Archive for September, 2019

Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers; not thunder

September 27, 2019

And so, dear listener, I came downstairs this morning and found a wine gum on the table downstairs. There was a time when it would have been an unfinished glass of whisky but not these days. 🙂

It ties in a wee bit with the comment I made last week when I never got round to telling a story that involved Rod Stewart. There’s not much to it when I look at it a week later.

I used to know a director of Celtic plc (the rainforestriverman) and I was the recipient of boardroom hospitality on two occasions (and I was going to say something about Rod and his ignoring me both times when I said, ’how’s it going?’ and little did he realise that he and I would have something in common several years later – prostate cancer. Boring, eh?)

Anyway, the first time I went (during the drinking years) I made full use of the hospitality, watched the game from the directors’ box, left in a taxi with a then well-known Glasgow lawyer and went on to somewhere (?) in Glasgow City Centre. The veil is drawn at this point. 😦

The second time was during the orange juice drinking years (not long after) and when the game finished I had one final coffee and got a lift back to the railway station and went home. I suspect I then wrote about it.

Yes. I much preferred the second time. It may have been quieter but at its most basic level, a clear head is a wondrous thing. 😀

Moving on but in a steady and controlled manner.

And a quick reference to the third person plural comments of last week which I made cos Sam Smith came out as non binary and asked to be described as ‘they’ and ‘them’. I noticed that one Sunday Mail columnist, sympathetic to all colours of the rainbow, explained this and then went on to say ‘basically Sam has stated he (sic) doesn’t feel male or female and flows somewhere in the middle,’

AND all I ask for is some consistency, grammatically. It’s hard enough to explain and encourage Chinese student accountants to use pronouns in the first place. That’s the big thing for me. 🙂

Since then I’ve also seen some of Kelly Maloney on Celebrity Masterchef. Kelly was once known as Frank and went through gender reassignment and ‘smiles much more’ than she did before. She seems to have been accepted by many from her former profession of heavyweight boxing promoter but I wonder what Lennox Lewis makes of the man responsible for his career being encouraged in souffle making by Vikky Pattison (sp) of Geordie Shore fame; ‘Go, girl, go girl, you’re smashing it!’

Kelly or Martha Reeves to win? Well, at least I know who they are!

And the other television I saw related to Brexit and a man who forgets (as does his American counterpart) that certain behaviour is expected from them in their respective positions.

Moving on a wee bit more swiftly than before.

A quick word, if I may, to Ann from Prostate Cancer HQ. What we should, maybe, do is select a subway station at random and take it from there.

And finally, I went to an exhibition by Nick Cave at the Tramway with good friend e. The main thing is a Spinner Forest of 1,800 hanging mobiles made from metallic spinning garden ornaments.

You take away a range of thoughts from something like that which is so open to personal interpretation.

I was reminded of my hometown of Peterhead and fishing boats hanging out nets to dry and get fixed; I saw some really good bee houses in the Hidden Garden; in fact I saw the Hidden Garden; and I was also reminded of 1988 just before the City of Culture (1990) when it played host to the only UK performances of Peter Brook’s Mahabharata.

The other memory was of 1974 (that long ago) when I’d a summer job working in a good old fashioned Glasgow Corporation Boys’ home called, I think Ardoch House (or was that Dr Finlay?) Anyway something like that and it was on the 59 bus route from the west end over to the south side.

I learned a lot but would stress that I would never condone shoplifting but, tbh, I did turn a blind eye to what was in their pocket when we left the newsagents on the way back up to the home after a visit to what was then the Transport Museum. 🙂

Aye. You take away a range of thoughts. That’s what makes it worth doing.

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple……

Iaint850 who’s planning to hibernate this winter. The last couple haven’t been that great.

And I’ve not been to Firhill this season. It’s nothing to do with the management situation or the possible takeover or the poor results. Basically I’ve got out of the habit and it’s proving difficult to get back into the swing of things. PLUS my sister’s house is not sold and it’s quite a journey there and back on a Saturday just to check it’s okay and in many ways it takes it out of you for all sorts of reasons. And the anxiety kicks in and……….

Then last week I came back up the road and started to paint the new fence between me and next door cos it needs doing before the bad weather (eh?) sets in……..Yes. I literally watched paint dry rather than go to the game.  😉

I’ll get there yet.

So I’ve not had much of a chance to listen to music this week but Faith Hill is on the digital turntable as I write this, so this is she.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj_ZznMMRic  

Advertisements

But when you’re in zugzwang, one possible strategy is just not to make a move. But, in the end, the game has to end. (One view of where we are with Brexit negotiations)

September 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, last week’s show reflected a Government minister’s unwillingness (cowardice?) to voice his own views so he did it in a slimey and snidey way. This week is totally in my voice and all the feelings are mine but I am going to speak about a lot of other folk but mostly in a nice way……. 😀

Let’s start with Son Brian who has been a tremendous help in so many ways in recent months and who has recently set up my new PC altho’ I have not yet made a full transition from the old one (this one) to the new one as I’m trying to stay a wee bit away from computer screens after all the editing and writing I’ve been doing recently.

