Archive for the ‘Drug legalisation’ Category

When you wake up every day, it’s like a new birthday: it’s a new chance to be great again and make great decisions. (Poo Bear)

July 5, 2019

And so, dear listener, my thanks to all those who marked my birthday in so many ways after my big hint. 😉

But it was a quiet one. The 2nd of July coincides with the first week of the school holidays and a few folk I might have met up with were away on various Scottish islands. 🙂

And, of course, this was my first birthday without my big sister being around to organise something.

We move on. To Arisaig, where I was for a weekend and when I tell people it was very quiet, they say to me, ‘well, what did you expect?’ I’m not sure, but can I stress I’m not complaining. I often observe but rarely complain. Maybe an extra walk or maybe a slightly better choice of eating places but there was much I did enjoy. 😀

The train journey was smashing – well, on the way up it was, after Fort William. I think they had problems at Queen Street Station cos it was late in and it had the feeling of coach parties being shoved onboard so that they could get it out and so I didn’t get my reserved window seat.

(I’d have had to take on the entire coach party)

After Fort William, I was fine and was soon happily posting pics of the Jacobite steam train and the Harry Potter viaduct and the scenery. On the way down I got the reserved seat and enjoyed it all. Dalmuir looks so nice in the sunshine…..as did Rannoch Moor. 😀

The walks that I did were smashing and do-able even to a man who does get a wee bit breathless but who came home to find an appointment booked for an aortic scan this coming week cos I have a leaky aortic valve.

The hotel was good; the menu was limited (the Chef’s special was the same three nights running); and the public bar was the village’s social life but I had no problems sitting with my book on a bench across from the Spar which was where I bumped into friends, Sharon and Kenny, who were in a caravan in the area.

But nice wee touch in the bar, as they delivered my fresh orange to me, was the offer of a small glass of that week’s guest ale. I declined.

And the peace and quiet was amazing. It was not just peaceful; it was totally noiseless at times. 😀 😀

A wee bit frightening and that maybe led to a wee feeling of anxiety as the weekend came to close.

‘What if the train to Glasgow is cancelled? What do I do then?’ 😦

So, dear listener, do you know what I did? The train was due at about 1025; I was in the station at 0925 believing it was better to be there than in the hotel on the basis that if the train was cancelled then that’s where the bus would pick us up from. This is how I deal with those odd moments of anxiety I get. I feel as if I’m doing something about it and I’m happier.

I saw the train going up to Mallaig and rather than look a complete tube, I pretended to be a train-spotter and took its picture but I did relax at that point. (Or do trains ‘go up’ to London?)

And just to say, I am glad I went. I may do another weekend away soon. Suggestions welcome.

And my favest present (out of very few, but at my age……..) was a Tassimo coffee maker which I look forward to playing with, altho’ I may need a friend or family member to help with the instructions. Any tips?

And finally, I’m taking a Summer gap month away from volunteering with the Scottish Drugs Forum, for no real reason other than I can, although I’ve given myself a wee project over the next four weeks. I’m going to draw up a guide that’ll be a practical guide to iMovie editing on a Macbook.

Now I’ve never used a Mac before and the last time I did video-editing was offline with original material copied to VHS; so how long ago was that. Panasonic Blue anyone? So far, much of what I’ve been doing for the SDF has been writing, so this is a chance to learn a new skill. At 65. 😉

Here’s the SDF’s annual review. It’s a good chance to find out what they do and I’m in there somewhere

http://www.sdf.org.uk/what-is-it-sdf-do-find-out-in-our-annual-review/?fbclid=IwAR3h8aQORJ_t0dTfITSHctfvpbTwq65oMmoN0v2zSfDawH5e6HSZ1ye7kkA

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple but sometimes I wonder why.

Iaint850, who is now 65 and aware of his own mortality and the forthcoming football season and the fact that he has quite a lot of books still to read and strange online book tokens to spend so plans to hang around for a wee while yet.

And all I’d like to do here is to reproduce the Daily Record front page of 4th July 2019.

