Archive for October, 2014

Go on, help yourself, And don’t think of anyone else. Take what you want from me. I have a list from A to Z (The Vaselines)

October 31, 2014

To make the rhyme work Z has to be Zee and not Zed (see last week’s blog for details)

And so dear listener this blog marks the end of Sober for October and the beginning of Movember: two of the major moments in my life strung over eight weeks and I did say last week that I’d mention some of the reasons deejay Heather Suttie cited in the Daily Record as to why giving up drink made her a much happier person but before I do……..

Can I reassure some people that my talk of my missing going out and getting drunk and having a good time is a wee bit of ‘romantic’ nonsense; yes, there were times when I’d go out and have a drink and meet someone and have a good (overnight) time and so on; there were many other times when I’d wake up on the Saturday unsure as to where I was; where I’d left the car; why my head was hurting so much; and (worst of all) I was due to pick up Son Brian and I was in grave danger of turning up looking, and smelling, awful……..

Moving swiftly on but before I do……..

I almost fell out with the good Dr W this week…….and a canteen serving lady at UWS (Hamilton)….. [nice meeting Caroline and hearing what she had to say 😉 ]

It was the fact that on Tuesday, 28th I was arguing that it was actually, Tuesday the 29th and when I looked at my watch it said Wednesday, 30th (not the first time in my life I’ve missed days out). My incredibly reliable Casio had let me down……..I took it to the expensive jeweller in Byres Road where I’d bought it expecting it to be pronounced D.O.A. (dead on arrival) but, no, the nice man sorted it in all of two minutes. OMG! How wrong was I? 😦

[and not only am I looking at restaurant menus with a different eye, but I was in a café in Finnnieston the other morning before going for some training and I couldn’t help but notice that they had soya milk by the coffee machine and I have a pint in my fridge as well]

I also met one of the asylum seekers I work with in the same street and we had a fifteen minute English lesson (me to him) on what we could see from where we were standing.

Eccelfechan. Wear the fox hat. (Yes. I know the original line was Auchterarder but what is life without plagiarism?)

And a major ethical question on Friday was when I could turn the living room light back on and eat all the small chocolate bars myself.

And one of the arms of Sandra my hairdresser is now in a sling which creates a slight dilemma for me……how thick and long should it be? (What Skippy, an innuendo? No. I can’t see one. Can you, listeners?)

And what was really nice at the training (okay; it appealed to my ego) was the fact that one of the senior managers (who didn’t know me) spoke to me about an invite I’d sent his boss about a seminar being organised by my friend Jenny H. I know Jenny was pleased and I got a wee buzz from it as well….

And I’m getting the hang of my new phone (still can’t work out where the photos disappear when I take them). Any phone that can take me typing in dfwty and instantly offer me stuff is my kinda phone.

And finally, lapdancing Becky, I will get round to using your phrase soon….I’m just meeting so many nice people just now. 🙂

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Actually I’m looking for my old Head Boy’s badge (and the uniform if possible……No. No reason)

Johnt850 (who had the potential to be a Quickscoper but being taken from behind by an alien in a game of Doom put him right off the notion)

Heather Suttie gave up booze three years ago after ‘a life-changing trip’ to Africa where she caught malaria and had to give up booze. I don’t want to ban alcohol and I would like all drugs to have the same legal status as alcohol and I want to emphasise that I can still go out and be in an alcoholic environment and enjoy myself, so I’m going to pick out half a dozen or so and, maybe make a comment, but have a wee think yourself;

I (Heather Suttie) look well……I (Johnt850) look much better. Let me show you my Driving Licence photo and you can make your own mind up.

I (HS) have better ideas……….I (jt) had lost my creativity. This blog and a potential application for a PhD may be a strange mix but it’s happening.

My (HS) diet is healthier………I had food in hospital and it was amazing. I am now pescatarian and whilst there might be a number of reasons for this I feel much happier with what I eat…..

And for my favourite I am just going to quote Heather;

‘Do I miss it? Sometimes I miss the unexpected chaos of a night out, bonding over a glass of wine or a celebratory glass of fizz (whisky for me) but hand on heart, I don’t miss it enough to go back to. Now I just need to do more exercise and give up chocolate!’

