Archive for the ‘Steve Earle’ Category

‘Dom Cummings followed the guidelines and looked after his family. End of story.’ (Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden) ‘I know ending stories and this ain’t it, chief. (JK Rowling, well known author)

May 29, 2020

And so, dear listener, a wee word if I may about blogging and, please, bear with me. I’ve been doing it now for just over twelve years and it’s basically a fun couple of hours when I hammer words into this typewriter and then re-arrange them to make sense. 🙂

I used to do it live, straight onto the WordPress template (which they’re about to change yet again) and do final editing then…….in the days of tape, razor blade and sticky tape…..but that was creating pressure so I stopped doing that and instead started drafting it during the week and did the final topping and tailing once I’ve transferred it on a Friday….and then hit the Publish button (still a thrill, not that I get………) 😦

And yes, I do wait until Sunday before I tell the world of Facebook at which time I may use the Update button. This means that if something has happened between hitting the streets on a Friday and it being read by the more sedate burghers on Facebook on a Sunday, I can make a change.

And then I leave it. It’s gone. 70-80-99-120 people read it. That’s fine. I write it for me………maybe part of my therapy?
Somebody else described it as such. 🙂

It would never, ever occur to me to go back several months and add stuff.

So, if you ever do drop into my back catalogue and discover that I wrote about my discovery of penicillin, well it’s there cos it’s true. And, yes, I was the first man on the Moon. I just didn’t say anything about it at the time but if you re-arrange the letters of iaint850 you can come up with Buzz Aldrin. That’s how we hid it.

And that night with Naomi Campbell did happen. She is one helluva a Bagetelle player. 😀

And Skippy, the invisible bush kangaroo who has been with me since this blog started does exist. Honestly.

And then there’s the car-driving thing.

I think I can safely say that during my alcoholically dependent period I did not drive while drunk but it wouldn’t have been the first Saturday morning that I woke up and realised that I had to go back into town and get my car down from a multi-storey car park where I’d left it the night before. So safe, on so many levels. 😉

I worked for a PR consultancy in Bothwell Street at the time so it would have been Waterloo Street car park – not that far from Bonkers Showbar.

However, see when you read on a packet of Lemsip (or similar) that you’re not supposed to exceed six in twenty-four hours, there’s a reason for that.

It was in the immediate period after the cold turkey, and the cancer treatment – a time when your head is clearing of so many things but you’ve still got a long way to go.

I had a bad cold. I seriously overdid the Lemsip. I got the munchies. It was a paracetamol high. I thought I’ll drive down to the ASDA and get something to eat. It’s a four minute drive.

After two minutes of that driving, I realised it was wrong and that I should turn round and go home. So, paracetemolly, I drove onto ASDA, drove in through the IN bit and back out through the OUT bit and went home.

It was only when I crunched into the drive that I realised how stupid I’d been.

Almost as stupid as Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings who claim that the best way to check your eyesight is to go for a drive. Listeners of a certain age may remember the short sighted Mr Magoo and the carnage he caused cos he couldn’t see what he was driving into. 😦

And then there’s been a smell this week – other than at Westminster. It’s been in my kitchen. Which is quite reassuring as it means I still have my sense of smell, and I can taste toothpaste.

Like a lot of people, I seem to be spending much of my time (I live on my own – have I ever mentioned that?) cleaning and tidying the house until the next time I clean and tidy the house.

I narrowed it down to the fridge which I keep tidy and I’m very careful about Use By dates.

So I washed and wiped and wiped and washed the fridge and its contents. I moved it out and washed behind it.

I used to work for Blue Triangle (supported accommodation for the homeless including refugees with ‘no recourse to public funds’) and every time I tell people that and they say ‘that must have been worthwhile’, I think of the number of nightshifts when you cleaned a room for a new service user moving in in the morning and one of the worst tasks was the fridge. 😦

Then it hit me……well thankfully not literally.

I had assumed that if it was a fridge smell, it was in the fridge. It was actually on top of the fridge. There was a box of twelve eggs on top of the fridge except two of them were cracked and had seeped through the box. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, after that. 🙂

If only all foul smells were as easy to eradicate.

tioraidh, and still keeping it all those things I like to keep it.

Iaint850, and it’s all a bit of a clusterbourach isn’t it?

So there’s a new Steve Earle album on the turntable even as we speak and thanks to a tip-off from top PT fan, Ken, I watched Steve intro many of the tracks on a Facebook live streaming session and I did do the fan thing where I sent the message ‘hi steve, I’m from Glasgow and me and good friend e saw you a few years ago at the Kelvingrove Bandstand’ and, in hindsight, I realise the phrase, ‘good friend e‘ may have sent the wrong message unless Steve is a regular reader.

None of the tracks are up visually on Youtube yet, so here’s ten minutes of Steve Earle and the Pogues. Pure genius.

My father said I always enjoyed the alphabet spaghetti he fed me, but I realise now he was just putting words in my mouth.