‘Scotland is gripped by the worst drug crisis in Europe. It’s killing people and wrecking communities. Our investigation has shown tough justice is not the cure. We must target dealers but it’s time to stop treating vulnerable citizens as criminals. Our country needs powers to treat addiction as a health problem not a crime. It’s time to

DECRIMINALISE DRUG USE’

(and to wish Professor Catriona Matheson of Stirling University all the best as the Chair of the new Drug Deaths Taskforce just announced in Scotland)

And the Highwaymen seemed to prove a popular choice last week so here they are again with Ghost Riders in the Sky.

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We have but two ears and one mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak (Thomas Eddison)

May 10, 2019

And thanks to Tricia W for the quote 🙂 x

And so dear listener, let us return to the settlement of my (now) late sister’s estate. I know I’ve told some people individually but the blog, ever since my days of cancer and stuff, has long since been my method of getting the message across. 😉

I could do it like the Royals do it and put a noticeboard just outside my house and nail a bulletin on it and expect you to read it but I’d have to tell you where exactly where I lived and then the paparazzi would be around. 😦

But a couple of things before I omit to tell you anything in detail;

I was talking to my lawyer about various things and the subject of fees came up – and went away again. A memory of my dad came back to me. He was the first of three generations of chartered accountants in my family and practised in the North East of Scotland with many clients in the fishing and farming professions. Often he would go to meet his clients at their homes and would return, as was the custom of the time, part-paid in whisky, trays of freshly laid eggs or some fish straight from the North Sea. And a cheque. 😀

So my dad was a Chartered Accountant who married a book-keeper in his office in Glasgow many years ago, my ex-wife was a Chartered Accountant and so is my son. Indeed, my (now) late sister was an auditor in the Civil Service……….and yet people try to give me financial advice. I grew up with it and, indeed, worked as a Clerk in the Harbour Office in Peterhead.

So, I ended up as a broadcast journalist with a drink problem and met some of the most amazing people in the world. Some were well known names of their time like Jeffrey Archer and Michael Parkinson but my favest was a man called Studs Terkel who believed that it’s the ‘ordinary’ people who have the best stories and that influenced much of my broadcasting from then on.

Anyway, estate agents send you the blurb and, as an editor and ‘proof-reader’, I write back and point out their typos for correction – as I explained to good friend e to whom I sent the draft brochure for interest as she’d very kindly helped with some of the cleaning and tidying a few weeks ago. 🙂

‘Aye,’ she said. ‘I saw mantaining.’ I gulped. I hadn’t. It was three others.

‘But,’ I said, ‘did you notice that of the three external pics of the flats, one had six dustbins outside and two didn’t?’

‘No,’ she said. ‘But did you notice that it was dry in those pics but in the one showing the parking area, it had been raining?’

At which point I gave in gracefully and agreed to do some childsitting.

But it’s a good looking two-bedroomed flat just up the Maryhill Road from the West End – and things are going well thank you.

I can certainly afford coffees but maybe a wee tendency to overdo them at times. (where’s the emoji for high as a kite?)

And can I also stress that e is not related in any way to H in LoD but had met j from UWS a couple of years ago.

And finally, I have a quandary. For a few years now I have been a season ticket holder at Partick Thistle but for the last two seasons – football reasons aside – I have attended very few games.

Indeed I would have made a considerable saving had I gone on a Pay-As-You- Go basis.

Indeed, because of a certain disquiet about certain matters at the club and the way things are being handled (Doo-Laaaaaan!) some people are saying that’s the way they plan to do it this season.

Now I have already decided to get a season ticket again, so that’s not the quandary.

On 2nd July, I turn 65. Should I wait until the 3rd July and get my OAP discount (gulp) or give them the money now? That’s the quandary. 😉

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, whose scariest moment of the week was when a nine year old boy told me, ‘It’s okay. My mum lets me go out to play on my own’ but he did come back when he was called in.

So, dealing with drugs, other than the three which the Queen declared legal a few years ago (coffee, alcohol and tobacco), is devolved legally to the UK Government as is the power to call a referendum on Scottish Independence so it is easy for the blessed Nicola and her pals to say ‘If only……..’

So I’d like to pay tribute to the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee, led by SNP MP Pete Wishart, who spent a large part of last week listening to evidence from expert witnesses and those working in the field with a view to doing something positive about the wide-ranging issues involved in substance use.

There are some good people on that committee including David Duguid from the Tories but excluding Ross Thomson from the Tories and I got the feeling that they listened closely to the reasons why ‘Glasgow is a perfect case for the UK’s first consumption room.’

