Archive for July, 2015

If you could read my mind, love, What a tale my thoughts could tell, Just like an old-time movie, ‘Bout a ghost from a wishin’ well (Gordon Lightfoot)

July 25, 2015

I have a book called ‘How to be a Ghost’ It was a Christmas gift from e. I wonder where it is.

And so, dear listener, you could be standing in the middle of George Street, Paisley, looking west and you could ask someone ‘where does this road go?’ and they’ll probably answer, ‘to the Phoenix Retail Park’, whereas some of us know that it actually goes all the way to Canada. That’s ‘big sky thinking’ for you. 🙂

It’s like asking many questions of the menu of life and choosing a baked potato and tuna.

Or when line dancing you choose to snort…….sorry, I was about to get recreational past-times mixed up there……oooops……..

For a short while I deejayed in Rothesay – many years ago. When nobody was up on the floor, ‘Sunday Beautiful Sunday’ got them up on the floor…the Slosh. I last performed that with zombies and at Zoe’s birthday party.

Avici, eat your heart out. 😀

And all that after fifty-five minutes with J my favourite philosopher (and I apologise for dangling my bracelet bits in the soup).

Moving swiftly on.

But before I go too far, can I say that this week’s Freudian Slip of the Month goes to me when I said to a co-worker, ‘ASDA, where I live.’…….

Altho’ I think that Peter Alliss advising the world that Open Champion Zak Johnson’s wife would probably spend his £1 million pound plus earnings on a new kitchen was grosser. And it was it necessary to suggest that young amateur Paul Dunne preferred older women cos his mum was standing beside him and Alliss suggested it might be his girlfriend?

No it’s been a sad week for organisations for whom I have a great deal of respect particularly at a time when they’re both under attack; but dear BBC why didn’t you show all the final day of the Open (particularly when Andy Murray seems to have the ability to clear the schedules at a moment’s notice)? And dear Labour Party (remember that I had a tear in my this year when I had to put my X somewhere else on that ballot paper) voting down the Welfare Changes Bill would have been a worthwhile gesture –a rallying call.

The arm will never fully recover cos I’ll forget to do the exercises….but I am happily squeezing my carrot as part of my routine and will soon start doing that in public (Skippy, have a word with me please, should I ever talk about doing it on an omnibus)…..

And for those of you who know what I am talking about I have recovered from being hit in the face by a giant inflated, inflatable penis by a member of a hen party outside the legendary Shanghai Shuffle in Bath Street. I may have deliberately omitted to tell some people because at times I can be quite old-fashioned; and at other times amazingly innovative; and at yet others I’d completely forgotten it had happened. 🙂

And a big thank you to my old friend, Sanjeev Kohli, of whom I always had high hopes when he presented Ghetto Blasting (and I wonder what he’s doing now) for pointing out that when we tell people to put their best foot forward are we implying that they have three legs?

And I didn’t go to the pre-season friendly against Rotherham. I’m not a big fan of these. My favest was a wee pre-season tournament about four (?) years ago when we played host to Airdrie (Death to the Diamonds!), Liverpool (a youth team with some (now) well known names) and Celtic (a bunch of haddies including Tony Watt and Josh Thompson).

Still it was good to see the Celtic fans taking the pre-season practice aspect of it seriously. They let off flares. Peter Lawwell seemed to say nothing.

And finally, I am back at work and doing overtime and bringing some money in to keep the ever expanding collection of CDs well, expanding, and the editing work is good and happening. New spectacles don’t pay for themselves and if you’ve seen me since and not said anything, then you’re forgiven. Maybe you’ll notice this Summer. 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and happily keeping it simple.

Johnt850, happily confused as well 🙂

So this blog is supposed to talk of cancer and drink’n’drugs and often I wonder if people listen or if my tales of decent academic research are ignored as the ravings of a frustrated raver. So it was interesting to hear of Durham’s plan to de-criminalise possession of cannabis for personal use. I mean why give someone a criminal record just cos they smoke a plant that makes them feel good?

Anyway the much-maligned and often stereotyping BBC set up a wee live discussion on its news channel. Two things happened that made me smile and put another incense stick in the incense holder.

One of the guests was, of course, Professor David Nutt and the other was a guy from Bristol called Stephen Whose Surname I Did Not Catch who was introduced as a former cannabis addict yet, when he had to refer to himself, talked of himself as a former cannabis user.

And despite the best efforts of the presenter, Clive Myrie, his two guests kept coming back to the effects of the most dangerous drug of them all – alcohol. Will we ever learn?

