Archive for July, 2014

In the second city of the Empire, Mother Glasgow watches all her weans, trying hard to feed her little starlings, Unconsciously she clips their little wings….And the tree And the fish And the bird And the bell? Let Glasgow Flourish (Michael Marra)

July 25, 2014

And so dear listener, the expected is not about to happen. I will not be cynical about the Commonwealth Games. Now that the suits no longer attempt to hog the limelight other than a patronising Alex Salmond (‘the girl from South Africa’ has a name – use it!)* I’m happy. It’s a time for celebration by the athletes, spectators and volunteers. 😀

Especially the nine scantily clad lady triathletes pedalling their way round Strathclyde Park on Friday morning television and being filmed from behind as they cycled past the Gay Cottagers’ Car Park but for some reason they never made it to M&D’s where the Reverse Bungee Jump exists. I’d had an hour’s sleep after my fifth night shift in seven days. I thought; ‘hallucinations don’t get much better than this’. 😀

*She is called Pumeza and she sang the ‘Freedom Come All Ye’. 😀

I mean the Queen’s been much more fun than Salmond. From smiling cheekily at the nice moment where her message would never be heard until Scott’s Porage Oats Man Chris Hoy stepped up to save the Empire (sorry) Commonwealth to photo-bombing Australian hockey players’ selfies; from staring daggers at a woman who had the temerity to turn up in a similar outfit to her at Tollcross Swimming Pool (and who left) through to taking a cargo of drink’n’drugs to an ‘empty’ in the Red Road Flats. 😀

(My lawyers have suggested I emphasise that one of those is not true but I do not have to specify which one it is) 😉

But what I don’t understand is why she had to send a secret message to herself that had to be carried all the way around the world so that Mark Beaumont could kid us on that the Commonwealth was still important and that where poverty did exist, boxing was a dead good way of alleviating it. I mean, why not e-mail it to herself? 😀

And I don’t think the Opening needed either Rod Stewart (and his lack of respect for the Celtic Boardroom) or Susan Boyle (who is not good in live situations) and maybe a little less Dunbar and Barrowman (altho’ Barrowman’s gay kiss was a smack in the face for the homophobic Commonwealth nations). 😀

People make Glasgow so why not trust them a wee bit more. They were the highlights; them and the Scottie Dogs. I watched it on iPlayer and would maybe have liked to see a wee bit more about Glasgow but maybe I missed it….. 😀

Mind you I would have liked to have seen a wee bit more from Scotland in the Edinburgh Castle fiesta last week but the producers didn’t feel the same. There was none, other than Fred Macauley and an appalling Ronnie Corbett who brought back memories of Hogmanay at Gleneagles all those years ago. Seriously, were both Hue and Cry and Deacon Blue too busy? 😀 That’s unusual.

Tremendous notion to raise funds for UNICEF and I’ll tell you more about my forthcoming attempt to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK next week – with or without training. 😦

And what a twit Tory Lord peer, Lord Plumb was when he spoke of the ‘international audience in Glasgow during the Conservative Games’. Former Celtic Chairman, John Reid, soon put him right. 😀

Would Sir Bob Kelly, one of Reid’s predecessors as Chairman even have allowed Rod Stewart in, given his profligacy in fathering children to a number of women not all of whom he married? 🙂

And this week’s OOOPs of the Month award goes to the Sri Lankan cycle team who pedalled down the M74 as part of their training. Apparently they got as far as the Motherwell exit – which has nothing to do with Motherwell being beaten by part-time Icelandic Stjarne (sp)…..out of Europe before the beginning of August. 😦 A true Motherwell exit….

And finally, I take no pride in accurately predicting that Mo Farah would not be there. After all I could not predict a stomach problem. However, I can see a man unhappy in life. He never really wanted to be a marathon runner; he was quite happy where he was. Someone, somewhere told him that was the way to fame and fortune. And he listened. Unfortunately. I feel sorry for him. :C

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? With pride, with pride.

Johnt850, not quite a convert; more in a pre-contemplation stage.

So I’ve been trying to let folk know this before the blog goes out but a combo of good weather and night shifts means I’ve not told everyone who needs to know…so apologies to some folk.

I now have a kinda proper job. Tbh, it’s me established as a pemanent part-time night shift worker with a housing association that provides supported accommodation for the homeless – not a hostel nor a shelter but a chance for people to get back on their feet with some help. I’ve been doing it on an ad hoc basis for some time.

Three years ago, I would not have thought that I’d be doing this. It was going to be drink’n’drug intervention but, altho’ I don’t believe in a God or Higher Power or Buddha or some form of Energy directing us in some way, I’m happy.

And then last Thursday at six o’clock in the morning, I did something that kinda broke the rules. And I’m glad I did. Even one hour and a cup of tea can make a huge difference even if…… Rules can be mended; it’s not so easy with people.

