Archive for September, 2015

“I love zombies. If any monster could Riverdance, it would be zombies.” (Craig Ferguson)

September 25, 2015

And so dear listener wasn’t Monday a marvellous day for a blogger? No. I don’t mean that business with ‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron and the sucking pig…..Sorry. I mean suckling pig. No. I mean the things that happened to me. Altho’my favest headline of the week came from the ironical Daily Record.


Or as Kenneth Williams never said;

‘Irony. Irony. They’ve all got it irony.’ 😀

No. Monday started for me at five to nine when BBC Radio Scotland phoned to ask if I was willing to be their first phone call after nine in a phone-in programme just after the news at nine on whether people should speak out about their cancer (if they have one) – to which I said YES – but I then got a phone call just after nine to stand me down. They’d got ‘an expert’!!!!!! Who wasn’t me!!!!!! Aye Right. I’ll remember that. 😦

But this was all of great interest to me as later that day I was due to meet up with someone from Prostate Cancer UK at Prostate Cancer UK HQ in Ibrox. I got there with a few minutes to spare and went for a walk (I sooooooo need to lose weight) and walked past a bar called, I think, Kensington’s. It was a nice day and people were sitting outside.

Including one man in a suit with shaved head who looked like a local businessman – a ‘player’ as they say on the streets. And he was wearing a Prostate Cancer badge. 🙂

I did think about going up and introducing myself, but a rather well-built man standing beside him seemed to be deciding who got to say hello. 😦

The conversation with Anne was wide-ranging. But it was not about information talks – which are designed to tell people about the Charity with a personal story of survival thrown in and not a reprise of the latest treatments and research which might put people off.

Instead we discussed how to get a sick eel to a vet and there was an unfortunate misunderstanding when I thought Anne said badges but she said badgers. This would explain the unfortunate stain on my lapel later in the day.

I then went to my bank where there had been an unfortunate misunderstanding over a previous meeting. I met Michael who had Gone Ape in Aberfoyle four times but had never abseiled down the Titan Crane. He did do marathons but had never run Tough Mudder altho’ one of his female colleagues had. He also wanted to be a journalist and had a relative with alcohol issues. At some point a Fixed Rate One Year Bond was opened…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

And he’d heard about the zombies but had never been. He was booking his tickets for him and his mates as I was leaving. But he won’t see me there.

I’ve decided. I won’t be doing it this year. Yes. I had a major encourager-in-chief in my (now erstwhile) friend, W, but I have heard nothing from her for some time. But it is nothing to do with that.

And yes, I have a very busy time coming up cos I’m heavily involved (as are others) in the Fortieth Anniversary of Blue Triangle and that is taking up a lot of time at the moment. That is why I never made it to Hope Over Fear the other day. And then there’s jury duty. But it is nothing to do with that.

And I’ve not fallen out with such an amazing bunch of folk and I’m looking forward to reading their posts and seeing the photos.

No. It’s when the bank man was talking about going to Go Ape four times. I couldn’t do that. I would worry about what was next cos I know the rope ladders get narrower and the bridge between the trees gets more rickety. Other zipwires are available…and I’d be happy to try them.

No. The most amazing thing about last year was the randomness of it all – all totally unexpected from the Saturday morning audition to running with the zombies that night to driving up the road still with the make-up on to following Bethany around the haunt and the guy who swore so badly when I leaped at him that even I couldn’t repeat it in the blog. Those are amazing memories. I will stick to them but every so often I may drive out to the roundabout at M & Ds and listen to the bloodcurdling screams. 😀 😀 😀 😀

But as my second favest philosopher, Uni-Sharon says, ‘there’s life after being a zombie.’ (EH?)

And finally, I felt comfortable in that jacket. I must wear it more often

Cya, still wearing that badger and keeping it simple.

Johnt850, described in ASDA the other day as having the Richard Gere look 🙂

And the rainforestriverman was up and we went for lunch and the subject of our own time at university came up…….we didn’t, did we? I don’t remember doing that……but I do seem to remember helping to move your bed with you in it from the Union to the traffic island opposite. Ah, how little I have in common with the current Prime Minister. 😉

In the days of Gerry and the Pacemakers and Freddie and the Dreamers and the Beatles (whatever happened to them?) one man strode the world like the Colossus he was. I was going to play another of his tunes but it would have been an unfortunate mix as the awful Saville (who I met once and who disgusted me cos of his attitudes towards women) would have been in it.

