Archive for March, 2014

And just when you thought…….

March 30, 2014

And so dear listener, this week continued to provide the ‘first time that I’ve tried that’ kinda experience that I’m keen to have over the next, say, six months as I come to terms with certain events later in the year. 🙂

I’d never been to a self-harm intervention training day before nor two days of suicide intervention. But they were good and enjoyable and many of the skills I learned I hope never to have to use in the way that I carry a naloxone kit in my car just in case I bump into someone suffering an opiate overdose. Stand well back after you inject someone in that situation is basic advice. 😦

But in between the two days of suicide first aid as we called it (excuse me a second. There’s a noise downstairs/outside and I know Skippy’s not in……No. Nothing. I have a friend in Australia (Ruth) who was in a similar position and was in process of calling the police when the culprit emerged from the bushes – it was a ‘bloody huge bush-tailed possum’. Nothing quite so exotic in Summerston)

Anyway, between the two days of suicide training…….I and some of the guys from West Dunbartonshire and another worker went to the Coates Observatory in Paisley and it was really good. Okay, it was a bit cloudy so they didn’t open the roof and use the big telescope but they did set up a telescope in the back garden but because it was cloudy all you could see was Jupiter…..leastways he said it was Jupiter and I believed him. 😉

But it was really good cos the planetarium is digital and he takes you on a trip through the universe(s) and points out stars and massive galaxies with brilliant colours and in fact the last time I was on a trip like that….. (I’m just going to check again…just in case. I’ve closed the window…just in case it is coming from outside)

Sorry where was I? Oh, yes…anyway there is always a good laff to be had from Uranus and Mars gags, isn’t there? And the man made an interesting point when he said that their biggest and busiest weekends were the annual Doors Open days, which was strange cos they’re open most days of the week anyway. Tours like ours finished this week and start again in October.

http://www.paisley.org.uk/2013/09/coats-observatory-130th-anniversary/

So what else?

Well I never made it to Tescos in Port Glasgow which was a shame but it may yet happen. And I got loads of stamina for the self harm training from the free samples of Weetabix smoothies they were giving out in St Enoch Square. And I think I was an okay son altho’ I doubt I would have ever posted or re-posted all these fb messages to mums no longer with us cos I just can’t see my mum being in a Facebook Heaven reading them all. But, having just been to the chaos that is ASDA, I did buy my card and pressie several days in advance.

And finally, apparently it was fifty years ago that Radio Caroline started transmitting to the masses – pirate radio. I am old enuff to remember the original pirate Radio Scotland with Stuart Henry, Paul Young and Jimmy Mack. But many, many years ago I was told by some cousins in Glasgow (from whom I learned a lot) about this radio station which only came on when it was dark. It was Radio Luxemburg and it was brill with deejays like Pete Murray and Tommy Vance and the amazing Emperor Rosko and a deejay called Jimmy Savile who had a prog called ‘Under the Bedclothes Club’ Looking back….and I thought it was just about me and my tranny.

Anyway in a bid to get as many records in as possible in the wee fifteen minute and thirty minute progs they had, they used to play singles at faster than 45 r.p.m. Seriously.

What is that, young person? Singles? 45 r.p.m.? Ah young person you will have so much to learn. I am looking forward to teaching you 😀

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup and it was looking forward to the wee trip down to Port Glasgow

Johnt850, wondering why anyone would give me a free fashion magazine? What do I need? How can I be improved sartorially?

So Celtic won the Scottish League on Wednesday night by beating Partick Thistle 5 -1 (thus gaining revenge for 1971) but we didn’t really see the final four goals. Leaving aside the problems caused by the smoke from the flares which seem to be required equipment for when Celtic come to Maryhill, we had been decanted to the old stand away from our usual position behind the goal. Tickets for there and other designated parts of the ground had been sold to Celtic fans.

Unfortunately some Celtic fans had been sold tickets for the old stand and early in the second half they began to reveal themselves. In greater and greater numbers.