It will be interesting to see what results from this as Scotland faces a real drugs emergency. – one that has been in existence for a very long time and not just a matter of weeks – and I already recycle all my drinks bottles and cans.

The Dixie Chicks have an amazing story as well about standing up against war in Iraq. This is they/these are them with Travelin’ Soldier

Labour is an insurrection against neoliberalism, not part of your cheese and biscuits circuit…(Paul Mason)

March 21, 2019

I’d be happy if they vowed to eradicate poverty and homelessness for starters. Might actually win a General Election then. 😉

And so dear listener, I’d like to start by mentioning a smashing woman called Jackie who is involved in running a clothes bank in the North of Glasgow who came over to my late sister’s flat and took away what seemed like a million bags of clothes in her car and contacted me later that day to say that most of them had been used. 😀

There’s also been lots of books and some other stuff which has ended up in charity shops in Maryhill and various friends and family and neighbours have asked if they could have stuff which is fine because it’s good that good things get used.

Me? A trough of some plant bulbs which are about to flower very early and a picture of some boats in a storm with the description written in, I think, Polish…..

Things are moving on and soontime I will speak to estate agents and, well, I feel a wee bit more relaxed in many ways. A certain freezer has now been defrosted. 🙂

As indeed have I. A couple of weeks ago it was my grandson’s second birthday but it was one of the last days of heavy showers and I had made a wrong decision to walk down to the ASDA to get newspapers and had got caught in it. Shivering and shaking I called off from the coffee and cakes to which I had been invited by my grandson – just in case – but several Ibuprofen and a mid-afternoon sleep later and I was fine.Still missed out on the event and have yet to play Fireman Sam Skittles with him. 😦

However, I am also more aware of my heart in cold weather and when somebody this week told me he had chest pains during cold weather I found myself shouting at him, ‘go to the doctor!’

And one advantage to no longer labelling myself a pescatarian but simply someone who’d prefer not to eat meat? I can eat wine gums again and it’s such a pleasure.

But other things are going well. Take, for example, the editing. It’s coming up for one set of Easter holidays and then there’s the set when it’s actually Easter. These are busy times for students to submit work. I was asked if I still enjoy it and the answer is yes. I enjoy working with words; I enjoy helping someone’s work to improve; and I enjoy being paid for it. 😀

Indeed, I’m often asked why I started editing. Well, to cut a long story short……..

(Thanks Rosie)

And it’s a love that’s obviously shared by Neil Oliver, Missie K and I (and a few others) who enjoyed listening to Neil talking about five books that meant a lot to him and a very eclectic selection they were but one of the things that impressed me was the fact that he had read several of them on several occasions. Not something I do. I tend to give them away. 😉

On one occasion recently some books were returned cos folk were tidying up prior to selling and buying houses; on another occasion they were returned and the signs were obvious but I continue to ignore them; and there are some that I know I will never see again.

leithid a bheatha

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and continuing to keep it simple.

Iaint850 who is really an actor playing an upbeat cheery character called iaint850

So, as part of my work with the Scottish Drugs Forum, I’ve been attending a couple of training workshops as well as conferences and doing some writing. There’s a part of me that misses working with (service) users but there’s also a part of me that says maybe I’ve reached that time in my life when helping to share experiences and knowledge is the best way forward.

And there was much in the alcohol awareness workshop that I felt would be of great use to folk out there who are maybe a wee bit concerned about their or their friend or family’s drinking.

And with regards to the drugs in the afternoon I have been away from that side of my professional lifetime for some time, so very much a catch up and a talk about trends but, with the current laws doing nothing about regulating, in any way, the manufacture, sales and distribution of things like street valium, there are two things I’d like to highlight.

For some time now, I’ve spoken about my concern about not knowing what goes into the manufacture of drugs, and I do know people who have died (it looks) from street Valium but the other thing is something I’ve only really become aware of recently.

When you or I take an intravenous injection, it’s done in pretty sterile circumstances such as being careful at home or in a hospital and all that that involves in prepping for the jag and getting rid (appropriately) of the gear.

Many users aren’t that careful and things like needles aren’t always that sterile, so when the abscess in the arm begins to show, users can be very reticent about getting treatment in case there are legal concerns. That’s not good.

