Archive for August, 2014

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time, or the tools, to write (Stephen King)

August 30, 2014

And I’ll explain the relevance of that in the serious bit below the line.

And so, dear listener, something has happened that may change my life but the main people involved have asked me not to reveal it on social media and I will try to get round folk on an individual but highly random basis. Actually it won’t change my life at all. I’ll stay a really nice guy. And that is beginning to annoy me. 😦

It’s the programme called Master Baking for Beginners (or similar). My interest was aroused in that at a very young age. Meringue? No. You’re right. It’s not so much the Bin Gate thing but the continued use of innuendo particularly from the bearded tw*t (so many vowels fit, don’t they?) who so many women fancy despite his indiscretion(s). I was with a group of women of a certain age on Saturday, and there was definitely the hint of ‘I would’ coming from their middle-class lungs.

But it was his latest innuendo that had me boaking;

‘the length is good on this one.’

Y’see I couldn’t get away with that. ‘That’s most unlike you, jt, they would say.’ And it’s beginning to annoy me. But I don’t know what to do about it. And anyway, I’m a grower not a shower. My tomatoes what I grew were sweet and tasty and my cucumber was well worth waiting for. 🙂

I am every woman’s nice male friend and it’s beginning to grate. Some people may even think me gay. BUT I AM NOT GAY. I AM INCREDIBLY HETERO. AND IN REALLY GOOD WORKING ORDER.I AM ALL MAN!

So I was at this sea food cookery course yesterday, and it was jolly nice. It was in the old (?) Jacobean Corsetry Factory in Virginia Street Glasgow….not a corset or basque or (I’ll stop there) in sight and it was really good. It was a birthday pressie from my sis. And I thoroughly enjoyed. Those were the women who ‘would’ the tw*t.

We cooked and ate full servings of meules mariniere, scallops with julienne of spaghetti of vegetables, simple squid, lobster bisque with langoustine and brandy (I passed on the brandy and I sometimes wonder if that’s the problem but if my lack of drinking is the problem then there’s nothing I can do about it) and crab and avocado gateau with lemon dressing. And I learned how to chop an onion.

I’ll need to run it off at some point and I can do that at the Fitness Club I go to in Paisley where I’m now going on a Monday night where they think I’m nice and fit for my age. Aaaaargh! But it’s a nice compliment. And I am. 😀

Maybe that’s the problem. People see the age before they see me. I’m convinced that’s the problem when I try to go fishing. My worm hasn’t been nibbled for ages. One of my co-workers thinks I think too much and is going to help me if we ever find a quiet moment. And that’s another thing. When the shout comes I can hit those tenement stairs pretty damn quick with alarm buzzer, keys and phone.

So. No.. More…Mister….Guy….. (Maybe I should shave my head?)

Incidentally, Dr W (and this is a non-sequitor to anything I’ve just said) I did ask if they did vegan courses and they thought that might be worth trying and they’d let me know and if they did, I’ll come with you…..and a big thanks to e for helping me with some very specific shopping the other day and to uni-Sharon for introducing me to the Fitness Club. 🙂

Mmmmmm not the most ruthless of paragraphs but I will try.

And finally, next week’s blog will explain why I’ve not done any Ice Cold in Alexandria challenges but have opted for the much easier challenge of abseiling to my death…sorry…. down the Titan Crane in a fortnight or so’s time. And I’m hoping to raise some money for Prostate Cancer UK. And that’s another thing; I am neither impotent nor incontinent as I explained on BBC Radio Scotland a few months ago and one of the double page spreads the Daily Record did about me a wee while back would confirm that.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Buffed and polished for the big day….sorry…the other big day, given that one has just happened.

Johnt850, fit, well buff and available…..

So this blog has remained pretty referendum free cos it is non-political in that my views are mine and I won’t use this vehicle to inflict them on others. (I’m nice that way) But I have been so disappointed in the way social media has been used. I’ve seen lies and non-truths and conspiracy theories shared or re-tweeted without anyone reading them before they do that. So many people pass things on without reading them or checking the facts or the context; things which the much derided media have to do because there are laws and regulations that can be used if the media get it wrong. But proper complaining involves so much more effort than just passing it on and saying ‘typical BBC!’

