Archive for September, 2014

I think it’s much better if you look to your own conscience before making a decision because then you’ll make better decisions

September 28, 2014

Wise words from Steve Earle and it makes me feel better about some of the decisions I’ve taken recently. No. No reason.

And so dear listener, the unfriending process has begun. Amongst other people, two relatively high profile West of Scotland Labour people are no longer on my list of fbook friends. And I did know them both. But I didn’t like their style on that Friday morning. But that’s enough about the Referendum. 😦

However, I may have to do a clean-up of Google as well. Who the hell are/were the Forces of Darkness for Yes? [But I’ll keep ‘vegan + Paisley’ at the moment]

No. Let’s play Catch-up just now. The last few weeks have seen a number of events in my life such as the birth of my first grand-child (who shall remain anonymous for a long time), the Referendum and the Titan Abseil with the good Dr W. But other things have happened and, indeed, not yet happened. So, let’s recap. (This might be quite a boring blog but it’s necessary. Okay?)

Mind you, one of the events of the week did take me back to Clydebank. It was a Service Users’ Forum where some Service Users and some workers from all over Scotland get together to discuss stuff of interest and for many it’s their first experience of such an event. But it was also a lot of fun. But the train and the walk to the Town Hall did give me a chance to have a look at the crane and it is helluva high up. So, for the last time for a long time, me and Dr W done good…and thanks for the cash. 🙂 🙂 🙂

But, I’ve started going to a Fitness Club in Paisley. It’s organised by folk who follow the Herbalife way of life but I’m just there as a friend of uni-Sharon. It seems to be mostly women…….were you aware of that uni-Sharon? And there is actually one rule to this Fitness Club……just push yourself a wee bit harder the next time…..and it’s run by a couple of pro-footballers who understand the fitness capabilities of a 42 year old like myself. It’s at the UWS (Paisley) sports grounds in the south of Paisley…….

And on the UWS front, no definite word on the PhD front….there will be soon, but I am an impetuous creature, and keen to get started PLUS I will also be doing an SVQ3 next year. Busty days. (I know. I decided to leave it in)……

And there is the money question and I will do a fair amount of shifts and editing just now ahead of next year, altho’ I had a slight windfall recently…..‘slight’…… I decided I wanted to blow some of it on something and for some reason, Amsterdam was suggested but the voting this time reflected a 50/50 split as to whether I should go there (two people but you’d guessed that hadn’t you?) In recent years I’ve been talking about going back to Barcelona (I was there for a day once) and maybe I should investigate that.

But I have lashed out and bought some new pots and pans and a new stockpot.

And I fancy Nicola Sturgeon. To be a good First Minister. Like many journalists of a certain age I was fair taken with her in her earlier days – leather jacketed and with a hairstyle that made her look like a young Suzi Quatro. And if you watch the library footage, you will see that she does the same flicky thing with her hair that I do…..

And finally, I have a new Blackberry Touchscreen phone and it had a difficult start. However, now I’ve found Rotation Lock (?) and stuck it in permanent portrait mode, I feel so much better. The birly thing was doing my head in. But why’s the weather in Fahrenheit and how many pictures of ladies’ bums have I inadvertently taken cos I press the wrong buttons when I swipe. 🙂

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Aye, cos folk still believe in it.

Johnt850, just a wee bit bored this week and I think it showed and I think a couple of people noticed. Sorry.

And for good reasons, there’s not been too much of the drink’n’drugs’n’cancer’n’sex’rock’n’roll stuff that this blog is kinda about. So can I wish everyone taking part in something called Sober October, the best of luck…..

And one final word about the Referendum………maybe we lack heroes……actually we do….we know too much about people……maybe they did exist once, but not now. Here’s Steve Earle singing about Woody Guthrie.

The campaign continues; the dream shall never die (A Salmond)

September 20, 2014

And so dear listener, I had planned to play it dead clever, kinda Pat Kane-like, and use Partick Thistle’s result against St Mirren as a metaphor for Thursday night. And then I thought – why? Our wounds are open and there* to be healed almost like trying to qualify for the World Cup. 😦

*I do mean ‘there’ and not ‘they’re’

I remember once when Scotland were playing England in some football tourney and I was producing an Off The Ball special and Son Brian came in (the biased, corrupt and horrible BBC was dead good for weekends with your son if you were estranged). And he was wearing full Scots footie gear and my senior producer looked at him and said, ‘So he’s taken on the mantle of despair from you, then, jt?’