How true…and those guysers who came to the door were given lovehearts and lollipops; I kept the chocolate for myself. 😦

A guy called Jack Gringo designed my business website . As John Disco he is also a record producer and plays in various bands. Bis never really unformed so it’s good news that they have some new stuff coming out soon and are playing some gigs in 2015….this is they a long time ago on Top of The Pops……

When you say you’ve had enough, And you might just give it up, Oh, oh, I will never let you down (Rita Ora)

October 24, 2014

Maybe a message, maybe not…. 😉

And so dear listener, came the big challenge this week. I had prepared for it for a long time now and I was ready. No. It wasn’t some major fitness thing at the Fitness Club to where I still go on a Monday night. It was much more macro than that. I have no intention of paying 5p per carrier bag anywhere – not when for years I have been giving free publicity to the likes of ASDA and Morrisons so I had been collecting them for some time and I had prepared well.

Many of you will know the wee black and slightly pink rucksacky bag I use (which is bequeathed to the good Dr W for some reason). Well I packed a couple of plastic bags in there and set off for the ASDA. ‘Oh, yes,’ I said to Anne at the Self-scan, ‘I have come prepared’ and produced the bags….it was three days later that the foolishness of what I was doing hit me. On Day Four I put the messages into the rucksacky bag.

‘I have come prepared’….moving swiftly on. 🙂

Anyway e was the same. OMG! Sometimes I have this illusion that I’m really middle class and am really ‘resting’ until I return to take my Bearsden crown (altho’ I’d hate to live there now even tho’ it is where most of my small but very functional family stay). Tuesday was that kinda day. An on-off-on visit to Hamilton was called off on the Monday but was almost back on on the Tuesday…..e, RJ and I went to Nardini’s in Byres Road for coffee and ice cream which was awfully nice and then into Waitrose where e was looking for some English Cox. She found them and stuffed them into the bag she had brought with her. It promptly burst. Apples everywhere.

And then we went outside and my phone rang. Yes, my new phone. I answered it. It’s a swipe to the left. It was one of the folk from the Rehab project down Dunbartonshire way where I’d done some stuff and I had to say I couldn’t make out what he was saying cos I was at the top of Byres Road. The next thing you know I’ll be taking my grand-daughter for brunch. 🙂

And W and I are hoping to go and see the amazing James Ellroy soon….a brilliant author with an eye for the ladies. I was interested to read recently that he was currently eyeballing an out-of-town lady corresponding by telephone calls and letters…’decorous’ was the word he used. Don’t know why that caught my eye. 😉

See when I say every single mum, I mean every ‘single mum’; not every ‘single’ mum.

And another week, another camera up my penis but this was a different consultant. This was not Mr ‘Well-known-in-prostate-cancer-circles’ consultant but a different man who, having shown me my perfect bladder (when will this vid be leaked I wonder?) spoke to me about a possible solution that he said had been mentioned to me before but I’d ignored. Eh no….otherwise why was I where I was?

So I’m not going to get too excited – not the best of plans when a flexible cystoscopy is planned….getting excited that is…….[got to be careful with the hugging on top of the air raid shelter] but it does seem a simple solution. I will keep you posted, dear listener.

And finally I was a wee bit spoiled for choice for the serious bit below the line this week. (Can I explain to new listeners that much of the blog relates to a time when I had issues with alcohol and cancer but no longer?) I will return to Helen Suttie’s many reasons why she’s glad she gave up drink about three years ago. But the other day I found myself discussing theoretical frameworks with she-who-would-be-my-supervisor-if-I-get-to-do-the-PhD.

Ten years ago I couldn’t have written the words without my hands shaking and ten years on I’d be dead anyway. A flexible cystoscopy may not be everyone’s idea of fun but it certainly proves to me that I’m alive, I’m feeling things, and everything is truly in working order 😀

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? That, and a large smile.

Johnt850, described the other day as looking like a student by someone who knows.

And so, before the news of Lynda Bellingham came through, I’d been thinking of my mum who died of cancer nine years ago this month. I’d bumped into George, a neighbour of my folks, who’d been the man who broke into mum’s house when it became obvious that she had passed out and was now groaning. Spare keys were useless because she had put her keys in from the other side.

He also brought her a daily newspaper at about 7.30 every morning. ‘Why?’ I was asked. ‘She doesn’t really read it.’ ‘No.’ I explained, ‘He’s checking to see if she’s survived the night.’

Lynda stopped her chemo’; my mum decided against taking it altogether. I was at her bedside when she told the Registrar. She wanted to preserve her dignity. She made that decision herself. I decided then that if I ever had that particular misfortune I’d be as matter of fact about it as she was. Not ‘brave’ or ‘stoic’ but just matter of fact……..and I was. The day I was told I’d got cancer, I’d a journalism class to get back to that afternoon and the college had only given me the morning off to get my results. 😦 No option but to be matter of fact…..I’ve seen some really ill people make it in to teach. Recently.