Anyway, I hope there is a Yes vote but after it we have a long period of consultation and compromise..something notably absent from the current debate…and then in 2016 we have elections when we can vote for who we want – even the Unionist parties will have to have a change of thinking……..but I worry for the Facebookers out there who have never physically knocked on a door, handed out a leaflet or engaged in proper debate. For whom Russell Brand is a political hero. Then there’s a lot of women who ‘would’ him anyway.

John McLean was an early political hero of mine. And James Connolly. I have books of their writings if you ever want to borrow them but it might be too much effort for many. Here is a song (it’s an old recording) commemorating one of the many times McLean left prison. Krassivy, Krassivy – ‘beautiful and red’. He didn’t achieve all he wanted to do either.

James Wright Foley – journalist aged 40. R.I.P.

August 23, 2014

The worst I ever had to face in twenty-odd years as a broadcast journalist was a knife, a broken bottle and just general threats; and there’s a possibility of some of that in my current job, but at least I get to wear an alarm buzzer…..not much good if you’re reporting from Gaza, Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan.

And so, dear listener, the day is almost upon us……..No. I have nothing ‘grand’ to report and won’t be doing so on here or on a general Facebook page……….if you want to know what I’m talking about, mail me, txt me or PM me.

No. On 14th September at about 2 pm I will be Plunging. Screaming….sorry abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank and my thanks to all those who have sent me pics of it. I know what it looks like. I was looking at it the other day. It’s massif and I was miles away. 😦 😦 😦

I have spoken to a few folk who have done it and I know, from my recent Go Ape experience, that all I need to do is to run over some basic rules with an instructor, make sure I’m properly hooked up, shout ‘3,2,1 Go’ to myself and kick off into the open air. Easy. (I’m lying. I’m terrified – not by the jump but the walk along the crane to where I jump from) 😦 😦 😦

And here’s my Justgiving site but if you don’t like Justgiving, then contact me and I’ll arrange another way to get your money – over a drink? 🙂

Thanks, and, yes, it was a birthday pressie from the good Dr W, who hopefully, will be there on the day as, hopefully, will some others. 🙂

Moving lead-footedly on to the tune of the Funeral March…..

And, no, I haven’t done the ice bucket challenge and won’t be….the waters of the Clyde are cold enough down there should I miss the ground. 😦 😦 😦

So I have been going to places I have never been before such as Croy….an interesting bucket list..…..the conversation with the man taking my money on the train went as follows;

Me; I’d like a return ticket, Summerston to Croy.

Him; To Croy?

Me; Yes. Return, please.

Him; So you’re planning to come back. From Croy.

Me; I hope so.

Him; Mmmmmm…….Coming back from Croy, eh……..

With confidence I was not filled.

So I went and had a lovely day with Missie K and her lovely mum…….it’s a fooderie called The Boathouse and it’s near Craigmarloch and it’s one of the amazing places along the Forth and Clyde Canal, and it looks dead solid to me, altho’ many years ago, apparently, ‘the ground beside the canal (was) too boggy to support a building of (any) size, a lesson the canal builders learned the hard way when their first effort sank.’ I’d smoked haddock in a spinach and prawn gratin which sank pretty easily as well. 🙂

And me, e, AJ and RJ ate in a posh café in Finnieston the other day – which was also a nice fish dish of lemon sole with a filling but it was awfy small…the next time I’m getting chips as well……no wonder I’m fat…….still I’ll get down quicker on the Sunday. There’s an effing big crane in Finnieston as well and, recently, Sanjeev Kohli went up to the top of it to do some filming and found an empty bottle of Buckfast. (Other tonic wines are available).

And finally, for the first time in a very long time, I feel a wee bit better on the money front – some unexpected cash from a pension thing; the editing has been hectic in the last fortnight [Chinese accountants, Chinese accountants, Chinese accountants…..not always the equivalent of a cold shower but recently…….] and my first payslip since I became a permanent part-time night shift project worker came in the other day. I can talk of annual leave, shift swops, TOIL and now, for the first time in six years or so, I have paid tax. So apologies if we’ve not met as promised. There’s been much happening and I will be in touch; but this time it is very, very, very much my treat……..and I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes. And as the big day gets closer it’s getting more and more excititated.