There was no actual fighting within the ground that we saw but there were lots and lots of stand-offs which required the police and stewards to run around the stand and it was impossible to concentrate on what was happening on the pitch because of concerns for safety. The saddest site was seeing parents taking their tearful kids away from what should have been a treat.

I’m not apportioning blame. It was just so sad.

This is a 17 year old from Derry called Soak. As with so much music you heard it here first-ish. If you care to listen with your ears open.

Paved with Murderers What It’s All About (Sinclair)

March 23, 2014

And so, dear listener, sometimes I worry what the theme will be for this week’s show (Yes. There is a theme. There is a balance to the show. And it is a far better piece of broadcasting than much that is transmitted on the BBC. I watched W1A and it was awful, self-indulgent and London-centric. How can you parody a culture that was sold to the BBC like some kind of efficacious compound from snake oil dealers who’d never made a programme in their lives?)

Take Two.

And so, dear listener, sometimes I worry what the theme will be for this week’s show. But it was handed to me on a plate earlier this week. As some of you know I was due to be interviewed for a couple of jobs but I have withdrawn my application from them for reasons I hope to explain in a few weeks’ time (altho’ some of you may get the kinda smoke signals that Native American Indians used to send when snake oil dealers were moving from town to town) so No, it’s not that. 😉

On Monday me, e, AJ and RJ were out for a walk. The sun was trying to break through so the Botanic Gardens beckoned. e , being a good mum, had carried foodstuffs for the weans. I, as family friend, was going to get the coffees from that very strange kiosk by the front gate which seems to assume that West Enders have very esoteric tastes e.g. venison and crocodile. At that point, AJ asked, very politely, if he could get an ice cream when we got there. 😀

‘No’, he was told, ‘It’s March and altho’ that may be when the Good Dr W comes out to play, ice cream makers don’t.’ (A lie told by parents and family friends the world over) Of course, at that point, another wee boy, ages with AJ came round the corner accompanied by adults, with a very large ice cream, which had ‘bought from the kiosk’ written all over it.

Except it didn’t but you know what I mean.

Yes. He did get one. With a large chocolate flake in it. 🙂

Incidentally, being an optimist, I was removing the cans of de-icer from my car yesterday, when I came across three kirby grips lying on the floor. Any thoughts or suggestions as to how they got there?

And a quick word on my Belling cooker – the one where I had problems with my knob. On the oven setting?

Well, I contacted the Belling people by the bog standard Helpline e-mail and they got back to me and are sending me a pack of five new knobs for free. So I said thanks. And they got back to me and said. ‘No problem. It’s what we’re here for.’ Wasn’t that nice? 🙂 And no, I’m not a big believer in contacting the Chief Executive from Word Go.

But I was in PC/Curry’s in Anniesland buying ink, when I noticed a man ask the price of a washing machine which was stripped bare with a large placard that said, ‘If you’ve ever wondered how a washing machine works, then look at this.’ If ever I’ve seen anything more ‘not for sale’ it was this. The young female assistant went over to him and said ‘I’ll look up the price of a similar model on our website’ at which point the man swore, looked skyward and walked out of the shop. I looked perplexed.

Apparently, or so I was told, this man is barred from receiving deliveries because he is rude and abusive towards delivery drivers. But, why? 😦

And finally, for a range of reasons, I’ve decided that this should be the Year of New Experiences (well six months or so now that I’ve decided). I’m looking for fresh ideas and things to and I’m keen to do them with someone (not necessarily the same person) Going to Jo’s university out Hamilton way was good and going to the posh-sounding park out Hamilton way with Dr W was also good but it doesn’t have to be out Hamilton way.

As yet, I’ve not booked any tickets for Aye Write…..Any thoughts? Any need for a companion? (It was at Aye Write a couple of years ago I saw Edwynn Collins give an amazing performance) And, I look forward to your thoughts rainforestriverman now that W1A is past for you. I hope you enjoyed that part of your life.