August 16, 2019

And so, dear listener, this may well be another short show. The editing is still pretty hectic but it is about to slow down and I was down at the Scottish Drugs Forum for two days this week.

But first, looking back at last week’s blog, a couple of you did notice that it ain’t always easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, between me and the students for whom I edit. 🙂

Of the two that I fell out with last week, one did apologise and I finished what I’d started but I heard nothing from the other. That’s fine.

And I’d a wee problem with another student this week. If you tell me that you’re going to send it at a particular time and don’t then I am well within my rights to mail you and to ask when I’m getting it.

And if you fail to reply to that, then stuff that for a game of sodgers, I may have turned down work in order to do yours and you have already cost me money, so my next mail is the one that says, ‘I hope you have good luck, at this late stage, in finding a new proof reader’. It’s all part of growing up, isn’t it? 😦

I mean it’s not as if I meet them …well very rarely…well I did this week. I did some editing for the SDF and realised, as I walked in on Wednesday morning, that the people whose work I’d edited were, in fact, reading my suggestions – and smiling….but that didn’t stop my face going bright red. 😀

They seemed happy. They’re a nice bunch.

I was actually in helping with some interviews for a job and I’ll maybe say some more in a few weeks’ time when decisions have been made and folk have been told and feedback given.

But I took it really seriously; I wore black denims and a shirt cos I felt it gave me a sense of gravitas……….but I then realise that I have to be careful what shirts I wear as one or two of them seem to have shrunk………I’ve spoken about the fact I need to lose weight before and I think I need to be ‘fat-shamed’ rather than to be told I carry it well. 😦

That does not help……But I promise I will never ever do the thing where I buy Ben Sherman shirts and wear them outside my jeans or whatever I happen to be wearing……..

But, yeah, the interviews went well and a big well done to my fellow volunteers and the worker who kept us all to time.

And I was given yet another variation on my real name……..I was called JoJo 🙂

And finally a slight ethical dilemma with my neighbours.

We are all reasonably good at taking in parcels for each other. So, on Friday morning I took in a parcel for Number 4. (I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that I am number 3 and have
two massive rotweillers that never leave the house)

On Friday afternoon I heard voices outside and saw that Number 4 had gone to Number 6 and had retrieved a package from 6. Ah, I thought, 4 will come to me, 3, next but they didn’t.

So how long do I wait before I take their parcel over to Number 4 cos it looks a wee bit heavy and I don’t see why I should do heavy carrying? Any suggestions?

And, now, some very domestic catch up.

e and c’s house is now very warm; my grand-daughter is now at primary school; and I am looking ahead to daytime evening classes for next academic session, but I’m not sure what. 😀

And I have a new laptop and I am waiting for Son Brian to come over and to help me get it up and working. At the moment. for the editing, I can use my old one but the new one has features, well Windows Ten and all that kinda stuff……….and a female voice, that when I switched it on just to see flashing lights, startd to tell me what to do. It’s not Siri or Alexis and she does seem very helpful but it struck me I may have to switch some passwords so that she doesn’t hear them and if my son can do the installation downstairs I can do the new passwords where, what i thought was the old one, doesn’t seem to work……..and then dash downsatirs and do all the asterixes…..It’s a plan 🙂

And isn’t it nice to see people you worked with doing well. Lousie Pirie was a researcher I woeked with a wee while back who is now working as a documentary producer/director and has a documentary on Monday night on STV called From Syria to Scotland, which I feel will be well worth watching. WEll I certainly will.

And finally, signs, maybe, of a change in direction, finally, in the settlement of my sister’s estate but a long way to go……….but the depression’s lifting.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple,

Iaint850, still not too sure of what’s happening but can’t help but feel I’ve missed the best of the Summer.

Last week I highlighted the good looking and very talented High Women but, before them, there were the good looking and talented Dixie Chicks who, in 2003, put their careers on the line by criticising George W Bush and America’s involvement in the war in Iraq.

This was possibly the first time I’d heard of them and also the amazing Steve Earle. It was said they’d never work again but they did.

The next year I walked out of the BBC newsroom and never went back apart from the prostate cancer stuff I later did.

This/these are the Dixie Chicks and Travelin’ Soldier.

We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible. (George Santayana)

June 28, 2018

And so, dear listener, last Saturday night, good friend e and I went to see Lulu perform at the Kelvingrove Bandstand. And jolly good it was too. And interesting. 🙂

First, can I say something about the venue? It must be one of the very few venues where the performers can actually see the individual members of the audience. The roof is the sky and it’s light until late (audio curfew is 10.30pm). This creates its own demands for the artists but if you’re Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie or Sharleen Spiteri (last year), then there’s a very good chance you see friends and family and you can actually talk to them. 🙂

But maybe Lulu (who is 69 and very fit) took it too far. After thirty minutes or so, she said she was going for a wee cup of tea and for us to do what we needed to do. She was gone for about twenty-five minutes which provided a tremendous opportunity for lots of people to get another few pints and wines (good size of one-use plastic cups) inside them and for them to totter up and down the concrete steps and to fall over and bang their heads but to get up again, smiling their heads off.*

Lulu did come back and carried on in the retrospective vein that she started off in but it took a wee while to get back into that mood but her second last number was Shout – and that made it all worthwhile. 😀

I have now in recent years seen Lulu sing Shout, The Waterboys sing Purple Rain, Steve Earle sing Copperhead Road, Kris Kristofferson sing Sunday Morning and Leon Russell sing Delta Lady. The next gig is the Pretenders…….

