Archive for November, 2015

‘My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three’ (The lightning in Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’)

November 27, 2015

And I think that is such an evocative line.

And so, dear listener, the mindfulness classes are about to finish (and we will go for a mindful bevvy after the last one) but it is beginning to happen for me. I now understand and welcome the sound of silence and in a practice last week we were asked to think of a (small) negative thing in our lives in order to remove it from our thinking, if only on a temporary basis. I obviously chose the fact that I cannot get the battery compartment of the TV remote control open. It’s lying there, staring at me. 😦

I wonder if mindfulness can help – or maybe I should take into class to see if anyone there knows how to do it. 🙂

And on the subject of philosophy can I thank J, the blog’s favest philosopher, for her very reassuring answer for when she and I went to get some food in a restaurant and the waiter asked where we’d like to sit. I may have looked confused, so J very kindly said, ‘jt, there are no right answers to some questions.’

So, much emboldened by this, I looked him straight in the eye and said, ‘you choose.’ Steely determination or what? 😀

And then we went to Waterstone’s and looked at books. And this has been important to me in a week when I found that mindfulness may be working, cos to be honest, we talked a lot about books as well as looked at them. I went back the next day and bought some and some book-related presents. Indeed, I may put my tree up this weekend but not put the lights on just yet- indecisive or what? 😉

But I bought two books that Son Brian had requested for C’mas and I am soooooo impressed by his choices.

And then on Thursday, my work had an Away Day down Abington way. And the journey back was a nightmare. The minibus got gridlocked in the carpark that was the M8 coming into Glasgow. It took ages. And then, whilst some of the others went to the pub, I came home cos there was editing to do. (My Waterstone’s purchases had to be paid for).

And I got on the train only to be told that if I was going to Hyndland I’d to get off at Partick ‘cos I was now on the Balloch Express and the next stop after Partick was Dumbarton….all very depressing as the train sat for ages just outside Charing Cross and all these people were sitting looking at their phones and reading things and sending messages and then I spotted her – two seats in front and by the door I would use to get out once the train actually stopped.

She was actually reading a book – hardback – called appropriately The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. As the train pulled into Partick and I go up to go out, I leaned over and said how nice it was to see someone reading a book. She didn’t call for Security; she looked up and said, ‘thank you.’ 😀

Books is good – and please excuse my grammar but you get the drift.

But obviously I won’t talk about the Away Day until I’ve at least filled out the evaluation form.

However, the bestest training I’ve ever attended was when I was a Beaver Leader for the 183rd Bearsden Scouts, altho’ living in Summerston. It was a dirty job, but someone had to do it and the Bearsden parents didn’t want to – so me and Son Brian did.

The training was over two Sundays and it was a lot of people and it went class; game; activity; lecture; break; class; game; activity; lecture; break and so on…….all done, not by management consultants, but by mums and dads who cared.

(And I met a woman who had met Lady Baden-Powell)

Unfortunately I never ever received my warrant cos of an unfortunate incident where I locked those senior Scouts who had come to test me for my warrant in the car park……we’ll maybe gloss over that just now. 😦

And finally, a wee while back, I spoke of the dangers of sugar in either its brown or its white form and said that it was potentially more dangerous than any other white or brown powder that may be causing concern. People scoffed.

Earlier this week I was walking through Glasgow City Centre and noticed many people carrying what looked like pizza boxes. It turned out to be a marketing stunt for Krispy Kreme doughnuts who are opening new stores. Did you know that there are 13 grams of fat in each Krispy Kreme doughnut; that the standard glazed doughnut has 222 calories but some versions have more than 400; and often they are sold in boxes of twelve which is one helluva an encouragement to binge.

So please, eat those doughnuts in moderation just as you’re told to drink in moderation. What else can I say? And it’ll soon be time for the amateur drinkers to hit our streets….beware.

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple in a bibliophile kinda way.

Johnt850, who was described as ‘lovely’ this week for sharing something on Facebook.

Now some people may have noticed that recently there has been an emphasis on dance in all its many brilliant forms in this musical conclusion to the show (and my thanks to anyone who may have thought that last week’s was mixed by myself. It wasn’t but I wish I had those skills – and that copyright clearance) and indeed this final tune marks the end of such a run.

It is almost the Christmas season and the traditional Twisted Sister’s track will be played next week (if I remember). In the meantime, please enjoy this. I did.

‘Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?’ was possible the most patronising lyric of all time in a fundraising song given the number of Christians in Africa.