It’s not so much the drug we need to think about, it’s the person using it.

Which is why I’m about to play a track from a lady called Twinnie called Better When I’m Drunk.

Can I just say, I may be sober but I ain’t boring?

Very few people who take drugs have a drugs problem. (Dr Carl Hart)

March 16, 2019

After all, think of the number of people you know who use drugs (including tobacco and alcohol) who do not have a problem and how many who do? Interesting, eh? But more of that later.

And so, dear listener, cleaning and clearing and tidying and settling my sister’s estate has been put on hold. For a short period. I’ve not actually been told to slow down but many other things are happening and as my son said, ‘there is no rush to getting anything sorted out.’

So things such as? Well, Tuesday of next week sees me doing drink in the morning and drugs in the afternoon. Oh, happy daze. But maybe I should explain. The Scottish Drugs Forum, which is not a Government quango, is a major source of training in the use of substances so I’m going to update my knowledge of alcohol and drugs. 😉

And they were also the ones responsible for bringing substance use expert Dr Carl Hart over from the States. I listened to him on Wednesday night and there was good craic (I spelt it correctly Skippy) about the scientific basis to our knowledge about drugs and how we deal with them and the people who use them.

I was reminded of one of the things I learned during my Post Grad – the drug, the set, the setting……..the drug itself is not addictive. We need to find out a wee bit more about the person using the drug, their environment and what’s happening to them in their life.

And then the next day Carl took part in a major conference on the subject of mental health and drug use altho’ tbh, my two favourite speakers were two professionals who each told us a wee story with a point and that held my attention just a wee bit more than someone talking about reports over the years. 😀

And then I got an exclusive interview with Carl. It was like the old days of waiting until others had spoken and then me as the media moved in – except these days I do it on my phone and not with a jumbo tape recorder called a Uher. I’ll let you know when it all appears on the SDF website.

Well, anyway friend Sharon seemed interested when I told her although her mind was perhaps more on the goat’s cheese tarte that she eats in that café whose name I can never remember but is the next to the rock school in the High Street in Paisley.

No I wasn’t anywhere near the uny library. I have plenty of books of my own *he says moving the conversation swiftly on*

And on Saturday afternoon I was in the company of good friend Missie K as we listened to Neil Oliver who was jolly excellent as he talked about the five books that meant so much to him in his life and, Missie K, you won’t be surprised to know that I watched my DVD of Zulu on Saturday night. 😉

And finally, without me doing anything, editing has started to flood in – except I’ve had to turn some of it down. I am more than happy to do work at short notice or at the weekend, but to be contacted at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon to be asked to proof-read 10,000 words on Saturday and Sunday (maybe 8 – 10 hours) is a bit off, so I turned it down.

But there’s plenty of other work and word of mouth is good which is possibly why I have become the go-to-guy if your essay is on the gasification properties of char. See me, see Mastermind in a few years’ time. 🙂

Tioraidh, still proudly wearing that badge and still (trying to) keep(ing) it simple,

Iaint850 and ‘coherent’ is a good word. I was. He wasn’t.

So let’s talk lifeboats. As some of you may remember I did explain that the RNLI has been a major recipient of some charitable donations following my sister’s passing away. But I have another lifeboat memory.

17th March, 1969, the Longhope lifeboat (from the island of Hoy in Orkney) went out on another call but never came back – with the loss of a crew of eight – a major loss of life in the village.

Approximately twelve years later, I was a researcher with a film crew doing a BBC doc on Hoy for Religious Broadcasting. It was about a guy called Harry Berry, an Englishman who had settled on Hoy, (it was called The Old Man of Hoy – and why not?) and we decided to do some filming about the lifeboat. And me and the assistant film cameraman were given a task. (Yes. Assistant Film Cameraman – I am that old. 😉 )

When the lifeboat, in those days, was launched it was necessary for a man with a big hammer to hit a metal pin that secured a chain that held the boat and the boat was launched. With nobody caring where the chain ended up. And that was where the director placed Paul and me – right behind the boat. I was to pull focus while he pointed the camera.

‘I wouldn’t sit there, lads’ said an experienced Orcadian.

‘We’ll be fine,’ came the voices of inexperience.

OMG!!!!!!! The chain sped across in front of us and the end bit hit us and covered us in oil.

