Archive for the ‘Weddings’ 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.

And those children who have never worked, like their parents before them, don’t have the self-esteem that comes with being productive and having the routine of work. We shouldn’t be angry with them. (Hogan Sinclair – author of ‘The Underclass – A Quiet Uprising’….and friend)

October 6, 2013

And so, dear listener, I am in the middle of my latest most momentous occasion ever in my young life – job search. And it ain’t easy. Despite what Ian Duncan Smith says. And the DWP site is the worst of them all. Impossible to be specific. Or maybe that’s deliberate. Heaven forfend that the lumpenproletariat should get the jobs they want. (It’s okay Skippy. I will try and keep the blog politics free. Worry not)

I want to work in the areas of addiction and/or homeless support and it would be wrong to say what organisations I have applied to without prejudicing my applications. However, I do think it safe to say that I may be at the turning point of my forty-two years and am about to rise, phoenix-like, from the hashish, sorry, ashes, possibly within the broad band that is the BT family. Or not. Maybe. 😉

I’d offer a prize to anyone who could guess the references, but uni-Sharon would walk it. But there are always alternatives – for me freely available most Fridays.

And some of the application forms are mind-numbing and I accept that they have to be as common-denominator as possible and the social care ones are fairly straightforward in most places but one of my previous employers has changed its name – the college where I worked – and one has changed its location – the BBC. And it can be very difficult to explain my self-employed status – . But, hey, something will turn up. 🙂

And I was over at the Beeb this week – my annual visit to a reserved parking space. And it’s nice to be recognised. By a couple of people. I was there to have lunch with someone I had not seen for approximately twenty-seven years – since Son Brian was born. And what was nice was that Chippy (as in carpenter cos she’s got a qualification in woodwork. I may think of a better pseudonym later but I’m writing this just after a busy Glasgow city centre busy night shift. Ah Campus Frat Bar, how I’ve missed you at 3 in the morning)…….sorry, what was I saying?

Aye, Chippy remembered that I had described the drive home from the Queen Mum’s with a several day old Son Brian and his mum as the most carefully I had ever driven in my life. And it was. And then when we got in we had gins’n’tonic and cheese sandwiches.

Last week Son Brian and my daughter-in-law KT came back from their belated honeymoon in Dubai and Mauritius…… 😀

And no, I have no intention of introducing the grandchildren word into any conversation cos of what that would mean for me but if that happens then my name would automatically change to Jay-Tee, Grandfunkfather. Thanks Chippy. 🙂

Anyway I was crap at woodwork. What was the point of making a chisel holder when my dad didn’t have any chisels? My one memory is of hitting a woodwork teacher with an off-cut of wood. Tbh, I was throwing it at someone else and the stupid teacher got in the way. And no, I have no idea why I was throwing at anyone in the first place. But boy did I pay for it……

Power-drilling – the new car maintenance…….

Can I make one political point, Skippy? Thanks. Why don’t we actually employ people to clean our streets, take on social care roles and build social housing, thus giving people wages and taking them off benefits and giving them money with which to spend and pay taxes? I know I did economics at uny so long ago that Adam Smith sat on my right and Karl Marx on my left but Keynsian economics still makes sense.

Thanks Skippy. I’ll resort to my usual pot-pourri of nonsense that disguises the good points I make.

Mind you job apps are like applying for Commonwealth Tickets, very expensive lottery tickets or bets in bookies; once it’s been sent off or the money handed over it should be forgotten, so that anything that comes back is a bonus, so don’t complain. Anyway I don’t think Uisean Bolt and a number of other top athletes will be there. He is already hiding behind the cloak of his coach deciding and as Scotland is not an independent nation – yet – how can we offer him the same tax breaks he and so many others received in London last year?

And finally there is actually no room for any pot-pourri. As the man once said, ‘there will be no pot-pourri in this blog.’ (Say it out loud to appreciate)

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Polishing it up for interviews even as we speak.

Johnt850, who was described earlier this week as being ‘like butter’ by a former student. Whatever could he mean?

