Archive for October, 2016

Don’t step out of this house if that’s the clothes you’re gonna wear. I’ll kick you out of my home if you don’t cut that hair (Beastie Boys)

October 28, 2016

And so dear listener, there’s a bit of a medical feel to today’s show and there’s also the long-awaited conversation with the Vampire Slayer but more of that later. 🙂

Aye. I was back at the doctor’s this week. For various reasons. And not just because of those amazing windows in the floor that let you look at an amazing miniature world and make you feel like you’re in an episode of The Borrowers. 🙂

Doctor David and I discussed many things. Anxiety? Mmmmmm… a very small bit. And I declined the offer of a flu jab as I’m not 65 or over; pregnant; or have any underlying health problems. He took my PSA (and I’ll say a wee bit more about that later) as a simple blood test and I’ll get that back next week.

Basically we concentrated on my feet, well the left one, and it appears that I may have a neuroma which is not a character on CBBC but a painful inflammation of the foot in the area of the toes. According to Google (and I very rarely use Google for medical stuff but I wanted to check the spelling. Honest) it mostly affects women in their middle age who wore high heels a lot.

Now I have a big memory loss regarding much of what I did in the period before Cold Turkey Weekend started (Sat, 10th December 2006 weirdly) but the high heels has got me beat. 😦

Anyway, I have been x-rayed at Gartnavel General – a hospital in which I have spent so much of my life in recent years and I get the results in a couple of weeks’ time. #hirlpingtoacoffeebarnearyousoon

And I must remember and bring you up to date with what’s happening with the Vampire Slayer later.

Ach tha mu sgith……

I mean there’s all the studying I’ve been doing lately. Or Thursday as most people know it. I did a lot on the SVQ front in the afternoon but it was Gaelic at night. Gaelic’s going well – thanks for asking. I’ve reached the grammatical stage known as ‘big, fat, motherly paws’ and I’m in a position to describe myself a follows;

Is mise Iain. Tha car agam; tha taigh agam; ach, chan eil bean agam.

If I’ve got that right, it may well be a contender for Gaelic online dating site. If I haven’t……… 😦

And can I recommend watching a documentary about the Glasgow Gaelic Gospel Choir on Hallowe’en at 8.30 pm. Plenty of reasons. Our teacher is in it and it was produced by Demus Productions.

But I now have a GU student card and access to GU Moodle……. What fun.

And finally, I do have male friends and I tend to meet them in town for lunch as most of them are still working but have given up five o’clock debauchery and just want to go home (I have five o’clock debauchery with the blogmeister coming up soon) and that is no problem but when we do meet, I kinda expect them to have an idea of where to go. But they don’t.

Now, going to the same place each time I meet someone is not a big deal and, indeed, in at least one case, it works well – but these guys are successful in their professions and I’d like to find new places to go…….but, hey, the VS and I went back to a certain coffee shop and it was good…….and I’ll tell you a wee bit more about that conversation later.

Cya, still wearing that badge and determined to keep it simple.

Iaint850, and I’ve signed the contract that will see me working part-time days come the new year 🙂

So I mentioned the PSA at the start of the show and it’s basically a poor – but the only -indicator of possible problems with your prostate. It’s a blood test and I get mine tested once a year but I do know folk who get it tested much more than that. We’re about to go into Movember where people will raise money for men’s health in a range of ways – including growing facial hair. Some of the money raised will go to finding a better way of testing for prostate cancer, so, on behalf of my son, who is now more likely to get it because of me, thanks.

No. I don’t grow facial hair. I don’t think I suit it. But I do grow my hair a wee bit longer and get it cut every four to five weeks but it’s more than just vanity (despite the suggestion that the lights on the wing mirrors on the new car are to allow me to see myself when doing my hair of an evening) and it’s more than the fact that I can.

Some time back, just after I’d started the second half of my treatment, I went back to the college, where I had taught, to see someone. I bumped into a (now) former colleague who asked me when my treatment was due to start. I explained it already had.

‘But you’ve got all your hair, John.’

So I found myself explaining where the prostate was, where the nuclear particles were hitting my body and the fact that I was in process of losing all the hair from that area and did. An assumption challenged and, yes,  ever since…….

So it was then that I decided that my hair was a kinda sign of being open about things and that I refused to be a stereotype…..and, hopefully, that’s still the case. But, yes, I do enjoy drawing attention to it. I could have worse affectations, after all 😉

But to everyone who raises funds for men’s health, on behalf of every one of us who has benefited….thanks 🙂 🙂 🙂

Oh, gosh, I meant to tell you about the conversation with the Vampire Slayer but I’ve run out of space…..so, basically, just the usual…..drink, drugs, sex, rock and roll. Enjoy YOUR Hallowe’en and stay safe.