November 20, 2015

And so, dear listener, it is true. I have taken all the Christmas stuff down from the attic and have attracted some good natured opprobrium because of it. (Skippy, can you run down to the library and check it’s okay to use that word? Eh, someone who knows what she’s talking about. Yes she does.)

I can explain. I had to replace a bulb on the landing. The landing? I have a semi (and I’ve done every innuendo gag under the sun about semis) with an upstairs and, indeed, it was just under nine years ago that I had cause to fight off the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on that particular landing but more of that in about three weeks. I do not fancy climbing on a chair to change this particular bulb and so bring in a set of ladders. And I entered the attic and took down the boxes with tree, last year’s unused Christmas cards and paper and the tinsel and glitter and sequins (No. Cut that last one. I am a man’s man. Actually that sounds pretty dubious in itself). 😦

Anyway the stuff is down and that means that, at the moment, a twenty-six year old (?) artificial Christmas tree is the first thing I see in the morning as it has been put in the corner of what the Estate Agents laughingly called the Master bedroom – for whatever reason. 😉

And I feel I should point out that I have a downstairs as well, just in case you think that my bedrooms and shower-room are currently hovering above Summerston being kept dry as the storms engage around me (and others) and shut roads and make other roads difficult to travel along. Summerston was almost cut off the other day – only one road out. 😦

It’s been like wet Sunday afternoons when you watched amazing dancing and music like this;

Moving on…….

Oh, and my incredibly talented one-year old grand-daughter sent me an e-mail with a link to the Early Learning Centre catalogue, with a suggestion that she just might like ‘this’ as a Christmas pressie. 😀

I will now mention Paris but this week’s Kay Burleyism of the month is when she outro’d/intro’d as follows:

‘That was Professor Such and Such; and now for an expert on the subject, here’s Professor So and So.’

But she and every other news reporter and their production and camera teams have played a blinder. Funny how all those Social Media critics of the media have stayed quiet. You can’t do Kay’s job from a computer in your back bedroom – altho’ you can plan a bombing campaign. Ideas and theologies know no borders so you can’t block them.

And no woman in a burqa has ever worried me. We live in a tolerant society, so why ban them? Now, people firebombing or painting graffiti on mosques does worry me. What if these people ever disagree with what I have to say?

And finally, I went to a funeral the other day……Stewart Cruickshank’s.

A lot of people may never have heard of Stewart before this week but an awful lot of nice things were said about him this week – through the pages of Facebook, on BBC Radio Scotland, on Reporting Scotland and on Byres Road.

He had a degree in Economics and Librarianship and started his BBC life in the Gram (Record) library in the basement around about the same time I did (in Religious Broadcasting). Not only was his knowledge of recorded music phenomenal, but he did so much for live music and broke so many new bands through programmes like Beat Patrol with Peter Easton and people. But in conversations (like real ones in Byres Road with @soulboydaviebee) a very similar tale occurs….You’d bump into Stewart in the corridor and tell him that you’d heard a new band a couple of weeks ago, they were really good and had he heard of them?

Yes, he had. He could then give you their discography, their current line-up, who they sounded like and if I liked that kinda music I should listen to……… and then, he’d reach into his pocket or his bag and bring out a demo tape/cassette/tape/cd or usb stick of theirs and give it you. 🙂

I do wish everyone who slags off the BBC could meet people like him who give so much of themselves to encouraging folk to achieve their potential – in his case, music.

The Great and the Good of Scottish broadcasting were there plus some well known names as well.

So that’s it.

Cya, still wearing that badge (and I found two Doctor Who badges in a Christmas box) and keeping it simple – but in a fairly relaxed kinda way. 🙂

Johnt850, truly a little scamp

Aye, Christmas……and it’s Christmas. It’s not Xmas, altho’ Xtine is perfectly acceptable 🙂

But before I say anything about it, I want to mention a Middle Eastern couple (not sure of religion) who were homeless (she was pregnant) and were looking for somewhere to stay. We only have accommodation for single people and the Hamish Allen Centre was full.

A lot of councils wouldn’t take them cos suddenly they realised that they already had homeless people and a lot of folk were agin them cos Britain First had told them to be. And a lot of other folk, including the Provost of Bute, (it has been suggested) thought they might be terrorists…..

Eventually, someone said, ‘Look, we’re halfway through a barn conversion but the local council has stopped our funding for these things as the SNP, in order to court popularity (it has been suggested), have not increased Council Tax for years. Anyway get your heads down there for a wee while.’

And they did. And she gave birth. And shepherds and kings and Kay Burley came to visit.

Do I have to tell you their names?

And I’ve lost the name of the guy whose tweet led to all that.

