Archive for June, 2014

It’s disappointing when our Player of the Year does that kind of thing’ (Gordon Taylor of the English PFA abut Luis Suarez)

June 28, 2014

Scarcely, the sternest of international tellings-off, is it?

And so, dear listener, the other night I ventured out to the cinema. Not to one of the major blockbusters that are around during the summer, nor some arty-farty arthouse movie in Serbo-Croat with subtitles, but to the stirring tale of Tim and Tam.

Okay, you’ve not heard of it; and it’s not yet been reviewed in the List; but it was a world premiere; and I did get a free drink out of it (double orange juice); and it was written by a good friend of mine (#soulboydaveybee); and produced by a well known name in Scottish cinema (Eddie Harrison); and starred two well known actors (Colin McCreadie and Calum Cuthbertson); and was only seven minutes long. 🙂

But it was really good. It’s a simple tale (without giving anything away) of two children’s TV entertainers who could have made the big time but didn’t and now play the student circuit telling rude and risqué jokes with a mixture of what might have been and why.

Right. Plug over. It was only one free drink but it was in Cineworld and it was in a roped off area and then shown in Screen 14, Level 5. No red carpet but my name was on a clipboard. I was a V.I.P. For a while. 😀 😀 😀

This is being broadcast from a different computer from usual. And it shows.

Elsewhere, e, AJ and RJ (and C) are back from holidays and three of us went down to the Riverside Museum.  Pesky filter lanes. Who needs them anyway?

Anyway, whilst it’s a good place to go, my eyes were drawn to m/v Causeway – a dredger – which was moving back and fore. Maybe nothing to most people. But I used to do that for a living. Watch boats in harbours. Not dredge. Many years ago. I worked in harbours. I miss harbours. Maybe this coming commemoration week I’ll give myself a wee pressie of a trip to a harbour. 😉

And following up a couple of stories from recent weeks, several people pointed out the story about a hotel in America which was haunted by ghosts of clowns: obviously the place where killer clowns go to die. Not tomorrow. But to die (read that in an Australian accent and it works as a gag) but what was really uncanny was…well remember that Becky, the Miss Marples of North London, had suggested a job as a ghost on the Ghost Train with Carter’s Steam Fair might be suitable for me? Well I happen to have a wee book called how to be a ghost by a couple of Glasgow writers called Neil Slorance and Campbell Miller. How did I know it would be good? It came recommended by Patrick Swayze.

And whilst I’m in this kind critic mode, can I recommend a beautiful piece of television called From Scotland With Love which may no longer be on iPlayer but was last week on BBC 2 Scotland. It’s seventy-five minutes of archive with soundtrack by the lovely King Creosote. It is well worth finding if you have any interest in Scotland – the nation – without any political point of view being expressed.

And finally, I’m fat. Seriously. For reasons I may explain next week after the ceremony to commemorate my birth sixty years ago (what some people call a birthday)I tried on a pair of trousers (waist size 30) and they were too tight at the top. They would not close. Denims lie. Trousers don’t. I do not like waist size 32……..war will be declared soon. After this coming week.  I will keep you posted. 😦

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Actually I keep giving it away but I have others.

Johnt850, still forty-two as he writes this.

At the moment I know a few people with cancer and a friend also very recently passed away. This is not through Prostate Cancer UK but people I know.

The superbly talented Caroline Ahern is facing cancer for the third time. She spoke to a group of people recently.

‘My brother and I were born with cancer of the eyes, the retina. My mum told us only special people get cancer. I must be very special because I have had it in my lungs and bladder as well.’

She was paying tribute to Macmillan cancer nurses. My dealings with them were few for my own cancer but they were more present for mum. Indeed it was a Macmillan nurse who arranged for the hospice care for the last few days. I can never pay too much tribute to the doctors and nurses and soooo many others who help sooo many people through these times but it was another aspect of the newspaper report that caught my eye.

‘Aherne talked about the importance of humour when dealing with cancer and joked at the end of her speech that she was pleased that ‘her wig had stayed on’’

 And you wonder why my hair is the length it is? It’s because I can, dear listener, because I can.

 My tribute to Booby Womack….

