Archive for the ‘alcoholism’ Category

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.

Well, you can say what you want But it won’t change my mind (Texas)

July 27, 2017

And so dear listener, the end is nigh. I have seen my (almost) former job advertised and it produces a strange feeling. That has never happened to me before and I hadn’t really thought about that aspect of it all. It’s final. It’s happening.

They will have no problem in replacing me. After all, I am just a part-time worker. I am signed off sick just now so my shifts will be covered by established staff and if not them, then from the relief bank, and failing them, an agency worker (mmmmm agency work?) – and I’m willing to give you even odds as to who gets my job.

It would have been nice to have had a few more days to tell colleagues in other projects that this was happening, rather than them contacting me to see if I was okay. I am – other than the ‘stress and anxiety’ it says on my sickline. 😦

It’s funny but I’m not well used to the world of jobsearch. I talk of being employed by the BBC for about twenty-five years but I wasn’t. I was employed by a number of programmes and departments within the BBC in a variety of different ways and roles and only once did I apply for a proper job in the BBC and I never got it – the rest of the time I got a phone call to see if I was available for two months or so but for only two years was I actual staff. It was from there that I left to join a PR consultancy – but I didn’t apply for the PR jobs. I was approached/head hunted/tapped to leave by two PR consultancies – the only time I ever resigned from the BBC.

One tapping took place at a southside cricket club in the southside of Glasgow and the other (for a different company) took place with an ex-Garden Festival PR who was setting up on his own (post-Festival) but still had access to Garden Festival expense accounts and access to the Buttery and (I’m glad to say) taxis.

When I left the BBC for the last time, I was being employed on a casual weekly basis and one day, I was approached in the newsroom by a high heid yin person who said, ‘not only are you not established to that job, there is no job for you to be established to.’ 😦

At which point I picked up my jacket, made no excuses and left – and told the College where I was part-timing at the time that I was available for more shifts. I later left the College to concentrate on (successful) cancer treatment and I think they just gave out my shifts to other people as well and then sat down later and planned the next academic year. 🙂

I’m just not used to seeing my job advertised and the finality of it all felt weird.

But no, I genuinely have nothing lined up and once I’m signed back on (as it were) I will start knocking on doors.

I need another line. Of income. Casual, part-time or whatever. I think my CV is good and available – suitably redacted – on request. The stamps have been bought.

The editing will needs to be increased and there needs to be something else but I am not washed up and think I am still worthy of my hire. 😉

And voluntary work will be considered – altho’ it can be demanding too. I have seen people who volunteer to help the homeless and it is a thankless task. But I do need to make sure I get out of the house but getting messages at 8 o’clock at night leading to cups of coffee down Byres Road at 9 is good. It’ll be strange having the weekends back and I have a working season ticket for Firhill which makes a big difference. 🙂

Mind you, I do have an idea re voluntary stuff, which sounds quite exciting. I’ll keep you all posted.

And finally, all this does give me a chance to write the book I keep going on about and I’ve started. The other day, I wrote the word ‘Introduction’ in a range of fonts and font sizes. Don’t laugh. It’s a start.

tioraidh, still wearing that badge and really keen to show simple it can still be kept 🙂

Iaint850. And yes I did. 😉

So my mum was a nice wee wummin from Springburn who married a chartered accountant from Peterhead and moved up to Peterhead with him and I think it took her a wee while to work out why she’d done it. She had two children. I was the second one.

I think I was a bit of a disappointment to her at secondary school. I won’t list my achievements but they weren’t as academic as she would have liked and I’m not too sure what she would have made of my recent years but she’d have liked my friends – especially the female ones. I don’t know if she’d have understood the concept of the Friendzone and, tbh, I’m not too sure if my male friends do either 😉

But in later years my mum and I got only really well. 🙂

However, at no time, did my mum arrange for three supermodels to be sitting at the ‘top of our stairs’ when I got home from school and I think none of the less of her for it.

What a stupid thing to say or was it point scoring against his dad? And how is Princess Katie going to compete with that for George when he’s twelve? Alton Towers is out. Don’t want to be compared with William’s mum after all.

Sorry. Just thought it needed said.

So when you need an inspirational piece of music cos you’ve no idea what the future holds, to whom do you turn? Who else but Walk the Moon (not that track but another one)

When you can’t control what is happening around you, challenge yourself to control the way in which you respond (Snoopy)

July 20, 2017

And so, dear listener, this may be a shorter blog than usual. But I never really know until I reach the end how long it’s going to be. And I have reached the end. Of my career with Blue Triangle Housing Association – the homeless charity where I’ve worked for the last four and a half years. My letter of resignation was ‘handed in’ last Saturday with copies going by post and by e-mail so I’m in the process of working my notice.