Anyway Happy Birthday Son Brian (and RJ as well)……. 😀

(and can I be a wee bit editorially geekish here and say there’s an amazing range of templates on Word 365…….I spent an afternoon going through them). 😀

So I’m going to talk about people like Rod Stewart, and I’ll finish with a wee story about him later, but I don’t share the view that it’s ‘good’ when a celeb tells their story about their cancer*. I just think it’s great when anyone tells that story. Sharing is brilliant and if you’re telling that story it’s cos you survived that experience. But well done Rod……..and d’you remember that time when….but later…… 😉

(And a personal hero on the Prostate Cancer front was a guy called Roy Stewart who, despite being seriously ill, was an amazing man to do Information Stands with. ‘Back off Roy, let them get in through the door first’ (lol))

*and I instinctively used third person plural pronouns, Sam, because we already do in certain circumstances. I mean I have no issue with gender transition, but, as an editor, I’m not sure why you still use first person singular pronouns when talking about yourself. Why not third person plural for consistency?

But this week it doesn’t have to be a health thing.

Last week the European Ladies Golf team (under the captaincy of Scot, Catriona Matthew, who played a major part in my PR career many years ago) beat the Americans with the final putt on the final hole in the final match of the Solheim Cup. It was sunk by Suzann Petterson who had hardly played in the last two years, was something like 630th in the World and was a personal pick by Catriona……… 😀

Everyone was a heroine (deliberate use of female of hero) in the team but to be have been written off and then to have written her own chapter in sporting history was amazing….wasn’t it?

And Fernando Ricksen? A hero. Not my favourite as a player altho’ I’ve no real views about Old Firm players but in recent years, he played a blinder spreading the word about MND. And his wife and the rest of his family. There’s an amazing shot of Fernando on his super dooper wheelchair going into some event and his wife leans over and adjusts his head so it’s up and looking forward and looking cool and commanding and not slumped…… 😀

And Gareth Thomas…… Now, I’m not 100 per cent sure why he spoke when he did. The documentary was more or less recorded and about to be broadcast and he was going to talk about being HIV in that and that was one of the reasons why he had done the Ironman Triathlon challenge to show that being HIV did not mean being a wimp….he just hadn’t told his parents and then had to go public because it was about to become public.

I though Gareth came out of it with grace and courage and it may make more people think about overcoming stigma. Well done….. 😀

And I was asked recently…….’wouldn’t it mean more to people if you described yourself as a recovered alcoholic….give more people hope of recovery?’

Seven years ago, I set myself a target of just being someone who ‘doesn’t drink’…….I think I’ve been pretty open about the reasons why I don’t drink and am more than happy to discuss those reasons but it’ll soon be thirteen years so I’m quite happy with the way I’ve done it.

Plus I think there are still too many connotations and stigma that still surround the word ‘alcoholic’. Lapsing is not inevitable.

And I did see one journo on TV saying that David Cameron’s depression wasn’t clinical because he had never taken anti-depressants. Nor have I but that doesn’t mean that my moments of anxiety and depression aren’t real.

And a new GP that I discussed this with last week shared my views. She was good…..’but there was a letter from your urologist in 2014 that said such and such but you never tried it……..I think we should give it a go…….peppermint or aniseed?’ 😉

#copingmechanisms

And finally a wee word about the furore (eh?) surrounding some Head of a Fire Brigade (Lincolnshire?) who thought that Fireman Sam being white and male put people off. So I wonder if he (of course it’s a he) has ever seen Flora the Firefighter who is a real person and this should be standard viewing everywhere.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07cdm4x

tioraidh, still wearing the badges (with pride) and still keeping it simple but I may send a birthday card

iaint850 who’s nobody’s hero but is happy waking up every morning.

And many years ago, at the age of 12 or so I was allowed into the adult, let’s call it the grown up, section of Peterhead Library cos I’d read all the kiddies’ books; and I seemed to be heavily into World War II books. I picked out one about Arnhem (seventy-five years ago) and happened to go into the newsagent that my dad used and the man behind the counter asked to see it and he looked at it, especially the photos.

‘Why?’ I asked my dad later.

‘Because he was at Arnhem and he survived but he doesn’t talk a lot about it.’

That night I stopped reading books by generals as I realised who the real heroes were. Many of mine over the last few days are listed above.

The Rod Stewart (and rainforestriverman) story can wait until next week.