People make Glasgow…..not the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ men in suits….that’s why Glasgow Smiles Better.

These are some songs about Glasgow from a time when we laughed at drunks in Glasgow. Feel free to join in.

You’ll be amazed how many of the words you know. 🙂

Young woman stands arms outstretched looking upwards and says, ‘God, you seem to send me nothing but bad going-nowhere guys. Can you not send me somebody nice?’ to which God says, ‘I did. He’s the one you call your friend.’ (Facebook gag)

July 19, 2014

And so dear listeners, some words of mine that I never thought I’d ever hear;

‘Phwoar…there’s a few new Tory Government ministers I wouldn’t mind in my cabinet.’ 😉

And I was also pleasantly surprised, through Facebook, to learn that I’m not the only one to have enjoyed some very enjoyable conversations with the very enjoyable Michael Gove. This was when I worked for the BBC and he was a leader writer for The Times. We’re both originally from the North East of Scotland but he was, and possibly still is, good company. I abhor the party he represents.

Ah, yes Facebook. I’ll update you on the Commonwealth Games stories they don’t want you to hear later and take you into a pub in Byres Road but first……

I was totally thrown by some techie stuff (as happens to me from time to time, Son Brian) but would like to thank Jenny, Jeanette and the Blogmeister for their help. What they suggested brought the restore ‘button’ back on to my page and it was fine from there but it was because it happened the day after a really frightening incident that unnerved me. 😦

Those of you who know Facebook will know that every so often you are recommended someone that you might want as a friend. Usually it’s because you have lots of mutual friends or there’s something else in common.

Last week I was offered someone who I’d spoken to over four years ago in connection with a possible radio programme on prostitution and when she was mentioned to anyone else it was her first name only. I knew her second name as did the person who introduced me to her. I met her for an hour in a hotel In Bellshill. That was the only contact.

She was recommended to me in her full name.

Someone else who was very helpful at the time was a woman who introduced me to a number of women working as prostitutes. There wasn’t much mention of her either in any ‘paperwork’. She has since (re)married. She was recommended to me in her married name which I did not know but I recognised her.

I don’t care about Logarithms/Algorithms. I was frightened. Seriously. 😦 😦 😦

And finally, this week’s Commonwealth Stories that they don’t want you to hear although I don’t know why they’re not telling us that former top athlete Tom McKean is one of those nice police people out on the streets protecting the baton; but we can guess why Chief Exec David Grevemberg (sp) initially denied that the sickness bug was norovirus. After all Mo Farah did say he was only able to compete now that his stomach problems were over. And did you see on TV the frightening walls and wire that separate the Games village from the people of Dalmarnock? There’s similar defending the world’s bowlers from the good people of Radnor Street.

Cyclists have lost cycle lanes and are having to cycle out there in mainstream traffic. Watching out for Commonwealth drivers who were told at a briefing that if the delegate wanted to go to Hampden but his wife then wants to go to Silverburn Shopping Centre, then the driver had to do that journey. What? Are there no female delegates? And if the delegate wanted to go to a brothel they had to be taken there.

There are no brothels in Glasgow. There are several two bedroom flats near Charing Cross and Glasgow Green where the bedding is changed less often than the girls who work there.

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Maybe I should wear them all at one time. 🙂

Johnt850, often compared to a cat in the rye. Or was it a catcher on a hot tin roof?

So I was in a pub that is now known as the Curler’s Rest in Byres Road the other day. My friend Maureen of Momac Designs was showing her finest there. Upstairs. Lots of nice but slightly different jewellery. Watch out for them. Momac has a page on Facebook.

Anyway….I realised it had been years since I’d been in the Curlers. As I put it on Facebook later ‘I couldn’t remember when I was last in there.’ (double-edged message there – literary device).

I am comfortable in bars, clubs and other licensed premises but there are some places I will not go into. Tennent’s in Byres Road and the Three Judges at the bottom are but two. However I am happy in the Hillhead Book Club, Vodka Wodka and Brel’s for example. There’s a very simple explanation for this.

Seven years ago, when I worked towards my recovery with a professional addiction worker and we both agreed that alcohol addiction/dependency was not an irreversible disease but learned behaviour we worked on losing the triggers that sparked things off and stopping going to these two bars was a big decision but a good one.

We eventually agreed that going to bars (obvs drinking soft drinks) was feasible but going to new bars was important – losing acquaintances who would set me up with a pint of lager as soon as I walked in and I still feel a wee bit like that.