There’s no big deal or big issue nor am I going to end up selling it. I’ve just not felt the same about some things since I was off work with anxiety and depression for a while last year. I think it’s been obvious, and working with the homeless requires a lot of strength and enthusiasm and resilience and it’s just not been there recently. But I’ve still done my job and done it pretty well. It was a decision reached literally on Friday morning last week. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, Blue Triangle offers supported accommodation for homeless people as a kind of halfway house to getting their own tenancies – often through a local housing association. We don’t pick people up off the streets or give them soup and blankets. It’s less glamorous than that. We try and help them to cope with certain issues and help them with the skills needed to look after themselves out there in the big, bad world. Some of the folk we help are refugees.

And on one recent occasion, it was really good to take a refugee to sign all his documentation and then get the keys to his new flat in a high rise. And go and look at it again. That was a good day. And there’s the others.

And, eh, that’s all I want to say at this stage. It’s demanding work and I’m tired. Ten years ago I nearly died from alcohol and it was through the help of Moira, my addiction worker (and soooooo many others) that I learned the skills that helped me to cope with the bad cancer that followed. Now I want some time to myself.

So what am I going to do? 😦

Well, I’ve still three weeks to go and I’m still in the middle of a lot of shifts altho’ it does go quieter in a few days time.

And then it goes scary. 😉

But this is not the time for too much reflection. Or about learning what other people think of me and according to one worker who works with me occasionally – my style of working with the homeless is best described as ‘eccentric’, and it was also nice last weekend to work with an agency worker who knows Moira my former addiction worker. There’s a helluva lot of brilliant people out there in social care helping the homeless and those with addiction issues and so on. We are treated as public sector workers as well when it comes to pay rises. Or pay freezes. 😦

And finally, Doctor Who is a fictional character with two hearts who regenerates from time to time. Can we even be sure that Jodie Whittaker will even play the part as a woman (she is after all from Gallifrey) and, anyway, to those who complain about the lack of role models for boys on TV, can I say just one thing? Sylvester McCoy.

tioraidh, back to wearing that badge and keeping it simple

Iaint850, so much water and so many bridges.

And so, to this week’s Nice Moment of the Month Award.

I had a really nice shift on Tuesday night (thanks Alice) but not nice enough to make me change my mind. I walked back to Queen Street Station and on the way treated myself to chips with dripping vinegar (no time for a tea break on shift) and, tbh, I dress down for work (the guy being sick over me is an image that’s never left me)

I was not looking my best.

And then a good looking woman (aren’t they all?) maybe ages with me, came up to me and said ‘Johnt850?’ (except she didn’t, did she? She used ‘the other name’, didn’t she?) and I said yes and she gave me her maiden name and, yes we had gone out together during my first time at university and before I could say, ‘do you remember the time…….?’ she had introduced me to her husband. 😦

Now she is a lecturer at a university and given this current change in my lifestyle there are good reasons for getting in touch. And, no, she is not on Facebook under her maiden name but a few minutes after I’d got home I’d found her married name but I stopped there. 🙂

Apart from anything, I’d love to say thanks to her for bringing such a brilliant smile to my face the other night. 😀 😀 😀

And I wonder when she wiped the vinegar from her lips? Any post-shift thoughts I may have had disappeared out of the window.

What do you think, dear listener?

Next week. The Orbiston bing – its part in my attempt at the friendzoning world record.

And tonight’s music? A long time ago now, j introduced me to the music of Brandi Carlile (and I introduced her to Alabama 3 – maybe not the fairest of swops) and so it’s a piece of music from Brandi.

The lyrics apply to everyone who’s ever been there for me in even the slightest way. A wee while back I knew that I was depressed when I found myself crying over my keyboard. There’s tears again just now but for totally different reasons.

‘Brexit is the basis of everything else.’ (Theresa May)

June 9, 2017

I still don’t know what you mean by that, Theresa, but my money is now on October for a General Election and, maybe, just maybe after that, politicians will start thinking about running our various countries again. 😉

(Right, Skippy, back to normal)

And so, dear listener, for those of you who know what I’m talking about (and indeed for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about) at the time of writing this, I still have no news. And I do leave the house not long before the postman is due but that old trick doesn’t work.

