Archive for April, 2014

‘I would restrict access to coffee, thus immediately giving it highly desireable forbidden fruit status. Then I would issue lots of dire warnings about the dangerously disinhibiting effects of coffee.’

April 26, 2014

And so, dear listener, those are the wise words of social anthropologist, Kate Fox, and is it just me or are social anthropologists getting younger? 🙂 But more of Kate later.

And I’ve had no word back from the Commonwealth Games about my wee idea but I’d better be careful. The Commonwealth Games police are out telling people what they can and can’t show on Facebook. Seriously. Check your terms and conditions. But Mo Farah might be running after his ‘not very good’ Marathon in London. The brand needs re-building. 😦

So one of these quiet weeks when things I expected to happen don’t but as I write this I am back in the middle of a wee run of night shifts altho’ not quite the 3 x twelve hours that I did a couple of weeks ago.

Indeed I’d a jolly chat with Missie K who is now doing night shifts telling the world what are the safe roads to drive on in the middle of the night and at that time when many commuters are beginning their journeys – a long way away from the days when we discussed…oh, hang on, it was always the case that these chats were strictly between ourselves, simply acknowledging that they were about drink, drugs, sex, rock and roll……and it was.

But I did get a wee bit pissed off at River City and their portrayal of what they described as a ‘halfway house’ for children leaving care. First that building would never have been in use cos both the Care Inspectorate and the local authority would never have permitted its use – it was a midden; secondly, in the week when Kenny MacAskill had to postpone plans to scrub corroboration, the polisman was interviewing and taking statements from witnesses on his own; and finally given my current experience, all the service users were up but it was still daylight….wow!

Incidentally one newspaper reviewer described Eastenders as ‘turning into River City with the murder of Lucy Beale’ and this ‘isn’t the way to go.’

But it was a week for television surprises. I mean who knew that Walford had a common?

And someone said I would enjoy a programme about allotments and raising vegetables for exhibitions but I explained I’d rather it was done for food. I’m a grower, not a shower.

What’s that Skippy? It’s an innuendo. No way.

And finally, on Wednesday I was down in Dunbartonshire (West) where I help out with a drugs rehab group. They’re currently involved in turning a bit of waste ground behind St Pat’s into a wildlife garden for the community. Last week they took delivery of approximately fifty broken and used palettes which had to be moved from their location next to the front of the church to closer to the garden.

Once it was done (by six of us) a couple of guys came down from a sister project in Clydebank, who showed us how to transform these palettes into benches and did so (giving us a template) without the aid of a tape measure but using tried and trusted carpenter’s eyes – quite a lesson. The potential that is in sooo many of the folk I come into contact with is amazing. 😀

And my arms still ache. I’m not good at physical labour. 😦

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? This week coming it’s the Prostate Cancer UK one. Tell you more next week.

Johnt850, who went fishing this week but caught nothing – well the fish was thrown back in to the waters.

Kate Fox was on TV earlier this week following the news that crimes of violence were apparently falling, although that should maybe be ‘reported’ crimes since a lot seems to be happening that doesn’t get reported or maybe the conversation I took part in recently was not typical of what is happening.

Anyway I want to quote Kate from approx three years ago;

‘In high doses, alcohol impairs our reaction times, muscle control, co-ordination, short-term memory, perceptual field, cognitive abilities and the ability to speak clearly. But it does not cause us selectively to break specific social rules. It does not cause us to say, ‘Oi, what are you looking at?’ and start punching each other. Nor does it cause us to say, ‘Hey babe, fancy a shag?’ and start groping each other.

‘The effects of alcohol on behaviour are determined by cultural rules and norms, not be the chemical actions of ethanol……

‘Our beliefs about the effects of alcohol act as self-fulfilling prophecies – if you firmly believe and expect that booze will make you aggressive, then it will do exactly that. In fact you will be able to get roaring drunk on a non-alcoholic placebo.’

Remember that the next time you say of someone’s bad behaviour; ‘Aye, it’s just the drink.’

This is for all those who managed to get tickets for the Killers and Mayhem on Mosspark Boulevard;

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I was just at Bellshill academy in first year when the stories were about. We actually got a mob together and hung about up the bing looking for them…Thing is, if they (the KIller Clowns) were real and everyone knew about the blue transit vans then I think they would have maybe changed their mode of transport or got a spray job. (Watty from Bellshill)

April 19, 2014

I think I know that bing……Doctor W?