Johnt850 (‘gnarled’ is a brilliant word to describe a frazzled state of mind)

I’d a recent conversation with a very old friend of mine (old is such an open ended word) in which I told him a wee bit more about my hopes to do a PhD – and the subject – and he asked why it always came back to alcohol with me (not in a horrible way as in ‘isn’t it time you moved on?’) and I tried to answer and found it hard. Why didn’t I think about Italian Renaissance art, for example?

Apart from having no interest in the subject, I find that it’s now other people who ask me about it……often when there’s no-one else around….and if I can get some folk thinking a wee bit more about alcohol and its effects (but not in a heavy way) then maybe we can start doing something about it. After all, fewer drink related people going into A & E could mean more resources for cancer and MND and stuff……I thought that from a window overlooking the Nice’nd’Sleazy end of Sauchiehall Street at four o’clock in the morning the other day……I’m going to ‘do’ that busker one morning, btw. Apparently he travels up from Ayr every night.

This is one of the greatest rock songs ever. (Thanks Rosie). There’s the angst of the opening words (how often have I said those words?) and then the drums and then the bass and then the key changes and then the drums bring it all back……..the music and the memories. 🙂

Three, Two, One, Go! (Me at the top of a 400 metre zipwire)

August 16, 2014

And so dear listener, I wrote this in rather uncomfortable circumstances the other night, because on Friday afternoon I had a tube inserted in my penis and one up my bum…….but that’s S & M in Summerston for you. Now, where’s that gaffa tape? No. I’ve mentioned it before that I have a slightly overactive bladder – a wee bit like its owner this week. 🙂

It’s not too bad but I would like it fixed. There’s a meeting with the Medical Team on 16th September – two days after I take the leap of faith that is abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and two days before we take the leap of faith that is voting for Independence for Scotland. I will keep you posted.

No, I said last week that, after the Commonwealth Games, things would settle down again and that the messages about cancer and bevvy would return and a wee bit bout my own lifestyle would kick in. But what has really knocked me out this week has been three people who learned/know my story and who have told me how impressed they are about the way I’ve ‘turned round’ my life. I feel ill at ease with that but very grateful.:)

Yes, I have done well but I have had so much help but you don’t want to hear about that – you want to hear about some other things I’ve done – including the Fitness Club I may well be attending regularly on Monday nights. It was an idea by uni-Sharon that I should attend but silly me forgot to put on fitness clothes so I did a long walk with some of them. I will return properly clothed and this time I will avoid the left hand filter into Causewayside (sp) Street cos that took me on a long journey out of my way but it was a voyage of memory. The woman I used to be married to – my accountant – used to live out that way and her family and the memories that came back when I saw Charleston Bowling Club…..not necessarily good ones….but there you go.

But my first week as a permanent part-time nightshift worker (get thee behind me Ambition!) went well and I will speak a wee bit more about it but subject to all the rules of confidentiality…..

But I hear you cry, how did you celebrate the Good Dr W’s birthday? Not with a nice meal and a walk…like we once did in Embra at the BookFest time….oh no…we went Ape. Go Ape. In Aberfoyle.

It’s a world above the Trossachs full of zipwires, traverses across the country from tree to tree, ladders that you couldn’t get two feet into at one time and two Tarzan jumps – one of which saw my life flashing before my eyes – or it would have done had I not been so careful staying alive.

And it is also possible that there may from time to time be occasions when I want to say something quietly to Dr W and I will put it into square brackets so you don’t need to read it.