Read nothing into this. Just enjoy. It’s a lovely wee video. It’s a banging tune. It’s Avici. And aplogies if there’s an ad.

Food banks aren’t part of the welfare state – they are an indication that our welfare state is failing (Mhairi Black)

July 17, 2015

And so, dear listener, despite my obvious anonymity, I am often stopped in the street and asked questions about the events and the people in this modest little radio show. Recently the burning question has been – where’s the Vampire Slayer?

(It’s also been noticed that another one time regular has also been missing and has not played as prominent a role as previously in encouraging me to things beyond my wildest dreams. Well, Skippy is fine and taking a well deserved rest)

Altho’ the burning question amongst Native American Indians in Paisley High Street, which is back to being open to cars at night, is, ‘do we wear plaits or pigtails?’

Back to the VS. 🙂

Having taken on and conquered the vampires of Scotland she sought fresh fields and went to Italy to pursue personal ambitions and to take on their vampires. Only she got bitten instead. By a young man. And is now engaged. And I am delighted. 😀

It’s been a wee while since we last met (Tinderbox in Prince’s Square) and there is a very slight age difference but I have always valued advice from the Torrance One, the Vampire Slayer, and, yes, ‘Some things are destined not to last for ever. Take the memories and go.’ No. No reason

Hope to see you when you come back to Scotland (on holiday?) and I meet your young man.

Oh and the other question I’m asked a lot is ‘whatever happened to hardbag?’.

It evolved it into UK hard house is the answer. This is an example;

Moving swiftly on but smiling.

Incidentally the quote at the top is from Partick Thistle supporting MP Mhairi Black and her smashing maiden speech was eulogised in many quarters but I do wonder if it was because she is seen by some as a ’20 year old lassie in amongst the grown-ups’ or as an MP, because if it was the latter I am slightly disappointed that a nationalist MP was unaware of the connections between part of her constituency and William Wallace. I mean it’s not as if Elderslie hides it……BUT before I am cyber natted, she was so much better than many of her SNP colleagues…..What (without googling) did you think of your MP’s maiden speech (Tommy Shepherd’s was also really good)……or haven’t they made it yet?

She is a very bright prospect but, please do not expect too much, too soon….remember the young William Hague?

Anyway let’s talk about something that really interests and excites me. 😉

Me. At least a wee catch up of some recent things like….

I’m finished with the psycho…sorry, physio…..I can now dry my hair properly and whilst to many it may seem I have an arrogant ego about my hair it is a movement that I was totes unable to carry out a few weeks ago…….whether my arm will ever straighten again is a wee bit in doubt but it’s scarcely noticeable.

And I went on a walk with Glasgow Central Walking Group, which is part of the Glasgow Meet Up website I’ve talked about before, and we went from the Squiggly Bridge to all the way around Glasgow Green. A very diverse group. I spoke to someone from Iran, two people from Poland and someone from Linthouse. Next time I go I may speak to some of the men. 🙂

And I saw my lawyer on Glasgow Green with a like-minded bunch of people but before I tell you what he was doing, I’ll maybe have a quiet word with him.

And in the course of general conversation I mentioned that I had gone back to university recently. So I was asked if I had a doctorate…biting back the tears I said ‘No. I had stopped at a Master’s.’ ‘That is very good.’ I smiled. I will go back. It was probably my new spectacles….my birthday pressie to myself.

And finally, I met up with the blogmeister. He now runs Glasgow University or something like that and I’m very slowly showing him the West End. Tuesday’s lesson was Vodka Wodka where we did a lot of people watching. Next time we’ll look at the men.

But he very kindly took my pic which is now upon fbook as my profile pic. I am so fat. Uni-Sharon, I may be having words…I need help. I was so distressed. I was going to offer people copies but I have so let myself go. 😦

Cya, still wearing that badge (altho’ I’ve lost one) and quite happily keeping it simple.

Johnt850, still smiling.

And I was going to talk a wee bit here about the voting in Parliament thing but only if you’re an English MP can you talk about England and so on and it was about them wanting to bring English fox hunting laws in line with our Scots laws where we allow eight dogs to root out a fox rather than the two in England (and I think I’ve got that right) and then I stopped in my tracks…we still have fox hunting in Scotland?

And the other night I was shown a video of a Scots hunt. Yes, foxes can be pests and there are reasons for their control but what I saw on the video was more ‘sport’ in some people’s eyes than control. I remain confused…..Thanks to Ann and Ruth for trying to steer me through the confusion.