And so dear listener, much more information came in after last week’s mention of the Killer Clowns of Glasgow and North Lanarkshire in the eighties and early nineties. Much of it referred me to this website http://alancook.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/killer-clowns-in-transit-vans-in-the-1990s/ and there’s a new Kindle book of the same title and a previous real book about Urban Myths in Glasgow.

The blue Transit Van is a constant; the Chelsea smile for inflicting pain; and the warnings by heidies and rectors are also consistent in all the stories…….but yet, but yet….

I have not put up the links I received to some very horrible parodies of Ranald McDonald – these were pure evil. (Pure evil? Is that a concept?)

The Killer Clowns did exist in people’s minds…maybe even in reality. Maybe even in retirement.

Coming soon to a nightmare near you are the White Lady of the Gorbals, the Vampire of the Graveyards (which was true cos that’s how the Vampire Slayer came about – I live across the road from Lambhill Cemetary), the Lucky Midden and the Giant Salamanders of the Ravenscraig Steelworks.

So I spent some time last Monday in the Tesco’s Car Park in Port Glasgow which has the bestest view of all the supermarkets in the West of Scotland in recent years but as Skippy and, as I write this, I may be returning there soon (Is that this week’s first?)

And I spent some time last Tuesday in a coffee bar in UWS (Hamilton) with Uni-Jo but as well as chatting about her research our conversation wandered over to Strathclyde Park which you can see from the windows – not for its aesthetic value but to the Dealers’ Car Park, the Doggers’ Car Park and my own personal favourite – as it were – the Gay Cottagers’ Car Park. I have parked there twice in my life – it’s not that far from the bing – (Doctor W?) and the second time I was bursting for a pee but was very reluctant to go into the bushes on my own. No. No stereotypes

But I’m doing well out of night shifts these days…which suits what passes for a lifestyle.

But with two major age-related (kinda) events looming large this year, I was intrigued to read that the Government plans to tell us when we will die to stop us squandering our pension savings. Two things; What pension savings? and What if you’ve already died? I am convinced that I died during the Cold Turkey Weekend of 2006 and was returned to life.

And I remember when sea captains were supposed to go down with their ships. Here’s the South Korean ferryman and then there was that Italian twat who wanted to show off his driving skills to impress some woman too close to an island.

And apparently the charity PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has an award for the sexiest vegan in the UK. This year, it went to Jenna McGuinness. Nest year? I have a contender.

And finally, I have a cheap and brilliant idea for the Opening of the Commonwealth Games. On Good Friday I watched on iPlayer a programme called The Great North Passion (BBC1), which was a contemporary re-telling of the last few days of Christ. It had containers from lorries which had been based in South Shields where they acted as pop-up arts installations which were then gathered together in the shape of the Cross. And then people sang happy songs.

Why don’t we do the same for the Opening with all the people in the stadium; the words on that big screen; Michelle McManus, Tom Urie and the Red Hot Chilly (sp) Pipers and the happy songs (not the anthems) from all the competing countries?

This would out-sushi Sochi and keep Coe quiet; and everyone would leave the stadium with a smile.

I will e-mail David Grevenberg later this evening nd will keep you posted

Cya, keep(ing it fun) and still wearing that badge? Yes, but maybe it can be a bit intimidating the first time

Johnt850, and the shed was cleaned out this weekend. Summer can start any time it likes.

Some of you may have noticed that something called the Global Drug Survey announced its latest research this week and the UK, as we currently call it, has the highest incidence of drug use in the World (per capita). This got lots of publicity.

What didn’t get so much publicity were the wise words of its Director, Adam Winstock, who put forward a very strong case for more drug education. He doesn’t want people to take drugs but ‘you can start conversations with people regarding safer drug use by saying, ‘Actually here are some things you can do to make your drug use more enjoyable and make your drug safer as well.’’ Is that not common sense?

No, I don’t see it on the school curriculum either but it might save some lives. I accept, having studied under such restrictions, that it is difficult in schools, etc, to talk about illegal drugs but we do very little to explain the dangers attached to the two biggest killers – alcohol and tobacco. Does your son or daughter know what they’re taking in the form of drugs as opposed to those mums and dads who know what they’re drinking and smoking?