[Do you know you left my bathroom light on? It was burning for the five hours or so I was out the house]

It was really good and you were well shown what to do and you repeated the mantra green to green; hook up the blue, hook up the red and jump…..We kinda teamed up with two mums and their offspring, Libby and Marcus but one of the mums, Brigit, was terrified but she completed the course and well deserved the hug I gave her at the end…..everyone was helping everyone else. 😀

[I don’t think black’s a strange colour for the kitchen]

But I have to pay a major thanks to Dr W (who the world knows is an amazing friend) for saving my life – or that’s how it felt anyway. There’s a thing called the Tarzan Leap and the idea is you kinda zipwire from a tree into a large cargo net, bounce off once and then the momentum will bring you back in at a more controllable speed. I was tired and I made a grab on the first run in so it was flapping, as was I, at 50 mph. I was scared. Seriously. You forget you’re hooked up. I couldn’t find where to put my feet and hands. Then, Dr W saved the day. What a loud voice she has. W helped me traverse across slowly but to safety and before I could catch my breath she was off on the next one….

That was the kinda frightening moment I had expected more of…..phew.

[but how did your ear-ring get in there anyway?] 😉

And so I have the confidence to abseil (W’s birthday pressie to me) because I will get tuition as we did on Wednesday and I will take my place at the top of the 164 foot high crane and I will say ‘Three two one Go’ and I will jump in a rather controlled manner to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK. Here’s the Justgiving site;

And finally, there’s not a lot else to say… was a brilliant day. 😀

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes and it stayed on.

Johnt850, who’d never been compared to a Bollywood hero until this week. 🙂

Mork and Mindy and Robin Williams’s message to Orion at the end of each show were brilliant (as was another TV series called ALF)……Robin did his, as he did most things, with a lot of impro. My major memory of him was an appearance on Graham Norton’s show one night. Graham offers his guests a glass of wine (or at least used to). He offered one to Robin who turned it down and said, ‘why are you offering me that when you know?’

Norton was embarrassed but that was a reflection, to me, of a society where alcohol is the norm but when you do get involved in mainstream life ‘out there’ then it’s often assumed you drink cos you seem normal…or as normal as you can several hundred feet above the Trossachs as you come into land……maybe I have turned my life around. But let’s not get too cocky, jt……..not after those tests anyway.

It was a great day. Please don’t read anything into this week’s choice of music but there’s a couple of lines (as it were) that are amazingly appropriate. Happy birthday Dr W but next year Greggs and a seat in the Botanic Gardens. Not.

And watch out for the amazing Doctor John in this

Being brave is being afraid but carrying on and doing what you believe is the right thing to do (anon)

August 8, 2014

And I still feel that we are now commemorating the beginning of World War One because current day politicians see it as a way to gain some form of credibility and you’re not a true Brit/Scot if you dare suggest it’s a bad idea……and then I hear words like those I’ve just quoted. But we remember the fallen of all wars in November. We always have done………

Ho and hum.

And so dear listener, this blog is a wee bit of a tidy up after the fun and Games of the last few weeks and I don’t believe (unlike a BBC high heid yin) that the nation’s interest is now on the Edinburgh Festival. How can the Ladyboys of Bangkok and the latest comedic talent in the Pleasance ever compete with the bravery of Jo Pavey and Lyndsay Sharp and the ‘get-it-right-up-youness’ of Tattie the Bowler and the amazing post-match interview with Charlie (‘ants with the sound of lions’) Flynn who thanked his mum for doing the washing and was looking forward to celebrating with some Buckie….. 😉

RainforestRiverMan, the English may not need translation for the words but the sentiments were Newarthill and beyond… can stop me parking in my usual place cos of a cycle race where even the police were applauding but you’ll never take my freedom. 🙂

But I think I annoyed a few people who told me that a statue of Clyde the Thistle (the mascot carefully named after Glasgow’s two top ‘non-aligned’ teams, albeit that Clyde never actually played in Glasgow but just outside its boundary) had been stolen. Could they give a description? Did they have any recent photos? I was looked at.

Listen, if we have to report people missing (after two days) those are the questions we’re asked……Seemed reasonable to me.

And I enjoyed a large part of the Closing Ceremony – not the speeches nor the massif advert for the Gold Coast but I did like the caption that said Kylie would be on soon – including Kylie herself. (At what point did she change from black basque and high black boots to virginal white dress? Could it have been when I was discussing the finer points of the Wessexes title when they are in Scotland cos they don’t seem to have one altho’ I am now reliably informed that he becomes the Duke of Edinburgh when he dies). The existing Duke, that is, not the one that will be the new Duke cos that’d be daft…passing on titles to dead people when you’re still creating them for Karen Brady and Stuart Rose.