I met Alvin Stardust once. Lovely man.

They were coming. They came bigger. They wanted to come in. People screamed….’Brace the door! …I won’t let them get you!’ (The Oral History of the Zombie War)

October 17, 2014

And so dear listener, I am a real zombie. At weekends. In M & D’s Theme Park. Near Motherwell. And I park there. Not in the gay cottagers’ car park. Of recent memories. And it is there that the transformation takes place. But more of the detail later.

If you sense the hand of the good Dr W in this you would be right 😉

Listeners with a long memory may remember that she was one of the leading lights in the movie World War Z(eeeeee). At that time she was chased by zombies. The extras all lived in a big building just off George Square called the Bam Building and I’m told the persistent memory is the smell of Febreeze every morning.

(Incidentally those of you who query my pronunciation of Z and think it should be Z(eddddd) might be interested to know that I pronounce Viva as Veeeeeeeva, where everyone else says Veyeva. I reckon Elvis and the Dead Kennedys can’t be wrong)

Anyway, W said that there were rumblings in deepest Lanarkshire of the Living Dead and we should investigate. So we did and we met two normal looking people – who ‘auditioned’ us. I cannot say of what the audition consisted but I found new depths…we were accepted; we were in. 🙂

We came back that night. Kinda. We were inducted. It’s been a long time since anyone asked if I was allergic to latex and under very different circumstances. The blood was fair dripping. We were assigned our positions and we discussed our tactics. We were paired off. 🙂

It’s a pretty basic story (the parallels with Ebola are frightening but even more so in the book of the movie in that the first troops have just been assigned)….a scientist tries to reassure people in a hospital theatre that recent rumours about experiments are misleading but suddenly things go horribly wrong and I won’t give anything away……but people are told to leave and to leave quickly…..and there is a gauntlet to run.

I was part of that gauntlet. I seem to be quite a mild zombie until the cages. They were my place to roam. People are frightened in there……except for those nerds who refused to be frightened. Come on….go with the flow. We go easy with children but as the night progresses the drink is slightly flowing. I found myself strangely interested in young women…the initial pointed finger is followed through by charging after them down a corridor…their boyfriends doing little to protect them.

However, my fave was a guy. I got him at the start of the cage and he was frightened…’you bastard!’ he shouted. I gave him two seconds then I charged across the cage and leapt at him. ‘You f*cker!’ he shouted and ran. Into the arms of another zombie…..we ate pizza…it had chorizo sausage on it……I pretended not to notice.

All too soon it was all over. And the real thrill began.

As part of the transformation we had had to put on make-up but there was no way of taking it off. I had to drive home – wearing it. From M & Ds to t850 Towers is about 30 minutes altho’ I used to quote 40. I now know what lane to get into in both directions. Easy peasy, lemon squeazy……usually.

OMG! What if I were stopped? Sorry, officer, yes, I am a zombie but it’s wearing off and I am no longer one of the living dead but back to being one of the living. 😦

And as for nipping into the Bombay Mix (Indian Carry Out ..curries – kebabs – pizzas….1911 Maryhill Road, Glasgow) for a quick vegetable pakora?????? I thought not. I have seen some amazing sights in there in my time but a real zombie? No. I’d like to recommend the pizza box filled with chicken, veg and mushroom pakora, donner meat, chicken drumsticks, chips, salad and sauce, but being a non-meat eater I’ve never tried it……And you can get 10 inches for £6 and twelve inches for £8. No. I refuse to do that gag.

Anyway…back to my semi. In Summerston.

The make – up we wear to hide the real zombie features taking over can only be removed by picking off the latex and then washing the face with washing up liquid. My face is still recovering. And I’m doing at least two more but they’re on a different day of the week and I finish earlier. There are new neighbours across the road from me…….I do so wish they are awake when I get home. In fact I might just wander across and introduce myself and suggest they park in their driveway and not in the street. 😀

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Not under these circumstances.

Johnt850 – a zombie in the style of a Barbary monkey and old skool running man.

There is no point in anything after all that, is there?

