Archive for August, 2017

To reminisce with my old friends, a chance to share some memories, and play our songs again. (Ricky Nelson)

August 24, 2017

And so dear listener, last week I mentioned (quietly) that a former BBC colleague of mine, Christine Kinnear, had passed away. I thought little of the mention. This blog is just a personal ramble that was started to tell the world about my cancer treatment, my alcohol breakdown, a wee bit about mental health and a chance for me to send cryptic messages to people – mostly women. Is this week’s choice of music an example or just a memory of a smashing gig a couple of weeks ago? 😉

But a friend and another former BBC colleague (John Cavanagh) picked it up and shared some of it (and it’s sometimes better that way) and suddenly the airwaves opened up like a good phone-in hosted by Austin Lafferty and memories were shared of an amazing woman who was liked by all even if many of her technical skills left a lot to be desired…….but she would ask you to fix something in such an appealing way.

And her daughter got in touch to say how much she appreciated it all. I can ask no more 🙂

And I also remember going to see John in a rather interesting show at the Arches one night some time before it was closed down.

Moving on.

So nothing this week about Worksearch other than to say that a monthly payslip with 0.00 as the bottom line is quite a dispiriting experience (they’re deducting what I owe them) but my thanks to all the Chinese students who obviously enjoyed the Glasgow University’s Summer Business School and who pay within hours of getting their Paypal payment request so is putting food on my table. 🙂

And some things were paid for some time ago anyway; fortuitous planning rather than forward planning.

Oh, and I may have a direction in which to go..……worksearchly. But I’m saying nothing.

And basically I’ve been a bit of a moany git recently (after all it was my decision to leave with no paying gig to go to – nobody else’s fault) and nobody else I know has moaned this week and if they did then they had every right to moan cos I can be a right pain at times………and I have a craving for a chicken supper out of a chip shop which won’t go away. 😦 To whom it may concern – sorry.

So let’s do some happy stuff. Let’s talk about a very important mail I got during the week and what it led to.

Twenty years ago my son was at primary school. Of course children bloody grow up, so stop looking at pictures of children every year and say ‘don’t they grow up quick?’ No, they grow up at the same rate as….sorry, sorry, sorry….moan, moan, moan. 😦

It was a brand new school In Bearsden and a couple of years previously, when they had started to build it, he had played a significant role in cutting the first sod (which had a totally different meaning when I worked in PR).

‘In two weeks’ time the school is going to have an exhibition’ – did I still have photos of him doing that?

So, of course, I got the scrap box out………I found two of the pics he’s looking for but I found so much else. These were genuinely the first items to tumble out;

A badge and a season ticket to the Empire Exhibition from 1938 that had belonged to mum;

A picture of my dad shaking hands with people in a bank in Peterhead (his retirement?);

A word processed magazine put together by my son a long time ago. It was about sport and from a time he wanted to be a sports journo and came with me to Clydebank games in the days when people like Jim Gallacher played for them and I was the tannoy announcer but I was also on Big Gal’s Testimonial Committee. (Brian also gave the Radio Clyde man covering one game the wrong info about who scored the goal but Tommy Gemmell won’t have known until the next day) The magazine was called the Brian Herald, Issue 1 January 1995;

A birthday card with a man falling down a mine hole and telling a dog, ‘Lassie go get some help.’ And in the next picture Lassie’s lying on her back on a psychiatrists’ couch;

My Master’s degree results and my son’s BA Accounting results (my parents would have been so proud that he ended up a CA and somewhere in the box must be his CA graduation photos as well);

A picture painted by RJ on the occasion of my most recent birthday;

My parents’ World War II ID cards?;

Gig tickets that include Alabama 3, Kris Kristofferson (altho’ it’s called something else) the Waterboys and Rory Gallagher;

And, finally, cos this is pure self-indulgence, my Primary School Dux medal which somehow involved the local MP Baron Boothby of Buchan and Rattray Head who also impregnated the wife of the then Prime Minister (Harold McMillan) and was very friendly with the Krays but I didn’t know this when I was twelve although I had seen pictures of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies – well I would have, wouldn’t I?

And all this before I start looking in the photobox.

Cya, still wearing that badge and it’s much better when it’s kept simple. Y’d think I’d know by now.

Iaint850, and was my life ever straightforward?