So I suppose I should say something about the TamCowandGate affair. Off the Ball was the inspiration of a smashing guy called Alan de Pelette and I was involved in the original series which was presented by Greg Hemphill. I then produced, and wrote for, the prog on many occasions until I left the Beeb in 2004. Tam has been taken off presenting duties cos of some things he wrote in the Daily Record last week for which he has since apologised.

I’m not going to comment on what he wrote. What I will say is that Stuart and Tam were difficult to work with as an editor and producer cos they wanted to do things which were just not ‘on’ and it had to be explained to them why they could not be done. Once they accepted that they were brilliant and one day I may tell the tale of the programme’s part in the transfer of Rab Douglas to Celtic and the Saltire we bought him.

Anyway I feel Tam was badly let down by his Record Editor who should have removed the offensive paragraphs about ladies football but didn’t and then compounded that felony by two of the most cowardly disclaimers I have ever seen. Tam’s humour does seem dated and sexist at times to many (me included) but it does appeal to a lot of people but sometimes he needs to be protected a bit……and produced a lot.

And so for all of you who were at the Hydro to see Fleetwood Mac the other night, here’s Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac;

All I want is the wind in my hair, To face the fear but not feel scared. Wild horses, I wanna be like you. Throwing caution to the wind, I’ll run free too.

September 20, 2013

And so dear listener, in the week that GTA V made its debut, a strange memory of fear came trickling back to me. It’s the reason I don’t play video games anymore. It was Doom. I had sat back, confident that I had handled everything properly when I got taken from behind. Unexpectedly. By an Alien. Altho’, tbh, had it been a fellow marine I’d have been equally as surprised. I have never been the same since. 😦

Angry Birds is Hitchcock; Tetris in any form is me being buried alive; and Scrabble is beyond me.

And I still don’t know what ghostly noises I heard in the project last week but I was back there for a 4 – 11 shift and nothing else similar had been logged. To me it was real but lone-working night shifts can do that to you. Even when they’re quiet.

Other memories of a fashion came back this week. My brain has been badly affected over the years by substance misuse, successful recovery from that and some of the cancer stuff – also successful recovery. It’s not False Memory Syndrome; it’s more Do I Really Remember That Syndrome? or Was I Really There Syndrome?

I was in Govan – the ‘for why’ will follow. I used to spend a lot of time in Govan a few years ago. ‘I knew people’ is the euphemism but I did a lot of programme making there as well. A smashing radio doc called ‘String of Pearls’ began life there. It was about the demise of the shipyards and the then future ideas for using the Clyde.

It had a smashing researcher (Jayne but more of her later) and a budget for a presenter. We didn’t use a presenter preferring to let the people speak for themselves. The budget, however, went to a great party. Thanks. 😀

I also researched a TV prog squillions of years ago in which a very diverse busload of children toured Glasgow and talked about the city they knew from a spiritual PoV. If Beta-Max ever makes a comeback I will let you see it. The credits were spoken by the schoolkids on a crummy site by WaterRow. It’s changed.

So I was invited over to the Pearce Institute to see the world premiere of Here’s Tae Yer Health, a community produced doc ( ) about our attitudes to alcohol. I parked outside what was once The Lyceum Cinema; looked in desperation for the Black Cat Café; and saw the other side of the Govan Shopping Centre for the first time in a long time. I am guilty of driving past Govan going to the Beeb or Prostate Cancer UK HQ or the M74 (I was lost). I also took a smashing pic of the Tall Ship leaning against the Riverside Museum with all of North Glasgow behind it…….yup…memories trickled back. 😉

Jayne and I went for a cup of coffee to Café 13. Highly recommended. Both going for a cup of coffee with Jayne. And Café 13.

The doc? There is editing to be done and there is so much good in it discussing, historically and currently, our fascination with alcohol and it was good to see after the rigours of Master’s writing.