Here to cheer you all up after that here’s Judy Collins…little did she know

And in a big country, dreams stay with you, Like a lover’s voice, fires the mountainside.., Stay Alive….(Big Country)

April 12, 2014

And so dear listener, this may be a very short blog as I’m in the middle of three times twelve hour night shifts.

Well not strictly in the middle as I’d be writing this whilst at work and that is so not on. I do hope I’m okay for Monday. No. No reason.

But my aim and intent to do things for the first or ‘it’s been a long time since’ continues – ahead of a certain event later this year. Or two.

I attended my first ever First Aid course this week so maybe that counts as a double first – which is certainly something I’ve never had. It was all good but some of the people there had done it before and were renewing their certificates but also had tales of times they had saved people’s lives in public. I don’t know if I have the courage or the confidence. Let’s hope I can rise to the occasion when I have to.

The other first was……

Last Sunday, just after I had published the blog, I happened to be looking out of my front room window when I couldn’t help but notice about ten to twelve of Police Scotland’s finest – a full support unit clad in helmets and with riot shields – effecting an entry into a neighbour’s house just across the road. The neighbour did not appear to be in or else I’m sure she would have opened the door. I thought about phoning newsdesks but decided to wait and see whilst taking crappy pix through the Apollo Blinds.

They came back out and some plain clothes people with blue marigolds on went in. And stayed in. The Support Unit also remained but the support Support Unit went away. Two hours of nothingness then happened. No police tape. No guards on the door. No sniffer dogs. No door-to-door enquiries. Nothing. And then a locksmith drew up and they came out. And he fixed the door. And they all went away. Nothing.

And nothing has continued to happen ever since.

And the other thing I want to mention is the now cancelled blowing up of the Red Road flats. Bear with me! I have a fresh and original idea. I am not even going to suggest that the original idea sounded like Jo Stalin at his worst….…or how would we have felt if the South Africans had cleared everyone out of Soweto and then shown its demolition to the world as part of the Opening Ceremony for the World Cup? But I won’t.

In the late eighties and early nineties Glasgow and parts of Lanarkshire e.g. Bellshill and Mossend were plagued by the Killer Clowns (and can I also say that anyone who ever worked with the community in those areas eggy-knew-of-eggy-the-eggy-lang-eggy-uage-eggy-long-eggy-before-eggy-actor-eggy-Rory-McCann-eggy-claimed-eggy-to-eggy-invent-eggt-it) and I’d like to thank former student of mine Matthew Harold for reminding me about their existence.

It was well known that the Killer Clowns were psychopaths who had escaped from Carstairs Mental Hospital (as we knew it then) and who drove about in a blue transit van kidnapping children and doing unspeakable things to them.

Schoolchildren were warned at School Assemblies about them. School Rectors and assorted heidies would cry; ‘Beware the Blue Transits!’ And parents watched their weans on the way home from school…just in case.

One of them was called Tommy and he was well known for slashing your face and then tickling you. This was well known at the time. Parents told their weans to be wary of men dressed as clowns in the street. Seriously.

Why don’t the organisers put out a call to reunite them. They could show how rehabilitated they were by being given Clyde the Jaggy Thistle costies and open razors and allowed to walk amongst the audience. Killer clowns a myth? I think not.

Cya (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes but is it any defence against the Clowns? I think not.

Johnt850, but the police van was white……maybe a cunning device to hide their clowning…….mmmmmm

This is from one of the best and most under-rated Scots movies of forever. Spot the inspiration for the Killer Clown story and play the music loud. I had hoped there would more to the Opening Ceremony than blowing up the flats. We didn’t want to disappoint St Lucia, did we? How about this?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Restless Natives and the car chase to end all car chases. With full police support (unit).

I loved the flats, I loved them. Great neighbours…..Really all working-class folk you know, good, honest, and you could leave your door opened and anything (Jean McGeoch, a former resident of the Red Road Flats)*

April 5, 2014

We are Glasgow. We blow up buildings to celebrate major events. Well, not all of them. We’re blowing up five of them cos they’re not fit for people to live in. The one that’s left is for asylum seekers. It’s appalling! What kinda message is this to send to the Commonwealth? Or those who can be bothered to watch, anyway?