Here’s Chumbwamba and their famous appearance on TV in the states and a song that is appropriate for so many people in today’s blog. If I’ve missed anyone out, for once let me know.

“That’s how the first lady got involved. She’s got a son, together, that is a beautiful young man and she feels very, very strongly about it. She’s seen it. We’re both reading it, a lot of people are reading it. But people are dying with vaping so we’re looking at it very, very closely.” (Donald Trump and I think the ‘she’ is his wife and the ‘young man’ is their son)

September 13, 2019

And so dear listener, many people are asking – I’m not saying this – but many people are asking how my toes are after last week’s bloody interlude and I’m just saying what they’re saying.…..and so, I’m just saying what people are saying in the style of snidey and cowardly Government minister, Kwasi Kwarteng*, who didn’t have the guts to actually say what he felt………(I can’t remember what about tho’…….Brexit?)

One Sunday newspaper described him as having ‘slimed into action.’

And then I saw his boss, Boris Johnson, being heckled and you realised that he, and they, can’t handle criticism. They have lived such privileged existences that they don’t understand what it’s like to be challenged. 😀

And I learned the art of handling hecklers when I debated at Glasgow University Union, where if someone heckled me, I’d say something like ‘If brains were taxed then my honourable friend is due a rebate.’ 😀 😀 😀

It was often said that I was a master debater.

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, yes.

I was going to use that style of ‘some people say’ to talk a little about gender transition but not about people but about penguins and Fireman Sam and someone else but Piers Morgan and TV chef, James Martin, and someone else all got involved and it became a bit of a slanging match on social media and then my washing machine began to behave erratically and a cheque for £702 came in from my new solicitor but before I add two and two together and buy a new machine I will contact AS Electrics at Charing Cross and they will tell me if my very old washing machine is dead. 😦

And then I breathed out (see last week for details of my breathing) and reached for a pack of Thorntons Triple Chocolate Caramel Shortcake Bites available from the ASDA for 99p and ate three.

(They’re quite sickly, aren’t they?)

And all I’ll say is that I don’t think penguins give a toss about gender identity as long as they get plenty of fish and I love it when they jump feet first into the Antarctic and I was told that, during the Falklands War, never having seen helicopters before, as they flew overhead, the penguins would lean further and further back and land on their backs long before David Jason did it in Only Fools And Horses. 🙂

I also think Fireman Sam, Postman Pat and Colin the Coastguard (an idea I had from long ago that never made it out of my head into a programme proposal and only works if you say it out loud…….go on. Try it.) are all animated characters from some time back but should be used not be used as part of an argument in which they cannot take part but as props for conversation….discussing situations……….I think we’re in danger of rushing into so much cos we’re scared of being seen to be non-caring without thinking what we’re caring about.

#stopthedeaths

I’m also a wee bit tired. There’s been a lot of editing – which is good. It’s been a difficult few months with various moments of anxiety and depression but it has helped to have those words on the screen and I enjoy it and I feel I make a difference (and I do get thanked as well as paid).

And I do understand if people don’t want to meet up with me. Don’t be pressured but don’t be pressured not to…….(eh?);)

However the 100,000 word PhD on the social issues caused by a major dam project in China as seen by a Chinese accountant was quite a challenge but my work, so far, has been well received by the author and I think any time anyone says to me,

‘Still doing the editing, iaint850? What is it? Just checking spelling and apostrophes?’

I will happily send them the original work and the finished work after two readings.

(And a big thanks to my business associate who helped with some of the editing and whose daughter, RJ, turned seven last week and Son Brian turned thirty-three. Nick Cage at the Tramway, here we come!)

Sorry, Skippy……???

Nick Cave at the Tramway here we come!!!!!

And finally, I’d like to pay credit to the Queen in this era of climatic concern, who seems to never stop planting trees and who also seems to have a wee woman’s smile on her face. I’d much rather have a wee chat with her than many of those I gloss over on social media. 🙂

Tioraidh, and I’ve lost one of the badges but I am still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and, now that I am no longer totally pescatarian, I often spend my nights binging on wine gums after a hard day’s editing.

So, there’s quite a lot on all forms of media just now about the number of drug related deaths and that something should be done but not all of them are saying what they want to see done. The SDF Conference I was at a couple of weeks ago had a number of people who had lived experience and positive contributions to make on the basis of that. I’m in the middle of writing up the Conference Report and will post a link to it eventually.

One was the high profile Garth Mullins from Canada who describes himself as a drug user activist who used to use injectable heroin but is now on methadone. He is the executive producer of the Crackdown podcast where drug users cover the drug war as war correspondents.