I know the Campus frat bar area of Glasgow fairly well and the fast food outlet that is open until 4 in the morning. They were in the doc. That was not a remark out of nowhere, proving I’m down with the kids at 3 in the morning. I have watched terrified as people try to cross Sauchiehall Street, oblivious to the traffic at that time of day, including, recently some Belgian fans – one of whom was lifted. But it is the Master’s Class Nite Out this Friday…so you never know. 🙂

A lot of folk of all ages explained in the film why they liked to get ‘rat-arsed’ – ‘it’s fun’ ‘it’s what you do with your mates’ ‘I just enjoy getting mad wi’ it’ and ‘after the shitty day I’ve had, getting drunk is the best way of coping’…….all of them fairly good reasons. The only person to use the words ‘illness’ and ‘disease’ was the politician……..I refer m’learned friends to Page 44 of the dissertation……

And I have pleasant memories of Brechin’s Bar. Euphemistically, I used to do some business there.

Moving swiftly on.

OMG! How jumpy am I? I thought something weird was happening with The Chrome Icon but it was a very small fly walking in circles on it. I’m not that jumpy. I’ve just cut back so much on coffee and caffeine drinks, I feel their effect much more than I did when I used them. This time I’ve been cutting back slowly (harm reduction) rather than do the ‘cold turkey’ thang again.

And finally, I met Billy Connolly two or three times when I worked for the Beeb in Queen Margaret Drive – not long conversations. It was part of the fun of that building that when you spoke to someone famous you pretended you weren’t fazed by them and fair play to Billy – when he met me, he wasn’t.

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? New and old voyages beckon.

Johnt850,and I’m around.

Today’s really final word is about Connolly. Unsurprisingly. I know nothing ‘bout Parkinson’s Disease but I know a lot ‘bout Prostate Cancer and I get annoyed at the language used in the press. 😦

Some commentators talked about him ‘fighting’ or ‘battling’ prostate cancer and in the next para quoted his spokesperson as saying, ‘he had fully recovered from a prostate op.’ His problem had been found at a relatively early stage in a male seventy year old and, hopefully, is fixed. He is fine on the prostate front. It’s when you don’t get it checked you should worry.

My own specific blood test is 1.3 – which is a small rise in the wrong direction, but it is low. I go see the legendary Nurse ED on a date in November and I will get another blood test before then.

No. No battling. No really….like a lot of things in the past I had ‘it’. ‘It’ got sorted. 🙂

For Jo and the rest of next week’s team, here’s Bon Jovi. And this is what I mean when I say to people ‘I’m around.’

Strangers waiting up and down the boulevard, Their shadows searching in the night. Streetlight people. Living just to find emotion, Hiding somewhere in the night. Don’t stop believin’, Hold on to that feelin’, Streetlight people.

July 19, 2013

And so dear listener, various questions kinda dominated my life this last week. Like on Monday I’d agreed to be interviewed, on behalf of one of those organisations for which I do some work, about how they treated their volunteers. Their first question?

‘How was your weekend, John?’

Openly and honestly I answered;

‘Not very good. A relationship of just four weeks came to an end at the weekend.’ 😦

Now full play to the interviewer for merely passing a reflective comment and then moving swiftly on to the meat of the interview which lasted 15 minutes and, I hope, was helpful……more of the relationship thing in a minute but not heavy.

The second question occurred on Wednesday after I’d left the school library where I seem to be spending much of my life at the moment. It was to go to a follow-up hospital appointment to one of a few months ago – the incredibly slight urinary tract problem. I turned up on time at Gartnavel, having negotiated my way through the smokers who now seem to be congregating on Great Western Road, and presented myself at the desk. On time. The male nurse spoke;

‘Oh, all those appointments were cancelled. The letters went out on 27th June. Did you not get one?’

Now, dear listener, I may not have the greatest of social lives, particularly after…..well anyway……but never ever would I turn up for a medical appointment if I knew it was cancelled in the hopes that it had been reinstated……For once I was speechless………

And the final set of questions have come from my domination degree supervisor, who I know reads this cos some of the tracking down the side made references to this blog. No. No reason. So I will be careful in what I say…….but I thought hermeneutics were a sixties tribute band….. 😉

So a quick word about the break-up. She is a lovely lady. The original blind date was a lovely idea. The now alphabetised CDs remain untouched except for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, cos there’s some space between them and the shelf above and I’m going out for a short walk anyway. Back in ten……

Skippy says, ‘We can’t run away from the past particularly if bad memories arise from people in whom we put our trust but if we continue to let them dominate and ruin the present, then they continue to win.’