There is no explanation for evil. It must be looked upon as a necessary part of the order of the universe. To ignore it is childish, to bewail it senseless. W. Somerset Maugham

August 17, 2017

And so, dear listener, the deed is done and there is no going back. My notice has been worked and my sick line has come to an end, but anxiety remains, albeit a different form of anxiety. What was excitement has become a wee bit more nervy. 😦

It’s not too late to have doubts but it’s too late to do anything about them.

I’ve settled financially with Blue Triangle and I now own my SVQ3 but this month’s wages paid for a lot of that and, thus, my main source of regular income has just walked out the door. There is some other income and I’m managing to sweep up some editing work from a Summer School that, fortunately, has a wee while to run but that does not replace it. Indeed, e, I think it may be time for a board meeting.

And I’m just a wee bit more aware of money going out and asking myself questions like, ‘why have I got Amazon Prime anyway?’ And telling myself that I did need that new mobile phone carrying case as the phone was making its own phone calls when it rubbed against the inside of one of my jackets. Seriously. Just the one.

And my laptop was at the Laptop Doctor’s in Bearsden this morning ‘cos there was a hiccup with the printer but it’s now fixed altho’, as the man said, ‘I don’t always know what’s wrong with them. I just fix them.’ 🙂

And as many of you know, I don’t watch that much TV but enjoy reading, and listening to music but the CD player on the micro-system downstairs has died and was integral to it all so I will get a new one soon. The one I like in the Argos catalogue would cost me 7,500 words. Sorry. It’s currently how I price things. Previously it was, ‘that’s going to cost me half a shift.’

But I’ve been here before and survived and the big thing about something like taking the laptop to get fixed is that it is now part of my working life.

Get this week out of the way and I make a start on the pile of possible work search related Post-its. 28th August seems to be the deadline for most of the essay work which has come from Glasgow University’s Summer School and next year I hope to be well enough to take on board more.

But different things are going up on the wall calendar. As well as some of the usual stuff I’m going out to Motherwell in a few days’ time to catch up with some folk, hopefully a gig at the Hydro and a talk about the Necropolis (and I’m not sure what to do about an evening class this year but more on that another time) and my granddaughter is celebrating her third birthday soon…….So I’m keeping busy with lots happening. 🙂

Now where was that cat dancing video on Facebook?

Oh, and well done to all those who returned to, or started school successfully this year. Good milestones. If nothing else, schools were where I extended my love of reading, my parents having introduced me to books – and, indeed, later to newspapers. 🙂

And this week’s Favourite Festival Gag of the month so far?

I wonder how the Village People met?

I mean they don’t look as if they’ve much in common

(Thanks Nick)

And finally, the downsizing continues and the freezer has been the latest target. Now obviously I don’t label things because of my concerns about stigmatising them but non-labelling can also have its problems. Those weren’t calimari the other night; they were onion rings. 😦

Tioraidh, still wearing the badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850 and I will bend the knee to no-one (but no, I don’t watch it)

So what seems like a long time ago (well it was) I got a six month contract as a producer on the Jimmy Mack show which was later established as a job and was the only time I was ever BBC staff (as is proved by my BBC pension…….boys and girls. You can never start too soon.)

Anyway one of the members of the team was a smashing lady called Christine Kinnear. I was never too sure what her specific role was as she seemed to do everything (but not if it was technical…… ‘is there not a man who can help me do this?’)

She was full of ideas and made some amazing programmes but travelling down to Helensburgh one night to do a talk to a Woman’s Guild or similar almost led to a near death experience. Christine was driving and I was passenger and Christine smoked. She came to the end of her cigarette and threw it out of the window. Which was shut so it bounced back into the car. We screeched to a halt in the middle of the Great Western Road and retrieved the butt. And travelled on. I have other memories.

She was also a very kind person and was always a joy, if sometimes very challenging, to work with.

As with many of my BBC colleagues and friends I lost touch with Christine… life over the last ten years has been well documented in these pages………and that’s maybe why I worry so much about losing friends these days

I heard last week that CK was in a hospice (cancer). I learned the next night that she had passed on.