(Yup. Copied and pasted from last week and it shows. I blame Brexit which is the basis of everything else)

My General Election highlights? Seeing Theresa May looking like a startled rabbit when Colin Mackay asked her about VAT on Police Scotland and she had to start an answer with, ‘Well in England and Wales.’; actually seeing a candidate in my constituency (Pam Duncan-Glancy); and a very nice checked shirt with hood that I bought from a charity shop in Byres Road for £8.99. 🙂

But, yes, you’re right, Theresa. Running through the wheatfields was the worst thing I ever did as well…………well, that and the odd lie. Altho’ I did once throw a piece of wood that hit a teacher and, boy did I pay for it.

But, I have to say, that practically every broadcaster and practically every politician needs to think seriously about existing devolution and how they report UK matters and politics and how they explain their policies.

Policing is devolved; dealing with terrorists isn’t (for example)

So I saw a lovely programme about the Coats threadmills in Paisley the other night. I’m an adopted Glaswegian (a weegie) but I think Paisley runs Glasgow close in many ways and for many reasons (and certainly more than Peterhead where I’m originally from). I mean, when you’re watching something on your own but yet you still call out ‘that’s the CIba-Geigy club’ then it must mean something to you. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And, yes, the beautiful Coats Memorial Church where I have attended two graduations – mine and uni-Sharon’s. I won’t compare graduations with the one I did at Glasgow a wee while back but I do remember marching behind a piper at the one in Glasgow (which we also did at Charles Kennedy’s Memorial Service two years ago) but I think doing it at the advanced age of XX at Paisley added a certain something to it. 😀 😀 😀

And a big thanks to e and RJ for treating me to a birthday lunch this week (not ‘til 2nd July since you ask but we all lead such busy lives) and an exclusive and exquisite original painting from RJ, who moves up to Primary in a few months, with its vivid pink tree with large blue spots. Very relaxing it is. 🙂

And I will be helping (again) to run the tuckshop at the Gaelic Sports Day in Pollok Park this coming Saturday (17th) afternoon and look forward to seeing some of you there.

And also a wee thanks to Colin S who did the same (treated me; not gave me a picture he’d painted himself) and who would be my stockbroker if I had any stocks but they’re in an attic somewhere and I can’t be bothered getting them back.

And finally, on General Election Day, there was some news about a suggestion that a facility should be made available at music festivals, initially, where people can test drugs if they’re not sure where they came from and see if there’s anything dodgy in them. There’s no recommendation or encouragement about taking them – simply knowing that they’re safe to use ‘cos most of deaths are from taking dodgy stuff.

At the moment one of the biggest concerns out there is dodgy Chinese Valium and has been for some time. We all know people who have died from that (trust me….. you do) and you all want your sons and daughters to be safe, don’t you?

Well, at least as safe as you when you look at the label on a bottle of whisky or gin or that very fancy wine.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, in birthday mood but will it last when the news finally arrives?

And so I was on an early last Sunday morning when I heard the news about London, but that meant I was able to watch most of the Ariana Grande/Manchester concert – particularly the second half. Slightly disappointed to hear/read comments from some old people (over 29) who weren’t too taken with the music.

Well, I was brought up listening to Radio 1 and have continued listening to Radio 1 with occasional forays into other stations (for example, Clyde 2 on a Sunday evening when John Collins plays country) and, at the very least, I recognised most of the music; loved the stripped back Coldplay and Liam’s swagger; and even warmed to Justin Bieber.

But following those comments I did have a look at my record and download collection. Apart from that one album by Black Eyed Peas that everyone has (I got a feeling) I have nothing…….except I have three albums by Imogen Heap.

Here she is from last week in Manchester and not a ripped denim in sight. Enjoy.

Being homeless is like living in a post-apocalyptic world. You’re on the outskirts of society. (Frank Dillane)

May 25, 2017

And so dear listener, this will be a short blog as it has been on several occasions before – ranging from the day after the Clutha tragedy through to Charlie Hebdo. Much has already been said and I’m not long since from watching the Queen visiting Manchester hospitals through to a SKY News corr telling us the latest word from MI6 and 5 about the latest terrorist threat.

Nor will I say yet again, why oh why does the egotism of politicians mean that we get involved in regime change in places like Libya and Iraq without thinking through the consequences? That’s why reading books is good.

So nothing this week about my job interview, my first walk with Holly the dog for some time and some really happy smiley Communion pics.

Instead two things;

One, ever since Hillsborough and Bradford Park Avenue many of us have been fearful about leaving a venue; not cos of a bomb threat but because it can be so difficult to get out. I’ve not been to Cappielow, for example, for some time but at one point away fans (unless you were Old Firm fans and you needed space to let off flares) were stuck in a pokey, wee stand with two enclosed narrow stairways which, if someone was coming up the way, you could not get down.