Right I’m back. The domination degree is a good read; it’s just not academic. Nor am I. I do know I’m being made to work hard and I do appreciate that and yes, I am glad the actual work raises a number of questions and I worry and then I meet a guy in a project who has struggles and is one of the few to hear a (very heavily edited) version of my story and realises recovery is achievable. I hope he achieves it. I’m just the relief…….I’m not sure when I’ll be back but I know I’ll be sober. I hope he is.

Son Brian and Katie have returned from their island idyll after the wedding. At least I got a txt with the word ‘home’ on it so I assume that’s what that means. 🙂

There is a summit meeting of the Grand Council called for Tuesday but I have still to find a location (I’m meeting up with the Vampire Slayer and Missie K – I suspect it’ll be Bar Ten). 🙂

Six year ago, thanks to my sis’s generosity, I sailed on the Hebridean Princess – the boat that Brad and Angelina are hiring. It was the summer between me beginning to recover from my problem drinking and before the cancer was discovered. Interesting year and the making of me. 🙂

I walked past a pub in Paisley the other day and it had a board outside offering beer and lager served in jugs and fish bowls (swallow responsibly) and it was slightly incongruous (sp) to be standing in Paisley High Street to hear unemployment figures being pumped out through Radio Clyde being brought to the populace through charity shop speakers. 😦

And finally, and in a slight break in routine cos I want to say something about tonight’s choice of music. I was talking a in a group setting recently to a man who had been clean of alcohol for not quite as long as me and who was dreading going to a family party. I asked the usual questions and made the usual suggestions and hope they helped but it brought back memories of the family party I attended recently where all those in my company know I’m relatively fine in these circumstances. One walk in the fresh air and even then I was nicely monitored.

I also got a txt that night from someone new to me who was worried. She needn’t have been but the thought was lovely. I’m often too impetuous and too quick to do things. Sometimes I need to be told. Can I just say that all the fruit juice and the eggs are now in the fridge? 🙂 🙂 🙂

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes but little else in this heat.

Johnt850, a little bit stabby as they say in the Vale.

So I’d a wee bit of difficulty picking tonight’s music. The opening lyric picked itself. An awful lot of current music is about breaking up (I think that’s what Trouble by the amazing Neon Jungle is about) and the hermeneutics of all the lyrics troubles me. I blame Taylor Swift. So I’ve gone for a shouty and tuneful one but please, please, please read nothing into the actual lyrics especially about the driving. I made one bad decision in Johnstone High Street when I thought I was being waved on by a cyclist but others realised my stupidity and impulsiveness and watched over me. I hope it wasn’t that.


It was fun, fun, fun when we were drinking (Noah and the Whale)

July 1, 2013

And so, dear listener, I was going to spend much of this show talking about how Son Brian and the lovely KT had played such a big role in my recovery from alcohol and cancer; they were amongst my first visitors in hospital – they took me out to pubs and introduced me to soft drinks – and I never ever want them again to see me learning to walk with the aid of a zimmer as they had to do in December 2006……but I’m not going to.

I think all I want to do is to ramble on a wee bit about the day itself and then put myself….sorry…the blog to bed.

To be honest, it was just a great day and I do hope the woman who fell ill during the church service is okay. It did actually happen after the minister (a man born to be a minister) had pronounced them husband and wife, so that was okay….and KT’s dad had organised a wee slideshow presentation for the waiting masses whilst we were waiting for the bride to arrive (on time but that’s KT). No the presentation was pix from their respective very early years including a nice one of the t850 family at a birthday party pool tournament. 🙂

But show me a gun and I jump it. There was the rehearsal on Thursday and some drinks and I took my kilt home to try it on…and it fitted….and all the other bits made sense…..except the shoes. Friday was quiet other than some driving lifting Son Brian and Best Man Michael back from the hotel BUT, dear listener, it was there that I saw the place card….KT t850….or something of that ilk. 😀

Saturday gleamed dampish but some drinks and photos at his mum’s house and a big thanks to Mel who tied my shoelaces for me. Too well as it turned out but more of that later. And then groom’s party limo to wedding……and church service…..and then out to the thronging masses of Bearsden…and I did not wave. I had been well warned.