I played Steve Earle last week. I’d never heard of him until the Second Gulf War when I was setting up a radio programme in New York for BBC Radio Scotland (I was in Glasgow) and Steve and some others were in process of being kicked off radio and TV for their anti-war views (there is no freedom of speech unless you accept that people have views with which you disagree) and I was trying to get them on the prog. I failed.

The others? They were the Dixie Chicks. This is they.

I’m one of those people that you have to keep your eye on or I’ll wander off into the woods and forget to come back (Jack White)

July 10, 2015

And so dear listener, you will be delighted to hear that I am in a much better mood than last week. 🙂 Various reasons but one of them was this textual conversation that I had with a (for obvious reasons) anonymous female friend. We were arranging something and she told me that her and her husband were at a friend’s and after that they were going to bed.

Stunned, I started at the Blackberry screen. Within seconds my screen screamed at me; ‘b & q, b & q…we’re going to b & q………’ Sometimes you just gotta love predictive texting. 😀

And the birthday treat I treated myself to on my birthday has arrived. A wee bit of getting used to them and then all (?) will be revealed.

And my arm’s better and my wrist can manipulate more. The student physio is good and was supervised quite closely by Calum who recognised me from somewhere……’Yes,’ said I, ‘I’m the git (typo but I’m leaving it) who cold turkeyed and had to learn to walk again with physios at Gartnavel and then you got me.’ (Y’see I can’t put it behind me but I can admire a well filled gantry in the Canal Station Bar in Paisley but not want to try it)……Anyway I am almost at the stage where I can drop the wristband I wear (unless I decide to train kestrels or am talking to management or am looking for sympathy) and most of the movement is back but I was still having trouble drying my hair so I got my hair cut by Sandra whose husband uses a wheelchair and was awarded an MBE recently for services to sport and charity. 🙂

But she lives in a part of Bearsden which has a speed limit of 20 mph, speed bumps and now has those concrete blocks which give priority to people coming in the opposite direction and have strange white lines so when I was recently looking for a place to park outside somebody’s house and paused on those double white lines, I was shouted at by a Bearsden resident. I didn’t accept the bait but it turns out he has three cars, two of which are parked on the road.

And I know where he lives. 🙂

And an unexpected birthday card sure puts a smile on your face. 😀 😀 😀

And I may attempt a bus journey. For some reason associated with my age I have a card with a picture on it which entitles me to free bus travel. I have never used it for all sorts of reasons – one of which is that to use a bus out of Summerston, I’d have to take my car to the nearest bus stop – so they’ve moved the bus terminus and bus stop nearer me…….. I have no excuse but am every grateful.

I did try a wee while back when I was supposed to be going to a training session on Food Handling and Storage (important in a residential setting like the one in which I work) but I had been dreading seeing pictures of meat anyway (let alone meat gone off) and as I got closer to the bus stop I got boakier and turned back – a wee bit like my last non-sober year as a college tutor but those were hangovers.

Mmmmm, ….the 19 bus looks a good prospect (Sorry but that sounds like a bus perv in the old days of Clatty Pat’s)…speaking of which…….in the week when Anna Burnside of the Record tells us that sexism is dead I am appalled by the number of female friends (and some male) who have drooled over pictures of Norwegian policemen in their lycra cycling shorts. Still, that does mean I no longer have to worry about watching Debbie does Dallas behind closed doors. Sorry. That should read ‘Debbie does Dallas’ behind closed doors – otherwise you’d not be able to see what Debbie does to Dallas.

And finally I was really moved by the survivors’ stories of 7/7 ten years ago. An amazing mix of ages, faiths, sexes and backgrounds who did more to convince me of the good that a diverse group of people can achieve than any amount of cyber marketing from Britain First/Scottish Defence League can ever persuade me otherwise.

Cya, still wearing that badge nd defo keeping it simple………

Johnt850, a well-known Northern Powerhouse.

And I think I’m probably expected to say something about the budget – the legislation which bans triplets…….which sees Ian Duncan Smith jumping for joy at the introduction of a National Living Wage which is less than the recommended one which Hearts FC pay but is 30 pence more than the SNP promised by 2020.

The so-called IDS apparently used to stand in that same position in the Commons under the previous government but would lean on Dame Anne Begg’s wheel chair (Torcuil Crichton Daily Record, 9th July 2015 and as Torcuil is also a man who wears brown shoes with a dark suit it must be true).

Housing benefit for under-21s is to be scrapped. Many of the folk I work with are under 21 and are homeless for a range of reasons, including having been in care all their lives and/or various forms of abuse.