The fear was always fire and as new venues developed with large concourses and proper sized exits, that fear disappeared. Slowly. There can still be bottlenecks at the end of a game or a gig or a film but these are fewer. e and aj came to a Thistle game at the start of last season and leaving the Jackie Husband stand is much easier than the North Stand but there’s not feeling of panic. No feeling of bombs.

But in a world where an Islamic State terrorist is willing to join mums and dads picking up kids from an Ariane Grande concert before detonating a bomb, then anywhere is a target – even more than before.

Secondly, there’s been lots of headlines and social media praise for ‘homeless heroes’ helping the wounded and injured and I know people are well-meaning, but what would you expect them to do? Ask for spare change from the ambulance crews?

I work (part-time, paid) in a project which offers supported accommodation to the homeless in order to get them ready for a new tenancy. They can get used to all sorts of things, including living in their own room and other communal facilities, getting proper benefits, and support to find work. Some have various issues and we do what we can to help there.

Some make it; some don’t but at no time do we forget that these are people with feelings like you and me.

Maybe if I’d been there and helped, the headline could have started with ‘ex-alkie’……..

Or if my downward spiral hadn’t been stopped with so much help from professionals, friends and family, then maybe, ‘homeless’ would have applied to me.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but stereotyping can be a real bummer.

iaint850

This is Stone Roses and did I ever tell you that I got drunk once with Ian Brown?

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ― Oscar Wilde

April 27, 2017

And so, dear listener, I wish to give plenty of notice that this show may turn out to be a bit of a moan. I don’t know for sure as the blog is never properly planned but a lot of it goes through my head and I’ve just had a sleepless night but not for good creative reasons. 😦

So beware before you step any further.

But at the same time don’t worry. This is nothing to do with depression as a mental health issue; I suspect this may come down to my butt needing kicked and I may be looking for volunteers to help to do that. Depression as a mental health issue is getting a fair amount of publicity at the moment but, from personal experience, I do know the difference.

The origins of the current mood do lie, though, in the anxiety and depression of last year which was work related but I’m handling that and I did emerge with an SVQ3 and I am enjoying the shift to days but the early starts are really early and an opportunity has come up, which, well I’ll know more in May. But the anxiety did slow me down and stop me going out – even to football matches. 😦

And this virus/allergy/infection is proving harder to deal with than expected and the original medication was really debilitating; gave me plenty of sleep but left me tired a lot of the time. I’ve been to see the doc and I have new tablets but in the three days between stopping the old pills and starting the new, my sleeping patterns were awful and I’m not sleeping, which gives me too much time to think.

And what these have all done is to cause the serious medical problem of ooomphless. I need ooooomph. I’m going to play a piece of music while you take all that in.

My Gaelic teacher, Joy Dunlop. 🙂

So yes, let’s take one example and on this occasion offer a positive solution. Gaelic.

The first block was great but I missed a lot of classes and a Gaelic night out (sorry e) in the second block because of the virus and I never really caught up. I’ve been talking about going to the Gaelic College but the solution is a lot simpler – after this very busy work weekend, I intend to go to the Mitchell Library (spiritual home of missing USB sticks) one morning a week and do the work. 🙂

So I’m not going to Skye for my holidays but again, after this weekend (and I’m not prevaricating. One shift sees me getting home at 11 at night and back in again at 7 the next morning) I plan to select a week at random in the Summer (watching out for an existing Gaelic commitment and a gig), book that week off from the project and devise a trip possibly based on Oban. 🙂

And let’s take on the elephant in the room – companionship. I am carp at computer dating. (plenty of fish gag in the typo) and can’t start an e-conversation to save myself. But I can talk to people. My friendship with R from Cardross started at a suicide intervention course and the friendship with J, the blog’s favest librarian, started over an Inter-Library Loan. 😀

If it’s that big a deal, then set me upon a blind date. I will go.

And I’ve spoken about friendship before and I know I can be a pain but I can be told and take that telling.

After all, I am the man who, on returning to the college after Cold Turkey, was told by some line managers that alcoholics were scum, couldn’t be trusted and were bound to lapse. A few months later I was diagnosed with cancer.

Don’t hold back about telling me things. 😉

But so many friendships have added so much to my life; be it a change in my eating habits to introducing me to new music (and the world of the Inukshuk) to being aware of other peoples’ issues and babysitting……and indeed, going to Partick Thistle came out of an existing friendship and helped to create new ones.

(How are we doing for word count, Skippy?)