More photos at the hotel which is a hotel in a house just outside Strathblane in the country but I’m not naming it. The weather held but there is a very significant tree there which figures in many marriage memories…(Hi e…hi c)…and many photos were taken there. And can I just apologise for kicking over some glasses with champagne in them……it was not a gesture of sobriety.

And the meal was good. I had the veggie option which was a goat’s cheese tartlet followed by a stuffed pepper. Others had a salmon and prawn terrine and chicken in haggis to follow…..but my one and only gripe and it’s not just this hotel in a house outside Strathblane in the country that does it……the waiters come up and offer red or white wine but I ask for more orange juice…the waiters come up and offer red or white wine but I ask for more orange juice…I get it on third time of asking….what can I say?

And what if you only drank rose?

(There’s an amazing dissertation which has been totally forgotten about for the moment which will explain a wee bit more about our fascination with alcohol)

The speeches were good; the bridesmaids were lovely; the flowers were flowery; and the dancing started…..I loved the way that people mixed. Maybe I’d never noticed these things before but being sober does strange things…like it opens your eyes….the band were good (basic ceilidh with them calling out the steps) and they supplied a half-time disco as well…..’but jt, you don’t call it half-time at a wedding….’ You do when the buffet is rolls’n’sausage or bacon or, and especially for me and other non-meat eaters, rolls’n’potato scone……and a damn fine evening was had by all. 🙂

What happened in the dance stays in the dance. I didn’t see anyone fall over. I didn’t see any anxious mums phoning home only for the sound of their weans to echo all the way through the gardens of this hotel in a house just outside Strathblane in the country. And I was not tempted by any drink including cocktails (wtf is a Woo-Woo? I know there was vodka and cranberry juice in it but…..) or the wee shots contest going on at one point…….

And I went home on the bus or at least it got me to where my car was parked and then we come back to these bloody shoes. I didn’t think I could drive in them so I decided to take them off. In the dark. Mel had tied them too well. I could only half un-do them so I ended up driving down the Maryhill Road very slowly with tassles on my clutch (which has always been one of my favourite country and western songs) but I got home safely……and took all my clothes off…before packing them the next day (and a special thanks to next door neighbour Mary for ironing my dress shirt.

It was an incredible day and two very brilliant people got married. To each other. How long have they been going out together? Longer than I’ve been sober and that’s almost seven years….

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? No. Not at the wedding.

Johnt850 one of a small but growing number of t850s

And can I say thanks to new and special friend Buttons* for helping me to calm down by taking me to the vet’s in Linwood on Sunday afternoon……No, that doesn’t sound right but that’s another story for another day……I have cake…..

*a name chosen by my friend and it is apposite and it is very rare that ppl get to choose their psedo, speu, pen-names but some ppl are very rare 😉 Moving swiftly on, here’s Bastille. I couldn’t get rid of the ad this time;

Send in your skeletons; sing as their bones; Come marching in……What if I say I’m not like the others? …..What if I say I’ll never surrender? (the foo fighters)

June 23, 2013

And so, dear listener, there is one week to go to the wedding of this, and any other century – the nuptuals of Son Brian and the lovely KT. I noticed that one tabloid newspaper referred to the wedding of Tom van Straubenzee (30) and Lady Melissa Percy (26) as ‘the society wedding of the year’….I think not. Even the surnames are daft, especially when compared with the dynasty that is t850. I am not nervous, but why should I be? 🙂

I take my instructions. I had Father’s Day food with Son Brian in a pub in Bearsden and it was good. I got a new shirt; he spoke a lot about his golf. I mentioned to someone else (of my generation) about the golf and she said ‘Yes. He talks about it a lot on his Facebook page.’ But I am not a Facebook friend of his, altho’ every so often he is offered to me as a potential friend. I decline. Him and Harriet Harman. She used to be offered to me. Like a ceremonial sacrifice I suppose. 😀

I have been told; ‘no waving to the assembled populace when you arrive at the church’ (as if); ‘no impromptu speech at the wedding’ (as if); and no running off with one of the bridesmaids (No. No comment).