Someday I’m finally gonna let go, ‘Cause I know there’s a better way. And I wanna know what’s over that rainbow I’m gonna get out of here someday, someday (Steve Earle)

June 22, 2014

And so, dear listener, I broadcast this show after three nights of night shift and it may show as the show continues. The last time I did that I actually came home to do some editing for a student. It was the usual kinda thing;

‘Dear John I know it’s short notice but is there any chance that I can have this back by lunchtime today’….and we know I’m a nice guy and I say that ‘I will do my best’ – so instead of going home and going to bed I sit down at the laptop (which Skippy has kindly switched on) and begin to work…

And ten minutes later I find my head on the keyboard and this on the screen


Not what she’d written but what my head had chosen to write when it came into contact with the keyboard. So coffee was made and the job was done. Slowly. 😦

But I’ve really got to be careful how much coffee I drink. I have a good friend, whose name I shall not reveal, but if I meet her in the afternoon, it is often possible to work out whether she has had two cups instead of one in the morning. I am a recovered problem drinker and former broadcast journalist. I can drink coffee until Trey takes the cows home. I thought.

So I’m out at Hamilton Uny and I have a couple of cups with uni-Jo discussing the possibility of white knuckle riding as part of the Commemoration celebrations for the date of my birth on Wed, 2nd July. This is a space well worth watching. And we’re joined by the good Dr W, who has certain ideas, and by Jo’s Prof who wears crisp white t-shirts, eats healthily and designs the covers of his own books. And I have a third cup. On a breakfast of one apple.

I become a gibbering wreck. I have no control of what I say. I become slightly disorientated. I have strange palpitations on the train home. Luckily I had taken the train there. I will be more careful of liquid intake in future. 🙂

Anyway what I was trying to say was…….as some of you know I work as a project worker in supported accommodation for the homeless. They’re not hostels and they’re not shelters; they’re about helping people who have gone through a bad time back to independent living. There’s a confidentiality aspect and I don’t want to identify people.

But I do want to talk about a new resident (and my friend Ann from Prostate Cancer HQ who also writes about, and photographs, wildlife in a central Scotland habitat might be interested in this but it’s not quite does and deer at six paces). It was a spider. Scuttling along the office floor which had been freshly mopped. It was a reasonable size and if I say it was clean, does that sound daft? But for a large part of the shift, it became our friend. But it wasn’t there last night…….It was missed.

But what did happen was……..oh, no I can’t tell you that bit, can I? But it didn’t require stitches.

What else?

Oh, yes, Father’s day BBQ with three dads in attendance for two offspring and can I make a confession here? Quorn burgers taste much better when they’re on the same barbecue as real meat. That’s all I’m saying. But an interesting observation from the night. Why didn’t I have a commemoration birthday honours list like the Queen?

Nice thought but maybe too late?

What I would like to do, tho’ is what every publication does at this time of year and recommend Summer reading. Well a book. It’s called Momo and the Toto Brats and it’s the latest by the very successful children’s author Wendy Hesketh and is available from the emporium which used to be run by the rainforestriverman – or Amazon to give the shop its full name. Apparently it sells books and CDs online. It’ll never catch on, I told him. He got out. 🙂

Anyway I don’t often recommend books and the last one was from a totally different genre and was by Hogan Sinclair – same outlet. Same quality.

And finally I’d like to thank this show’s North London correspondent (Becky) who so obvs had my best interests at heart. (Are you still Miss Marpleing btw, Becky?). She has found the perfect job opportunity for me……. As a ghost performing on the Ghost Train on Carters Steam Fair – which sounds a damn fine organisation with a What the Butler show and other penny geggy exhibits. Salary? You have a choice. It’s either 10 p per scream or the guaranteed minimum wage. Payment by results for scaring people? You couldn’t make it up, could you? As cynical old hacks like me say. 😉

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes and it’s not getting involved in any aspect of the
Referendum trolling that is going on.

Johnt850, who will kneecap anyone who talks about him being a year older in a week or so’s time. It’s a nano-second if it’s anything.

Last week, as I said, was Father’s day and I enjoyed mine but I can never spend time with my son without thinking of the one thing he will inherit from me that I’d rather he didn’t get. His chance of getting prostate cancer is 2.5 times higher because I had it. I didn’t get mine from my father as there were just traces when my dad died. I got mine cos of a shite lifestyle on which the evil cancer cell pounced. Sorry Son Brian……live long and prosper.