I have purchased my PT season ticket (the £308 has been deducted from my bank account this year) and I intend to be more of a full-timer than I was this season and will try and persuade other people to come; I will cut back on the editing because I did so this year and made more money and even in the last few weeks, when an Out of Office sign was up, I have done okay; and I have a brochure of Glw Uny short courses beside me and will pick a couple.

And then there’s the pencils. At Christmas I became the proud owner of twelve pencils which came ready sharpened and I’ve been using them, but when they became less than sharp, I put them aside and used another one.
Now they’ve all been re-sharpened. Once upon a time that would have been procrastination; now it’s a positive move. 🙂

And I needed to cut my toenails. This was a real frightener. My head was saying ‘why do you need to get up? You’re not working until the afternoon’; whereas my toenails were saying ‘Howard Hughes’.

Again after the weekend, please ask me how I’m getting on with these promises (maybe not the toenails) and I’m serious about the blind date idea…….

But I come to the end of tonight’s show with a positive vibe and a declared intention to stay in touch.

I genuinely would not be here today if it were not for various folk and the things I have been encouraged to do. 🙂

That is the biggest debt of gratitude I can pay and I say that with a lot based on much of my current job.

Iaint850, keeping it simple with one of my most favourite up-beat pop songs of all time;

I’m dancing already

‘A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering demagogue runs for President of the United States – and wins.’

April 13, 2017

And that, dear listener, is the blurb for a fictional book written in 1935 called It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis and I think it’s more about the rise of Hitler than Trump altho’ so much of it does apply to Trump’s America. However, it’s been written in a very strange style and I’m doing, like, one chapter per night.

But it does mean that events register in a way they might not otherwise have done.

For example, I was reading about the concentration camps (or Holocaust Centers as Sean Spicer describes them) that American President Berzelius Windrip had introduced for dissidents when, low and behold, it was reported that Chechnya had introduced them for gay men.

And United Airlines’ way of removing that overbooked doctor from one of their plans seemed to stop just short of the firing squad as described in the book when they took away someone who was a bit belligerent, although I think they were justified as they knew a firing squad awaited them (in the book).

As yet, as I say I’m reading it slowly, I’ve still to reach a bit where the President is eating dessert cake (‘really beautiful dessert cake’) when he’s told that his country has dropped 59 (‘unmanned’ as in no pilots) missiles on some country in the Middle East but he gets the wrong one, but there’s a bit to go.

It could be a while before it ends up on the book club shelves.

[Oh, and I a quick word to j, if I may……No I don’t think I’m excluded and I was reasonably happy with what I wrote. I just got a shock.]

And so, dear listener, that was a pretty heavy start to the show so let’s go lighter. Let’s talk about my first ever media appearance. 🙂

I was reminded of it when I noticed a couple of weeks ago that Songs of Praise was coming from my hometown of Peterhead. Many years ago, when the world was black and white, it came twice from there in the space of a few months and I appeared in both – well I did and I didn’t.

Was I in primary school or early years secondary? It matters not, but I was in a choir (and somewhere in my house there is proof of a very fresh-faced young man but with a wee bit more hair than was usual at that age. It’s an early version of a screen grab where a professional photographer took photos of the TV screen)

Anyway, Peterhead played a blinder in the first one (no doubt due to my charms) and the BBC came back and the choir was also invited back. Now were you ever to see this prog, you would notice me at the start, in position next to the font, and marvel at my good looks. However, when the camera next returned to that position I was gone – I had fainted and had to be got out, without being spotted by the cameras, down an aisle to the side. But I was smitten by broadcasting. And as regular listeners know, I am often smitten, but by ‘eck, they’re quality smites. 🙂

And some other good newses in that the Queen Street to Summerston railway line (or as some may know the West Highland Line to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig – and that’s just given me an idea) has re-opened following the landslide somewhere along the line near Possilpark and Parkhouse. 🙂

And my gardener is due to do the first work of the season very soon and the shed has been tidied and this will be the first full season of the garden furniture and patio with plants, so who knows what that might lead to.:)

And finally, obviously delighted to see Partick Thistle make it into the top six and I just wonder if, mathematically, we can get into Eorpa if results go the right way; also delighted that we are going to spend £4 million on a new training ground. Shame we don’t where it’s going to be – just yet.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and always glad to see other people doing so and – still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, who can’t stop worrying, especially when he’s not sure what he’s worrying about.

And so, dear listener, I was supposed to be meeting uni-Sharon on Wednesday but the installation of a new washing machine took precedence (much more useful than me I would suggest) but I had additional reasons to be in town.