It also takes in the wonderful world of coffee bars and I feel so much better for their existence. Finding new places to go was a brilliant part of my recovery and I still enjoy doing that. Learning new behaviours all the time. 🙂

Before Liz Lynch (McColgan) in 1986, there was Lachie Stewart in 1970, also in Edinburgh……stick with this clip until the final effing bend and tell me you’re not cheering your effing head off and effing crying at the same time.

Looking fifty is great – if you’re sixty (Joan Rivers)

July 11, 2014

And so, dear listener, in a rather special edition of the show, I’ve been asked to justify what a couple of people see as ‘a poor attitude towards the Commonwealth Games’. Nobody in authority, although David Grevenberg (sp) never did reply to my suggestion that we should just have a mammoth sing-in as an opening ceremony.

But I do want to correct a misimpression. I am not against the Commonwealth Games but I do have reservations.

It’s not the fact that, despite the impression given by TV trails, the World’s top athletes are NOT coming to Glasgow. They are, however, in Glasgow as I write this and that number includes some Jamaican athletes (those not still banned) and a lot of the Kenyans who are running at Hampden but not in a fortnight’s time. They are running in what one newspaper described as the lucrative Diamond League.

It’s not the fact that homosexuality is banned in 41 out of the 53 Commonwealth countries. We jumped up and down at Putin’s Russia and its well-publicised stance on homosexuality but we ignore the fact it’s punished by twenty years’ imprisonment plus flogging in Malaysia.

Indeed if you do want to protest then Police Scotland will direct you to one of the special ‘Protest Zones’ where you can be kettled and corralled – a British tradition which started in 2012 for the London Olympics.

It’s not the fact that people like the Jaconellis had their home destroyed after being compulsorily purchased with the intent of building a community facility. Except it’s going to be a big marquee tent for corporate hostility.

It’s not the fact that the people of the East End are fed up with receiving yet another regeneration which will apparently leave a legacy (Remember GEAR of the Seventies?) but to get that legacy they’ve got to put up with their streets being closed to them and shuttle buses being provided to get them out.

I was at a public meeting about four years ago in Petershill Juniors Social Club where many concerns about matters like these were raised and the organisers said reassuring words and then explained that part of the legacy would be a leaner fitter Glaswegian………..

And as for the marketing department getting into a frenzy any time they think someone is making use of the words ‘Commonwealth Games 2014’ in any form of commercial enterprise (I hope the Queen’s speech, if it is in that baton which is currently touring Scotland, gives them laldy) and my opposition to the Stalinist intent of destroying high rise blocks to send a message of contempt to the rest of the Commonwealth……..

No. I hope it goes really well. But it is only now that the real heroes of the Games are arriving; the volunteers, the fans and the athletes – especially the lesser known names e.g. all the athletes from St Lucia and elsewhere.

Y’see I was very lucky in my broadcasting career. I helped cover the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games of 1986 for BBC Radio Scotland and I was sole coverage of the European Special Olympics in Glasgow in 1990 and celebrated the event with a radio documentary dedicated to the amazing people who made every competitor a winner.

Yes. They were different times. Security was more relaxed and I didn’t even need passes for my car for car parks.

In Edinburgh we mixed with the athletes in their homes in Pollok Halls of Residence and we went to their nightly ‘discos’. And that included the final night ‘disco’ at Ingliston where a current high heid yin at STV and I ended up on a bus with a bunch of Aussie athletes with no idea where we were heading. I last met her at a Tough Mudder Run in Dumfries – she and I were spectating.

The Special Olympics were very moving and I came away with amazing memories of very special people; table tennis players with Down’s Syndrome, a badly physically handicapped boy from Bishopbriggs who took part in the Riding for the Disabled just up the road from me and all the coaches who had given up weekends and evenings (for nothing) to make it happen.

And that’s what’s been lacking….fun and belief in the individual and sincerity…..and it only hit me when the Opening Ceremony uniforms were launched……they got Scotland talking about the event in a really fun way. ‘Made in Scotland from curtains’ was maybe my favourite comment. I like them.

So finally, I do wish everyone who takes part (in whatever form) luck and a certain amount of love. Be you a bored volunteer in Queen Street Station waiting for people to approach you; an athlete in the bowls (what is lawn bowls low 5, Anne?) who’s about to get coverage you’ve never ever had before because yours is the only event at 11 in the morning; or you’re a spectator from St Lucia who’s there to see your cousin’s wee boy in the boxing. Have fun and stuff the marketing men, the badly paid and badly trained security men who can’t speak English and the bored but well paid runners of Jamaica who won’t even speak for themselves but pass it on to their coaches and managers to answer for them…..Mo Farah does the same……

Does that explain everything? That’s enough for tonight, but what do you think?

Cya, keep(ing) it fun (please) and still wearing that badge? Still waiting on the photos to prove it.