Actually it is possible that I may have no need to do that but cards are being played very close to chest at moment but Largs was nice the other day….once I’ve worked out the appropriate psued, apseu, pen-name…….

But a quick word to uni-Sharon;

Yes. I agree.

Better to find our feet rather than to jump in with either or both feet; otherwise I might remain footloose and fancy free reading share prices on the Futsi whilst footering around with a foot long ruler. (There is a rude alternative to the word ‘ruler’ but not in the week of a wedding)

Where was I? Oh, aye there’s not much for me to say or do and I’ll be told where to go. e and c are coming along and I know lots of other ppl who know me and much about me. And if they’re new to me…..well let’s learn about each other. Son Brian said something very sage the other day bout the seating plan; ‘if they can’t sit and be nice to ppl they’ve never met, or don’t like, for two hours, then maybe they shouldn’t be at a wedding at all.’

And I’m getting a veggie dish and I must not make any suggestions to the minister at the rehearsal…I will keep you posted. Apparently the words to the hymns are going to be on Powerpoint type slides and, yes, Rainforestriverman, I will txt you with details of much of what the bride is wearing and bulletpoints of the highlights of the sermon and, of course, any jokes used at the wedding that you can steal, sorry, adapt, adopt and improve, for your own use.

I used to go formal university dinners and get pissed. There is no other word. Well, there are millions but you know what I mean – and I would wake up the next morning with scribbled words on a scrap of paper which were supposed to remind me of what the punchline to the gag was. No. Never worked. 😦

But Largs was nice. Only good thoughts unlike some previous times……I’ll move myself on. Swiftly.

But other than that it’s been quiet. The domination degree makes good progress. My own first draft needs a concluding chapter and then I can go back and work on it before submitting official first draft to supervisor. It makes for a good radio documentary but rubbish academic treatise.

(Incidentally, the editing work is quiet but I have just received a confirmation from somebody re some work they want me to do for them……’some of my supervisors tell me the sentences are in the wrong order.’ This could be a challenge.)

Shifts continue. And it adds a certain irony when I donate money to homeless ppl in the streets that it comes out of my wages for working with the homeless. I do like it when they say. ‘Truthfully, I won’t lie to you. I’m an alcoholic. It’s for drink,’ and I say, ‘So am I. Get a decent bottle.’……Sounds daft but I do. 😉

And World War Zeeeeeeeeeeeeee as I like to pronounce it has arrived. It sounds sooooo much better than Zed……I think the good Dr W is away signing autographs.

And I cleared out the shed……and a few memories – not all of them good.

And finally, I have paid £190 to Partick Thistle for my Early Bird (full-time student) to stand in The Shed (PT’s; not mine), only to find out that when Celtic come a-calling WE get moved cos the police don’t want flares exploded in the all-wooden stand that away fans go to……Why? It sounds to me like being in a club and a fight breaks out and the bouncers throw out the victim rather than the six guys doing the attacking. (It was a long time age; a long story; and I’m not proud of it.)

So here’s an idea. Why not let them into the old wooden stand and get Peter Lawwell and the rest of the Celtic board, who sing the praises of these fans, to act as stewards? If they are as good as Peter says they are, then it makes for an easy afternoon.

Cya, keep(ing )it fun and still wearing that badge? Maybe not at the wedding.

Johnt850, of the House of t850s.

So not a lot below the line this week. James Gandolfini died. He starred in a TV series based on Alan Warner’s tale of Oban Schoolgirls – The Sopranos. No. I never saw the TV series. Why do you ask?

Anyway, when I was coming thru the early stages of alcohol recovery b4 I started the cancer recovery, one band meant a lot to me and I did see them at Loch Lomond not long after my cancer treatment finished – a special moment, except they weren’t very good.

This is Alabama 3 and the theme to The Sopranos.

Words are important. If you want to care for something, you call it a ‘flower’;if you want to kill it you call it a ‘weed” (Don Coylis)

June 9, 2013

And so, dear listener, it is three weeks until the wedding of this and any other year….which means it is three weeks until I stop starting the show with a countdown to the wedding of this and any other year.