Here’s the piece of music I played a couple of weeks ago as a teaser……

Love, she sees apart from me possessed behind the eyes. Apart from the fighting, the moaning, the biting he seemed to be a nice guy (Jamie T – Zombie)

October 12, 2014

And so dear listener, this week I learned a very salutary lesson – not to be too hasty. 😉

I was sat in my car at the top of Crow Road, looking to edge my way into a stopped flow of traffic, through a pedestrian crossing which had changed from ‘Go Pedestrian Go’ to ‘Hang Back’ – and we’ve all been there (I don’t mean necessarily at the top of Crow Road but in that more general situation) – when I’m offered a space in the traffic and as I go to take it two pedestrians walk in front of me (one with a bike but no serious lycra)

There is a mild jamming of the brakes – not cos I was going fast but because I was concentrating on the vehicular movements. I shout at them and I flip the finger. And there’s a young mum teaching her young child how to press the Green Man and she’s looking at me and my face goes red and I put up my hand in personal self-admonishment (See ‘A – Z of BDSM’ for more detail) and she bursts out laughing and I fall in love and the traffic hoots at me to let me in and the brief encounter is over. 😦

Yes. I was going to the uny at Paisley. Earlier in the week I’d been at its Hamilton branch. It has branches in Dumfries and Ayr – maybe for a day out [now there’s an idea] but not to use the library facilities.

There’s not much to report as yet except that Hamilton does a mean carrot and coriander soup with vegan base.

And I’ve been asked if the Good Dr W and I have any other plans or projects ahead. Well we have – but I am reluctant to talk about it at this stage, except to say it does involve Strathclyde Country Park in the evenings and at night on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I will tell more next week when I am fully recovered but I did go home at one o’clock in the morning, bloodied, bruised and bleary-eyed and the make-up took ages to wash off. A lady friend from some time back (okay, several years) had left a bottle of Olay Gentle cleanser which helped. 🙂

[What was it I said about crossing the road all those years ago?]

And I’m beginning to like my new phone. Predictive text is good and the other day I typed in Z and it gave me ‘zombie’, and do you know, that was the right word. And I’m reading the book of the movie World War Z – some of it filmed in Glasgow all those years ago – but it’s unfortunate timing with the current concerns about Ebola. My own view is that, now the Americans and Europeans are involved, rather than a bunch of Africans in very poor African countries, something will get sorted soon. Wait ‘til IS attacks a US embassy in the Middle East and see what happens……or the homeland.

I’ve got the DVD of World War Z and it’s a slow watch – one frame at a time. 😉

And finally, I know I often come across as an apologist for the BBC but I cannot excuse the waste of licence fee payers’ money on the ensemble performance of the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows (altho’ Chrissie Hynds does look like the woman Nicola Sturgeon could have been…..if only……) I was going to play the Beach Boys’ original version at the bottom, but it wasn’t very good either (different times when men with beards in white and gold suits meant something……incidentally has Still Game finished its run cos I want to say something about Sanjeev?……No. No connection)

I won’t say what tonight’s is cos Skippy’s still choosing it but it won’t be self-patronising crap (see A – Z of BDSM)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge….different jackets now seem to have different badges

Johnt850 – ‘confirm’ but never ‘comform’ as the 320 people on Saturday night who watched me perform will tell you.

And so it’s usually the done thing when you’re doing an obit of someone to say nice things but my very first memory of (the now late) Angus Macleod, the editor of the Times in Scotland, was pretty horrible.

I had not long joined a public relations consultancy and was advising a major company who had just made several hundred people redundant. The Sunday Mail, for whom Angus then worked, had a good story but the company, against my wishes, went to court to stop publication – and lost. I then got a phone call (Saturday lunchtime) from Angus accusing me and my client of trying to ratfu*k him and he didn’t want me ever to ratf*ck him again. I then answered his questions.

I later worked with him on a great many occasions at the BBC (including his Saturday morning press review) and found him to be a charming, knowledgeable and kind man – and, no, I never ever reminded him of the ‘ratfu*king’ call but I did sit amazed in awe of his contacts book and the people he knew…smashing guy, sorely missed.

This band came up in conversation recently and it’s one of the best all-girl bands of all time and I saw them a long time ago…… it’s taken Skippy a long time to find a suitable track…’offered too many other things’ she said. It’s Fanny;

The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese, so why doesn’t the last worm get eaten by the early bird? (James Cummings 19 year old Hibs striker)

October 3, 2014

And so, dear listener, Son Brian and I went to see Still Game on Wednesday night. No, No spoilers. But it was good. Worry not, as I did, about them merely bringing a couple of episodes of the TV show to the stage – they used the stage and at no time was there ever the feel of them trying to jump the shark. 🙂

No. My memories come from other directions, such as Son Brian saying, ‘since you bought the tickets. Dad, I’ll get the drinks.’ Mmmmm…….his Foster’s looked good; my Fanta was very Fanta-esque. Looking at the Finnieston Crane and saying, ‘mmmmmmm….that looks big doesn’t it?’ but getting little response from the 10,000 people I told.