This is the God that is Billy J Kramer with ‘Bad To Me’ and not only do I have a jacket but I do have two suits – one of which my son was giving to a charity shop and I intercepted it…but I don’t have BIlly’s hair. Does anyone these days? 🙂

‘The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. … And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace (Tacitus)

September 19, 2015

And so dear listener, there I was on Tuesday night, at about ten, at home, watching the refugee crisis on TV, when the phone rang. Not unusual in itself. It was one of the workers at the project asking where I was. As we only have two workers on at any one time (and twenty-five Service Users), he had noticed my name on the rota for being with him from 9.30 pm until 8 am the next morning, but as I was not sitting at the desk at ninety degrees to his, he was slightly concerned. 😦

Thirty minutes later I was walking up the close stairs (that’s close as in tenement – not close as being in immediate proximity) unshowered, no food for through the night and trying to work out why it wasn’t in my diary.

The lack of food is important. We keep food in the project but it’s for emergency use by the SUs and at three in the morning, the only source of sustenance is The Bistro across the road but I am not a great fan of double donner kebab, chips and cheese and never was – even in my meat eating days. The vegetarian option is chips’n’curry sauce. 🙂

The twenty-four hour shop provided me with a prawn mayonnaise sandwich.

But food has played an important part in my week. This week.

About three hours after my shift I met up with a (now former) BBC friend for lunch and if you ever need a jazz events promoter/producer I know the very person. 😉

And then on Thursday, I had lunch with good friend e (but no children) at the Hanoi Bike Shop just off Byres Road. This, however, according to an English based tabloid (as we used to call the Sun) does not make me ‘cultured’. What does make you cultured, according to a survey marking the 80th anniversary of dairy product Yakult, are things like visiting heritage sites, putting on an accent to pronounce foreign words and watching Question Time and the Antiques Roadshow. And the ability to use chopsticks.

Which I can. Kinda. One of the things about the Bike Shop is that you can get a range of dishes (kinda tapas like) and share. Have you ever tried eating mussels with chopsticks? Getting the bit out of its shell? (Do mussels have shells?) And can I also advise avoiding what seems to be the Bike Shop’s home-made spicy sauce in a jar? Or at least don’t mix it up like I did. Man, that was hot.

We followed that by a visit to the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University. Which is a medical museum showing what can go wrong with its exhibits of stuffed deformed Siamese twin foxes, for example, and other similar exhibits.
Doctor Who fans, you would love it.

There are also jars of pickled human bits including, look away now if you’re easily offended, a pickled penis and ladies’ intimate parts AND the biggest dinosaur leg (not medical) that we had ever seen. It’s education but I’m not sure it’s culture. 🙂

But if you are easily offended, then continue to look away now, as I award this week’s prize for the most easily offended BBC Radio Presenter of the Month to Radio 5’s Tony Livesey (51) who felt he had to apologise for Frank Gardener saying ‘shagging’ (In context). This is Frank Gardener, ffs, the BBC security correspondent who was paralysed for life when he was shot six times by a terrorist gang and said (according to the Telegraph) that he would not plead for compassion when they were sentenced to death (2004). And why should he?

Anyway, Frank has the entire armed forces of the Queen, plus MI5 and MI6 and the ones I can’t mention cos of the D-Notice, behind him (do they still have D-notices? Or did they stop when Chapman Pincher died?)

Mind you standards ain’t what they used to be, are they? I’m sure J, the blog’s favest philospher, used the word ‘crap’ recently.

So as we are in a slightly Parental Advisory Fruity Lyrics mode, this is my favest ‘dance’ tune of the week;

And finally, I didn’t make it to either Hope Over Fear or The Scottish Recovery Consortium’s Recovery Walk on Saturday. Good reasons which I’ll explain in a couple of weeks but work related. But look, e, the initials of the Scottish Recovery Consortium! SRC! Spooky or what? I’ll leave that with you.

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

Johnt850, who never gets old but continues to evolve.

I suspect, like me, you were brought up on the story of the Children’s Crusade when young children like the shepherd boy, Nicholas, and another shepherd called Stephan of Cloyes, led thousands of children to the Holy Lands to fight the Muslims. There has been a fair amount of academic research into this and it may be a myth or it may be crowds of wandering poor being called children. It at least can blame time for the ever-changing story.

The latest myth comes from the fevered brains of Britain First – an offshoot of the English Defence League – which publishes, for example, a happy smiling black man with a fishing rod and sticks another picture of a black man with an AK47 and says the first one is a so-called refugee who transmorphs into a gun carrying terrorist in three weeks. They don’t even look the same. Except, oh yes, they’re both black.

Naw, this myth is that refugees get priority over ex-servicemen when it comes to housing. Naw. Everyone is treated equally by the housing associations who have what little housing that is fit for human habitation. We have plenty of accommodation to go round. It needs the will of the Government to fix it. Not just Nick Knowles.

There was a wee clip of footage showing, rightly or wrongly, refugees or economic migrants, storming a police point somewhere in Eastern Europe. A wee girl falls out of the crowd and stands at the side of the ‘swarm’ as they charge for freedom. And stands. And stands. Was I the only one shouting at the TV? I do hope she was re-united with her folks but there are many reports of children trying to make it on their own. Their crusade but in an opposite direction.