Or it could be something I’ve not done for a long time. (Don’t even think of going there. Or, hang on a second…..) Last week with the boys from Dumbarton I went for the first sauna and steam room session I’ve had for some time. The Meadows Leisure Centre in Dumbarton and it was good. One of the guys had had an interesting experience in Thailand – somehow the steam room gave it added authenticity. 😉

Cya (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? You need to see it to know.

Johnt850, a little celebration within his own head

And I caught a strange programme on Channel ci (eh?) the other night. It was Martin Kemp and someone else looking at Glasgow gang culture and as well as the Billy Boys from the thirties, they looked at the events of a machete murder four years ago just along the road in Maryhill Park – which is currently being refurbished with the help of the Friends of Maryhill Park. The Currans and the Malavins fell out and the father Curran got killed. The case went to court and the perpetrators (Kemp’s description) went down for seventeen years or so. There was some fall out shortly after including a shotgun blast through a house window down the road and around the corner from where I live.

Summerston is an good area where I have lived for twenty odd years (no. no hyphen) and there have been other incidents and many gangland players have lived here until they move to Cumbernauld or Milngavie but I have never seen it look so bad as one small bit was portrayed. Much of the footage was shot at low level across puddles and mud and rubbish strewn across brown grass.

Mind you at least the footage was shot by programme makers. One thing W1A may have brought home to people was the BBC has very few programme makers these days. The stables need cleaned.

What? You thought the theme was ‘out of the mouths of babes….’I am Johnt850. I don’t do the obvious.

And this is Missie K’s suggestion. It’s Howling Bells and Low Happening;

Fear of death follow’s fear of life. A man who lives life fully is prepared to die at any time (Mark Twain)

March 15, 2014

And so, dear observant and regular reader, you will have noticed the absence of the good Dr W in recent months. She hibernates; it’s March so we arranged to meet. At a park with a posh name just south of Hamilton on the railway line to Larkhall – a station so new that the person selling me a ticket at Glasgow Queen Street had never heard of it and we slowly worked it out by going C-H-A-T and then we found it. 🙂

So the plan was that I would be picked up by Dr W outside the station and drive the 50 metres or so to the park.

Her first words on meeting me?

Sorry, jt, but the dog’s been sick in the backseat of the car. Sorry about the smell….

And so we walked. And talked. About much. Including the spread of the poison that is legal sugar. Chatellerault Country Park is smashing. And there are some amazing views from there. If you like urban landscapes. Which I do.

It’s one of the things I like about Mugdock Country Park to the North of Glasgow. You emerge from a bit of country-type walking and see the whole of the city emerge in front of you.

It has a nice tea-room. C-H-A-T. Where I lapsed. I had pea’n’ham soup. There is not a person of a certain generation who is not turned on by the following advert;

Y’see. I once met an actress (actually I have met several but those are stories for other days. Or nights) who claimed to be that female character in that advert and the other one. Which I couldn’t find. Did I check to see if she was telling the truth? No, Skippy, no really. Why not?

Good question. Which deserves a good answer.

Many, many years ago I stayed in ‘digs’ for a few weeks in Silvertrees near Irvine. The man of the house was well retired and told me that he used to be reserve goal-keeper for Aston Villa. And one year they were playing in the FA Cup Final. And the first team goalie got injured. On the day of the game. And ‘Jim’ stepped in and was a valiant loser.

And long before the days of easy internet connection, there was a thing called the Rothman’s Football Yearbook and I foolishly looked it up to check. He did not play in the FA Cup Final that day and I do wish I hadn’t checked. 😦

Anyway Dr W and I discussed a lot of things and I’m beginning to make some decisions about the things that have been on my mind recently.