*As you know the question I am asked almost the most is whether I get cravings for alcohol. Well no, I don’t, BUT see the last couple of weeks or so, see standing at the corner of University Avenue and Byres Road and looking directly into Tennent’s Bar with the doors wide open………..No. No interest in alcohol but a wee reminder of what pubs have to offer people…….I moved on. 😉

And my big thanks to the thirty-one people who liked a very blurred picture of my first ever strawberries from this garden. Personally, I’m now strawberried out and if you’re passing or I’ve arranged to meet you……..then I may have some for you.

And also thanks to those of you asking how my bets are doing for the World Cup.

Remember all four are ‘to win’ so I can only have one winner – if any. If it helps to follow my progress, then all four names begin with ‘B’ apart from France and Spain (who lost on penalties this afternoon).

And I and most of the folk I know (men and women just to keep it simple) have no problem with women commentators or pundits…not just in football but in most broadcast sports. Sue Barker, Jane Lewis, Hazel Irvine, Julie Welch, Rhona MacLeod, Sally McNair, Alison Walker….the list is almost endless and continues to grow. And for me the great thing is that they are not there defined by their gender. They are there because they are good at their job, not for gender balance.

Nor would they tolerate this ‘thing’ that seems to be happening in Russia where men (for want of a better word) run up to steal a kiss. There’s at least one name there who could knock someone out if pushed too far.

And my own club, Partick Thistle, the Maryhill Magyars, the Harry Wraggs, the mighty Jags have just appointed a female Chairman – Jacqui Low – who is a woman with a lot of experience in Scottish Government and political PR.

(And, yes, I remember Lockerbie as well but I wasn’t needed on the night. The newsroom had plenty of people. So I went in at six the next morning)

And finally, I think I’m more Alex than Adam (a reference for those who watch Love Island) 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and it gets me past chuggers without any problem, and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850 ‘is still fine’ (a current literary reference)

So (oooops, sorry Rosie) this year is my 64th birthday which is quite a change from the days when I claimed I’d be 42 for the rest of my life. It all changed when I turned 60 and, in the company of the good Dr W, did things like abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank and being a zombie at M & D’s out Motherwell way.

This year? I’m celebrating my birthday at Stobhill Hospital (still open for ambulatory care) in the company of my heart consultant – the rapping Dr J. Currently I feel I have nothing to worry about but it’s nice that the NHS cares so much. 😀

And I think I proved my current fitness at the recent Feis Spors Glaschu where I remained on my feet for four or five hours which does mean that I am more than capable of going to see Partick Thistle at home.

Life’s a bit quiet at the moment but this has been a busy time for editing in the past and I’ve at least one interview for voluntary work at the end of the month.

But I’m taking advantage of the sun and listening to some music but when you’re talking someone turning 64, there really is only one song with which to end the show, isn’t there?

Here’s Green Day with Still Breathing. I have a live version but I think the lyrics are important. Have a listen.

Butterflies cannot see their wings. But the rest of the world can. (Meghan Markle)

January 12, 2018

And so dear listener I have succumbed. No. Not to alcohol (but I will confess, Rosie and Ann, to some meat when someone came to my house to eat) but to the throat lurgy I had previously mentioned. At one point it was merely annoying and not too intrusive.

For example, I had a very enjoyable cup of coffee and a very enjoyable conversation in a café at the top of Storie Street in Paisley last week – once I’d found it – and there’s a guy I know who lives outside of Glasgow who, when he comes in, likes to pack a lot in. So I meet him for breakfast. Last Saturday it was the famous North Star café in Queen Margaret Drive. With avocado. I had the scrambled eggs.

But then, on Monday morning, I felt ill. I had planned to make the start to 2018 that I’d promised by going flyering to GCal and Strathclyde and I’d two SVQ related meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was all I could do to find the switch on button on the DAB radio.

(It’s actually the middle of three but I did find myself counting down until I was sure that there were still three buttons and went back up one and pressed it. I was right.)