The other was Fiona Gilbertson who has twenty-five years of advocacy experience in HIV and sex work and who believes that the fundamental way to tackle stigma and discrimination is through policy changes. Fiona works with an organisation called Recovering Justice and is in long terms abstinence based recovery.

It was like being at a meeting in the early days of the trade union movement. The talk was of getting organised. And if there’s a common link to the eight hundred words above it’s an attempt to recognise my own rights and those that other people have. Take care.

I’m no longer a member of the NUJ but the last time I was in their offices in Union Street someone was singing this. They were good, but they weren’t no Bruce Springsteen, who’s just about to turn seventy.

Great crisis produce great men and great deeds of courage. John F Kennedy

September 6, 2019

And so dear listener, this week’s show starts with a warning for the faint hearted. It involves lots of blood and me cutting my toe-nails………which, without going into too much detail, involves sharp scissors and an old towel which gets put into the washing machine immediately afterwards – on a very long cycle.

I think it’s also worth saying that one question I tend to get asked in connection with my heart condition is ‘how breathless do you get?’ and the answer is ‘not very’ cos I can do most physical exercise without any problem – unless it’s bending down a lot, like to get a book from a lower shelf or cleaning the oven (and one of those is hypothetical)…….or cutting toe-nails and the left foot was fine but I overstretched as it were for the right foot and felt the scissors and saw the blood and breathed out……….but didn’t panic. 🙂

Now those of you who live on their own (like I do and I don’t if you know that) will already be aware of potential problems. The elastoplasts (and other plasters are available but not at that time of night) are at the other side of the bathroom. It’s not that big a bathroom but even the two steps it takes to reach that cabinet sees deep red blood dripping all over the floor.

And then you’ve got to get them out of the packets without tearing them in half (and why do I have luminous coloured plasters?) and then I’m not sure which toes are bleeding. I get them round two toes but there’s still blood. 😦

At this point, dear listener, I’d like you to take your socks off, stand up, stand on your left foot and look at the sole of your right foot and work out how closely you can see all of your toes. I put a third plaster, opened with my mouth (cos’ I was using one hand to balance myself on the edge of the sink) and to put it over the edge of some toes.

I breathed out (the breathlessness thing is getting to me at this point) and I hopped through to the bedroom and got some socks (and I don’t know why I felt the need to get clean socks) and put them on. I paused.

I breathed in. There was blood all over the bathroom but nothing seemed to be seeping into the sock. I got a mop and mopped up most of the blood (and I got the rest the next day) and settled down. Later I slept….zzzzzz

The next morning I took my left sock off and had a shower with my right socked foot sticking out of the shower. I was in a hurry. I changed my socks but left the plasters on.

That night, I filled a basin with cold water and tea tree oil and took my socks off, plunged my feet in and then took the plasters off. There was little dried blood on them. There was none on my toes. I dried my feet and put a long socks washing on. I had survived. 🙂

I breathed both in and out.

And finally, with what few words I have left myself, I was in Paisley on Tuesday. I had a good meeting with my new lawyers and progress is being made.

I then went to the university where I was meeting a drink’n’drugs lecturer for a chat…..and then it hit me as I walked into the refurbished café area under the library stairs. It was now eight years since I, and several others, had arrived for our inductions into the post grad drink’n’drugs class. Some were slightly older than fresh faced students and had only just graduated; some were like me, returning after many, many years away from higher education.

You’ll know their initials. C, S, E, F, J, J and A are some names that leap to mind but I didn’t speak to that many people as I filled out forms and got my photo taken for my ID card and then I took the train home – having realised that I was committed to a year’s study, which became two years and almost became six.

I paused for breath; something dear listener I still do today and am delighted to be able, still, to do that. We tend to take breathing for granted. 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple – even from a distance

Iaint850, I keep thinking the editing season is about to finish but it doesn’t*. I have spread some of the workload elsewhere in the boardroom.

*having said that……… 😦

And as some of you know, I am not the tekkiest of people and am very reliant on Son Brian for his help and so I dropped my new laptop off at his house (he’s busy young (!) man) so that he could instal stuff and get it working and then I’d get it home and all I’d have to do would be to wi-fi it and remember my passwords or get new ones.

Obviously I took the precaution of deleting my browser history.

I got a message from him.

Was I given any detail when (cos it was mail order) of a code or similar for the new Microsoft Office?

No, I said. He had everything.

Five minutes later I received a reply. He had found the code on my Amazon account.

I will let that sink in, dear listener. My son has access to my Amazon name and password. It’s his birthday next week. Will he resist the temptation?

I keep breathing in and out.

A couple of folk said last week how delighted they were to hear Dolly Parton. This is one of Dolly’s most famous songs and there is no truth in the rumour that this was a message that was left on Jolene’s voice mail. 😉

This is Melissa Etheridge but, first, let Dolly set the scene.