‘Well lads,I did tell you,’ came the voice of experience……..but boy was it worth it when the shot was used.

As someone originally from the fishing town of Peterhead my thoughts are with the people of Longhope.

Here’s the lovely voice of Jade Halliwell and Storm Chaser

Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh)

March 1, 2019

And so, dear listener, having confessed last week to the odd run in with the police when I was very young – altho’ to be honest it was the run home rather than the run that caused the problem – I have to admit feeling more of a ‘ned’ last week. 😦

It had a very simple beginning. The blogmeister and I had arranged a wee coffee and chat and we had it in Tinderbox in Byres Road. I like sitting at the window and I still like Byres Road life. There is a sense of old Glasgow as twilight settles in and there’s a mix of folk going home and others going out. 🙂

And then I did that thing you do when you think you’ve had enough coffee. I asked for a bottle of water. Y’know the idea. You get a bottle of water, drink half of it out of the plastic bottle and screw the top back on and finish the rest off later.

Except on Tinderbox, you get a glass bottle.

I drank half, said my goodbyes to the blogmeister and wandered up the road – with the glass bottle sticking out of my pocket. All I needed was a fish supper and I was a Billy Connolly stereotype.

Neil Lennon and his wee boy walked past me. Neil seemed happy. 😀 This was Monday evening.

And I began to panic. And I don’t know why. I turned left into Horslethill Road and I felt easier. Seconds later I reached the car and I felt okay. I threw the bottle onto the passenger seat and relaxed. I wasn’t being followed; I didn’t need it to defend myself. Maybe it’s that moment when the twilight becomes The Dark.

But the going for coffee is a sign of getting back out again. Mentally and physically I feel tired but I’m also back doing stuff with the Scottish Drugs Forum and there are busy times ahead…..

But there was also a spooky wee feel to last week. A few weeks ago my mobile took a tumble and I took it to a place in Partick and it got fixed okay. A few days ago it fell again but even after a couple of visits to Partick, it wasn’t happy. So, with help of Son Brian, a new improved one had been ordered but what to do in the meantime.

Well, I still have my sister’s devices and they all seem powered up so I thought I can always use my sister’s phone. In an emergency. Boy, had I not thought it through.

I sent myself a text to my erratic phone. It worked but it came up in her name! Can you imagine had I sent one to someone else without warning them first. And that thing where you can send a text to a landline and it gets read out! But no, it’s a robot voice…….so no, maybe not a good idea.

Time to buy a new one. Which I did with the help of Son Brian. Who is playing a big role as an advisor at the moment and I know what you’re going to ask. It’s a Samsung and it’s black with a lot more storage than before. No. I don’t know the make but I do know it’s delivery was undertaken by Yodel and their website kept me informed enough to allow me to nip out for a haircut and, yes, it is getting shorter. My hair. 😉

But, Yodel, bloody Yodel….what a badly named organisation. The driver couldn’t even find my front door bell which is on my front door. His arrival was in total silence. He didn’t shout, let alone yodel. Regular and expected visitors (I can explain Skippy) chap on the window and walk in. The door’s open unless it’s locked. But, luckily, Mr Yodel, I happened to be in and downstairs and saw you……

So it’s all out of the box and my son is in charge of sorting out as well as the radio as we begin to clear and tidy my sisters’s house overlooking the Clyde. 🙂

And finally, this week’s Book of the Month this year is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and it’s about a man called Ove who considers suicide after his wife passes on and there are bits where I snorted with laughter. And a brilliant pregnant lady called Parvaneh who, eventually, doesn’t even chap on the window before she walks in……it is, despite the subject matter, a book that helps you smile and that’s been good for me this week 😀

Tioraidh, still keeping it simple and still wearing that badge (but writing it in a different order may help)

Iaint850, who wasn’t really completely fine when he said he was but he is now.

I can explain (and I’ve kinda alluded to it earlier)

Like lots of folk, after a tricky few months, I had tired – physically and mentally. It wasn’t unique to me but I’m not sure I’ve really drawn breath but that is beginning to happen. Lots to do in terms of settling the estate and stuff but some of the conversations I’ve had with folk this week have reassured me that other folk, in similar situations, have had to take their time in settling things.