And when he told me that my grand-daughter was beginning to appreciate music, he then looked at me and said, ‘No, big man, (or was it a simple ‘dad’)…none of your weird stuff.’ And I hadn’t even offered. 😦

And apologies to anyone to whom I tried to send an e-mail from my new phone but it never arrived. Obviously, Hillfoot (Bearsden) Sorting Office does not give out a good signal at 1130 at night. Don’t ask……but it was quiet and handy.

And there’s a sign on Kelvin Way (a tree lined street, Becky, in the city’s salubrious West End) which says’ Watch for Pedestrians’……damn near crashed the car watching for them but all they were doing was walking up and down the pavement.

And there may be news on the PhD front. I had a conversation with some uni-ppl which went well. As ever I will be in touch with various ppl on a more personal level to discuss various things and there is a long way to go but as Chairman Mao once said, ‘the first cut is the deepest.’ (Skippy, check the quote please; that doesn’t seem right.)

And thanks to the good Dr W for treating me to coffee the other day in the Hamilton branch of the uny. Yes, I did have six stamps on my card and the seventh is free. How clever of you to notice. [But nice to see you in your natural habitat and nice of the traffic warden to ignore us. Giving me a lift like that saved one helluva lot of walking (lol as Carmen….)] 😀

And the supported accommodation for the homeless project I work is slap bang in the city centre and I often marvel at how the denizens of Glasgow manage to combine the café style of drinking with such an eclectic menu in the area. I couldn’t help but notice that Kebab City is offering a Pizza Cone at a competitive price. So far I have restrained myself. But I often watch Sauchiehall Street at four in the morning wondering, why are people ‘so mad for it with the drink?’

And that would be the basis for the PhD; that and a question posed by good friend e. But those who know about these things can rest assured. The title of the 80,000 words (or so) dissertation will not be ‘Why are people so mad for it with the drink?’

But, and I was talking to a (male) pal about this in a hedonistic lunch (fresh orange and macaroni cheese) the other day in one of the city’s top bars (YesBar in Drury Street, Becky, across from the Horseshoe and next to the lapdancing club), I miss alcohol. I miss the notion of asking a woman out for a drink with just a little hint of what it might lead to; and I miss filling in a boring Saturday night by walking down to the Maryhill Road and going for a couple of pints and then saying yes to the cairry oot and going back to someone’s house and who knows?

And no, I’m not going to say ‘but’ or ‘however’. It’s a statement of fact now we’re in Sober October. 🙂

And finally, I must get out of the habit of when someone says to me ‘nice to meet you’ of replying with ‘Yes. It is, isn’t?’ Thankfully the latest person called clr to hit my life saw the joke….. 😉

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes….and I’m not the only one.

Johnt850 and the good Dr W, and yes, we are now both grown-ups with jobs’n’that and all that that entails. We’ll be fine.

And so it is Sober October which intends to raise money for one good cause (Macmillans Cancer) by people giving up the booze for a month. And all around I hear people laughingly (?) say, ‘It’ll be so boring and how will I get by?’. It might change your life if you approach it positively……just a thought.

And I read a smashing article in the Guardian asking why do people feel the need to declare themselves as heroes for not drinking for a month?

‘But the idea of calling yourself a hero for simply not being pissed is neither admirable nor gallant. It’s just not being pissed.’

Still maybe the doctors and nurses in A & E will have a quieter month……..I will watch Sauchiehall Street with interest at four in the morning.

A couple of years back one of the most moving evenings I have ever experienced was in the Mitchell Theatre (Becky, it’s a theatre that’s part of the Mitchell Library – great building) the scene of many amazing speakers and stuff [James Ellroy]… was Edwyn Collins and his wife, the lovely Grace, talking about a book they’d written. And then some backing musicians appeared – ppl from Josef K and Orange Juice and Edwyn played a set. He was on TV the other night…something about a new movie about him and Grace?

This is the song he is perhaps best known for. Maybe I’ll dedicate it. Maybes yes, maybes no, but it’ll always be maybes unless you do.