This is the original Doctor Who theme. No. No reason.

‘I never thought about (breast cancer) in those terms. It can become a fight if you think you might lose, but for me, it was always about getting better’ (Carol McGiffen)

September 11, 2015

And so dear listener, this week I did something I haven’t done for years (and, no, it’s not what some of you may be thinking.) I still haven’t got round to using that bus pass. So, I’ve still to journey on a corpie bus on my own. Tbh, I’m not too sure I agree with the principle of the bus pass. Things like that create artificial conceptions about age.

No. This week I tried to make a list. I am a great user of Post-its (or similar). In fact, when I did the Post Grad and Masters I used to mark and index pages in books by using different coloured Post-its stuck to the books and would write …….ooooops. 😦

Actually, just in case anyone from UWS (Paisley) Library or, indeed, anyone formerly of Glasgow College of Building and Print Library or, indeed, Glasgow City Council Library (Missie K – how were the Foo Fighters? And you wouldn’t believe how flexible my diary is) is reading this……I didn’t. I wrote everything down. On a separate pad. Honest. No Post-its…….. 😀

Incidentally, a lecturer at UWS (either Iain or Dougie) told me about the Post-it application thing you can get on the laptop – I wrote that down on a yellow Post-it and lost it.

I’ve always found lists to be restrictive. I have, for example, no Christmas Card list so I can’t strike people’s names off it just cos I didn’t get a card from them. My card writing is spontaneous and is aimed to tell people I am still alive (but I must improve my writing. Last year’s cards to young AJ and RJ went to America before arriving in Glasgow’s West End.)

But I decided to go for it and put an A4 lined pad on my new dining room table with the aim of writing down anything that occurred to me whist in the house and transferring stuff that I’d written down elsewhere. (I have no dining room – new or otherwise. It’s a new table)

Things like;

I was looking up some stuff on Google for an idea I have to do with drink’n’drugs and amazingly, some of the hyperlinks led to various episodes of the blog from a wee while back…..really set me up it did……imagining that students all over the world might be quoting my work. 🙂

(Bear in mind that I edit all sorts of work – from brain surgery to rocket construction. Let’s hope if I re-write a sentence, I get it right and if I don’t, you’re not facing brain surgery from one of my clients) 😦 OR 🙂

And I’m in the mood to do some stuff to my garden (you should see what my neighbours are doing to theirs. They had been considering moving away but obvs they’re not now.) 🙂 So on my list it says ‘fence painting’ but is it my fence or is it someone else’s – totally at random? Anyway, my gardener is giving me a quote. (Doctor Paul once said to me that there were two types of people on this Earth – those who had a gardener and those who wanted one.)

And Tony Hall, the BBC’s D-G, has got credit for the idea of broadcasting to North Korea and at first I was going to poke a wee bit of fun but then I remembered the amazing Professor Tom Stonier who, long before it happened, forecast the end of the Soviet Union and the downfall of the Berlin Wall – not by the gun and the drone but by the humble fax machine which was a brill way to get articles and literature into The Soviet Bloc. A man ahead of his time. 🙂

And then there’s this list of names (personal and professional) that I want to contact but I worry about being in touch too much in case I’m seen as a pest or stalker. The choices are so many – txt, phone, mail or massage (I’m leaving that typo in. Skippy). For most of the time I worked at the Beeb, the phone was the main method of communication and I could hit the phones as well as anyone – the Glasgow end of Lockerbie was one such occasion and the death of Princess Diana was another, altho’ I wasn’t making calls about that – I was cancelling referendum programmes and stopping guests from travelling. Now with more means of personal communication, I think twice about disturbing people.

And ‘dogs’ it says here, but in-depth the question needing addressed here is ‘what happens if I borrow Holly from e one afternoon just to get used to a dog and I let her off the lead and she never comes back?’ 😦

Lists were providing no answers and leading to pounding headaches.

So, finally, I tore up the four sheets of paper and felt a tremendous sense of relief- of freedom even. I’ll put my fate in the hands of the Post-its. Freedom calls!

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple, without lists.

Johnt850, still looking for the microfiche

And can I say thanks to all those people who have said nice things to me about the good work I’m doing with the homeless including some refugees? Thanks but I get paid for doing it. It’s my job. And I enjoy it. But I don’t think I could do it on a volunteer basis………No. No reason.

So for the last few weeks there’s been a Country/Dance feel to the music. Yes. There’s been a reason. So I, personally, thought it was time for some acid house country rock.

This next band, possibly the greatest ever in the history of this and any other world, I saw once at Balloch (outside and I’d love to see them indoors. I think they’re coming to Glasgow soon as is Steve Earle with a band….any takers?)