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“You need to really believe in what you’ve got to offer, what your talent is — and if you believe, that gives you strength.” (Dolly Parton)

October 20, 2016

And so dear listener, I’m not seeing a lot of Partick Thistle this season for both grandfatherly and work reasons but I made up for it this week (Schools week). AJ and RJ have been taking part in a football coaching week at Scotstoun and I popped down a couple of times to see their progress in the company of their mum. 🙂

(And how, e, did you know I’d be early)

And it was really smashing to see their progress. One is a promising Julie Fleeting and the other is a promising Kris Doolan. It was sooooo good to see soooooo much enthusiasm and the problems the coaches had in telling them what to do reminded me of my brief tenure (one year but no warrant) as a Beavers Leader – which for some reason always got a laugh when I mentioned it to HND journalists. 😀 😀 😀

And it was also nice to start practising my Gaelic with e (‘you’ve just wished AJ Goodnight and it’s only eleven o’clock in the morning!’) and I’m enjoying the class and I’m ignoring the grammatical stuff like broad and slender vowels but concentrating on getting used to just saying the words. I’ll keep you posted.

And we all know the question I’m asked most often and, of course, the second most asked question is whether I still get cravings (and I think people mean for alcohol and not meat) and whilst I say no, sometimes I am tested but in a really strange way. There is something about a glass of whisky being poured out on TV and I watched David Hayman’s documentary about whisky the other night and whilst the programme itself was good I kept imagining the heat of the whisky going down the back of my throat – a decent measure, mind you – and that feeling must have lasted all of one second but there were tales of people investing tens of thousands of pounds in whisky but my fave was that of a man who spent £50,000 on ten (?) bottles and drank them with his pals……

Incidentally, I’ve told a few people about rota changes. Can I just mention that I am already on part-time nights and I’m merely shifting to part-time days – and looking forward to it – and the new rota does not take effect until January 2016, so I can now properly plan the run-up to Christmas and all that goes with it but expect to be working Hogmanay night and New Year’s Day night.

I am making plans, planning offers, offering shortbread even as we speak and speaking of present buying, last year’s visit to Waterstone’s with j proved inspirational in terms of buying book-related presents. 🙂 We’ll see.

One of the biggest changes will involve greater use of public transport and my Concession Card – if for no other reason than the cost of daytime parking as opposed to no charge night-time parking – but I have so little experience of these on buses cos I don’t know where they go…….now who could I ask?

But, speaking as someone who travels on trains, can someone please explain why some people get on a train and stand even tho’ there are seats available (Hyndland to Charing Cross) and it’s not cos they’re only on for one stop cos they stand by the exit and block it for other people trying to get off? 😦

And now for this week’s Tip of The Month for fancy entertaining. Your dining table presentation can be sooooo much improved by the addition of a nice piece of cloth stretched across the existing tablecloth but merely from side to side across the middle. I genuinely did not know these were called runners. I am young. I have so much to learn about life.

And finally, I am aware that there has been a bit of a cloud hanging over the blog in the last few months and that, dear listener, has been a reflection of me and how I’ve felt but anyone who has spoken to me in the last few days (e.g. j and e and some others) will have been aware of an enthusiasm for life coming back…..I know. Worrying, isn’t it? Let the good times rock and roll.   🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and there are good reasons for keeping it simple

Iaint850, who is delighted that John Swinney has said more money will be spent on Gaelic.

So a good friend suggested, after I’d told him about the anxiety issue resolution, that I should put it behind me and I had no intention to say anything about it this week but  I CAN’T ignore the experience of what I’ve gone through. Hopefully, it will help me understand the feelings of people who go through a bad experience having owned up to a genuine mistake who then find themselves treated unfairly.

I have mentioned before, for example, when I was working at the college all those years ago, that some line managers said that alcoholics were ‘scum’ and were ‘bound to relapse’ but always when there were no witnesses…..oh, and alcoholics couldn’t be trusted. Maybe one day I’ll meet them but I certainly don’t miss them

Words can hurt and give people a false identity and low self-esteem. I’m not perfect but I do my best. It’s by learning through experience that we can be better people in our dealings with others. They may not want advice, but a willing ear and a willingness to ask appropriate questions can make all the difference. 🙂

This is Donnie Munro and Eric Cloughley singing Michael Marra’s inspirational ‘Mother Glasgow’.

Mountains are more than just fun; they are hill areas (stolen from Facebook but funny)

October 14, 2016

And so dear listener, the issue that was causing me anxiety has been resolved. I can’t say too much but I had acknowledged my initial responsibility. It was what happened after that that caused the problem. I shall say no more and leave it there.