This is Kate Perry and Birthday. No. No reason.

Remember that you are a people and fight for your rights – there are riches under the hills where you grew up. There is iron and coal there and gold there – there is richness in the land under your feet (Mary McPherson 1890s on the Skye Clearances)

June 14, 2014

And so, dear listener, the World Cup has started and mostly this blog will be a World-Cup free zone as I so believe there is something much more important happening soon time. I intend to keep mentioning that I will be commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of being born in the week beginning Sunday, 28th June from 0800 onwards (It’s when I finish two back to back night shifts and I’m taking a breather for a week). 🙂

But I have decided that I will apply for, and accept, a Bus Pass and will sit on the top deck of buses and look down women’s fronts.

I first heard the original of that gag when I was still in single figures and it came from the black and white figures of Pete’n’Dud (Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) and when I looked to my parents for guidance as to why the television audience had laffed, they looked at each other and decided it was time for bed. For me.

I’m sure I’m not the only person originally from the North East of Scotland who got their sex education from a Grampian TV programme called Living and Growing, altho’ mine was topped up by a magazine called Red Hot Dutch (and similar) as borrowed by a mate of mine from his dad’s shed every so often – a bonus of living in a fishing town.

So, all I want to say about the World Cup is that I have put £5 on Argentina to win. Four years ago we (the good Dr W and I) backed Spain to win for the first time ever at the same price (4 to 1) and they did so. Dancing in the streets of various places in the West of Scotland. But I had decided in advance – no money on Spain this year.

But speaking of streets in the West of Scotland I’d a very pleasant cup of coffee with Govan community video producer Jayne, in Café 13 on Friday, 13th at 1300…….and nothing went wrong. And no. No thirteenth step. But if you’re looking for a quiet time to yourself? Govan Old Parish Church and also the Govan Stones……awfully tranquil 🙂

And, okay, just a quick couple of words about the innovations coming from the World Cup. I love the idea of being able to spray paint a pitch green (Banksy, does this open up any thoughts for you?) and when the ref counts out ten yards he can spray a white line. Why, the last time I saw a white line sprayed was when……sorry, Skippy tells me the door bell went but I can’t see anyone there, Skippy? Now I’ve forgotten where I was. Where was I?

(It’s not age…it’s a literary device…okay?)

So last Sunday saw me at the Glasgow Mela and the West End Festival Mardi Gras but it all seemed quite quiet……My fave band at last week’s Mela? The Glasgow Dholis

And can I say another thing about the World Cup? I won’t watch every game. I need to have an interest in one of the teams or the game itself; beit financial (Argentina) or whether it could be a physical and meaty challenge (Spain v the Netherlands the other night). Another of my black’n’white memories (but maybe not at the time) was Chile v Italy……..even Ayrshire Juniors would have been frightened but that told me what the beautiful game was really about.  

And finally, for me, the most surprising thing about the Campbell Gunn affair was the fact that he sent an e-mail to the Telegraph. In my PR/journalism day you would take a bearded Telegraph reporter with a deep voice to an appropriate tea room and say, ‘you didn’t hear this from me but……..’ So why not do it that way?

Standards? What standards?

Cya (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Actually I’m giving away various versions of it but still have plenty in the glove box. In the car. The other badge.

Johnt850, nobody’s Labrador.

And I’m sure that like me you spent much of this week poring over the 2013 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey; Attitudes towards alcohol in Scotland. My eye was drawn to the ‘increases in the proportion of adults reporting that people would think it odd if they didn’t drink at all….’ 😦

Now apart from any other thought in my head, I find this sad. It, however, has rarely happened to me – partly cos people know well in advance about me cos I used to talk about my alcohol problem a lot. Nowadays I just don’t drink but very rarely have I ever encountered someone who has said, ‘Yes I heard about your alcohol dependency from so-an-so……You seem to be coping well.’

But I do get it for the cancer. The stigma still exists when even a relatively minor alcohol success story is talked about……..little wonder that those who, having had an alcohol problem but quietly return to ‘controlled drinking’, say little about it. Their massive success would be challenged and they have achieved more than me – in many cases.

There is still so much to change about attitudes and appreciation of how alcohol problems can be resolved.

