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)

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; 


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