The weather forecast was not great so I postponed the start of 2018 (just for myself – not you) and put some clothes on and walked down to the ASDA. That was fine. Walking back up was hell. My throat kept drying on me and I felt the need to keep walking up the hill on the basis that if I stopped I’d be frozen solid. In Summerston. 😦

So I cancelled some stuff and on Tuesday I went to the doctor. He’s a friend and we chatted about various things and then, ‘What is it today, jt?’ and when I replied, ‘It’s the throat’, he said, ‘Not again?’ But it was. 😦

It was red and raw. And he prescribed antibiotics (and not as I told some people – amphetamines) and I’ve never had them before and I know that Maryhill Health Centre is very careful about what they prescribe. 🙂

Aye, despite all my problems in recent years I’ve never had antibiotics. It’s not something I’ve come across before and it occurs to me that I know more about what were called, until recently, legal highs. I had proper blue Valium in the immediate days after Cold Turkey and I’d sleeping pills at one point but they were too effective so I stopped and we don’t count anything I may, or may not, have taken over eleven years ago – but never antibiotics.

OMG! They’re powerful! I had two on the Tuesday night and the TV stopped working! Strange messages came up on the screen about my TIVO box and calling 150 but I made the mistake of using my remote control as my phone and that seemed to make matters worse.

A site on Facebook told me I was not the only one so I listened to the radio through the computer (as opposed to through the TV) and read and then OMG! (again!) I heard people downstairs discussing Korea. Had the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse returned? (Well three cos one of them is still stuck in the jersey I was wearing the night of Cold Turkey). Bravely, I went downstairs with my fingers in the sign of a cross (No. I don’t know why) and the TV had come back to life. It was a news programme. I went to bed and had nightmares – one of which included Tony Blair. 😦

Wednesday, we’ll ignore cos the antibiotics worked their way through my system and I don’t want to talk about it (but that explains the smell of nag champa in the bathroom) and I cancelled more stuff. Still getting strange dreams.

Thursday, signs were slightly better but it’s only recently that I have realised how cold my house is, cos I’m spending much more time here at the moment than was ever intended and I’m not well. I also keep wanting to sleep but feel I should keep all that for night-time. I have also realised that I am hungry but with little appetite.

And finally, on Friday, I did what any sensible person living on their own would do; I used Google and Facebook to find out if how I felt was usual with antibiotics. It is. It is like living with the hangover from hell for five days 😦 Is there no end to this suffering?

And then my bowel cancer testing kit arrived!!!!!! 😦

And I was going to say a few things about cancer this week but one health thing at a time I always say.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and, to whom it may concern, quite happy keeping it simple.

Iaint850, glad I took j’s advice about getting the flu jab or else I’d be in one helluva mess.

And so I couldn’t help but notice that the new Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock, is a big fan of Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl. Now, Ed, as we know, knows a good tune when he hears one (and that’s all I’ll say for very good legal reasons) but is an incredibly inoffensive person. Indeed, I suspect Matt is a big fan of Michael McIntyre as well and his appointment does not bode well for broadcasting in the UK (many of his other powers are devolved)

Steve Earle, on the other hand, has been married seven times, including twice to the same woman and is a recovering cocaine and heroin user. What he thinks of Michael McIntyre is unknown but this is Steve’s Galway Girl

and cos one Steve Earle track is never enough here’s Copperhead Road AND wait for the tempo change!!!!

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

December 14, 2017

And so dear listener can I just say a big thanks to all those who commented in some way on last week’s blog. Most people offered some variation of ‘Well done’ and some updated me on their own roads to recovery. I am proud of what I’ve achieved but am never arrogant. Too many people have been involved in my recovery to allow that and I can never forget that. 🙂

Thanks.

And the weather’s been a real pain hasn’t it? Forecasts are too accurate and too fast moving – they change so quickly – so what I do (on either BBC Scotland or STV) is just to stare at the bit that is Glasgow or Paisley and watch while Judith or Gillian or Kawser (or Sean) tells us what’s happening as the clock and the wind move. That’s good enough for me.

But stuff all those people earning money for their opinions on the weather in the papers. None of them can ever replicate or beat the words of the master poet Bud Neil;

Winter’s come, the snow has fell

Wee Josie’s nose is froze as well

Wee Josie’s frozen nose is skintit

Winter’s diabolic, intit?

But it shouldn’t affect me too much should it? After all my current work/lifestyle is based on earnings from the editing I do but that’s been presenting problems. Let’s leave the question of me working in Latex for a moment.

It’s the person who approached me at the weekend with 80,000 words (not all written yet) and who, when I told him what my fee was, suggested reducing it by about 50% because of the number of words and he thought they were good ones. 😦

Aye, but they weren’t in the right order or they were made up or were too complicated AND the second sentence was about nine lines long with an amazing number of clauses. It was appalling and you got a sense that he was not expecting that many changes cos it was ‘a good piece of writing’. Yet this person’s doing a PhD. 😦

I made an excuse and left.

But did I actually want to do a PhD? No. No really (which is still my favourite knockback of all time – well the last eleven years). Actually, I did. I just get annoyed when I see money talking like that. Bitter. And twisted.