However having discharged those duties I happened to bump into my PT (Partick Thistle, the Harry Wraggs, the Maryhill Magyars) mate #soulboydaviebee (Tamla discos’r’us) who works part-time (p-t) in the brilliant indie record shop, Love Music, who persuaded me to give him £10 and allowed me to take away four CDs of my choice but based solely on the covers. 😀 😀 😀

One of the CDs is from a band called House of Fools. It takes a wee bit of getting into, as does this viewing of them but give it time.

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” ― (the great) Walter Cronkite

April 6, 2017

And so dear listeners, some of you may remember some time ago that, after a very poor team bonding day, I happily left the others and took a train up the road. On that train was a young lady reading a book – as opposed to a kindle – and I congratulated her, as I left, as everyone else had their noses in their tablets. The book?

Appropriately it was The Girl on the Train. 🙂

The other night I met another girl on the same train. 🙂

It was the ten o’clock coming out of Queen Street and I had not long finished my shift. A couple of tables down was a young lady (20ish), wearing railway workers’ clothes and with a book in hard covers. She also had a quarter/half bottle of Buckfast secreted in a bag. 😉

She smiled as I grunted into my seat and had a swig. Our eyes met a couple of other times and she had a couple of other swigs and then, just after Possilpark and Parkhouse, she got up to go but there is a wee gap between P & P and Gilshochill (or Gilshiehill as it’s known locally) and she paused at my table to show me the book. It was about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the photos were sepia-tinged black and white and she explained the significance of the signs on the copper-plated scrolls.

She also said that she loved books 🙂 and that she’d given her one year old god-daughter a huge pile of books and spent time reading with her 🙂 . And then the train pulled into the station and she was gone. Summerston’s the next station down the line and I was looking forward to home going. In terms of the shift, it had not been a long time in hours, but long in never getting a minute to yourself and never getting the chance to log why you’d never got a minute to yourself.

A few days previously I’d spoken to a grown-up man who had never read a book – other than what he needed to read for any qualification.

So I’ve lent him a book by Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book. I look forward, with interest, to his comments.

(Incidentally, the day after that chance encounter with the Book Lady of Gilshochill, there was a landslip outside Possilpark and Parkhouse and the line has been closed ever since – a bit of a nuisance if you want to get to Oban)

And a final word about words if I may. I am currently taking very powerful anti-histamines (altho’ I have a bad habit of referring to them as amphetamines) and whilst I can gauge their useage in a day when I’m project working I am loathe to take them in connection with other activities .e.g. editing and so, there is an Out Of Office up there and I’m not even acknowledging any mail as I know I’ll just say yes. Somebody has just put money in my Paypal account to persuade me to do their essay.

Later today, I will return it.

And the amphetamines are working but there are times when I leave my brain in the kitchen when I go through to the front room. Sorry if I am coming across a bit stranger than usual at the moment. But I can feel them working so that must be good.

And finally, a final, final word about words, particularly those spoken by football managers.

And this happened a wee while back and it was for one of those radio documentaries where I did all the interviewing and someone else presented – and on this occasion it was the smashing Ian Archer. He arranged for me to interview the then Rangers manager Jock Wallace.

Jock had a reputation as a man of few words and most of those were four letters long but it was good to have his views. I arrived at Ibrox, was escorted up the marble staircase and was introduced to him. I got pelters from him – my jacket, my hair and my then support for Clydebank – and all of it with expletives most definitely not deleted. I was dreading the actual interview.

But it had to start and the tape did roll. And he was superb and not a single sweary word. I was editing it in my head which is always a good sign. And the tape stopped rolling. And the swearing started again – me as the target once more. I didn’t mind. I had got what I came for.

Tioraidh, and still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, always in the market for coffee, despite the pills, and always nice to hear from people.

Anyway, at almost the very beginning of my time with the BBC I worked for a programme called Nationwide. It was whilst we were at war with Argentina and I was often called down to London for the week to work on the war desk. On one occasion I was asked by the editor to have a look at some cine footage that had been transferred to Beta (told you it was a long time ago).

It was of the sinking of the Sir Galahad and it was taken from another ship as opposed to the broadcast BBC coverage which was taken by helicopters. It was basically men burning to death and jumping from ships to save their lives. Nothing was shown at that time as far as I can remember but it left a lasting effect on me.

Which was why I was so appalled at the obvious delight on Michael Howard’s face when he discussed Margaret Thatcher’s taskforce and what it had achieved thirty-five years ago; horrible, horrible man. And this week there were signs that, more and more, the Middle East is becoming World War Three by proxy.