But I love the fact that Sanjeev Kohli – who made his name as the presenter of Ghetto Blasting but also done good as the shopkeeper in Still Game for which I have tickets – climbed to the top of the Finnieston Crane and found an empty Buckfast bottle. We are Glasgow…….we drink where we want. 🙂

Still waiting to hear whether a crane will play a big part in my life later this year.

* a quote from This Road is Red by Alison Irvine.

And I’ve not done anything this week that could be construed as a first or long-time re-visit. Three night shifts and my sister’s birthday saw to that. Happy Birthday, sis and thanks. 😀

And so dear listener, a great man died this week….Frankie Knuckles was one of the main men behind Chicago House music – a genre of music which emerged in the late Seventies of which I was totally unaware. It was only in the last seven years that, after discovering the joys of Trance (and many thanks for the intro, Doctor W), that I started to examine musical styles a wee bit more and discovered the joys of Chicago House and Detroit Techno. Four to the floor. I play a wee excerpt down below.

I had a recent conversation with a smashing woman I know in her very early thirties who was bemoaning the fact that she couldn’t understand modern music and didn’t see what it was all about. It was like listening to my dad from all those years ago. If we are allowed to keep up to date with, and occasionally change our tastes, in the clothes we wear why can’t we do it with music? 🙂

M & S and Debenhams and the Next Warehouse shop in Clydebank and charity shops, since you ask and not a single Pringle amongst them. No. No reason.

Someone else contacted me and said that whenever they watched the TV programme that is Doug Henshall and Shetland (cold, bleak and miserable) they thought of me. No names. No pack drill. But in the world of unposed photos, not every pic is a flattering one.

And a smashing lady died this week – Margo McDonald MSP, altho’ I knew her as the presenter of a consumer affairs programme called Fair Do’s which I produced for a year. The first story we broke was the large number of women who, despite epidurals before Caesarian sections at child birth, still felt pain but could do nothing about it.

The production team was me and Margo; the budget for freelance help was £75. We got a lot of stuff from the listening pubic cos it was Margo and she ‘got things done’. The fact that I knew lots of lawyers helped as well.

I also agreed with her stance on women who work as prostitutes; the Saunas were safer than working the streets or from a seedy flat advertised in postcards stuck in telephone boxes.

A very patronising radio critic, called Joyce McMillan, slagged off the title saying no-one says that these days.

A week later I was in a changing pavilion near a football pitch in Blairdardie after a particularly muddy game, when the janny came in and said;

‘Nae washing your boots in the sinks, lads. Fair Dos’ eh?’

And then there was the occasion I’d to go through to Edinburgh to meet Margo and picked her up from the flat that her and Jim and the girls lived in – the fish tank was a midden – and we had interviews to go and do, but first she was looking for a new bed. We went to this warehouse in Leith and ‘tried out’ some double bed with her sitting on one side and me on the other. Our sizes were not compatible; we looked at each other and dissolved in a shower of laughter which lasted until after we had lunch on this big boat in Leith Dock and then, very professionally, we went and carried out the interviews. That for me was Margo.

And finally, (in this kinda political edition of the blog) the badly thought out bedroom tax no longer exists in Scotland. Instead the Scottish Government has made available £50 million to mitigate this divisive and dictatorial Con Dem fascism. I’m sitting looking at the letter from the Minister for Housing and Welfare to Council even as we speak. 🙂

Cya, keep(ing) it fun – and then there was the time……

Johnt850, who will watch the demise of the Red Road from the shores of Possil Loch. With sandwiches.

So it’s generally accepted that an overall cut in the consumption of alcohol benefits everyone (Barrie 2012).

Examples include fewer days off cos of hangovers; less liver damage; fewer patients in A & E departments meaning more doctors and nurses to look after deserving people e.g. old people and new mums.

So when some doctors and other health professionals suggest that minimum pricing of alcohol is a good thing in a letter from the British Medical Association leading to a cut in overall consumption, everyone should welcome it.

No. Not the Scotch Whisky Association whose primary purpose after all is to sell more whisky leading to more profits for its members.

So who do you believe?

This is an hour long set from Frankie Knuckles. Just put it on in the background. And love.