And, altho’ not technically a public sector worker, I have a strange feeling that my pay rises are now limited to one per cent per year for the next four years……

And Working Tax Credits made a big difference to my life when moving from Incapacity Benefit to self-employment.

Anyway, less of the doom and gloom……just over a year ago I had the pleasure of seeing an acoustic Steve Earle play at the Kelvingrove Bandstand…..this is he in a slightly different context but with Sharon Shannon.

Yes, there’s a reason………..

‘My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live’ (Kanye West)

July 3, 2015

And so dear listener, there’s a lot to pack in this week. But the arm is getting better (thanks for asking) and I’ve coped okay with just one arm…..and it’s amazing what you can do with just one arm. But there are times when something really needs pulled off and you think you can only achieve it with the use of both arms.

But I stuck the jar of pasta sauce under the hot water tap and then the cold water tap and the jar top came off dead easy. 🙂

In all honesty, it is getting better (new readers see previous blogs) and the physio has helped. Yes. I did get one pretty quickly but it was in Maryhill Health Centre, it was a cancellation and it was a supervised student. Called Jake. From Canada. In the first year of his Masters. In the two visits I’ve paid so far he seems to know what he’s doing. 🙂

But that happening just now kinda sums up the first six months of this year leading up to the celebration of my being born compared and contrasted with the last six months of last year which were brilliant.

(Those of who dislike the odd reflective blog should give up now and self-reflection is not self-pity – not when you take responsibility for most (if not all) of your actions.)

The zipwiring, the abseiling, the optimism of the PhD, the emergence of my grand-daughter, the Zombies (of whom more later) have all got kinda lost in a world which (apart from the new shower-room which was once a bathroom but now no longer has a bath) is summed up by the throat virus, the damaged arm and the wayward trip to Lisbon. Yeah there are some personal issues in there and I’ve spoken to some folk about them and in some areas I won’t give up whilst the Sun continues to rise in the ……..somewhere…….

I recently spoke to someone who was one of the very first to see me after I had ‘cold turkeyed’ and he said he hadn’t expected me to make it through the first night but I did……I don’t give up that easily. And I saw some footage of damaged and burnt children from the Civil War in Yemen. My arm is damaged but I have the NHS to help.

My birthday? Was fine. Except on the day itself I had to take my car to garage (Arnold Clark’s in Bearsden) cos I had two slow punctures at the front bit. Despite what people say about the place they did not charge me for the repair job.

And the bowel cancer test kit arrived through the post. 😦

So I’ve decided to cut back drastically on caffeine based drinks and crisps. And I have followed the rainforestriverman’s advice and treated myself to a pressie on birthday day day but I’m not yet saying what it is (no cars or animals are involved) and I’ve got a lot of thinking to do so I’m not going to bother with an ‘and finally’ today but take below the line to say why the Zombies might not be happening this year in the same shape as they did before but I am a trade unionist….never give up the fight.

Cya, still wearing that badge and defo going for it. Soon.

Johnt850, the man who taught Magic Mike XXL everything.

So it was the good Dr W who, as with many things last year, encouraged me to be a zombie and it was the second last night of the run. I drove out to Strathclyde Park a wee bit unsure as to why I was going there at 4 on a wet Saturday afternoon and when I tried to get into the theme park car park I was told ‘No entry to car park, mate. The drive-in is on tonight.’

‘But I’m a zombie!’ (which is a f*cking stupid thing to say when you think about it) except he said,

‘Park over there, mate.’

And I was in. And I parked in the rag, tag and bobtail that is the back of the theme park. And I walked, still slightly uncertain, over to where we usually changed and made up and I met Charlie Bear (Seriously. That’s her real name, isn’t it Zoe?) and she said ‘Hi John. We’re changing in the haunt tonight cos we’re starting early cos it’s so busy.’ And I realised why I was doing it. I had become part of a family. In a strange way. I may have been the world’s oldest living zombie. Which is also a strange thing to say.

And I went in and changed. And Dr W turned up in a strait jacket. And we patrolled the Padded Cell and then I did the Autopsy Room and she did the Cages. And then she and I left at midnight but we realised the others were staying on. Remember the drive-in…….? They were giving folk fifteen minutes to settle in and then windows were going to be tapped.

Me? I was home washing what seemed to be dried blood out of my hair……..

Negotiations may yet continue.

I still think the trailer for World War Z is brilliant and thanks for kind words about last week’s music. 🙂