So by the magic of randomly picking a CD from a shelf in Fopp I became aware of a chanteuse called Rhiannon Giddens, only to discover that BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal and his wife, the lovely C, not only knew of her but were already going to see her in Edinburgh.

This is Rhiannon at the Grand Ole Opry

‘All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren’t noticing which makes you see something that isn’t even visible.’ (Norman Maclean)

January 13, 2017

And so dear listener, the new year moves on and some decisions have been made. I plan, for example, to continue to keep it simple – but is that a decision? The move to day-time working continues and a wee bit more of what I’ll miss about working nights will get highlighted later….and I need your help in the matter of holidays. Please.

Y’see, whilst I enjoyed my couple of days in Lisbon a couple of years ago for the novelty if nothing else, there did come a cup of single person coffee in a café overlooking the river when I thought, ‘Okay, maybe Tinderbox in Byres Road or Prince’s Square doesn’t have the same view but it’s one helluva lot easier to get to…’ or similar. 🙂

I don’t think I’m much of a lone traveller anyway and I did get out of the holiday habit some time ago. It’s a bit of a freelance thing where you worry about missing out on work but I always found meeting new people – journalistically or otherwise – gives me a real lift anyway. (That’s actually meeting people and not looking at a menu of sixteen suggested matches where I still feel guilty if I look at a profile and not then send a message)

So I woke up one morning dead early and thought I’m just going to go and find somewhere in the UK where I can go and just say ‘some weather, eh?’ and they’ll know what I’m talking about. 🙂

I mentioned this at a board meeting with e later that day (Tinderbox in Byres Road since you ask) and her suggestion made a lot of sense; rather than a posh country house hotel with large swimming pool which I wouldn’t use or a remote island where the only attraction is the local distillery and its product, ‘why don’t you consider an activity/residential holiday?’

And this is where you, the listener, comes in. I am looking for suggestions. 😉

Bear in mind that I don’t swim (never really learned to) and I don’t cycle (somewhere during Cold Turkey and the nine/ten day stay in hospital, I lost a large part of my balance and whilst I was able to overcome certain fears in absailing and zipwiring, I think there would still be an unsteadiness in activities like cycling)

But other than that I am pretty liberal in my thoughts. I have started a list but only the beginnings of one. Buddhist retreat? Maybe. Learn to paint with watercolours? Perhaps. Being taken in by a complete stranger? Interesting. And you don’t have to come with me but it is a blank sheet of paper on the computer screen………..

And on the question of holidays, I seem to have to take a lot of time off in lieu (TOIL) or actual Annual Leave before the end of March, so I am available for so many things –  including overtime……..my diary is possibly the most flexible it’s been for some time. I’m jt850/iaint850, try me. And I’ll possibly keep you posted on suggestions. 🙂

And so to the night shifts. I have one more rota’d shift and then I become established part-time days, which mean working two-three shifts of varying durations (6, 7 or 8 hours) between seven in the morning and ten at night and with a totally different set of responsibilities.

And I mentioned last week problems associated with agency, irregular part-time hours and zero hours contracts and their effect on people’s lives. It’s not just that I can’t get to the football cos I’m working; it’s cos I was working the night before and the sleazebag capitalists who run the world have brought forward the kick-off time of Thistle’s home game to 12.15 and I get to my bed at 8.30 in the morning and sleep though my eleven o’clock alarm and wake up at 11.30 and it’s just too late to get to the game…….Quality of life?

Or a single parent who doesn’t know if she’ll get enough hours to pay for Christmas presents for her children. 😦

But more of that another time.

Will I miss anything about working nights?

Y’mean like watching people pour out of the various pubs and clubs in the area at three in the morning and gaze  in wonderment at how the pre-booked private hire taxis somehow manage to find their fares even though they’re miles away from the Southside or Kirkintilloch or Paisley?

Or taking full bin bags round to the big bins in the alleyway around the corner at about five in the morning and having to apologise to a courting couple for interrupting them?

Or the night early one Monday morning when there was a feeling of pure evil in that part of Glasgow city centre (can evil be pure?) when bottles were broken on deserted streets, when the taxi drivers stayed in their cabs rather than coming out to chat and I felt the need to team up with a worker from a project round the corner to visit those aforementioned bins?

It was a night when Stephen King’s fog visited Glasgow and was scared off.

Cya, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple into 2017 🙂

Iaint850, who missed his first Gaelic lesson of the year cos of work commitments (or overtime as it’s known)

And I’m close to using up my word count so I’ll just introduce the latest in the series of acts I’d not heard of before until someone introduced me to them

This is Be Charlotte and I’ll let her explain herself.