I think I mentioned last week that, at one stage, I had been more concerned about the practicalities of the future, rather than dealing with the here and now-ish. It’s not quite ‘one day at a time’ stuff but delighted to say lots happening with the Scottish Drugs Forum, I seem to have tickets for five Aye Write events (what are you going to and will I see you there?) and my grandson’s second birthday coffee and cakes isn’t that far away……..and I am catching up with folks and my range of conversation is getting wider and wider….…as I was saying to Holly the Dog only the other day……when I was telling her about Mr Ove.

I feel nicely quiet as I write this.

And for no real reason here’s forty-seven minutes of Burt Bacharach in Edmonton, Canada in 1977

‘I’m entering the world’s tightest hat competition. I just hope I can pull it off. (William Andrews)

September 1, 2018

And so dear listener I watched World War Z and thought it was awful. I didn’t even stick it to the end. Shame, really, as long term listeners will remember that the Good Dr W was an extra in the film, playing an office worker.

I didn’t apply for an audition for this movie but was turned down for the Scarlett Johannesson (sp) one where she cruised the streets of Glasgow, and similar places, picking up men. 😦

I have two memories of W’s time there. One was her second audition. Many people had been told to come back dressed as office workers to see how they would suit the role. Many people did not have appropriate clothing so what they did was to go to Primark in Argyle Street, buy an outfit, and return it an hour later, saying they’d changed their minds (but they’d got the part). 😉

Long before the days of ATMs, I am told, if you needed cash you went to M & S and bought something, paying by cheque, and returned it an hour later, getting an immediate refund.

W’s other memory (and, no, I’ve not seen her for a very long while) was of the smell of Fabreze. For continuity reasons, the extras had to wear the same outfit over eight or nine days, so every night the wardrobe staff sprayed the clothes with Fabreze….I’m told it stopped helping quite early on.

But the movie was still rubbish.

We did work together on Lip Service (the Glaswegian based lesbian drama set in the Merchant City) but we never made it past the cutting room floor (or the offline editing suite) but W did go on to do the Fast and Furious that was shot in Glasgow as well as a Virgin Trains ad……..

Moving on. 🙂

But I did like the Adrian Chiles doc where he tried to work out whether or not he was an ‘alcoholic’. Less and less and less, that word is used in professional treatment and recovery. There is one obvious group where it is the key to ‘membership’ but mostly we talk of problem drinking or alcohol dependency and trying to help with the motivation to give up but, yes, many are too far gone and giving up on the drink is one very big ask.

But I was delighted to see that Adrian and another drinker attended a group called Smart Recovery which is much more like the groups you see on TV and has a flip chart and a leader and everyone is encouraged to talk. At the majority of AA meetings, with the exception of the chairman, they tend to be One Singer, One Song.

But Adrian, I’m sorry, and you already know it, you have a problem.

On a lighter note, one of my grandchildren celebrated her fourth birthday the other day and I did buy some pressies for her. Indeed I’ve been buying so many recently that my downstairs room looks like Christmas but one of the things I bought her was a cape you made up into a set of butterfly wings and the next day I got a couple of pics from my son of her wearing those self-same wings. 😀 😀

(I have yet to tell Son Brian that I do not have over fifties life assurance but he is getting the house, the pension pot, and I have yet to decide what to do with the business as the website is currently no longer)

And that, dear listener, is a kinda example of the Oxford Comma……kinda. It was an answer on The Chase the other night.

And finally, the pics fair cheered me up as the next day I took my car to the garage for its final service before the Warranty expired and it was not good news. I know coil springs are important so they need to get fixed. It was a bad shunt at an obscure angle into the pavement, thankfully missing any pedestrians and other cars, about seven years ago that convinced me of that.

I so hate being a grown up.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and then a certain record was played on the car’s stereo.

And then a day or so later, things got worse. Scottish Water had shoved a card through my door asking me to arrange access for them (‘but I was told you would phone me the day before’) but they turned up the next day anyway but despite the call centre giving out my home number to Goodness know who, it’s not yet finished; an attempted meeting with the rainforestriverman was delayed cos the concierge in a fancy Glasgow hotel seemed not to pass on a message; I got home with toothache; Arnold Clark’s told me that my car might not be ready at 0800 the next day when we had agreed a day or so earlier it would be (but It was at 0900); TSB online wouldn’t recognise my password; and good news, of a fashion, in that I have got dates for some consultations with regard to the heart condition.
And a neighbour chose to tell me that he’d put my bin back in my drive cos it was blocking his drive after the binmen had been. Big effing deal!!!!! I’ve done that for you tons of time and not made a big sodding deal of it!!!!!!