And a wee warning to some folk…….now that school holidays and the Games are over, I’m coming to knock on doors. You never know Becky Garret, North London correspondent and thanks for clearing up the mystery even if I missed the explanation months ago. :-$

And congratulations are also due to all the nation’s children who done good in the exams this week. And their parents….okay, their mums. Why, let me just pick a couple of names at random from this list supplied to me by the SQA. Oh look, it’s the good Dr W (well done to elder son and the phone was switched off cos I’d been involved a wee bit in a facebook conversation earlier) and uni-Sharon (well done to elder daughter and that bodes real well for the future)

And there was a wee bit of criticism of me last week when I’d a go at a certain type of joke (knob gags as they’re known in the business) in the belief that some of the stuff in here is of a lewd nature…..No. I do innuendo. In fact, I remember my favourite female school teacher once tried to come up with an example of an innuendo but couldn’t so I gave her one……

No. I want to draw the nation’s attention to the lewd and libidinous programme that now inhabits BBC 1 – the Great British Bake Off with the male sleazeball Hollywood……Lord Reith wouldn’t have tolerated him.

Nor would he have tolerated the fragrant Sue Perkins and lines like ‘you have two hours to pop Mary’s cherry…………cake in the oven.’ Disgusting.

And finally, I’m aware that this blog has not said much recently about things like cancer and alcohol and drugs, some of which was part of its original remit. Things like confidentiality relating to the people I work with is a major part of the reason but I’ve got a big hospital appointment coming up and various other things are happening, so all that will return……next week

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? I keep giving away the Yes badge I have in Partick Thistle colours but to deserving causes.

Johnt850, whose bum is still recovering from the concrete benches at Kelvingrove Bandstand the other night.

And why was I there? Why, to see the marvellous Steve Earle who has been featured in the music slot in this show many a time. And I’d like to thank my friend, e for coming with me. It must have been ‘See an old man safely across the road day’ that day. And I’m pleased to say she seemed to enjoy Steve….I’ll draw a veil over the support act….and who was that girl in the yellow dress with occasional leather jacket…and, hey, I knew where Block 6 really was and all that kinda post-gig stuff…. 😉

But Steve was good and played for one and three-quarter hours with a mixture of songs finishing with Copperhead Road and a couple of other favourites but this was his finale number. He’s due in Tel Aviv as we speak and he introduced this song very gently but under current circumstances it’s very apposite. As he described it we used to have civil war in Northern Ireland and now we’re close to peace……it’s about listening to the other side and admitting they have some good points. We can’t even do that in the Referendum Debate!

This is Jerusalem by Steve Earle, a very different song from the Faux-English national anthem to which no-one knew the words recently. They know Flower of Scotland in Newarthill but that’s a song of conflict.

This ain’t. Listen and believe.

The grumpier you get, the more assholes you will meet (Banksy)

August 1, 2014

And if you look for imperfection, bias and prejudice you will find it; but you will miss, by far, the positive bigger picture (t850, 2014)……but we can talk about the various perceptions of the BBC later. 😉

First, Usain Bolt.

I believe he did say disparaging things about the Commonwealth Games. Why?

First, I have worked (BBC) with Angus MacLeod, the Scottish Editor of the Times and believe him to be an honourable man and an old-fashioned journalist. Several years ago, when I worked in Public Relations and he worked for the Sunday Mail, he once accused me of ratfuc*ing him over a story where the company I represented had gone to court to get an Interim Interdict to prevent the Mail running with a story we didn’t want them to publish… old fashioned journalist.

Secondly, Bolt was bored! This is a man who is used to flying in shortly before a well-paid Diamond League gig on first class travel and living in first class accommodation with Sir Richard Branson by his side and his every need met. Instead he was asked to hang around the Athletes’ Village in Dalmarnock for several days before he ran 100 metres two or three times in a relay on the last days. Of course he was frigging bored. Wouldn’t you have been? 😦

A shout of ‘Awesome’ across a crowded netball audience is not a denial. He just wanted to get on with it and should have been left alone to do so.