Not sure what to do about music except to say this one’s for you CK. (The Jimmy Mack office was a great place to work)

The love of books is among the choicest gifts of the gods (Arthur Conan Doyle)

August 11, 2017

And so dear listener, I am going to have a third T-shirt printed (the first two are virtual but pose the two questions I have been asked the most in recent years) and it will have the words ‘Yes. I have no new job to go to’ and whilst I’m slightly unsure of the mix of negatives and positives there, you get the idea. 😉

I’m going to say very little about the whole saga as it seems to have taken for ages (the four weeks is almost up) but as many people know, I emptied my locker this week (Skippy, is that an innuendo? No? I must be thinking of something else) and there wasn’t much in it – spare clothes just in case and some tea bags. I hope the next person (and they were interviewing for my old job just before I went in) gets as much pleasure out of it as I did.

Four and a half years I worked for Blue Triangle in various places and I enjoyed it but my mission statement for life was totally different from the organisation’s head office;

I believe the person should come first – not the process.

Moving on. And to some sad news. 😦

Each year I try to grow some tomatoes and peppers in my porch with a little success with little tomatoes and peppers. This year they were slow cos of the lack of sunshine but were beginning to happen and then – out of nowhere – some form of whitefly entered the house and the porch was full and the plants were keeling over. The porch has now been cleaned and fumigated.

Some may see that as a metaphor for my new life.

I say ‘fumigated’ but it was just a basic garden fly spray which I didn’t smell but it was strong enough to kill a big fly that had found itself trapped in the porch overnight……

(And economies will have to be made – Get thee behind me, Waitrose!)

But the end of August and September – all the way through to its end – have a lot of birthdays and at least one baptism, but Waterstone’s does well out of me these days, and the jeweller down Byres Road, who is the only man in the entire world who can re-set my Casio for me after February in a leap year.

But I’ve felt a wee bit trapped in the house for the last few days and trips to Paisley have been Godsends…..they’re re-surfacing the main road at the end of my cul-de-sac and I think they’ve finished but it’s been one of those situations where you’ve had to decide whether or not to ignore a ‘Road Closed’ sign because it doesn’t look closed and you want to get home and then you hit the ramp…….I’d to take the car into the garage recently so I worry. However, the strange noise under the bonnet when the engine was switched off turned out to be the Air Con that I’d left on but I also got the DAB radio re-tuned at the same time. 🙂

So I’ve been doing some cleaning and tidying and, indeed, shredding but you’d never know as piles of things have started appearing on the various floors of the house which has always been my method when planning stuff. When I say floors I mean the living room and the back bedroom which is used as an office/clothes drying area. So it’s an incredibly tidy mess.

And finally, there was no leaving do on Wednesday morning. I was swept into the office to fill out paperwork and I didn’t even get a cup of coffee – altho’ I could hear the kettle come to the boil but nothing happening (and one metaphor for my life tonight is enough thank you).

Memories of other leavings came to mind – the several I’ve had from the BBC over the years through to the one from the College, which has since changed its name, through to a jolly interesting PR farewell at King Tut’s a wee while back……my plan is to meet up with some folk – either individually or in groups. My co-workers and local management have been brilliant and in an environment, where wearing alarm bracelets comes as standard, they have all to be people you can trust…..just in case………

tioraidh, happily wearing the badge and happily keeping it simple

iaint850, ‘powerful, good-looking and a great communicator’

And I think what has brought home to me the enormity of what I have done was the other night when I sno-paked out all my shifts, on my Banksy wall calendar, for the next few months. It all looked very empty but there’s no sense of panic. However fleeting it may be, I have some control over my life again but it may, indeed, be fleeting. Give me another couple of days and I’ll start to make sense of the Post-its in my search for work (but not necessarily a job) and, yes, j, I will make a start to the book.

Presumably, despite everything that’s happening to libraries today, the Dewey Decimal Classification System still exists. Now there’s a goal. To go to a library and request a copy of my book (by Inter library Loan, perhaps)

Incidentally I know at least four people who are or were library assistants and I was Convenor of Libraries at Glasgow University Union – now wouldn’t that be an interesting night out? No. Seriously, I think it’d be really good. 😀 😀

And this really is Brandi Carlile. Brilliant voice, smashing lyrics and a lovely vocal counterpoint.

Well I’ve just had that Norovirus but if you’re desperate, I’m sure one of the boys in the band will oblige (Sharleen Spiteri)

August 3, 2017

And so dear listener, I am now just a matter of days away from severing my ties with Blue Triangle and today, on the show, I want to talk about the fact that I have, honestly, no job to go to 😦

There is a perceived wisdom out there that you shouldn’t leave a job unless you have a job to go to. I haven’t. And altho’ I’m using the word ‘retirement’ there may be other issues about which I am not talking. Anyway, I’m going.