But I have started eating a little meat. I had some chicken recently. Somebody told me it was fowl but I thought it tasted okay.;)

But back to the weather. Yup. I miss summer.

This gratuitous piece of music reminds me of summers in my home town of Peterhead when I was much, much younger.

But still talking of the weather, I took a delivery, like many, from the Rainforestriverpeople and thought nothing of going out in the rain to collect it. Ten minutes later I had collected all the wrapping (seriously….. just ten minutes) and went out to the bin and OMG, Son Brian came very close to collecting his inheritance a wee bit before I intended it – it was that icy!

And I hate that Beagle Street advert – the one where the wimp stops sorting out the kitchen in their new flat just cos his girlfriend wants him to sort out life insurance cos Emma (!) says so! Don’t be such a wimp! Finish the kitchen first! Or has she booby-trapped it?

And finally, on behalf of all those doing things to help all those skippering out there, can I just say that numbers actually reduce at this time of year cos of brilliant places like the Glasgow City Mission who run a night shelter from the beginning of December until the end of March, but the homeless are with us fifty-two weeks of the year. Either as rough sleepers, living with their kids in B & Bs, staying in projects like the Blue Triangle where I worked or in hostels and shelters on a nightly basis where, altho’ these places sometimes get a bad press, they feel really safe. Fifty-two weeks of the year.

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

Iaint850, about to start my revolutions for 2018

So the next two blogs are the special ones for this time of year and I may have to put them out early cos one’s due on Christmas Eve and one’s due on Hogmanay (which, for the first time in four years will not be spent (by me) in a homeless project in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow).

The first is the annual Christmas Cracker edition of the blog.

For example;

My dad used to be a road worker and had been accused of stealing from his job. Obviously I didn’t believe all the accusers but, when I got home, all the signs were there.

(RIP Keith Chegwin)

And the final one of the year is the Annual Blog Personality of the Year and nominations for all the various prizes are open to anyone and everyone – regardless of how well you know me – but that was a good shout, e.

And many newspapers and broadcasters have been pulling together the best Christmas songs of all time – but it’s all been Slade or Bing Crosby and David Bowie or the Pogues. This is much more traditional and has always been one of my favourites. The tempo change quite early in and reminds me of Steve Earle and Copperhead Road. 🙂

Listeners, this is Annie Lennox, GCU’s first female chancellor.

We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright (Hemingway)

November 30, 2017

And so dear listener, I’ve found it really cold. Have you? Oh, no – inside as well as outside. And to be honest, whilst there are some things I do miss about my previous job, I do not miss getting up and out just after six in the morning to be in for a shift starting at seven on mornings like these have been – especially at the weekend when often I was the first car on the road. And that includes coming home after a night shift. On a couple of times I parked at the bottom of the main road cos it’s a bit of a hill (I live in a cul-de-sac off the main road) and it wouldn’t be the first time a taxi has refused to make that trip. 😦

(The last time was approximately a year ago when I finished work at 4.30 in the morning and it was a brilliant walk up the hill – streetlights and the snow and the foxes) 😀

It was 2010/11 when we did have people, well cars, having a tough time getting out of Summerston and trains couldn’t get through. Now, it’s more ice and frost on the road until you get to Maryhill Road – especially where the sun has not got through.

There was a time when ours were amongst the first roads to be gritted but then we did have a Lord Provost living nearby.

Now, as some of you know, I have a fairly reasonably sized semi – with a couple of rooms and bathroom upstairs and kitchen and living room downstairs. Well, unfortunately the heating upstairs died. It’s not been too big a deal. I moved the laptop out of the back room and on to the table downstairs; the bathroom has a heated towel rail and I did a lot of reading there; and the only real annoyance was the Master Bedroom…….It was cold. 😦

However, help came in the shape of a new electrician on Wednesday who knew what he was doing and who sent me a picture of the job he was doing in Kilmacolm to explain why he’d be late. But he did turn up and he did fix the heating and told me not to worry about the odd bang – he knew what he was doing. And sure enough fifteen minutes later heat was making its way through my upstairs.

I’m not mad keen on leaving my house too often at the moment but I put that down to the cold rather than residual depression, so I did feel the cold. But the reason for not going out on Thursday night was the temptation of staying in a warm house. I missed a talk about the Necropolis – once the dead centre of Glasgow. 😀

But I have watched more TV than I normally would and saw a smashing wee programme about the development of Scotland’s police people – when it was a number of different police forces and much better as there was more accountability.