It’s an acoustic Alabama 3 with ‘You Don’t Dance to Techno Anymore.’ Enjoy.

Il avait un nom : Aylan Kurdi. (various)

September 4, 2015

And so, dear listener, I was talking to a refugee that I used to work with and who told me a wee bit more of his story. He told me of attending a political meeting in a country in Africa where things the Government did not like were being discussed. He was thrown in prison and after thirty five days his uncle raised enough money to pay the police to let him go (and I don’t think we’re talking ‘pay a fine or face Community Payback’ here). And he made it to this country. And he’s doing okay.

What about his friends? They had not been so lucky. They had no uncle like his. How was his uncle? He had not heard from him for a long time.

And I can’t have been the only one who shivered when I heard that the Christian Hungarian Prime Minister said that there were too many Muslim refugees. And put them on a train. To a camp.

Many migrants are refugees who are seeking refuge and they want to work – to raise money to bring the rest of their family over and then maybe go back to the country that they still love. It ain’t the benefits they come for – a benefits system where, according to the Government’s own figures, 2,380 people died within six weeks of being found ‘fit to work’ between December 2011 and February 2014. I accept that no causal effect can be assumed from these new numbers but why, then, did the so-called IDS initially deny their existence to Parliament?

We used to be such a caring nation. What happened? What f*cking happened? It would be too easy to blame the greed of Tories like Thatcher, Major, Brown, Blair and Cameron……..No. I don’t know what happened. Until one photo of a dead wean appears on our front pages. There have been so many others.

Skippy, do me a favour and scrap this stuff. I’ll be back in a minute or so but I won’t use any of it…….

(That was written two days ago. There has been much talk since)

And so, dear listener, what a great week it’s been. I went back to that dentist I was talking about and not only did he fix my troublesome filling, but he had a really magical chart of my mouth up on his computer screen when I went in and suddenly my faith in being with a dentist was restored. 🙂

Previously I was beginning to feel my dentist was part-time within the Peppermint Beauty Studios. 😦

And I was talking children’s books with J, the blog’s favest philosopher, and I couldn’t help but notice in another publication that Captain Bigglesworth, a favourite read of mine, (Biggles to his ‘close’ friends, Algy and Ginger. Bromance? What bromance?) suffered from such frayed nerves that he downed half a bottle of whisky for Dutch courage before take off. (He was a pilot, in case you were wondering) I’d long suspected that he was not the most politically correct of all my heroes, but he seems to have been a risk to his colleagues as well. Wonder if I was ever a danger to mine?

And then there’s telephones. Yes. I still have a landline and it’s mostly for family and cold calls. But it died on me. And it’s not the batteries or it might be them but anyway I decided to get a new one. I contacted the rainforestriverman’s old emporium and it was with me within hours and I charged it and plugged it in and spoke to people. But yet… you know, dear listener, that voicemail is not yet a standard issue in phones. Or maybe no-one’s leaving me messages. 😦

But (rather than ‘and’) there are peppers and tomatoes growing in my new porch (or is it an Audi?) but I don’t think there is a dinner party ahead of me. There has not been enough sun. Sometimes we need more than the big sky – we need the sun. 🙂

And it was with great delight that I posted these words on Friday afternoon on Facebook;

‘And so, after a ten hours night shift with the homeless, including refugees, and two hours sleep, I have finally finished August’s editing and there’s an Out of Hours up on my e-mail advising that I am out of my editing office until 19th September which I hope was read by the twunt (I got that word from Becky Garrett) who asked me how long it would take to check his PhD of 75,000 words for grammar as he only had a couple of days…..’

And finally, it says a lot about the supermarket queue I was in on Friday when the old lady in front of me was complaining about the old lady in front of her. And No. I will never grow old. Not when there are so many disappointments in my life. It must get better one day. 😀 😀 😀

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple – it’s more straightforward that way.

Johnt850, about to go into a short period of availability. All offers welcome.

So I still haven’t made my mind up about being a zombie again this year; to be honest the workload of the last five to six weeks has led to me not thinking about much anyway – and there are good memories (the old grit in the eye moment) – but the Zombie end of run rave was good and so was Zoe’s 18th. 🙂

We danced. 🙂

We did the Time Warp. Again. 🙂

We did the Locomotion. 🙂

And we twisted 🙂

But we didn’t line dance (I don’t think the conga line counted) 😦

Now if you’re in line-dancing mood beware because the BPM for the final track is pretty fast – strong legs are required. (No. I really don’t know what I’m talking about, do I?) It’s the Dixie Chicks who stood side by side with Steve Earle against the second Iraq War and were ostracised by the American media.

‘Tonight the heartache’s on me’ is the name of the song – and the title of my forthcoming autobiography: