Archive for June, 2016

In the beginning God said Let There be Grammar: and there was Grammar! And then there was Grammar issues, and they was bad.

June 24, 2016

And so dear listener, today’s show reveals two sides of my complex life; on the one hand, I’d a brilliant day with people most of whom I’d never met before, but on the other a bank with whom I’ve banked since I was born and for whom my father worked, thinks it’s okay to take £566.87 off me, erroneously as it admits, but has no way of giving me that money back….…as I write. 😦

But the two events are linked. Tenuously.

Read on.

As many of you know last Saturday was a Gaelic Sports Day in Pollok Park and it was dead good. I had been given the task of running the tuck shop and took to it like I was destined to be a shopkeeper. I even had my own catchphrase to anyone complaining about prices (in English) 😉

‘You’re in the middle of Pollok Park, no’ Pollok Shopping Centre!’

Incidentally, does Pollok still have a shopping centre or have Braehead and Silverburn made it redundant?

Anyway back at Fèis Spòrs Ghlaschu, to give the day its proper name. Everyone was brilliant and one small moment early on summarised the feelgood factor, or rather the sun tan lotion factor…..the blogmeister and his J and family had turned up cos their son, from Airdrie, was playing shinty but somehow the suntan lotion had not made the same journey. Suzy, who started off the tuckshop with me, said, ‘I’ve got some in the car.’ and went and got it and we spread it all over. What can you say? 😀

There was a Tug of War and c had brought his special Tug of War shoes; there was Zumba, j, which satisfied my curiosity as to what actually happened in that form of dancing; there was shinty, face painting, home baking, Scottish Country Dancing, a 1k run for under tens or similar and my own particular favourite……gridlock on the Maryhill Road going home – altho’ tbh, I don’t think it was connected. 😦

All in all a good day and I am giving serious thought to learning Gaelic as next year’s evening class. 🙂

And my thanks to e for getting me involved.

Indeed the connection with e continued into the next week.

You may remember TSB Fraser from last week who I thought was going to be helpful in finding my £566.87? Well I was down again on the Monday after two hours’ sleep and he thought Graham, the Customer Services Manager, would be looking after it. Well he wasn’t.

E and I had decided to do a bank crawl up Byres Road (ah, the days of the Pub Crawl have long since gone but I’ll turn to the Rainforestriverman in a second) and we started off in the Bank of Scotland where they have one of those machines that you can pay cheques into and we ended up in the Royal Bank of Scotland where they don’t have cash bags but instead they have a machine like the Coin Star you get in supermarkets but without giving up 17.5% to charity.

In between, we went into the TSB where Graham had taken the day off and Fraser had nipped out for chocolate biscuits but none for me and e and no news on the money front.

A letter has gone to the Chief Executive……. 🙂


The Rainforestriverman has just stood down from Glasgow University Court and he and I were to meet down Byres Road after he’d had a farewell dinner of Porterhouse Blue proportions, but it was cancelled after he’d seen the size of the stilton.

I left Glasgow Metropolitan College to concentrate on recovery – and those small minds that wished me ill. My own going away (me and Mike Gower)  – cranberry juice and paper plates full of crisps – was sooooooo overwhelming that me and some others went to the nearest pub (Printworks?) and I set about some serious Virgin Mary drinking. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And finally, J’s money (eh?) looks good with the home team of France but my own choice of Spain are making it hard for themselves. They remind me so much of my own team Partick Thistle in that they play a lovely passing game and then get beat 2 – 1…….but they’re still in with a shout.

Cya, still wearing the badge and keeping it simple can be quite reassuring at times. For all concerned. 🙂

Johnt850, with my birthday in a few days’ time but the more significant date is in December.

And so one of the main reasons for the existence of this show was to talk about Prostate Cancer and my own successful treatment.  I had radiotherapy rather than surgery for a number of reasons and, without going into any detail, am glad I did. 🙂

At one point, Andrew Lloyd Webber was about to have prostate cancer treatment and was ‘worried about losing his sexual urge’ so the Daily Record contacted the Scottish end of Prostate Cancer UK and after getting the official line asked the PR, big Al, for someone who hadn’t lost anything. They got me.

I can’t remember the headline (well I can but I don’t like to boast) but having explained to the reporter, Catherine Devanney, the whole procedure, I was asked, ‘At any point did a warning bell go that there was something seriously wrong?’

‘Well’, I replied, ‘when the nurse stuck her finger up my bum, I had a passing sensation that all was not right.’

I mention all that cos I’m fine and ‘everything is in working order’ but I still meet, am put in contact with or hear about men with worries about diagnosis and treatment and in a week when it’s suggested that prostate cancer time could be nearly halved with higher doses of radiotherapy – thus halving the 37 sessions I had – I think it’s important to stress that treatment works in most cases, but the longer you choose to ignore going for a pee so often during the night, then the more chance there is that the treatment won’t work.

I was seeing my GP on a monthly basis after my alcoholic breakdown – but not everyone can be that lucky.

And tonight’s music is basically for anyone who likes bees and may need some cheering up. It’s Matt McGinn from a time before videos of people’s music existed. Enjoy.

Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion; it is poisonous (Brendan Cox, husband of Jo)

June 17, 2016

And so, dear listener, this week’s Favest Banker of the Month award (and I don’t think that, for once j, ‘favest’ applies to you as it’s not one of your skills but I could be wrong) goes to Fraser in the Byres Road branch of the TSB who very kindly explained to me things that the Call Centre in India couldn’t. 🙂

Now don’t get me wrong. The man in India did his best but he used terms and words I hadn’t heard before, like me owing money and stuff like that, but I think the hardest thing for him to take on board was me, a man almost 62 years old (just under three weeks to go) crying his eyes out and pleading for him to speak in words of one syllable while he told me that my credit card was blocked until a completion charge of £21.98 was paid. 😦

And that the cheque that I had paid, which seems to have bounced about four weeks ago but they deducted the money anyway, was to be returned to me and I would take it into a branch of the bank and they would refund the money to me before taking it off me again to pay what I owed.  This seemed strange.

All this happened during the day on Tuesday and I had a sleepless night, which given that I was working night shift that night, was not necessarily a bad thing but the next morning I slept for an hour (really well with new blackout curtains) but I had to get up and do something about it. So I went down to the bank and spoke to Fraser and he made a positive effort not to roll his eyes but let me speak and then he made a phone call and showed me things on the screen and that, in itself, was reassuring. 🙂

Yes, it was done with my permission but I always think I pay for so much by cash and yet there it is……everything including my £308 for my season ticket at Partick Thistle. But then things began to settle and there was no ‘completion charge’ (it was a minimum amount to pay) and I just paid it all and soon time that cheque would be returned and all would be refunded and some PINs needed to be changed and so on. But if there was any problem then just ask for him; and I stopped crying. 🙂

My son went to a fee-paying school (to which I contributed financially – not in general – but for his bit of it but there is a seat in the grandstand of the playing fields which has my name on it cos I contributed to that as well)…..anyway fee-paying school… was the kind of place where young men had surnames for first names like Fraser and Craig and stuff like that but they do have a confidence that I don’t have. Much.

And I also got a letter from another banker called Elaine from another branch about another banking issue. Managers may not be out there but local bankers are.

But nothing is as it seems. 😀

Take Euro16 and that footage quite early on of a man smashing a chair over someone else’s head. Did you watch it; did you really watch it? Then you would have noticed that the man he hit was carrying a golf club (what we used to call a ‘wood’ but it is now made of metal) which he was about to use to smash in someone else’s head on the steps beside him. That chair carrying/smashing thug was someone else’s hero.

And then another moment which seemed to pass without comment (and I don’t mean the crassness of the English commentator who, when England scored late in the first game, spoke of Justice for the England Eleven) but one of those pre-arranged, spontaneous moments that football fans are good at.