There was a fair chunk about what it was like when you left the force and what your last day was like. Some of theirs were a bit more exciting than mine (other than that meeting in Queen Street Station) but I noticed that they have the same habit that I have although in their cases it’s understandable because they were there for twenty-five years. I lasted four and a half in the project for the homeless where I was working but I still talk about ‘we’ and in the present tense. 🙂

I also saw the lovely ‘From Scotland with Love’ – a TV prog but I think the video is still available from Fopp (probably a couple of quid by now) and e and I saw King Creosote play the soundtrack live at Kelvingrove Bandstand a few years ago and the video was played on large screens……just an amazing show. And well worth the re-run. 😀 😀

And whilst I’ve started eating some meat again, I was staggered at BBC’s Landward last week which followed a fascinating item about helping badgers to cross a new road by showing the man, who is now Scotland’s National Chef (Gary McLean), strapping on a powerful shotgun to go shooting deer for venison.

Now I’m not daft – and I do originally come from a farming and fishing community in the North East of Scotland – but I just felt there should have been something between the two items. Arlene Stuart, a beautiful lady to work with on Saturday mornings years ago,* had earlier presented an item on nurdles (which sounds like something Rambling Sid Rumple would have come up with). Could that not have been dropped in between the badgers and the deer killing?

The Saturday morning prog that I worked on with Arlene was called, I think, Something for the Weekend and was about doing stuff at the weekend, which obviously involved eating and drinking. Once every few weeks we had a wine expert, Paul Somebody, with wine and once every few weeks we had Nick Nairn cooking in the studio……..and every so often we had them both.

Sportsound had to throw us out of Studio Six with our empties and our dishes.

And finally I read this on da Internet from a drug rehab organisation that I have a lot of time for,

‘Viagra will be available over the counter in UK, says medicines regulator.’ – This is specifically in order to close down the lucrative criminal market in it. So why not do the same for other drugs, like cannabis, for the same reason? It’s not hard!’

Cracking payoff line.

tioraidh, still wearing both badges and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, and maybe we should use the word gluttony more often. Stop us eating so much.

So, there used to be very strict rules at the BBC about what Christmas music you could play and when. It was something like only new stuff for the first two weeks of December and then open door for the rest of the month.

So I’m not sure if I’m breaking the rules by playing this but many thanks to j, one of the blog’s top pop pickers, for suggesting this.

This is/these are the Futureheads with Christmas was Better in the Eighties.

Actually the setting looks like upstairs in my house earlier this week……

‘Another email from a collector in Edinburgh who has 13,000 books to sell. I replied asking for more information’ (Bythell)

November 10, 2017

And that quote was from the very, very lovely Diary of a Bookseller recommended to me by the very, very lovely Craig Williams of the BBC who produced the very, very lovely documentary Donald Trump, Scotland’s President still available on the reasonably attractive BBCiPlayer. 😉

And I remember someone recommending a second hand bookshop in Wemyss Bay which I’d love to visit but I still have a soft spot for Voltaire and Rousseau down Otago Lane – if it’s still there. The lane that is.

And so dear listener, let me apologise for last week’s show. It was awful. An idea didn’t work and I should have walked away from it. I used to do a lot more walking than I’m currently doing. There’s a wee tekkie problem putting a new MP3 player together with my recent (couple of years) interest in country music. Maybe one day. And a couple of other tekkie issues.

And it doesn’t help that I live alone (have I ever mentioned that?) and there’s no-one other than Skippy to read it before transmission.

This living alone can cause problems in other directions. For example, I was cutting my toe-nails the other day – a difficult operation at the best of times. The scissors slipped and the pointy bit went directly into the toe next to the one I was cutting, causing blood to emerge. The obvious thing to do would be to get an Elastoplast on it. Other plasters are available but they’re not as good.

The Elastoplasts are kept in a cupboard over there. But I don’t want blood all over the floor. One hand has toilet paper stopping the blood and the other is single-handedly opening the cupboard and the plaster box, pulling one out that’s the right size, opening it without the two sticky sides sticking together and wrapping it around the toe – just. Blood is still seeping but the box is now empty. 😦

There is another box. For some reason, these are colourful and luminous. And small. But one is enough to wrap around the toe in a slightly different direction to the first one. And I breathe silently and happily and there is blood on the floor and on a towel and three toe-nails remain to be cut. Carefully.

Occasionally, I still feel a small whisky would be justified but luckily these moments are few and quickly pass when I put on a reasonably new CD by Steve Earle. Which I don’t think is very good. Yet.

But let’s take a minute to discuss another aspect of my physical health – my knees. They have been x-rayed and the word from the doctor is they are normal. I have no idea what this means and may pop in to find out more.

But they feel better – well, one of them does. I think I’ll be fine. 🙂

And on the mental health front, I had to explain to someone that my depression was not just being ‘unhappy’ but, amongst other things, was an unwillingness to interact with people. How unlike my student days.

Did you know that on this week, just past, in 1964 the new Queen Margaret Hall of Residence was opened in Bellshaugh Road, Kelvindale? It got knocked down in 2000 and turned into more of a student flat type accommodation.

I was there, dear listener, something like 1972-74 and if I say that it was there that a boy became a man, need I elaborate?

