has been reassuring to actually get interviews. We’ll see.

But it’s been weird. All three have been based upon something called Competency Framework where basically you’re asked ‘can you give an example of…..’ and then a whole load of words such as commitment, values, team-working get mentioned and your answer has to exemplify how you used them in what your example is.

And then you have this situation where each candidate is asked exactly the same questions so that answers can be compared without any follow-up to your answers which I think is wrong. Maybe that’s the journalist in me. One day I’m going to drop in something like, ‘and that’s when I shot the giraffe’ and see what’s said 😀

And apparently I seemed to misunderstand one of the questions. Well I did. Is the natural inclination, if you’re human and sensitive, not to say ‘I’m sorry jt, but you seem to have misunderstood what I am asking. What I mean is……..’?

Or am I justifying my poor performance? All I know is that by the third, I was competency frameworked out of my nut. Second coating the kitchen has been therapeutic.:)

But it’s been a difficult week. Rumours reached me (thanks Karen Murdoch) that Skippy was on the menu in the BBC Canteen (or Food Court) and I checked. Yes. It was kangaroo but not my bestie. She emerged a couple of days later, having had an unauthorised overnight or two. Jacket. Shoogly peg. She has a form to fill before she can do that. I haven’t told her. About the kangaroo steak. Yet. 😦

And then it was Hallowe’en. And I did get some things in. But I was up a ladder. With the radio on. Honest. The letter box was rattled. It’s a nervous kinda letter box. So I did hear it but by the time I’d climbed down the ladder, put my brush safely aside, wiped my hand (like I was going to shake hands?) and reached the door, he/she or they had gone and no-one else came to the door.

I feel as if I am now known as the cruel, heartless bastard who lives at Number 3.

(Will it need a third coat? I can’t believe I’m spending a Sunday afternoon literally watching paint dry)

And can I say a wee word to all those who complained thru various social networks about the amount of coverage given to the St Jude’s Storm as compared to our own Hurricane Bawbag of two years ago. It wasn’t the English bias in the coverage that annoyed me. It was the way the English based British Broadcasting Corporation and Sky and the others were more concerned with the problems faced by commuters than the people who died.

For those who never saw it, this was the defining image of Hurricane Bawbag;

Gosh that’s a long link. As the actress said when she looked at the Bishop’s sausage. And the English equivalent was a marquee. Says it all. We are different nations.

(The woodwork will be black but I will need a splashback and some dowling)

And can I also say a big thanks to all those adopting ‘taches for the month of Movember? No. I don’t. What I do is the help spend the money people raise. The quality of literature and information that Prostate Cancer UK supply is brilliant, altho’ the best is still the wee Z-cars that are given out.

And it’s working. The news that deaths from this cancer have fallen by a fifth in recent years is brilliant news. Some of it is down to information and awareness; some of it is down to research; and some of it is down to improved medical matters, but in a week when the BBC, yet again, postpone a Panorama programme telling you what happens (or doesn’t happen) to Comic Relief money, isn’t it good to know that your money does help.

Oh, and spot the sixties cop series mentioned in the above. By mistake 😉

(And the paint edger was worse than useless. I’ve some bits to emulsion later and then can start putting things back once they’re washed. No. I’m not getting a lot of shifts. Why do you ask?)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Only this month it’s the new Prostate Cancer man badge and, yes, sometimes some of the money is spent on re-branding but it’s worth it.

Johnt850, waiting for the mail and the phone call

I know that not everyone looks at the closing video at the end of the show and my thanks to all those who pointed out that I had used the Jack and Victor clip before. One person but it’s reassuring.

This is a version of the Beatles Let it Be sung in one of those ensemble groups with lots of well-known people singing a phrase or a line. What makes this so different is that many of those participating are dead. See who you can spot.

Bergerac, Milli Vanilli and Norm from Cheers all share the stage with Bud Bundy, Glenn Close and some Norwegians!!!!!

As Dr Paul, the world’s greatest Pub Quizmaster said, ‘it’s a king-size wtf…….