‘…and when the snow comes to hide the sins of man you’ll find in this winter wonderland a refuge’ (John McGarrigle, a victim of the Glasgow Helicopter Crash)

John was described in the media as ‘a poet and writer’ but I’d not seen any of his work in the papers. I knew I’d some of his stuff somewhere so I looked it out…just in case anyone thought he was an ‘unpublished’ poet and writer.

I think he did some stuff with a writers’ group in Castlemilk. I did some stuff a long time ago with a group out that way who were setting up their own local radio station – he may have been one of them.

Things like that are good to encourage people to share experience of writing and broadcasting – to have guest speakers who can help and so on. I went to some stuff organised by the Scottish Screenwriters. I spent some time talking to Eddie Harrison (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1501206/ ) …..he didn’t buy my 10 minute screenplay tho’…wonder what memory stick it’s on. But what an experience.

Remember also a conversation there one night when someone expressed surprise that so-and-so had a commission from the BBC: ‘Who’s she sleeping wi’?’ And was given the name. Not that I’m suggesting…….. 😉

But there is an art to all sorts of writing. I caught, on ITV More 17 + 1 or similar, a programme about Morecambe and Wise which was brilliant. It wasn’t just another re-run of their best sketches but explained a lot of the reasons as to why they did certain things e.g. they were not happy in a TV studio so they put in a stage and curtains and suddenly they were back in the days of the music hall…and no way were they going to do that ‘two men in a bed’ sketch until it was explained to them that Laurel and Hardy had once done one…… 😀

Younger listeners may want to Google some of the above.

You can’t write in a vacuum. People like John McGarrigle prove that.

So the tone of the blog has been heavy this last two weeks but in two weeks’ time we have the Christmas Special and after that it’s the annual awards ceremony. Skippy is currently taking nominations for the three categories of Personality of the Year; Team of the Year; and Lifetime Achievement Award. Nominations, please, to Skippy at the usual address.

So moving to light before getting heavy again…..

Actually one light out of heavy moment. The last three nights I’ve been burning a candle in my porch. One of my neighbours muttered something about ‘memories’ and ‘condolences’ and it took me a minute or two before I realised. When do you think I should tell her that I was trying to get rid of the smell of fish?

(Always remember this guy coming to my house looking for work, so I asked him to paint the porch round the back. He came back thirty minutes later and said, ‘that’s it done and, by the way, that’s no’ a Porsche; it’s an Aston Martin.’……….

That’s obviously not a true story ‘cos I don’t have a porch round the back.)

And my favest denims – the ripped bleached ones that I got out of the charity shop? They’ve got a spot of black paint on them. They’re ruined!!

Actually that sounded a bit camp didn’t it? Never liked that strange coffee essence stuff with the photo of the Major and his servant. 😦

(Oh and on Thursday this week I quietly acknowledge seven years of sobriety)

And finally all that comes in a week when I bought a new fridge-freezer. The old one was boggin’. It’s not as big as the old one but size isn’t everything. In a fridge-freezer. My mistake has been in watching Masterchef; the Professionals. Which is awful. The judges don’t actually talk to each other. They say snidey pieces-to-the-side-of-the-camera. And what is ‘perfect seasoning’? And what is wrong with vanilla pods?

But I will buy more fresh food cos I can’t rely on freezer food now quite as much. And on the subject of celebrity chefs…….

Dear Nigella, I know large/obese/fat cocaine users. We all do. Don’t stereotype people.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup. It’s back on.

Johnt850 – ‘from wired to tired’

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela

Unlike a lot of people who posted on Facebook, I’d never met you, Nelson, so didn’t know you that well but you did play a big part in my recovery from prostate cancer.

About three and a half years I was interviewed live on STV’s The Hour on the subject of (what else but?) prostate cancer. Towards the end of the three minutes 40 seconds (still available in Googleland) Stephen Jardine said; ‘Nelson Mandela, Robert do Niro and Johnt850 – three men with one thing in common. You’ve all survived prostate cancer.’

I can’t think of that without a slight tear in the eye.

John Cavanagh suggested this piece of music. It’s Dick Gaughan and Amndla!


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