But I made a lot of friends there and it was there I first wrote comedy, did a Toast to the Lasses and played mixed hockey – just as deadly serious as the all-male hockey I played for the university. At first team level. 😀

Then I moved into a flat in Woodlands with three others and that noise you can hear is that of a veil being drawn.

But I did get my first degree. Just.

And finally, it’s too easy to pour scorn on Donald Trump but what little, if any, respect I had for the man disappeared when, in Japan, he tipped a whole box of fish food into a pond of koi carp…..and, in doing so, killed them. The bastard!!!!

I used to keep coldwater fish. Okay so it’s not in the same league as koi carp, but they meant a lot to me.

And I do remember being in somebody’s house in Orkney about four years ago and one of their interior walls was one side of a fish tank full of Pacific Ocean fish. Seriously amazing.

Tioraidh, still wearing this year’s poppy and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, who, like everyone else, is keen to hear the results of Duaisean Gaidhlig Na H-Alba 2017 which will be announced in the Glasgow Central Hotel on the 15th November. No. No reason. 🙂 But my money’s on Buidheann Disathairne.

So somebody told me the other day that they were never sure whether to give money to the homeless people ‘begging’ in the streets.

‘After all’, she said, ‘is there not a chance they might spend it on drinks and drugs?’

‘Possibly, or they could buy food,’ said I. ‘but at least you’re giving them an option they didn’t have until you gave them that money.’

And I got a strange look.

I also met the Big Issue seller I buy from on an unusual pitch, which was distributing the Stylist outside Queen Street Station. She’s an Eastern European lady from Kinning Park. Anyway I’m standing talking to her and it’s difficult cos I don’t understand Eastern European and another lady (not Eastern European but more Milngavie) took a Stylist from my friend but when I cheerily shouted, ‘thanks’, I got another strange look.

Altho’ I openly admit to my interest in country music being recently recent, my interest in Steve Earle and the Dixie Chicks goes back to 2003 and the Second Gulf War when they both spoke out against that war and were removed from various playlists. I tried to get them both onto a radio programme I was working on at the time. In Glasgow. I failed.

This is/these are the Dixie Chicks:

I myself am made entirely of flaws stitched together with good intentions (Augusten Burroughs)

November 2, 2017

And so dear listener, it is over a week since the clocks changed but I am still feeling the effects. 😦

I cope with the actual mechanics of the change okay. I copy my dad from many years ago who changed all the clocks and watches in the house the night before and everything was run by clockwork (in every sense of the word) 🙂 I do some of that.

The first timepiece to be changed is my £9.99 Casio watch which keeps good time and is the official stopwatch for one part of the North Stand (red’n’yellow) at Partick Thistle. It’s one of the many skills I developed as radio producer and within one second I can tell you how long there is to go to the end of a football match whilst diving to a depth of 50 metres which is remarkable as I can’t swim but anything is possible with a Casio. 😀

I have a friend with a real Rolex which runs slow and when he took it to a well known jeweller to get it fixed, he was told, ‘It’s a Rolex. They run slow.’ Go Casio! Go!

The last timepiece to be touched is the Impossible Task: the Car Clock. I don’t understand why it doesn’t change itself. It’s on a DAB radio like the one in my bedroom and it changes itself – altho’ tbh it’s only tuned to one radio station.

I could read the instructions but I’m terrified that I muck up my existing selection and then I’ll need to invent a reason to go to Arnold Clark’s to get someone there to reset them for me. No, for the next six months, I will have to look at my watch before I look at the car clock to see what time it is.

And then there’s the effect it has on my sleep pattern. I have recovered from the daytime shift system that I was working under just before I left but I do wake up too early and my mind (and indeed my body) is fully functioning at about 6. Most mornings these days I don’t need to get up until back of 7 if not later.

I could read but these days there are no books on my bedside cabinet as I don’t read in bed. I am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow (I live alone. I don’t know if people know that)…..I’ll work something out.

One of the nice things about night shifts was going home on a Monday morning (07.30) as all the stereotypes from Bearsden and Milngavie were ending their fun-filled weekends. I was going home to bed and, if it was a frosty morning, I would put the blanket on while I washed my clothes from the night before and showered. By nine I’d be toasty and fast asleep whilst the businesspeople of Glasgow were beginning to make an assault on the weekend’s emails. 😀

But some things in my life are returning to normal.

Partick Thistle are picking up points again and I overheard a conversation outside a lift where Rangers’ fans were discussing a possible new manager and the name Alan Archibald came up; Celtic did really well in Europe and the star players were those that Gordon Strachan ignored in favour of an English Championship reserve; and I may not see a game this coming month. There’s only two and they’re both away. I am open to suggestions. 😉

I may do some work on my SVQ stuff and I’ve found a marvellous website telling me some things I was frightened to ask about after a recent meeting. I’ll be fine.