I watched the count at work. I’m told that Sky coverage was better than BBC’s coverage but I do have a sense of loyalty, which was not necessarily a good thing to have on social media. I had no idea how many people hated the makers of CBBC programmes, Sportsound and the Hogmanay Show – even describing them as c*nts. Well, he wasn’t too specific about who he reviled so much. 😛

I don’t think the BBC was biased. I did feel at times it was incompetent but so too is its London management and the flooding of Scotland with all these resources was too much, too many and too late. All I wanted was evidence of the bias. I got little and what I got I was able to handle with a couple of exceptions – but I have no idea why a BBC demo was not covered on the BBC website altho’ it was covered on BBC TV…….get a life, M*****f****r !!!!!…….that is not what a laptop in the back bedroom was designed for. 😉

But if there were any bias against the Yes Campaign, don’t you think they would have complained? Especially when their Chief Exec is/was a man called Blair Jenkins, a former Head of News and Current Affairs at both the BBC and STV. If anybody knows election/broadcast law and the need to run a stopwatch, then he most certainly does.

But it was a delight to see so many people – many of them new to politics – getting involved but you’ve got to get out there as well as sharing websites and if you do share a site, then check it first – frightening how often that wasn’t done. And I want to pay a tribute to two folk I know who exemplified the combo of social media and actually getting out there and working for the cause. Maureen from down West Dunbartonshire way and Fiona G from Motherwell, both of whom worked their socks off…….as it were (it’s a metaphor, Fiona G 🙂 xx).

There’s a lovely pic of Maureen on her bike with a YES t-shirt and it looks as if she’s looking for folk to pile on the back of the bike to get them to vote (do you do ear-rings?) and Fiona G….. when I first met you down in Clydebank a wee while back, I could sense your energy, but bloody hell, I was knackered just reading all the things you did (happy wedding next year xx)

Forty-five per cent of the votes cast were for independence – not SNPism……… and I do hope that my party of choice (the Labour Party in Scotland) bucks its ideas up. The question of the campaign was the BBC’s James Cook to Joanne Lamont

and that shows how distant some politicians are from reality…they must learn. A friend of mine joined the SNP on Friday…….it’s worth thinking about.

And the horribleness of the Daily Mail highlighting the differences in age between Alex Salmond and his 17 years older wife, Moira, and the age difference between Nicola and her man, Peter, and enlisting some Scottish rugby players to say that their childlessness was why they didn’t care about future generations… stank.

I had a couple of run-ins (journalistically) with Eck many years ago but I admire much of what he has achieved. Any free-thinking person must do.

So what did I do? Not a lot. I had conversations with some people in various places about tactics and strategy and I used Facebook and I gave people badges. I used to be politically very active (I was a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, for example and reasonably active in Trades Union activities) but in recent years, I have tended to concentrate on causes.

And talking about people and their problems……Sunday’s abseil down the Titan Crane was my first attempt at fundraising and it looks as if the Team Leader, the good Dr W, and I have raised nearly £700 (including Gift Aid)…..which is damn good. 😀 😀 😀

Thanks to everyone……….

oh, and I was fairly active in 1979 so if I am 42 then I must have been a negative age……but maybe that year laid the foundation stone of destiny which led to the forty-five per cent voting Yes, and will be more meaningful for Scotland than any previous ’45.

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Soon time I will go back to the original badge – the one that says Sex God – but I’ll keep wearing the one that says Yes….are the two in any way connected?

Johnt850, looking for ‘passing fancy’ in a Mary Berry baking book and failing miserably but I’ll work on it…..(metaphor for life alert!)

And in the week when the good Dr W started a new job, this is for her (Don’t even begin to ask) and my thanks to BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal and Gary McD, tipster to the stars, for finding it 🙂

3,2,1 …Go! (An anonymous adrenalin junky aka me)

September 14, 2014

I suppose this is a kinda follow-on from last week…when I wrote a wee bit about the ‘why’ the gorgeous Dr W and myself were abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank. This is the ‘what’ or to be more accurate, What The Fuc*……

Obviously we done it. Sorry, we did it…..We survived but it was absolutely amazing. We were frightened and had spent much of the time during the week communicating with each other, particularly by the private medium (ironic) of Facebook where sometimes you forget that other people are reading it but to anyone who did follow those conversations you will have seen fear on the pages.