‘Maybe just not every week……..’

July 28, 2016

And so dear listener, last week’s blog seemed to strike a chord with many people and can I just say that the train to Ardrossan Harbour was a  kinda metaphor for what I’m talking about – altho’ if anyone wants to go there, I’m more than happy to go with them. It’s more about re-examining things I do and seeing them in a different light, like two of my favest places – Byres Road and Firhill Stadium – ‘the field of dreams’. 🙂

And sometimes it’s seeing things you’ve become accustomed to through the eyes of someone else. 😉

Take for example, Firhill – the home of the mighty Partick Thistle. Young AJ had spoken to his mum, e, about going to a football match and it had been decided that a home game against Queen of the South was the obvious choice. I was more than happy. 😀 😀 😀

I won’t go into all the detail of the afternoon but there was a certain amount of explaining what was happening but not a lot. e has a coaching badge and AJ has seen it on TV and, whilst I was worried that boredom might set in by half-time, it didn’t. I liked the way that ‘our’ team kept the suspense going all the way through the game by leaving it at one-nil down before scoring the winning two goals in the last ten minutes……’we are Partick Thistle, we score when we want.’ 🙂

And we watched it from the Jackie Husband stand which gives a much better view than where I normally stand – in the North Stand (red’n’yellow) – and yes, I’d be happy to go back with e and AJ and, indeed, anyone else out there who’d like to take son or daughter to the first ever football match.

The downside? There’s not a lot of singing in the Family Section, 😦 but I’ll live.

And then there’s  Byres Road which I used to know intimately but I still know it pretty well but a lady called R, from out of town, who I should stress I know, told me she was coming uptown and would have her young boys with her and would I like to join them for tea? To which I said ‘yes’ and I did. 🙂

The younger was having his birthday the next day so I’m not sure whether this was part of the treat or not, but we ate burritos – and I wonder what the difference is between them and fajitas and we spoke of Casio watches.  So the next day, I went to the jeweller’s down Byres Road that sold it to me many, many years ago and priced exactly the same watch that I bought all that time ago. It is now £20 as opposed to the £9.99 I spent all those years ago and I can only accept Casio’s word for it that it’s water resistant to 50 metres. I don’t swim. 😦

But I was down Byres Road the next night with the blogmeister and we drank in Vodka Wodka – which I like. My appreciation of it was enhanced by the barmaid who, having poured my orange juice, put a straw in and took a sip. ‘That’s not right,’ she said and poured it out.

She opened another carton and gave me a fresh glass. Now, that’s what I call service. 😀

The conversation ranged far and wide but at one point touched upon a man called Billy Graham – an evangelist – who held meetings at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow which attracted thousands in the fifties and sixties. This was in the early days of television. There was no internet – no tweeting nor nothing like that. So how did he do it? Radio, and word of mouth.

Billy himself just trusted the word of God and spoke it like it was and it worked.

And finally, I bumped into former Divinity student and would be writer and former student of mine of so many years ago, Cathcart minor, who was clutching a decorated, 18 inch long, shoe horn (and I think Carry On movies have been made on less of a plot device). Basically, it was an interesting chat, but James, I have seen you move from boy to man over many, many years, but that beard…..maybe one day. 😉

Good luck with the writing and, as ever, if I can help……….

Cya, still wearing the Big Sky badge and continuing to keep it simple

Johnt850, broadcasting to you all and at the same time I’m talking to a student who is asking me things he or she should have asked his/her tutor months ago.

So when I was in Vodka Wodka I paused to look at the booze in the gantry and I don’t miss it but am intrigued at the range of alcohol available. When Billy was preaching, pubs were smoky places with a limited range of ale and whiskies and that was the scene when I started my drinking at the age of 16/17 but it is coming up to ten years since I cold turkeyed.

The blogmeister remembered the bit of the story of that night where I believe that I fought the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (an hallucination or not?) wearing only a freebie sweatshirt from the movie, Interview with a Vampire, and how I remained convinced that one of the horsemen was now a demon who lived in that sweatshirt. Obviously, I don’t now but I don’t dare throw it out. Wonder what Billy G would make of it all.

It’s a few months since J, my favest country music fan, introduced me to Brandi Carlile. I have a few songs which are part of my listening when I’m a bit down. Lots of Alabama 3, Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Green Day), Hey, You Come On and Dance (Walk the Moon) – all lift me up when I’m down….so does this 😀 😀 😉

Brandi and Hard Way Home. Inspiration in a CD. No. No reason.