I remember a long-haired David MacLennan from his 7:84 days and I fancied his sister (from afar). This is how another generation will remember him; 

It was to have been Doctor, Doctor by the Thompson Twins but on reading the lyrics…….

June 7, 2014

And so, dear listener, I have just been banging my head against a brick wall cos, without being too specific, an online job application has asked me to circle which of two positions I am actually applying for……But how? 😦

And if the London-centric BBC News has ever angered you with the phrase ‘and now time for the news where you are’ this is author James Robertson with the perfect riposte;

The smile is back on my face. 🙂

And I have just received my Partick Thistle season ticket for the coming season. It tells me I’m a ‘grown up’ and must pay ‘grown up’ prices. Student discount over the last two years or so has been good. In cinemas. And similar places of entertainment. If I’m not careful, I may be paying tax soon……wow, that would be really ‘grown up’.

Mind you, there is a certain ‘date of birth’ celebration coming up when I may have to consider my age and maturity. Mind you (again) having had a look at a reverse bungee jump on Youtube, I think it’s do-able with appropriate buddy…..I have an idea. 😉

But the important thing is that the North Stand stayed red’n’yellow. 😀

And the quasi-autonomous dictatorship that is the Empire Games continues to ride rough shod over everyone. Ask the residents of North Lanarkshire and the people of Dalmarnock. However, my rank hypocrisy in this matter may well reveal itself in a few weeks’ time but no matter how good my seat, I will be cheering for St Lucia.

Incidentally, I was involved in the Empire Games in 1986 for BBC Scotland – pure unbiased BBC Scotland – and I do not remember similar disruption but I also remember the Glasgow Eastern Area Renewal (GEAR) plans of the late seventies and early eighties. Legacy? What legacy?

And I did a wee interview for Radio Clyde this week for the good folk at Prostate Cancer UK on the subject of what is described as a ‘risk indicator’. Basically it is agreed that the symptoms to which I refer – such as going to the bog too often in the night – and that very specific blood test – PSA – are not enough in themselves. With which I agree and I seem to have called on the Scottish Government to look into the possibility of researching into and supplying such a thing.

But in the meantime, ‘Any doubt, get it checked out.’

So where do I stand on the issue of paying 5p to supermarkets so I can advertise their names just so it goes to ‘charity’? Well, I’m currently eating an apple…….sorry, I’m currently collecting Tesco bags, Morrison bags and ASDA bags. And when the time comes, I will walk into ASDA with my Morrison bags and into Tesco with my ASDA bags…… get the message? It’ll be fun. :p

And finally, I rarely tell tales of the project(s) where I work but I will this time.

Somebody came into the office and said there was a wasp in the room where he was preparing food (I don’t know why I didn’t call it the kitchen there) and he hated wasps. So I went thru with a copy of that day’s Metro. ‘Bill’ left the room.

But it was a buzzy fly. I counselled it with a brief intervention and it left. But I thought that was too easy. I should make something of it. So I started to thwack surfaces and walls and shouted out, ‘take that you ruffian’ and ‘oooh’ and ‘you little bast……’ when the door opened to see how I was getting on. Or so I thought. It was not ‘Bill’. It was another service user……..

Prat is now my middle name. 😦

Cya (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? YES.

Johnt850, who was not the guy in the tartan boxers on the M8 altho’ it did bring back memories of a night at Anniesland Cross……..

And so to the possible PhD;

I e-mailed a couple of academics asking for literally five minutes of random thinking but got nondescript responses. I was down. 😦

But a lovely lady at Paisley Uny Library (No. Not that one) came back with a positive response. And I’d a wee conversation with someone I’d met at a suicide intervention course who was also very positive in some of the things she had to say. I was back up. 🙂

I often speak of my support team; and recently I expressed my doubt about the existence of God or Karma or a Higher Power or some form of Energy directing me. If such an entity exists, then it is a collective made up of women aged in their late thirties or early forties and if they’re over that age then they don’t look it and if they’re under that age e.g. Missie K and the Vampire Slayer, then they have similar dominance over me and I’ll quit whilst I’m digging a hole here but one thing they do have in common? They’re gorgeous. Thanks. XX

And in a week when so many images of D-Day and D-Day veterans abounded, this was the one that caught my eye. No matter what your views on war and peace, this highlights the debt we owe to all the men and women who were sacrificed by a coalition government…….

(it may take a second or two to come up)