So lots of dance stuff in the blog these days (No. No reason) and this next vid (suggested by top singer Andrea Cunningham) is just pure fun. It evokes the spirit of wed Sunday afternoons again and there’s a wee dance routine with Fred and Ginger that I could see me and…….oh, hang on. There’s the doorbell. It’ll be the pressie. Enjoy. 😀

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” (Orson Welles)

November 13, 2015

And so dear listener, Masterchef is sooo much my favourite TV programme. The judges can be soooooo cruel;

‘If you can’t bake brownies at this level, you have no chance.’

‘That dish looks as if you’ve lost interest already.’

‘Why pour a sauce over a very good salsa?’ (altho’, tbh, I didn’t notice anybody dancing).

And there’s an annoying oversize twunt (called Nick and who looks like an evil Matt Lucas) who already thinks he’s won so I do hope he burns a jus and his bridges at the same time. 😀

But it has been soooo much better since Michel Roux stopped presenting it (Bloody foreigners. Coming over here and keeping their bloody foreign names. GET. BACK. IN. THE. SEA. That’s what I say) and Marcus and Monica are good…….but why is it I always ending up eating a bag of crisps when it’s on?

And why is it that, when good looking female sales assistants say to me, ‘See you later.’ and I reply, ‘That’s very nice of you. Where and when suits? I can pick you up. What’s your address?’ they insist on getting Security?

Or why did I get a strange look when, sorting my way through the butter croissants section of Morrison’s in Anniesland, a floor assistant asked if I was alright and I replied, ‘Well, no. I’ve not had a lot of sleep cos I was on night shift and I got caught in the rain there……hello….hello…..?’

And when I said in a recent (important) conversation that I am not as other men, I feel I should now stress that in many respects, not only am I as other men, but in many of those many respects, I am better than many men. I just felt I should clear that up. Did I? 🙂

And J, the blog’s favest philosopher, was asking after the Vampire Slayer the other day (as indeed were a couple of others) but she is still in Italy as recently there has been a plague of vampires that the wicked and corrupt BBC has failed to report and her services are still needed over there. One day hopefully. (I used to be a serious BBC journalist) 😦

But my laptop capacity has almost been reached and I have received suggestions as to how to lower it but they’re gnawing at the edges. 😦

And finally, I have received my rota well into January and it’s flexible. There are people out there whom I have not seen for some time and there’s a few promises floating around but I’m open to any offer. Suggestions?

A booklet called Glasgow Loves Christmas has been very helpful and here’s just one suggestion;

‘Put a date in the diary for a girly day out and book a festive afternoon tea – The Willow Tearooms, Cup and Blythswood Hotel all offer great ones.’…that’d be nice but I do stress my manliness I have this deep voice I can use when I want to……but, aye, give us a shout. All ideas considered. It’s either that or I use a day when nothing else is happening to tidy out the drawer with all the batteries.

And someone else suggested going to see a bloke called Les Mizz….. No. No Reason.

Cya, still wearing that badge but I took the poppy off at the end of the day itself – otherwise you’re not thinking about its meaning – and still keeping it simple. It was the only item on the agenda. 🙂

Johnt850, distraught cos I’ve lost my favest MP3 player. 😦

This is not what I originally planned to write but the events of Friday night in Paris have overtaken everything.

It was what security forces feared most; a combination of multiple attacks all launched at approximately the same time; an attack on a large sporting venue with VIPs present; and an attack on a theatre where a concert was being held (the horrors of the Chechnyan attack on the Moscow theatre are still vivid in some memories)

Amongst the aims of the Islamic State and its affiliates are to create divergence rather than diversity and Paris has become a major target for them. There will be those in this country who will seek to create a similar divergence within communities and it can just be a matter of time before mosques are targeted and various right-wing groups will seek to build on the tragedy by blaming the innocent Muslim community in this country.

Similarly, many young Muslims may well see the martyrs as heroes to be emulated in much the same way as many within the Irish Republican movement saw their martyrs as heroes as well. They may not have gone to the same lengths but the technology did not exist – even just years ago in the latest ‘troubles’.

No. I have no answers. These are people who are doing unto others what they are willing to have done to them – kill and be killed. It’s not martyrdom for the seventy-two virgins. It’s a belief in a perverted form of a religion – a belief with which we have nothing to compare – but it is one on which entire states would be based.

I move on.

So the other night there I caught about five minutes of Strictly Come and isn’t dance a real touchy feely thing – except if it’s the Time Warp, the Locomotion, the Twist or Gangnam Style? Anyway, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a man run his hand up and down Carol Kirkwood’s arm and Carol (ex-BBC and stoic) put on a brave smile.