But it’s been one of those weeks when I’ve met up with a lot of smashing women and much has been discussed. But I’d like to say to my ex-wife that size isn’t everything. The size of TV I have is perfectly adequate for the amount of TV I watch. Little.

And I’m having problems with a knob. On the cooker. The oven one has broken so I can’t find the off-setting for the oven. I can’t find the receipt/guarantee thing but I have a sneaking suspicion that I didn’t take out a warranty; it was about two years ago; and I have no proof of purchase. 😦

And finally, the opening words were used by the RMT Union to pay tribute to Bob Crow. And we lost Tony Benn as well this week but the press and the public have been saying so many more nice words about Tony than about Bob.

Why? Cos he was now a ‘cuddly socialist’. (Peter Hain 2014).

Bob Crow cared for his family and his Union members. He came from a time when most bank managers cared more about their customers than their bonuses or that Education Ministers (eg David Law) cared more about their constituents than fiddling their expenses rather than admit they were gay.

Bob Crow was a good guy.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Shit! I forgot. It was on the other jacket.

Johnt850, considering a major event for a major event happening later this year – 2nd July to be precise. I’ll be okay.

So in a couple of weeks’ time, I’ll be going on an ASSIST course – it’s basically how to recognise the signs of a potential suicide and what to do if those signs are of concern. It’s over two days and I’m doing it wearing my non-paid hat. It’s a wee bit like the Naloxone training I’ve done where I have access to a loaded syringe (I carry one in my car) in case I come across someone who has overdosed.

Some things I learn I hope I never use, but one thing that must always remain constant is being aware and making myself available as needed (That may be two things). A friend of mine has bad cancer but whilst others around him are worried, he is getting on with things and campaigning for a cause to which I am opposed.

Often we don’t listen to people but say what we think is the right thing to say. That’s why it’s been so brill to meet up with these smashing women this week- all at times when we’ve been able to sit down and talk….’face-to-face’. Thanks.

Some of you will know that I am about two face two major events later in the year…one of which may involve teaching a very young person to appreciate the importance of funk. This will be the first lesson. It’s Groove Armada. I saw them once but where? :S

I got this feeling that theyre gonna break down the door I got this feeling that theyre gonna come back for more See I was thinking that I lost my mind But its been getting to me all this time And it dont stop dragging me down (The Killers

March 8, 2014

And so, dear listener, this has been the week of the ‘selfie’ – be it Oscar winners or contenders or David Cameron trying to look tough on the phone and getting pilloried across social media. And his latest pic of him talking to ‘another US President this time face to face not on phone’ was stupid in that it re-drew attention to his first gaffe (sp).

Face to face is good but not always possible. I am a creature of the moment 😦

(altho’ I did feel sorry for Blackpool beautician, Gemma Worrall, who tweated that ‘if barraco barner is our president then why is he getting involved with Russia, scary’. It was an honest mistake and she has a nice smile).

Yeah, honesty. Not always appreciated – even in the confines of the blog. But it is appreciated by some and some comments don’t get posted. Folk contact me cos of the stuff about alcohol as a problem and the cancerly stuff. It is a separate issue and is confidential replies.

Anyway. Honesty. Selfies. 😀

I have a friend.

He’s called Austin Lafferty and he’s a well-known legal eagle with a good pedigree in the media. He used to present a smashing show called NightMoves for the then Radio 5 Live at midnight on a Sunday from Glasgow. I produced it from time to time. It was a phone-in in the days before interactivity and very reliant on the people answering the phones and making the initial contact and I feel I should make it clear that all three were sober and drug-free all the time.

(Oh, if only Queen Margaret Drive could talk. The stories it could tell. The reputations it could dissolve.)

Austin is also a good artist, runner and a Seventeenth Dan in a martial art…..

He has decided to paint the portraits of six people and I am/was one of them. I’m not sure exactly why he’s doing but it I suspect, somehow, that there is a charitable intent.