A 24 year old man from Northern Ireland died, accidently, in a fall from a great height. How did the Republican of Ireland fans react? With a chant that went,

‘Stand up For the Ulsterman, stand up for the Ulsterman. Stand up for the Ulsterman’ and so on for a full minute.  Football fans do that kind of thing a lot. And people stand up for a full minute as a tribute.

So J has some money on France and I have some on Spain and already I’m looking forward to Partick Thistle at home to Queen of the South on 23rd July. No. It never goes away.

And finally, I feel for the family and friends of the 49 people murdered in Orlando and I feel for the family and friends of Jo Cox in Birstall but I’m not going to attach letters (either LGBTQ or MP) to either.  The former were out to enjoy themselves; the latter was helping her community. Both killed. Needlessly.

Cya, for once wearing a skip cap and still keeping it simple almost one year on.

Johnt850, difficult to define at the best of times

For most of you, by the time you read this, (ceteris paribus), I will have helped out at a Gaelic Sports Day encouraged to do so by my good friend e and her family. I don’t know what my role is to be (see next week for fuller detail) but I’m looking forward to it.

E and I and Holly the Dog did a wee recce earlier this week and it looks a nice place. It’s Lochinch Park which is the Police Recreational Grounds in the Glasgow area and that’s situated in Pollok Park in the South side of Glasgow.

No. I have no Gaelic other than what I have picked up from BBC Alba’s coverage of Scottish football. The Gaels in Glasgow have always been a strong community here and have a strong identity. I am delighted to have been asked to help. 🙂

As I’ve explained to a few people in recent years, at one point the BBC was my community. About ten years ago, a chain of events was set in motion which saw reasons for me losing contact with that community. I learned lessons from that and am always delighted to help where I can. I have never ever felt ‘used’ and believe offers of help (and them being accepted) are important in creating a real sense of community – be it Zombies, Gaels or just amazingly good friends. 😀

There’s been a financial aspect to this blog; this was the first CD I ever bought. Do I have to introduce it?

A giraffe’s coffee would be cold by the time it reached the bottom of its neck. Ever think about that?

June 10, 2016

And so dear listener, I was driving home the other Sunday morning (from work and not some hedonistic Satyrday night/Sinday morning of yore) when I saw a man looking in a shop window and tidying his hair. And I thought, I’m so glad other guys do it. 🙂

Y’know, I’m often asked what my favourite mirror is (aren’t you?) and it comes from some recordings I did for the last ever radio doc I produced (the CD of which I’ve lost in the refurbishment of t850 Towers which is annoying as I wanted someone to listen to it. There’s an archive I must plunder) It was about prostate cancer and why men are reluctant to speak out about it – although that seems to be changing.

It was a smashing husband and wife couple down in West Kilbride and I asked to use their bathroom before returning to Glasgow and with the door open (on the way in and the way out) I could see not only me but also Ailsa Craig in the background – both rugged and part of Scotland’s cultural history. 😉

And speaking of Scotland’s cultural history, please feel free to join me, e and c and a number of Gaelic speaking people at Feis spors Ghlaschu which is a sports day being held by some Gaelic speaking people this Saturday (18th) and I seem to be involved in some way (the tombola?). It’s being held at Lochinch Park (the Glasgow polis’s training ground in Pollok Park) and for all those who’ve ever wondered what the Gaelic is for bouncy castle, it seems to be Castle Sgeingeach……and it’s from 12.30 to 4.40…..which is a very exact time to finish.

Anyway, me and e went curtain shopping to Clydebank (where e lived for a year she said in passing) and I’d like to thank the very patient staff in Dunelm Mill and Harry Corry for their patience as my mind changed every so often but, hey, they are bought and are draped over my settees to lose their crushes (how often has that happened in my life I wonder….with curtains) but I’m not sure whether there will be an official curtain opening (I told you, J, I’d use it 🙂  )

What was of most interest tho’, was not the waitress in the very pleasant coffee shop who brought over our coffees with the words, ‘I saw you were having no milk in your coffees so I  topped them up with hot water’ nor the fact that she packed a mean bottle of tomato ketchup in the pocket of her apron.