Johnt850, like a squirrel with a good PR company. Yas! (as Carmen would say)

Actually one more point…..some people think I’m against Alcoholics Anonymous because there are certain parts of their thinking and ways of doing things with which I disagree (surely I’m allowed reservations?) but I can never ever fault an organisation which, at the very least, allows people with alcohol problems and a possible way out of them to share that way with each other. I’ll leave the personal out of it tonight.

My own favourite memory of 1986? Being a sports presenter one night at eleven o’clock and announcing that this had happened earlier that day.

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone (Jim Fiebig)

July 4, 2014

And so dear listener, having trailed it for so long, it finally happened; I commemorated having been born sixty years ago on Wednesday. Why not a celebration? ‘Cos every day is a celebration as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

No. I don’t feel any different. And, yes. I have applied for a bus pass (National Entitlement Card) but I do not understand why people of a certain age should be entitled to such a thing. I’m picking hairs. (Is that an appropriate thing to say? I’d rather pick hairs than nits)

But yes. Wednesday was a good day. And, yes, I did have ice cream for lunch thanks to AJ and RJ (and their mum was there as well) in Nardini’s in Byres Road. I was particularly impressed by just under two years’ old RJ’s lying spread-eagled on her front at the entrance to the café and the way that people managed to step over her. Parents of very young children will know that moment when a tantrum cannot be addressed and you hope and pray for the forbearance of all the people around you and hope that they were once parents of very young children and know that moment when……and so on and so on….. 😉

And then came the evening – which, to be honest, always happens towards the end of the day anyway.

And I’d like to thank my sister (x for no publicity) for making the meal possible. 🙂

I’d also like to thank the Vampire Slayer for recommending the privet dining room (such a nicer typo than getting the word ‘private’ accurate). The VS is currently in Milan and I look forward to her next recommendation. 🙂

It was a place called the restaurant, the bar, the grill and should not be confused with any other grill on the same floor of Prince’s Square; (two people did but I found them). 😉

I liked the way they catered for my friend, the good Dr W, and her vegan needs…….even to the pudding; I liked the way Kenny (husband of uni-Sharon) who, when told that Dr W had once been a railguard, very courteously said; ‘that was a long time ago’; I liked the service which recognised that it was an occasion and more than just a meal and the waiter who got to recognise my nodding head; and I liked the fact that the two service users, who I encountered at the low level of Central Station, did not carry out their threats to follow me to wherever I was going; I liked getting a bottle of special ginger beer and will save it for a special occasion; I liked the Banksy print; and I liked the fact that when the conversations got to ex-wives I managed to say nothing (‘cos she was sitting opposite me). 😀

And I got dead good pressies – many of which have still to be properly investigated. I would appear to have been enrolled in a life coaching course which intrigues me and will be studied in greater depth this week as will the Peckham’s cookery course. 🙂

And there was a wee bit of ‘meet the author’ as well but more of that on another occasion.

I enjoyed the day and I do hope everyone else involved in the day did so as well. (And if your pressie or card was not mentioned, it was appreciated) 😀

And there may be more to follow including one designed to raise money for charity as I plunge screaming. In fact there may be another occasion when I plunge screaming in a couple of weeks’ time. (Jo?) I will probably not park in the Gay Cottagers Car Park this time.

What else in the world?

Oh, yes. Did anyone else spot Adrian Chiles doing his pre-match discussions from the Copacabana beach wearing socks as well as sandals? That and the fact that he is so safe that he feels he has to caveat any contentious opinions from any members of the panel – or Martin O’Neill to be honest. I’ve never been impressed.

And finally can someone explain to BBC TV promo people that the World’s top athletes are NOT coming to Glasgow?

It’s the Commonwealth Games – not a world championship. Sorry but I do hope the volunteers have a great time and I know a few of them and I’m sure they will but can you name me any participants than some of the top athletes and not your own specialist sport? I just remember 1986 when I worked at the Games in Edinburgh and maybe that spoiled/soured me. Maybe more of that nearer the time. It’ll be fun but it’s not world-shattering……and I think the volunteering will be brill but not the road closures.

St Lucia has won a total of two bronzes since they joined the Commonwealth in 1979. They will do so much better this year. Go St Lucia!

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? I have so many more to choose from. It’s nice.

Johnt850, still worried by my waist size.

So why am I doing these things – maybe attempting a PhD and some severe physical stuff still to come?

Is it to prove that life begins at 60?

No. It’s to prove the power of recovery……..I think there does come a time when you’ve recovered (in my case from having a severe alcohol problem and bad cancer) and you want to show the world what can be achieved. I missed out on a lot of good times in my late forties and fifties ‘cos of the drink and the cancer. There’s so much left that I want to enjoy. Even if it does mean I plunge screaming.

Here’s a selfie of me on Wednesday morning. Honest.