I, of course, was cool, calm and collected; Dr W was the fearful one. Aye. Right. Without reading too much into it, we work well as a team in that each will allow the other the chance to opt, but neither wants to let the other down…so we do it……things other than just the recent foray into Aberfoyle Woods or whatever they’re called for Go Ape. Lesson One from that was trust the instructor and listen and before going down big cranes….they are scarey.

Lesson Two is not to look at Youtube videos of other ppl abseiling down the Titan Crane……could put you off….

So let’s cut to the chase…the big day. Texting and messaging and stuff continued. I did two night shifts the nights before so sleep was lacking; which may have been a good thing. And big thanks to people who responded to my fbook messages; a big difference from some of those I received for another matter. It meant (the good messages) that we were receiving support from many ppl and like much of my recent life, we did not want to let them down. W (whom some of you now know and realise that she is not a figment of my imagination) [Chinese accountants, Chinese accountants] texted that she felt ‘sick’ so I felt I had to be strong. Lesson Three is that Calvin Klein Eternity (for men) hides the smell of fear… 😉

W drove. Is it a man thing that I know the road better than her Sat Nav? But I was a bit short-tempered with it. And then we saw the crane. In the distance. Massif was one of two words I used to describe it and we got closer. We parked. We went into the cabin to sign the death waiver. MY NAME WAS NOT ON THE LIST! RESULT? No. They added my name to it. 😦

We rigged up with leather and buckles [Chinese accountants, Chinese accountants] and were taken to the crane. W’s fear was the lift but for me it was more a case of comfort and joy. She needed comforted; oh, the joy….and then reality kicked in. We walked out of the lift on to the top of the Crane. It’s small and you can see for miles and why is that plane flying beneath you? There are two official ways down; one through a hole in the crane – which is meant to be there – and one down the side. She chose the one in the middle; therefore the deal we struck meant I had to go down the side.

You are roped up and told how to hold the rope and you are told to stick your bum out and you are told to go – which she did. And she went. Brilliantly. I am watching her through the holes in the floor (again meant to be there) and said to everyone (two people wearing SSPCA t-shirts), ‘isn’t she doing superb?’ and then I got called over and was roped up and had to clamber over to the side of the crane. I mean climb about on the outside which was for me the most frightening bit. That is terrifying. Stuff the connecting rope – if I go he’s got to catch it. Quick.

So I’m shown how to hold the rope and there’s a simple guideline – the less you hold on, the quicker you get down but you can apply brakes. And you’re told to stick your bum out and feet against the side of the crane and then suit yourself. So with my new customary shout of ‘3,2,1…Go!’ I went – using the crane to keep pushing down and then I ran out of the actual crane to keep pushing against and my feet kicked nothing but fresh air and I swung round in the headwind. A less experienced thrill seeker might have panicked at that point but not me. I adjusted my position (No. No idea how) and continued downwards and all too quickly it was over (not something that’s ever been said of me before!) The deed had been done and it was a superb feeling….

So, so far, we have raised approx £550 for Prostate Cancer UK and there is more to come in; W wore her t-shirt with pride and will wear it on other occasions. Raising funds is important but raising awareness is also important and we’ve done that today.

There’s so much more I’d like to say bout lots of things (including the political metaphor of leaping into the unknown but having faith in the people around you) but the heady combination of lack of sleep and an adrenalin high which won’t be go away, means I do need to be careful in words and thoughts and stuff….safety first :p …and my thanks to those who came along to see us……meant a lot. Thanks 🙂

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? For a few days more…

Johnt850, liking the sound of the sticky space bar.

The music was chosen by the man they know as Bean and it’s R.E.M and some song about gravity…….

It seems odd that, as I sat there all that time ago, talking about this event, I had prostate cancer inside me. I just didn’t know. And it’s not just fundraising, it’s a chance to raise awareness and to get people talking about it (Kenny Jones of the Who and the Faces talking about a different event)

September 6, 2014

And so dear listener, this blog has been an enjoyable write and (hopefully) read over the last few years but it may come to a frightening end next week; I am plunging – screaming – to my certain death into the River Clyde – some of you may know it as abseiling down the 164 foot Titan Crane in Clydebank.