But things were better after a good night’s sleep.

So the island of Iona has always held a special fascination for me ever since BBC Religious Broadcasting paid for me to spend a couple of days there in the company of the amazing Lord George MacLeod and it was when I was watching a TV prog the other night with Neil Oliver (he is sooooo much smaller in real life) that I remembered a band I saw many years ago (I think in QMU). This was one of the other places Neil visited in the same prog.

I bet you recognise it as soon as you hear it;

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad (various)

August 24, 2018

And so dear listener, I’m back. Well, not totally back and not too sure that I actually went away but I’ve had to think long and hard as to what I actually do when Skippy and I sit down to do this show every week*. It’s not (yet) the blog of old, but the blog, oh the blog, yes the blog is back. Stone cold sober as a matter of fact. 😀

*but does it have to be every week? 😉

I stopped for a number of reasons. I was tired of writing it. The sun was shining. I knew the heavy editing period was coming up and that I’d get tired of the screen. And then there are the memories. Two years ago was the loss of that USB stick and that still kinda hangs over me – for all sorts of reasons as was discussed on the balcony of Tinderbox a few weeks ago. Thanks C….and I think you’re doing really well. 🙂

Altho’ I’ve been told my old project has a certificate for me so I’d better make arrangements to go and collect it, I suppose………

And I still owe some people a gig (as it were) but it was good fun to go and see the Pretenders with former student and one of the Sticky Toffee Pudding Gang of Four from way back – Missie K. 🙂

And I didn’t stop writing. I wrote this a week ago but it’s not bloggy style but that doesn’t mean I didn’t mean every word of it

‘I have only, in the last day or so, become aware of C4’s Born Famous (Michelle Mone and daughter) but I am old enough to remember Kay Carmichael filming under cover in Lilybank in Glasgow next to Dalmarnock (1977). Four years later, BBC Scotland (David Martin) sold the idea to BBC 2 to produce a series based on a book (The Politics of Poverty) being written by David Donnison, who was the chairman of the then Supplementary Benefits Commission and Kay’s partner, and I was on board as researcher. My job? Long before filming started I travelled the UK talking to folk involved in working with ‘poor people’ – many of whom were involved in self-help groups and more than able to speak for themselves. They were happy to help. Others like the Child Poverty Action Group got involved and the then Department of Social Security let us film and talk to employees and claimants in Doncaster. The idea was for David to talk to folk dependent on benefits and working in that field as to how the system could be changed so that it helped people, rather than demonise them e.g. single mums were a popular political target and not just at the hands of the Tories. Did it make any difference? It was thirty-seven years ago (1981). You tell me, but I can take pride in four half hours that were anything but poverty porn.’

And I’m going to be doing some voluntary work with the Scottish Drugs Forum but some other (paid) stuff doesn’t look as if it’s going to happen (yet) but I’d like to thank good friend e and her very sophisticated children for the good luck charm which helped me to get the SDF gig. 😀

And finally, I seem to have a leak. In the road outside but at first the Scottish Water said it might be in my drive but their supervisor came along with a metal dowser and found it in the street. But I’m still slightly worried. I hate being a grown up. 😦

tioraidh, still wearing that badge (and I have a new one that says #stopthedeaths) and still keeping it simple (and why not?)

Iaint850, and getting used to my hair being shorter.

Oh, and I did get a letter from the Origami Academy rejecting my application but I didn’t know what to make of it.

It was good writing that. The blog that is. Thanks for reading it.

And tonight’s music is by a band of which I was reminded by good friend Ann from Prostate Cancer HQ. The band is The Hold Steady and the track is the mission statement for the blog (and me and Skippy) from now on – ‘Stay Positive’.