It was the pictures on the wall. Bog standard and slightly dated photos of the Singer Sewing Machine factory and John Brown’s Shipyard and the clock tower that could be seen from all over Clydebank. What happened to all those people when the work stopped? Where, now, are the millworkers from Paisley or the coal miners and steelworkers from North Ayrshire? Or more likely, their dependents?  😦

I am part of a family of three generations of accountants and auditors, other than me or daughter-in-law, KT. It seems we will always need financial people, but people to make things? I’ll get back to you on that.

But good news on the book front where books are back in the business chasing out e-readers and similar. E-book sales are falling and the ‘iPad generation still want to read about Hairy McLeary or Katie Morag from a real book.’(D. Record 9th June 2016) and also the Crayons Who Quit…….if you have children or grandchildren of any age, buy that one…….it’s brilliant. 🙂

(And on the subject of e-things, this week’s Unattributed Conversation of the Month went as follows;

Me; So, has using an e-cigarette helped you cut down?

Other person; Yes, I only smoke spliffs these days.)

And delighted also to read that my first university, Glasgow, not only continues to take over the entire West End of Glasgow but recently announced plans to continue its library expansion – thus, in comparison with others, realising the importance of making written research as available as possible to students and researchers.

But I do have friends that question the value of university research and dispute studies that prove the efficacy of minimum unit pricing. Maybe it’s because it’s not disseminated properly and popularly.

So, and finally, step forward one of my own uni-mentors, Jenny H and her partner in writing Kim, whose academic treatise on Generation Rent got used as the basis of a piece in the well-respected freebie Stylist. Jenny H is also a graduate of UWS (Paisley) Drink and Drugs team but Jenny, this is the Dead Kennedys telling you how to pronounce Viva!

It was at this point I stopped for a while and Spotified the Dead Kennedys. And never started again. 😀

Cya, still wearing the badge and it’s no problem to keep it simple.

Johnt850, about whom the song was written, wasn’t it Carly?

Noel Edmonds is an interesting character who has received a fair amount of finger-pointing scorn this week, particularly after his comments about curing cancer with energy from a box. This after his claims that his dead parents’ spirits live in orbs (and that’s not short for Orbiston in Bellshill) that follow him around and the fact that he drives a life-size doll called Candice around in a black cab – altho’ this might not be so daft as a means of getting him around London quickly.

Y’see he also talked about the need to change his diet and to exercise in a different way……from what he doesn’t say. There is no doubt in my mind that the cancer cell in my body thought I was an easy touch cos of my bad lifestyle but I, too, made various changes to my lifestyle after I cold turkeyed that soooo much helped but everyone is different.

It’s about taking responsibility for your life and analysing what is good for you and helps.

I wish I’d restructured my garden some time back but it’s only recently ‘cos me and a couple of others read the book, The Bees by Laline Paull, that I would ever have welcomed a bee house in my back garden. It’s about keeping your mind open to new things and you never know, Noel might yet be right.  🙂

And my friend, Clyde 2 country jock, John Collins is a big fan of the new band RainTown – a country band from Glasgow. Let me know what you think.

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone…..but they’ve always worked for me (Hunter S Thompson)

June 2, 2016

And so dear listener, following recent visits by various people who studied the recent refurbishment of t850Towers, work continues – particularly in the West Wing. Or back bedroom as some may describe it.

Careful examination of current tapestries and works of art on the walls revealed a need for some more adornments and so, when buying a much needed curtain pole recently, I spent some minutes in the car boot sale next to the Homebase where I bought a framed picture of a Glasgow tram (£1).  🙂  I then came home and printed off two new pics of my grand-daughter and put them in a couple of cheap pine frames from Poundstretcher (and no other cheap shops are available in my area). It’s beginning to make a difference but it needs a wee bit more.