The editing’s beginning to happen again and, as ever, my thanks go to the Chinese community of Glasgow for spreading my name around. Aren’t they nice people? 🙂

And finally, I’m beginning to attend my psychology evening class regularly. I have an essay coming up soon and if there’s one thing I do know it’s how to structure an essay. What the difference is between schema and heuristics I’m not too sure but again I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Tioraidh, and currently wearing a poppy instead of my usual badge but still keeping it simple

Iaint850, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So eleven months ago I came to a decision. It happened as I took the train back up the road (eh?) having been to see an amazing gig in the company of J who very bravely 🙂 had volunteered (eh?) to come with me to see a band called Alabama 3.

The occasion? It was exactly ten years to the day and date since I’d cold turkeyed and A3 had been a big part of that recovery.

The decision? To stop thinking how long it had been – to quite happily accept that it was ten years and I was simply a guy who did not drink. Never to mention the anniversary again.

The other day I was out at UWS in Paisley an educational institute with which I have been associated for just over six years. So much has happened over those eleven years – much of it good; some of it not so good – but enough to make me realise that it is worth continuing getting the message across. It is not an incurable disease – it needs basic behavioural change, some things worth staying sober for and friends and family who help you think about other things. 🙂

So come 10th December this year, I will say ‘eleven years’ in various places and smile enigmatically.

Did they play this, j?

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…..team. 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.

In light of Teresa May’s announcement…we’ll just keep on playing country music (Chris Country Radio)

April 20, 2017

And so, dear listener, I intend to take Chris Country Radio’s words literally and devote much of tonight’s show to country music and the part it has played in my life (or at least the last eighteen months). As much as is possible I intend to ignore the elections other than to say, how can anyone plan running this country or council when it has now become the easiest thing in the world to ignore the fact that people did vote and didn’t expect to vote again until appropriate time (or a generation) had lapsed.

Even in my student politics days I never voted as early and as often; altho’ if this quote from a friend of a friend’s Facebook page is anything to go by, then increasing academic standards should be high on the list;

‘Tory’s are literary scum of the earth’

The bastards! They don’t even read good books!

So basically I want to play some music interspersed with some serious stuff. Some of you will recognise the musical choice and your connection with it but I won’t name you. For example,

The lovely Brandi Carlile

Or you may have been with me when we saw someone

Sharon Shannon and Steve Earle

And I spent some time this week talking to a friend from my first time at university who starts treatment for prostate cancer (chemotherapy) not long after the council elections (Sorry. It slipped out). It wasn’t so much discussing treatments and stuff but support and care and where that comes from. Around this time eight years ago I was reaching the end of my treatment and I’d had a twenty-first birthday and a wedding to look forward to and I made one but not the other, but I’m still here annoying the sh*t out of people.

And there’s no prizes for guessing the right word.

This is Blue Rose Code and Karine Polwart (country-ish?)

So my Samsung tablet wasn’t charging properly; in fact I could watch the battery decrease before my very eyes (well, the paint had dried)

Someone suggested blowing into the socket where I inserted the charger and onto the charger itself. It has gone back up from 40% (ish) to 100%. I can now stay totally election free with catch-up TV on the tablet.

But the manifestos will be out soon. That’s when my determination will be tested.

And whilst it’s good to see the Royal Family (jr) talk about depression in the context of their late mum (and indeed others) and it’s all about raising awareness, and I try to do the same through this show, we do need more money to treat mental health. We now acknowledge things like depression as real mental health issues but there are people out there with more specific mental health issues (maybe living on their own or in supported accommodation) who deserve better treatment and many of whom end up in Police cells cos there’s nowhere else for them to go.

My anxiety issues of last were recently described as a reaction to things that were happening at that time and I’ll go along with that but much of what I went through post-recoveries was coping with depression.

And I’d like to thank John Collins, who has a rather nice Country music show on Clyde 2 on a Sunday night (and other Bauer radio stations) for the next piece of music. John and I worked at the BBC some time back and amongst other things he’d a show called BPM – which was absolutely nothing like the country tunes he currently spins. I asked him for a tune for tonight.

This is Little Big Town

And finally, if there’s anything that comes out of tonight’s show, it’s that I owe so much to so many people, but they have good tastes in music.

So here’s a wee joke just to lighten things;

‘I went on a once in a lifetime holiday. Never again.’

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and I owe a lot of tonight’s show to keeping it simple

Iaint850 and beginning to think I have become invisible……maybe it’s my medication that’s given me a cloak of invisibility cos it’s doing lots of other stuff to me as well as sorting out the allergy.

So before I played country, I already used music to help me through the dark times. I’ve spoken about Alabama 3 and Steve Earle and Kris Kristofferson and so on and it was good to see the Waterboys and I’m looking forward to seeing Texas but there’s always been one piece of music that’s been there for me. There was one occasion post-cancer treatment when I felt really down (and as long serving listeners will remember it involved a former Miss Scotland) and I went for a walk not sure where I was going and when I came out of the reverie this was playing somewhere.

This is Green Day (and, J, watch for the tyre kicking)