“I’m glad mushrooms are against the law, because I took them one time, and you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours going, “My God! I love everything.” Yeah, now if that isn’t a hazard to our country … ?”― Bill Hicks

June 21, 2018

And so, dear listener, thanks for asking. Feis Spors Ghlaschu 2018 went very well, despite the rain. A pair of gazebos was purchased and it’s hoped that they will breed and the resultant offspring can be sold to raise funds. :p

No. They kept the rain off some of us and, more importantly, our goods. The tuck shop didn’t sell as much as previous years and I won’t mention the fact that the shinty people had their own crisps’n’ginger outlet. Oh. I just have.

A surprise donation of lots of boxes of Haribos was welcomed by us and Glasgow’s dentists and just the usual gripe; parents sending children over with a £10 note and all they wanted was a packet of Rainbow Drops (10p).

For me it was a good day. No anxiety or tiredness about anything (grammatically that’s a crap sentence but two weeks before my next appointment with my heart consultant, I think you know what I mean) 😀

Nice drive home via Mosspark Boulevard and into the tunnel but on the way over – at St George’s Cross as I was negotiating my way onto the correct lane for Pollok Park – there was a strong smell of smoke. From the Art School and the other buildings that were burning.

Earlier this week I tried to negotiate Sauchiehall Street – not as a rubber-necker but as someone who got off the train at Charing Cross intending to walk to Waterstone’s. That end is a mess cos of the city council’s attempts to pedestrianise it and with added extra trees and talk of tidying up the back lanes. When I worked in the two homeless projects in that area I used to visit those lanes to put the project’s rubbish in the bins at about six in the morning. Not pleasant.

Further along you encounter the cordons around the area affected by the fire. Yes, Campus and the O2 have been mentioned as well as the Art School, but rumours that Biggar’s (a music shop that’s been there for 150 years) could well be about to close are just rumours but temporary closure is bad enough for them and the hairdresser’s and several newsagents and the others and that is when you begin to understand the true extent of the damage.

I spoke to quite a few people including traders (I was the only one in the shops) and also a couple of former Art School students who used to do tours of the School. Sadness and pessimism about the future.

And they’re still slowly knocking down the buildings affected by what has come to be known as ‘the Victoria’s fire’ and there is still no decision about the future of the Pavilion.

£100 million to re-build the Art School…..or should we looking at designing a new Sauchiehall Street and its environs? Or should we seek to make safe the other Rennie Mack buildings?

And finally, if we’re going to ask complicated and ethical questions, then what should I have done about the wee girl who came up quite early on with three x 5ps and asked for a 50p bag of sweets? My solution was to tell her to come back at the end of the day. She did. 🙂

Or the boy who complained that ours was ‘sweet’ popcorn but not ‘salty’. In such circumstances then my riposte is usually, ‘Listen son, this is Pollok Park, no’ Pollok Shopping Centre.’ :p

And Jeanette, (BBC pal) do you remember the time we almost did the Jimmy Mack Show from Pollok Shopping but didn’t cos I knew Easterhouse much better. Happy daze. 😀

Cya, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple (let’s see what happens in ten days’ time)

iaint850, gu dearbh, b ‘e latha math a bh’ ann an Disathairne and thanks to the online dictionary for help with the translation.

And I think I detect the beginnings of a debate about long term legalisation of drugs beginning with the prescribed availability of cannabis oil with the THC left in.

Many people (including the PM) seem to be against the idea based on the view that if such as cannabis, heroin, LSD, illegal highs (formerly legal highs) and street Valium are illegal then they must be dangerous. Well alcohol, tobacco and explosives are also pretty dangerous but they are legal in order to control their manufacture, quality, distribution and to whom they’re sold.

All the illegal stuff is out there and relatively accessible and the ‘war against drugs’ was lost a long time ago and we have no control over it. It’s a market controlled by crooks and criminals and I’m desperately sad that so many people seem happy with this state of affairs.

There is room for an informed conversation as to how legislation could be carried out but the benefits would be good. Even getting people to come forward for help knowing they would not be prosecuted for ‘carrying’ (de-criminalisation) would be a start.

Have a wee think. I will return to this subject. And for every one of my generation and younger, who enjoys a spliff at the end of the day rather than a G&T, enjoy.

I looked long and hard for a piece of music for tonight and I suspect many of you will not be surprised by my choice and that it was written by a Dundonian and sung by two men from Coatbridge.

But this is they from 2009 at the ABC and I well remember my last visit there…..December 2016. Ten years on.