And the only slight concern has been raised by those who are either naturally averse to risk taking or have been brought up/trained to be risk averse. So, yes, I’m being totally random but not for the first time.

So, basically, it’s 3-2-1-Go……which brings me to this Week’s Analogy of the Month – except I’ve never done this before. Here is the analogy. You don’t have to watch it all but just some of it to get an idea.

It’s Go Ape which I visited with the good Dr W for her ‘early in her forties’ birthday present from me three years ago. She gave me the abseiling for my 60th. 😀

I did not check out what was involved before I went and looking at this YouTube I’m glad I didn’t. I’d have been terrified – and am just looking at this just now through the fingers of my hand. The zip-wiring was easy once you had done the first one; climbing up the trees was okay but the rungs did get narrower and further apart; those walkways between trees have just made me break out in a cold sweat and I would never ever attempt to do that again; and then that bloody cargo net. You’re supposed to swing in easily, bounce off and then swing in gently again. And make progress after that.

I did okay with the first one but I was tiring by the time I got to the second net and it showed. I got stuck and flustered. My thanks to the good Dr W for talking me over that wee problem (step by step) 🙂 and then the brilliance of that final zipwire over the woods of Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. If I could do that then, why should I worry now? Well, lots of reasons but I’m just going to ignore them. Just now.

So, now do you understand what I am letting myself in for? I am worried but I’m re-building a confidence in myself which has been missing for some time. Personally I’m fine and think I’ve still got a lot to offer but I’m open to all suggestions, but for another week or so, technically, I must keep the offers to coffee, lunch or whatever.

The pile of Post-Its with ideas on them is growing but I still want to explain myself and what I’m doing to a couple of other people who are important to me who I have yet to see. (I’ve now seen them)

Anyway, I’m signed off still for another couple of weeks but I’ve calmed down – more or less – and this Wednesday sees me going in to empty my locker (spare clothes basically), sign a form, hand over a key and smash my ceremonial sword over my knee. I will miss more than you might expect……..give me a couple of weeks and I will explain. I will never get over the guy with the pineapple and the look on the faces of the police people when he chapped the door.

And finally, a quick word, if I may, with my good friend Kirsten, a former colleague from my PR days and one of the world’s greatest event organisers 🙂 xx

Kirsten, you know that job you were talking about? I’d a look at the Job Spec again and it says you have to be able to dance the Gay Gordons without falling over and pulling your partner down, as well as everyone else then having to do amazing avoiding movements. 🙂

tioraidh, waiting to break out that badge again and still keeping it simple

iaint850 this week with one of the worst riddies ever but it was in the dark 😦

So Texas, the band, were playing at the Kelvingrove Bandstand, just round the corner IN GLASGOW, from where Sharleen Spiteri was born and e and I went to see them. It’s a wee tradition we have.

It was an excellent night. e is always good company (as are so many other women that I know) and the Bandstand audience is usually a good one. A good night and Sharleen has a good rapport with the audience. Plus the music played between Support Act and Texas was a smashing microcosm of Glasgow and West of Scotland music in the eighties (Postcard Records in West Princes Street) and just slightly different, J, from the techno and the monk with the V for Vengeance mask that announced the arrival of Alabama 3. 😉

All too soon, it was over and e decided to free run (parkour) her way out over all the concrete seating. Now, in the North Stand (red’n’yellow) at Firhill you can’t do that. Proper Health and Safety.

So my knees couldn’t believe what I was about to attempt to do and refused to go with me. They were still staring at the stage. I will draw no further picture at this point but we (my knees and me) decided on a more settled withdrawal.

I felt a right planker!!!!!

I could blame new shoes but I’ve been running up and down the stairs in my house ever since as practice.

So, there is a valuable lesson to be learned here. No. Not that.

My current concern is obviously my mental health. Equally as important is my physical health. Both can be improved. And will be. 🙂

Mind you, the stairs down to Nardini’s toilet in Byres Road should have been a good rehearsal and the stairs up to my lawyer’s office in Glasgow City Centre earlier this week were a pretty good workout as well.