My sitting was in Costa Coffee in Bothwell Street Glasgow and it was relatively painless. Austin paid for the drinks. And the pencil pic was completed just days ago and I sent it out on Social Media. The response was brill and I was sooooooo tempted to claim credit but wiser counsel (Skippy) prevailed. I wanted to claim that I’d done it. I had planned to defy tradition and put it on the blog but then my (theoretical) anonymity would have been blown. 😦

I was also soooooo tempted to put up my driving licence beside it. The DVLA pic was taken at the peak of my troubles. Comparing the DVLA pic and Austin’s portrait of me shows how much I travelled at one point in my life. Physically I do look younger now that I did in that pic. Mentally at times, I will confess, I’m still in a bit of a mess….. 🙂

That’s why when I read a post (Jeff Z) being mildly ironic (I think) about having a good time by ‘drinking green tea, walking and no booze’ I thought I’d love to show him the compare’n’contrast between the two pics and say, ‘yeah, I’m having a better time now than I was then. The best bit is I’m still alive……’ 😀

Anyway, a mild feeling of ‘being down’ was alleviated by the marvellous response to Austin’s portrait and my ego certainly did not suffer either. Thanks, pal.

Apparently tho’ (a tabloid newspaper columnist – so it must be true) says that there has been a rise in teenagers with head lice and this could be the result of group selfies. She actually said ‘due to’ but that is one of the most badly used and inaccurate phrases in the world. And is probably worth about 5% of my editing income but I do get visibly upset when I hear BBC people use it. The old style guide advised against it………do people use these things these days? 😦

I saw a BBC post which described Lynne Truss as the author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves. I think not quoting correctly the title of a book is insulting. She was appearing on a BBC Radio Scotland programme and I added a comment that it might be worth asking her about the over-use of the ampersand. I got no reply…it wasn’t me being smart. It was me giving an author her place.

And finally, I think the reason for the success of Line of Duty is its use of audio (sound); not just the tone from the tape machine as it begins recording (tension or what?) but the noise of the prison cell opening (tension or what?) and the prison transport van being overturned (tension or what?) or the kettle boiling (tension or what?). There’s two episodes to go. Keep listening.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup and I may be meeting its original dodnor9 this coming week

(Sorry about the typo but I had to lift a grey hair off the keyboard there and in my spirit of honesty I’ve left the word was spelt).

Johnt850, wondering whose hair it was.

I was going to say something in this bit about the fact that I did warn against sugar some time back in this blog and that I consider it a much more dangerous white powder than some illegal lines. I take no pleasure that other people are now becoming aware of the dangers posed by sugar and its acolytes. But all I’ll say is that just cos it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s safe. Have you seen the prices of Supermarkets’ own label alcohol these days or maybe it’s lost in the huge online shopping you do?

Anyway I have had a good week work-wise and have a good week ahead. Hope you do too.

So I first played this a few weeks ago and since then it has gained great popularity. Not saying the two things are connected but for many of you it was the first time you’d heard. Eh, you did listen to it then, didn’t you? You’d have been well ahead of the game if you had.

The more you love your decisions, the less you will need others to love them (Not Sure)

March 1, 2014

And so, dear listener, it happened that I was out at one of my alma mater’s sisters the other day. Altho’ I have two alma maters. So that sentence has me confused; let alone you the listener. I was at the Hamilton primary school which has strong links with the Paisley one where I spent a jolly interesting two years. I was out seeing uni-Jo who is studying and stuff there. 😀

I remember it as Bell College. It’s bigger now. But it brought back a lot of memories. Not about Bell but various things including teaching at an F.E. College in Glasgow. Altho’ I think the word ‘teaching’ might be a bit strong for what I did. I shared knowledge.