Yes. I’m doing it for charity – Prostate Cancer UK – but that’s not the real reason I’m doing it. I’m doing it cos the gorgeous Dr W gave me it as a birthday present. For the record, she also gave me a bottle of good ginger beer, which is still chilling (listening to Bob Marley), a DVD of Jackass Bad Grandpa (No. No reason) and a radio in the shape of a green water tap….but, yes, she also gave me the abseiling gig.

Some people know a wee bit ‘bout the friendship between me and Dr W and she has taken me to places I never knew existed (No, not those, Skippy – I’m talking about Musselburgh Primary School when she ran the Edinburgh Marathon and Drumlanrig Castle when she ran Tough Mudder – but not those other ones…… [Chinese accountants…must think of Chinese accountants] ) and her role on D-Day has still to be confirmed (D is for death-defying…hopefully).a

Dr W is the catalyst. But to make sure it happens, I needed to do it for charity. And my selected charity is Prostate Cancer UK. Please have a wee look at their site:

About seven years ago I was diagnosed with it and I had it bad – scoring 8 out of 10 on the Gleason Scale which ain’t good. But I was lucky. After millions of tests (finger up bum, mini-cam up penis, what felt and sounded like a staple gun up my bum) they had decided it wasn’t at that time spreading. So I had options – surgery or radiotherapy. Now, if you don’t know what the prostate does, it’s more or less the gland that adds milk to sperm to make semen – kinda life-creating and fun – so I decided to keep it……well you never know.

And I think most listeners know that the only reason I was diagnosed was cos I was seeing my GP regularly having cold-turkeyed (alcohol basically) some six months previously. The distinguished social commentator, Hogan Sinclair, reckons alcohol withdrawal is worse than heroin withdrawal and having watched the later stages of the latter recently I would agree but I’m maybe not the most objective.

But to quantum leap the story……everything worked okay and everything is working okay….seriously……altho’ I may never be invited back to do the money shot in some movies of a certain persuasion (‘invited’? ‘back’?). Hey, quality not quantity, I thought as I had my third tomato of the season so far.

And so having put those things behind me (Aye. Right) I have moved on but I still have a lot to thank the Prostate Cancer for – including an amazing hour’s counselling (from Ann and Doreen) over two years ago that had nothing to do with cancer but helped keep me alive in another way.

They organise information talks, fund research, supply specialist nurses on a dedicated Hotline and peer support amongst other things because this is a serious cancer for men. It kills one man every hour and two of those are in Scotland each day. But it’s a disease that some men won’t discuss or acknowledge – they won’t talk about it. But I will. I am a media tart. [I mean what did I know about John Peel?] STV live or pre-recorded; the Record and the Sun; BBC Radio or Radio Clyde; or local press. And there is no question I will not answer providing I do not reveal personal details about family or anyone else. It’s the same when I’m talking about my alcohol dependency. You’ll notice very few comments at the end of this blog – but they do come in and I do answer them but individually…..or refer them to their GP……

And I help in other ways. It’ll come as no surprise to learn that I was part of the focus group and correspondents for the booklet – Prostate Cancer and your sex life and the section Sex when you’re single – because sometimes it can be very hard (ignore that!) when you want to talk about things. In my early days my cancer buddy was…….well, those listeners who’ve been with me since the beginning will remember her name……

So, yes, I still talk about these things and maybe some of those who tell me I should move on are right – but then the next question is asked or I do an information talk to a Rehabilitation Unit or…….and it’s like when the shout goes and you run up the stairs with keys and the alarm buzzer……but the events of Wednesday night can be told another day…..

Sunday, 14th September is the day currently in my head. Part of me is frightened but then a few weeks the good Dr W and I did the Go Ape around Aberfoyle and it was superb – rank brilliant – and the big thing for us was making sure you listened to the instructor and each of us, a lot of the times, made sure the other was properly buckled and in my case, I shouted ‘3,2,1 Go’ and went. My fear will be in going up the frigging thing and walking along it.

The Justgiving website is

But I’m doing it for two women – Dr W (cos it was a pressie from her and you always want the giver to get some appreciation for the pressie) and my first ever grand-daughter (indeed grand-child) who I will not name for a while – but also for generations of men yet to come (Yes. I chose my word carefully)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Possibly for the last time ever

Johnt850 – the Danny Dyer of flower giving.

Some music for you