But some good, well, interesting news on the work front in that I am moving from working part-time night shifts to working part-time days (early and late) and I’m not too sure when that will happen. It will be a strange feeling as it means quite a change in lifestyle. We talk about the financial aspects of zero hours contracts, agency and part-time working but it has a major impact on lifestyles which does not seem to have been researched yet.

(I’d a quick look at Google Scholar which is much more academic and reliable than Google and I could find little research in this area. On occasions, when researching my Master’s, I was, on typing in a keyword, offered a link to this blog….worrying that someone on the other side of the world, for example, may be quoting me in an academic piece of work) 😦

And a good reader’s eye catches not just abused spelling and missing apostrophes but worries for former Spice Girl, Geri, when it’s announced in a tabloid that she’s ‘expecting her second child aged 44’. I’ve never given birth but that does not sound too comfortable. 😦

And I read with interest that an actor called John Thomson, star (?) of Cold Feet, has received some interesting things through the post. Em, I don’t know how to put this. Yes. I do.

Many years ago there was a man with the same name who worked for the BBC in Glasgow who occasionally received mail, in that name, with a photo of the other John Thomson and the writer asking for an autograph on the photo. Well, the Glasgow John Thomson does not like to disappoint, so the photo was duly autographed and returned. C’mon, no animals were harmed, were they?

BUT, talking of television personalities…….I was down at my mate Nick’s the other afternoon and Nick is the Chief Executive (and most other things) for Demus Productions who currently produce the SSPCA programmes for STV but also do a lot of music stuff for BBC Radio Scotland. When I showed up he was in studio so I’d a black coffee (I’d been on nightshifts the two nights before) until he came out with THE Natasha Rasken – star of daytime TV antiques shows – and she was really lovely to talk to…..and brightened my day up in a way coffee could never do. 🙂

Natasha will be presenting an edition of Friday night’s The Music Match quite soon for BBC Radio Scotland). This week it’s comedian Ashley Storrie and it’s always well worth a listen (10.05 pm to 1.00 a.m.)

And finally, I did watch the first episode of Still Game but did not find it out-and-out laugh aloud funny.  It was very cleverly written, which may have been a sensible thing to do, and it can build up now we’ve been re-introduced to the characters. However, the beauty of that opening sequence, when Ford was looking at his watch and counting down the seconds to Jack coming through the door was immense (the waiting finally was over)…… and the fallout over the newspaper? Was that an oblique reference to their own falling out? Or am I reading too much into these things?

And keeping the name dropping going…I worked with Ford and the man of many voices, Lewis Macleod, many years ago on the pre-recorded material for Off the Ball and I am amazed anything was recorded there was so laughter.

(And Greg Hemphill was Off the Ball’s first ever presenter and I worked with him as well and still have a t-shirt from the first ever series which has a picture of  naked Greg on it with his privates covered by an extremely large ball)

Gosh, it’s a long time since I’ve done so much showbiz gossip and it feels weird……but that’s it for a long time. I’m not mad keen on name-dropping as I said to Kanye West the other day in the ASDA…..at least he claimed to be Kanye. Lives in the high flats. In Acre Road. With Kim. He said.

But Happy Birthday to the Vampire Slayer X

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

Iaint850, agus tha mi toilechte.

The reason I was down at Nick’s was that I’d lost the only CD copy I’d had of my last ever radio documentary which was about prostate cancer and I’d co-produced it with Demus Productions. I wanted a copy for myself but I also want to lend a copy to someone to show them what I used to do.

Listening to it brought back memories. It’s a positive programme with lots of optimism and altho’ you don’t hear me, well, I wrote the script, did a lot of the interviews and found the guests and that kinda stuff.

The weekend of 10th, 11th and 12th December this year is my tenth anniversary of ‘Cold Turkey weekend’ and I’m keen to celebrate it (one idea already in place) and the memories of that weekend will never disappear – even if I describe them with humour. 😀

But my treatment for my cancer was not difficult. The NHS is brilliant when it comes to illnesses like this as they so know what they’re doing.  That makes it easy BUT Channel 4’s Stand Up For Cancer and Movember will also bring back memories for me……..people are brilliant when it comes to events like these  and so much of the money goes to research which may never eradicate cancer but it help so much with the treatment. 🙂

The radio documentary started by talking of a time when castration was the prescription for my cancer. Thankfully we had moved on by the time I’d my radiotherapy (37 days worth) and, yes, everything in working order. Still.

This was the first ever Bob Dylan track I was aware of and I think it was cos of the name. It was only in later years I realised that the man in the background was Allan Ginsberg.