For example, I led a course called Information Retrieval Skills and Week One had an ice-breaking exercise about where would you find information about a certain subject e.g. prices? In a catalogue. One chap offered The Barras as a good source of information. ‘For what?’ I naively asked. ‘For the price of bootleg porn and cheap tobacco’, he replied. That was a pass mark. 🙂

But I also remember the dread that every new ‘teacher’ feels when the students get out a pad, unclip a pen and look at you. OMG! They are going to write down what you say! Just cos you are at the front of a class or room – often behind a desk – it’s assumed you know what you’re talking about! I came out quite early and spoke from the back of the room.

I sought help. From a gin-soaked old prof who held court in the corner of a room that the College thought they’d boarded up when they built the Millennium Corridor but it was known to some of us. He had nuggets of wisdom for getting the students to look at you and to stay looking:

Begin class by smashing the neck off a bottle of vodka and announce that the lecture’s over when the bottle’s done;

Bring a small dog to class and tell the class that he’s named ‘Bodger McGee’ and is your mascot. Whenever someone asks a question, walk over to the dog and say, ‘What do you reckon, Bodger?’

If the classroom still has an overhead projector, just seconds after switching it on, clutch your chest and scream, ‘My Pacemaker!’ OR

Point the overhead projector at the class and demand each student’s name, rank and serial number.

My favourite was to start a sentence with ‘I have a friend…….and finish it there. The class was expecting me to tell them of ‘a friend who….’ when in actual fact I was reflecting on my small circle of intimates.

Only once did I start a new class on the first day of the block by sitting at the back of the class and waiting until fifteen minutes after the class should have started and exclaiming ‘Well if the effing tutor can’t be bothered turning up, then I’ll just do it.’ It got their attention.

I’m a big believer in education – in learning – in sharing knowledge. 🙂

A few weeks ago I met one of the brill workers from http://prostatecanceruk.org/ and we had Japanese lentil soup in a café off Paisley Road West which I didn’t know existed and I was told all about drawing exercises in art classes. It was serious Wow! No. I don’t know what use it will be in a tangible, material way but I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about it.

There is a point to all this. Sometimes I worry about what I have achieved in a tangible, material way. Or, let’s keep the pretence going…….what my alter ego has achieved. Yes. Recovery from a bad alcohol problem and recovery from bad cancer but that was years ago, jt…….The Master’s? Well if it was the golfing one, then yes, but have you got a full-time job yet? And so on. I sent the dissertation out to lots of people. How many actually read it? Many of those that did asked questions.

Even the blog. I am aware of loadsofpeople who read it and gave it a couple of listens and then said they didn’t understand it. Yet, ask these people to explain how it is feasible that the aeroplane that they were sitting on when they went on holiday can even get off the ground and they look at you strangely. Or why should we trust DNA so much? And I think that goes for the music at the end. I think people think, ‘Aye, it’s jt’s choice. It’ll be weird.’ 😦

Naw. I think minds should be open but as we encounter information coming at us from all sectors we find it easier to close our minds just in case they’re challenged. I’d the pleasure of talking to Jackie Baillie MSP and being in the company of Tricia Marwick MSP last week. They had come to learn what was going on in the Dumbarton area and they listened. And they learned. But Jackie’s a good MSP.

And I did once scrumple up some notes in a Politics class I was teaching and kick them straight into a bucket.

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Even it has a story to tell

Johnt850, one Scot who is genetically modified to make political decisions.

And so, in case that was all too much, I will finish with a joke but it’s an obvious gag – heavily signposted. Sometimes the gags are missed in the blog cos they’re not highlighted or they require a wee think. I still smile at last week’s Greggs and the getting exercise gag. Did you like it?

Anyway, a woman has twins and gives then up for adoption. One goes to a family in Egypt and is called Amal. The other goes to Spain and is called Juan. Years later Juan sends a pic of himself to his mum. On getting it his mum tells her husband that she wishes she had a picture of Amal as well. ‘But,’ her husband says, ‘they’re twins. If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Amal.’

So why not start the rest of your life with Haim….they’re a very pleasant beat combo and it’s only four minutes of your life. Take care