Archive for the ‘Hanoi Bike Shop’ Category

It’s like you have to be strong for everyone else but they forget to ask if you’re okay.

October 26, 2017

And so dear listener, this week I experienced a feeling I have not experienced for some time but is it right that a man, my age, should experience that feeling. Sorry? Oh, first day nerves, that’s what I mean. I have now seriously started as an SVQ assessor-candidate who is to get assessed as an assessor assessing candidates.

Some people, such as j, seemed to pick it up straightaway but others, like me, have to keep everything in a separate pile in my head and it’s not easy, having piles in your head. 😦

And I don’t think I ever told you, dear listener, what an SVQ assessor does.

NVQ/SVQ assessors help and assess people who are working towards National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) or Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). In doing so, they make sure that the candidates meet the required standards.

And, yes, that is Copy and Paste. Did you notice? Any questions?

Yes. I am looking forward to yet another new career. In order to get it all on my CV I am now using font size 8.5 and A3 paper. And have I finished yet? What would be nice would be to get my income back up to pre-resignation levels but with the same free time I had before.

And there are some signs that the editing might be kicking off again and my thanks go to the marketing team for their sparkling efforts. 😀

Ah, that lovely word ‘team’. I have met people who say things like ‘there’s no ‘I’ in team.’

To which I reply, ‘Yeah, but there’s a ‘me’.’

But then I’m the kinda guy who criticises the well-known Pavlov’s dogs experiment cos no-one asked the dogs – and to me that’s a fundamental flaw. 🙂

Ah, yes… Last week a couple of photos appeared on Facebook showing the BBC Radio Scotland team who covered the Commonwealth Games of 1986. One photo showed us on our way to the closing night disco (yes, disco – and it may even have been Tom Ferrie who was the deejay) and the other was in the bunker we called home for the fortnight. 🙂

I was a producer and, in addition to everything else, was responsible for putting together a two minute sports news after the main news. With me? And I had a presenter to read it.

Except one night, at about half past ten, I was sitting with a pint in the BBC Club next to the bunker and became aware I had no reporter. I had to do it. And so dear listener, I had the amazing privilege of saying, ‘And now the moment all Scotland has been waiting for….’

And played a piece of tape that was Liz Lynch winning her Gold medal before reading out some results from the shooting at Barry Budden in Angus and then back to the hotel for my second pint of the night. This one well deserved.:D

And as I write this, speaking of matters athletic, I’ve still not heard back about my x-rays of last week. But it has not stopped me walking. One jolly interesting and recent walk was with e and Holly the Dog though the Botanic Gardens and its environs. We helped reunite a young girl with her dad; cheered on some young athletes; and remenisced (sp?) about our pasts and one shop in particular. Anyone who ever lived West-endish in the seventies and a wee bit beyond will remember Goodies – the first ever twenty-four hour dairy I had ever known; pints of milk and chocolate biscuits after two in the morning; a strange woman who seemed to sit in the same seat 24/7; and a very unhygienic cat who sat in the window, seemingly, also for a full day at a time.

Yes, we have Tesco’s in Maryhill and the Asda in Govan – both of which are also twenty-four hours a day but they lack the magic of Goodies. 🙂

And finally, I did go to see George Monbiot – a man with some very interesting ideas. I would have thought it of interest to anyone claiming to have environmental credentials or looking for original thinking. Maybe those who missed it were too busy slagging each other off on Facebook

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

Iaint850, and surely I’m not the only person who still says Bloody Norah.

And I was talking to a friend recently and she was telling me of her recent regular visit to a Costa Coffee Shop (and other chainstore coffee shops are available) and she spotted someone she hadn’t seen for some time.

‘Is everything okay?’ she asked.

‘I’m cutting back on caffeine.’

‘Well there’s plenty of good de-caff stuff out there these days.’

‘No. It’s not that. I just don’t have the money these days.’

This was in a douce, middle class town not that far from Glasgow. I had travelled there by train and before I got the train back to Glasgow I bought a newspaper. The vendor was smiling and whistling. I asked him why he was so cheery.

‘The Tory Party is falling apart at the seams. We’ve got them on the run.’

The two conversations prove nothing except to add to my sadness that so much political debate takes place online by people just shouting at each other. Politics is about real people – not sitting in front of a laptop shouting at people through your keyboard.

Why not help out at a foodbank?

There’s often a single piece of music that you hear on all the radios stations you listen to as part of your regular listening pattern – in my case Radio 1 and Clyde 1 in the car and often Chris Country at home – but often you tire of it. Not this time.

This is Pink and What About Us. Stick with the video. It gives an extra meaning to the song.