And I have read absolutely nothing into the fact that Virgin Media are major sponsors of the Games.

Incidentally I heard one interview with two athletes about the attractions of the Village. They did not mention the copious amounts of booze on-site – in particular being consumed by those athletes who had finished their sports but had to hang around for the plane home. Instead these two athletes, including Jen McIntosh who had only just arrived after her spectacular performances in Barry Buddon (the place)said that one of the highlights of the Village was the hairdressing salon.

Is it any wonder Bolt was bored?

Elsewhere I was reliably informed by the volunteer team at Fortress Kelvingrove Bowlng that one of their biggest problems was educating their somewhat elderly audiences in the arts of the Portaloo – this was not a T in the Park audience – whereas over at Cathkin Braes the volunteers had to watch they didn’t snigger too much when people were saying to their partners, ‘No. I’ve never been here before’ at what is one of Glasgow’s top areas for ‘dogging’ – isn’t it, councillor?

And the BBC has come in for a lot of slagging. Yes. They have said England a lot cos they’re doing well but I have heard Wales, Ireland and Trinidad and Tobago (for example) mentioned a lot as well; and they did a lovely wee feature on a young girl boxer from a group of islands so obscure that they’re not even in Wikipedia; and whilst you may think that there’s a lot of English commentators commentating, I’m sure would love to hear your suggestions for alternatives. 🙂

And, yes, they did get it wrong when they switched from Scotland winning at the bowls to the English hockey team but they did apologise. I must have missed the social media highlighting the apology.

But I despair for a Scottish society that cannot see an obvious joke. We live in a world where if it’s anything more subtle than a knob gag (e.g.a nymphomaniac blonde, an Irish priest or an elderly couple having sexual misunderstandings) it has to have lol (as Carmen would say) at the end of it.

Last Sunday, before I went to work, I watched four hours of brilliant marathon coverage from Steve Cram and Brendan Foster with Paula Radcliffe doing some of the tekkie stuff (there is an art to picking up water from a watering station); I saw a slightly wet Glasgow looking superb with lots of spectators encouraging the athletes on; and I saw two spectacular finishes.

At one point, as they were running through a smashing Glasgow park, much loved by various Popes and Susan Boyle, someone, for a laugh, put up the caption ‘Bella Houston Park’. I laffed; social media went into meltdown…….I then despaired. 😦

But then I saw Kirsty Wark’s piece on the cultural and artistic and comic and musical renaissance of Glasgow; and I remembered the conversation I had with an English couple who wanted to go see the Riverside Museum but were persuaded by me to stay and watch the massif Flotilla; and Dan Wallace’s hangover on BBC Breakfast News; and those marvellous wee drones that scuttled all over the Hampden pitch to pick up the javelins; and those marvellous hi-vis jacketed people in Central Station down Argyle Street way who helped me go against the crowds cos I was worried about someone being claustrophobic on a train; and the crowds down at the free stuff being presented by BBC Radio Scotland at Pacific Quay or its Commonwealth Voices from its East End studios……and I thought – stuff social media and stuff the men in suits……Glasgow is big enough on its own to drown out those minds who ignore the bigger, more open picture, in order to follow their agenda.

It’s a city which welcomed the curry and made it its own; where its people were experts on cycling long before the London Olympics; where Primark has been a treasure trove for many, many Commonwealth athletes; and where the Kohli brothers from Bishopbriggs told the world how disgusting a deep-fried chicken tikka pizza really is. 😀

Cya (keep)ing it fun, and still wearing that badge? Yes, but now slightly worried that many are voting Yes for negative reasons cos we can’t all be positive minded Glaswegians getting out there.

Johnt850, very, very disappointed for someone very, very special.

And finally (let’s throw the format out of the window once in a while) I was going to mention a funeral I was at which was detail-for-detail a dry run for my own. But I won’t. However, I will need another piece of music for the middle of my Closing Ceremony…….something to think about whilst I await the end of the Games. Looking for a ‘good time’ once the Games end? I’m handy. Try me. No. No reason. 🙂

And table tennis will never be the same again. This is Singapore v Nigeria;