This wee song sums up the joy of dance and I played it a few months ago and I make no apology for playing it again. The lyrics are not that relevant; its the infectiousness that’s important. It calls out to everyone regardless of…….well just regardless.

This being human is a guest house, every morning a new arrival…The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. (Jelaluddin Rumi 13th century)

November 6, 2015

And so dear listener, myself and e were perambulating in a southerly direction down the Byres Road, renowned for its proximity to the University and other seats of learning, its erudite wordsmiths and its highly educated middle-class populace when we spotted them.

One was an awning above a new shop with the words; TEMPORALLY SIGN, 😦

One was a board outside Matilda’s, currently a favourite coffee shop cos it does cakes without glutens, with the words, MORGNING DEALS, 😦

And I don’t think ASHTINS is a very appropriate name for a fragrant candle shop. 😦

And all that before we reached Hillhead Library – an important seat of learning in its own right; or at least it should be.

But a massif Well Done to Darcy’s in Prince’s Square who not only know what products are gluten free, they have a physical piece of paper with the gluten free menu on it. 😀


Being in a bank and being asked to put your number in the machine on the desk and saying it out loud.

And I did go to the mindfulness class the other night and, I think that helped later that night with a small editing problem, cos I was soooo relaxed.:)

But I realised that I might be on a different plane from some folk during a discussion on what the mind can do (think in context). Suggestions included being a judgement factory and masterful storyteller.

I explained that sometimes my mind says to me, ‘Sod this for a game of sodgers. There’s a lot better fish to fry out there. And that’s where I’m going.’

I don’t invite these strange looks, y’know.


Being in Queen Street Station and a friend creeps up on you and you feel the need to borrow the station announcer’s microphone to apologise for the bad language you used when he grabbed you.

And BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal, I found it! This is in memoriam of a pair of shoes that died on Wednesday.

What the Mallard Duck were they on? And speaking of rhyming slang (altho’ to be honest this is rather convoluted), have you ever been offered a Penny Pickle?

And my thanks to those people (men mostly) who are raising funds this month for research into male cancers by growing moustaches. I’m often asked why I don’t grow a moustache for Movember. The answer is simple. I think it’s important that people see me (on a daily basis) as someone who came through bad alcohol issues and bad cancers eight to nine years ago and looks normal with ‘everything in working order.’ If a touch fat. And weird…..just ask Skippy. She knows, you know.

And some people may be interested to know (j and e mainly) that I have decided to extend my wardrobe – but not in a Narnia kinda way cos that would see me walking straight through to the neighbours. No. Black is no longer the only colour in any of my universes – it’s a blue-ish, grey-ish crew neck sweater from a charity shop in Byres Road. Three pounds since you ask.


Being in Queen Street Station and having donated two pounds for two poppies and then thinking the man said, ‘Don’t forget your pound.’ (‘But, I’ve already given you two.’) when he actually said, ‘Don’t forget your pin.’

And finally, my apologies to anyone (j, but there may have been others) for whom I may have ‘spoiled’ last week’s episode of The Last Kingdom by talking about it; so what I’ve done this week is to write this sentence earlier in the week so it won’t happen again. 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge (and I found the missing one!) and keeping it simple

Johnt850, a bit ragged round the edges, but pretty magnificent nonetheless

(Thanks Zoe)

I wear a poppy and do so most years unless I lose them – I need to buy more than one at a time. I do it not out of respect for those who sacrificed their lives (or more accurately ‘were sacrificed’) in various wars this century but out of respect for families who lost loved members. But I also respect the right of people not to wear the poppy. The important thing is that people have the right to choose and make their own minds up about to wear or not to wear.

But this is no longer the case. I saw a bit of X Factor last weekend when I saw an all-girl band and I was transfixed. By their poppies. I would be soooo knocked out and made up if I thought they had gone, ensemble, to the producers and said, ‘oh by the way, have you any poppies we can wear tonight out of respect for the dead of various wars?’

If they did, then I apologise. Or were they, like near enough everyone else on TV, told to wear them in case someone complained. I was told this week of a man who turned up at a meeting on 11th October wearing his poppy (were they even on sale then?) but was soon advised of the other peoples’ views about his possible reasons for doing so. He left the meeting in disgrace.

Poppy wearing should not be compulsory – not just in a TV studio – but anywhere. Discussions about why we go to war should be.


Someone pointing out it looked a bit damaged and I replied, ‘It’s like it’s been in the wars, isn’t it?’ Yes. I did.

I don’t know if I play this music every year or whether it’s just most years.

Siouxsie and the Banshees…..Poppy Day