I get my friend when I need one, I need someone to be one, I take anybody I can get, And sometimes I wanna call you, And I feel like a pet. And I’m lonely, but I ain’t that lonely yet. (The White Stripes)

August 10, 2013

I am afraid, dear listener, that I am not a great fan of the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ but there is a scene in it where Clarence, the trainee angel, is sent to Earth by St Peter to help Jimmy Stewart. ‘What’s wrong’, asks Clarence. ‘Is he ill?’

‘Worse than that’, says St Peter. ‘He’s discouraged.’

And I was. The big essay had come bouncing back to me with another’s voice added. The criticisms are well-meant and I understand their rationale. But are there limits to my academic ability? Yes. Have I reached them? Maybe. Am I going to give up now? No fuc*ing way!

Sorry. Up to that point I meant to sound spiritual. I was going to talk about some intervention that played a part in reviving my determination but that did happen. Within minutes of the txt arriving. In a drink and drugs rehab group run professionally – and geographically not that far from Bearsden……as Concorde flies (younger listeners please Google). I’m not allowed to break confidentiality but I won’t let these folk down. Not a single apostrophe will be out of place. Not a single typo. Not a lot of point coming this far and giving up. A bit like staying off the booze and if I can do that, I can do almost anything.

(We’ll leave the question of relationships out of the current equation, I think. I don’t think even Clarence, the trainee angel could solve that. What do I do or say that scares them off? Skippy? Any thoughts?)

Anyway. This is an important edition of the blog. It’s the 300th.

Excuse me a second. I was on a night shift last night – 2130 to 0730 – and it was quite difficult and 999 don’t seem to want business these days. And one of the downsides of a busy night shift is that you don’t get to eat your whole piece. So I’m currently munching my way thru a feta and roasted cheese wrap. I know it’s trendy. But I am. I kinda kid on that I am a trendy West Endy or a trendy Wendy as they’re known. And can I just quantum leap and say a big thanks to the good Dr W for the lovely offer (or two).

Now. Where was I? Oh, yes. Being trendy and in the West End. I ate, for the first time ever, in the Hanoi Bike Shop just off Byres Road (rainforestriverman, you’ll love it) and tofu has never tasted so good but why, oh why, was the seafood soup done in a chicken broth?

And, e, boy, did I miss an opportunity when that woman in the library asked how old RJ was. I must get tee-shirts printed that say ‘only a friend of the family’ on the front and ‘divorced nd looking’ on the back. (Altho’ recently I was quite happy…….)

Anyway. Where was I? There’s a famous revolving door that allows you to enter the school building where the school library is. It’s not working at the moment. There’s a sign that says ‘Revolving Door Not Working. Please Push.’

Except students don’t seem to be able to read these days. And they certainly can’t push. So they give up and walk round to another side to the building and come in that way.

And Kallum Higginbotham has signed for the mighty Harry Wraggs. So we’re happy with the exotic sounding defence. Now we’re going for a stereotypical Northern Soul frontline.

So. Where was I? Oh, yes. The 300th edition of the show. Eh, what else can I say? Other than it was never expected to stay this long. It was supposed to be your basic ‘I’ve got bad cancer. Can I share it with you?’ type of newsletter. Only it developed and took on a life of its own. It’s written to a template but not an obvious one. One of the school teachers talked about me plagiarising for the blog but, no, it’s all original – all my own observations, both mentally and of people.

It reflects much of my life as a radio broadcast journalist both in documentary work and live broadcasting where, more than any form of journalism, you hear people’s voices speaking their actual words…….with only a little context. One of the most amazing books I ever read was Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I stole it from a Mobile Educational Resources Unit during an Adult Literacy campaign of many years ago…. yet we’ve never ever solved the problems caused by teachers failing to teach some but not others. Freire’s book was about overcoming a new culture of silence in industrialised countries, where education often means socialisation.

And finally, I enjoy writing. I enjoy using words. Maybe it’s time to buckle down and write to the template. Grindstone, here is my nose; laptop, here is my soul.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes and it’s only two words and gets its message across.

Johnt850, kinda missing the Russian Roulette that is getting from Johnstone onto the motorway…..

I make the point that so much of what I do has only been made possible by the amazing support team I have had over the last six and a half years. I was going to attempt a full list but time and tiredness is against me. There is nothing to stop me publishing the list separately. I may do so.

So one final tale at the end of what has been an emotional blog in many ways… is so embarrassing, isn’t it, when you’re paying at the Self Scan and a condom falls out of your wallet…..isn’t it? No. No reason. (Wonder where the use by date is?)

When I was younger, so much younger than today, this was a piece of music that, when I heard it, I knew everything was going to be alright. In it, faith I have.