‘Words, when they’ve been said aloud, have a way of falling apart and dissolving afterwards, becoming lost and left behind in ways that thoughts set down on paper never do.’ (Jones 2010)

October 7, 2016

And so dear listener, these are words from the latest book I’m reading and it’s a story that’s told in a rather interesting form with e-mails, texts, transcripts of recordings and extracts from police logs. It tells us of a time in the future where a government shows little concern for the rights of people and imposes restrictions on people’s movements.

(A joke about the Tory Party conference would be too easy but it would help if the Home Secretary did not tell lies about factories in her own constituency)

People emerge from shadows and carry out horrible acts (in the book); heroic endeavours end up unheroic; and I’m not optimistic about the end of it all. The only reservation I have is its title which, I feel, somewhat gives the game away – Zombie Apocalypse – and, later, I’ll say a wee bit about the return of the killer clowns.

Y’see I was going to start tonight by talking about language as I went to my first Gaelic evening class this week so I’ll maybe just move myself on and do so.

It was good. It was the first class of any description I’d been to where it was delayed by half an hour ‘cos, according to the jannie, the teacher had just landed at Glasgow Airport and would be with us as soon as possible and she was and she was good. 😀

But it’s been a long time since I’d learned a language and I’d forgotten about how the whole class mumble when asked to repeat a pronunciation and the fear when the teacher asks you. 😦

And such is the power of Facebook it was really nice when I popped into the ASDA the next day to buy some ASDA stuff only to be asked how I’d got on….and Danni, enjoy your paranormal investigation in Govan.

I will go back. 🙂

And earlier this week I was meeting my lawyer at nine o’clock on Monday morning and he happened to have a young German work experience student in his office and I found myself chatting in basic German to her without really thinking about it. ‘Where,’ my legal wondered, ‘did this unexpected skill come from?’

‘It was just some German I picked up some time ago, ‘I replied, trying desperately to remember her name. 😉

And can I make the point that this was the first time ever I have been hanging around outside a lawyer’s office in Glasgow City Centre at nine o’clock on a Monday morning? Honest.

And the latest news on my car is as follows.

I was driving it out of the driveway the other morning – a cold and a damp kinda day – and I saw a light come on on the dashboard which I’ve never seen before anywhere and then it went off and back on and so on. Maybe a loose connection I thought and I can maybe get away with it until I check the manual. So I did.

It’s a light that tells you when the temperature is 5 degrees centigrade or less. Why?!?! I already have a temperature gauge that tells me that……..

And the radio’s been re-tuned. But not by me. 😦

But some news on the health front. No. Something slightly different this time.

I’d been aware of a sore foot for some time. I’d done a lot of walking during the Anxiety/Depression phase and thought I’d done something to it and arranged to see a doctor in the new Maryhill Health Centre – just recently opened.

What a brilliant experience – the Health Centre, and not the visit to the doctor (and it turns out I have a deep blister). The Health Centre has become home to many, many worlds. There are, in the floor, small glass windows (about one foot by six inches) and if you happen to be on your knees (don’t ask) you can see into a land with buses, trees, trains and little people. If it’s just for small children then somehow their parents need to be told because you know what it’s like in a GP surgery; everyone looks straight ahead until their name is called. Magical but without a kick. 😀

And finally, as we approach Movember, it’s interesting to hear Ben Stiller talk of the moment when he learned he had prostate cancer following a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. It may be unreliable but it’s one of the best signs we have. Maybe the money raised in Movember can go to finding something more reliable.

Cya, still wearing that badge (altho’ it did get some ice cream on it earlier this week) and keeping it simple

Johnt850 (but I’m not yet sure of the Gaelic equivalent)

So the killer clowns are back – certainly in the States – but thanks to the power of social media there have been sightings here but it may just be people dressing up and jumping out a wee bit like I did a couple of years ago as a zombie at M & D’s.

Or it may be nothing at all.

I wrote about this a couple of years ago. The original killer clowns were sighted in North Lanarkshire and Glasgow in the seventies and it was not unknown for headies to warn (at secondary school assemblies) their pupils of the dangers of getting into white transit vans when invited to do so by people dressed as clowns. 😦

It was an urban myth like the Gorbals Vampire and the giant salamander that lived in the steel mills of Ravenscraig but with the growth of social media, these things grow much more quickly and possibly become reality.

Indirectly it also played a part in the creation of a movie called Restless Natives.

The last time I was able to play the ending to the movie but that has now been removed for copyright reasons so here’s the trailer for the movie. I would love to have been an extra at the end but my only extra experience remains that BBC 3 lesbian drama – Lip Service.