The one thing it needs more than anything else is to move all the paper stuff (journal articles from my  more recent uni-days) to the back of the wing and move the books forward so that it looks less of an aborted PhD attempt and more like a man of literature – ish. 🙂

But this has its drawbacks. I’m looking through a whole wheen of stuff I got when doing the Post Grad and the Masters that I don’t need but I can’t throw out. The Hunter S Thompson quote at the start, for example, came from ‘Understanding substance use and addiction – Influence of culture on alcohol intoxication’ put together by a tutor called Iain McPhee and the boy’s got talent and should go far. 🙂

I’m finding it tricky to throw out stuff….altho’ a lot of cookery and gardening books have ended up in a charity shop in Anniesland. I intend to write my own gardening book called ‘Get a Man In’ but if anyone wants a copy of Muriel Clark’s recipe for clootie dumpling, I have found the Tartan Tin recipe book. I still don’t know what a clootie dumpling is, tho’.

But, on the subject of my garden, can I thank the intrepid explorer, J, for performing the official opening last week with an incredibly emotional speech which I, and I think I can speak for the entire audience there, found very moving. 😦

But despite the new patio furniture and the rustic bench I still prefer sitting on the kitchen step. 😀

And finally, as someone whose waist size has rocketed up (in trouser size) from 30 to 32 (and more walking and less grazing is the answer) my eye was caught by headlines linking an increase in stomach size to fatal prostate cancer. However, closer reading revealed that we’re talking about ‘the fact’ that every four (!) extra inches on a man’s stomach increases the chances of dying from prostate cancer by 18%!.

Bloody hell! An increase of four inches on any stomach must increase the chances of dying from anything by a helluva lot. Moderation is good. But, yes my cancer was encouraged by a poor lifestyle all those years ago and must have got a shock when, suddenly, I stopped the booze, started eating again (not even the word ‘properly’ is needed….just started eating the solid stuff again) and was getting in some exercise.

But also, I was thinking back to when, in recent years, my stomach was under control and that was when I did use the graveyard as a basic walking space for my physical recovery – starting at ten minutes at ending up at an easy two hours round the canals and rivers that make up a large part of the environment in this area. I plan to do that again. Harry Lauder and Jimmy Maxton are both buried here and our parents were cremated there and there is a gravestone with my name on it – but it bears little similarity to my life. Well certainly, not as I know it so far. 😉

I may even try some light running. But I’ll need new trainers. The ones that took me round Millport died not long afterwards as the sole came off one.

So a new pair is needed before I re-join the Johnstone Jaunters…and I will. Shift dependent. 🙂

Oh, and the scarey book that gave me nightmares? ‘Ghost Story’ by Peter Straub. No. No clue in the title whatsoever and not be read immediately before falling asleep. 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Johnt850, and I think ‘mischievous’ is highly appropriate. 😉

Now amongst the recent visitors was someone who has a gluten free diet and the meal was an interesting fusion of gluten free food and fish – in short rice and a prawn stir-fry and scallops on the side.

‘Ah,’ said my guest (and work out who it was for yourself). ‘Often a stir-fry suggests soy sauce. Not every soy sauce is gluten free.’ And, y’know, the soy sauce I have, wasn’t. For alcohol reasons I do look at ingredients and recently have extended that search – but never ever thought about the contents of my larder. I’m checking it out now but slowly. It’s next to the open kitchen door and I can feel the sun – a benefit of night shifting.

And so the countrification of my record collection continues but this is more angsty than other stuff I’ve been listening to. It’s maybe a version of the ‘he done gone and left me so I’ve been drinking’ genre but I found some of the imagery interesting – particularly after a day reading William L White’s ‘Twelve Defining Moments in the History of Alcoholics Anonymous’ – which, tbh, I didn’t need to, but it was still a fun read.

This is Margo Price