It’s the attention to detail I like. Yes. I do have a dress shirt and yes, (somehow) I will iron it before the actual service. Yes. I do have the date and time of the rehearsal. I think it’s amazing all the things they have to think about. (Whisper it, but the groom’s estranged dad is an alcoholic pescatarian)

Oh such a contrast to my own big day all those years ago. Paisley Registry Office; the Brabloch Hotel (where the first person I bumped into was an old girlfriend – sorry ‘former’ girlfriend); the Normandy Hotel: and Paisley Gilmour (sp) Street the next day for the train and ferry to Arran. The divorce was as quick. I also remember going to the Geigy Social Cub somewhere in Paisley one Sunday night to check out the band apparently we’d booked…….

The band for the wedding of this, etc, etc is a ceilidh band. I have been practising Big Box, Little Box to the sound of Jimmy Shand’s Bluebell Polka. It looks ridiculous but will draw attention to me. I have been told it’s the bride’s big day and not mine. Aye. Right. Just watch. 

Moving swiftly on but staying boring…….

I have started writing the actual words to the domination degree. The hot and raunchy thematic coding is done. The coloured pens remain out…..just in case. There are 12,000 words to be written. Which is not much considering the state of the living room floor. There are six folders of academic articles and interviews and books……one of my fave books is called ‘The Illustrated Directory of Recreational Drugs’. Honest officer, I was only buying that tab to see if my book mentioned it.

No. The big thing is not just to write 11,999 words but to make sure they’re good ones, appropriate and in the right order. But I’m happy. I didn’t go to the West End Fest’s Mardi Gras today cos of the desire to write. So no pretend Brazilian woman shaking her bosom in front of me whilst dressed as a large carnation………or was that last night’s DVD? I will go to the Meela next week. It’s quieter and really ‘diverse’ from a time long ago when that word really meant something and was not a tortured way of saying multi-racial or racially mixed. Blue Mink may have been naïve but their heart was in the right place. 🙂

I got petrol this morning (I may be about to go back to the days of doing lots of weekend driving) and the van behind me was for the big Herbalife franchise. The registration plate was PI5 AFF. Not interested in your product mate, cos you ain’t a nice person. 😛

Whereas the person who threw eggs at Simon Cowell was smiling all the time. I liked her. One comment on Facebook on the night was that she shouldn’t have done that cos ‘eggs are dangerous. They can cut you.’ I think that is a wee bit over the top. Not only do I use them on a daily basis but they, and rotten tomatoes and flour, are the basic tools of protest……..I am more of a hell-raiser than I thought. All these things are in my kitchen. Actually give me a second.

No. I can’t find it. I used to have a book called ‘The Citizens’ Guide to the Militia’ which was a hard copy book produced by some anarchists who lived in a lighthouse in Orkney which shows that these things were available long before the internet.

What else?

In a quiet week (he lied, protecting the innocent) I would like to say well done to AJ for his first ever presentation (at the age of almost four) to his nursery school group on the role of the fireman in the twenty-first century (or similar); to his sister RJ, who chose the moment when her mum was as far away as possible and I was in charge of her to burst into the largest bout of screaming and crying that I have heard in a long time but, hey, I calmed her down; to uni-Sharon for a superb decision but we’ll give it time; and to Jo for keeping a seat for me in the incredibly busy school library in Paisley.

It’s amazing how big a part Paisley has played in my life. I also used to go out with a girl from Foxbar.

And finally, it’s not those who hog the middle lane that annoy me. After all I’m sure everyone does the same as me i.e. overtake them on the inside, flip the finger at them and pull out sharply in front of them (lol as Carmen would say). No the people who annoy me are the ones who hog the inside lane and won’t let people onto the motorway from slip roads but how the hell are the police going to police it all?

Cya, keep(ing it fun) and still wearing that badge? Yes, but it may be about to meet new people.

Johnt850, the one in the black top.

So part of the big essay involves discussing various theories about alcoholism like disease or learned behaviour and like most modern thinkers I’m in the latter camp…in fact personal experience confirms this. I cry myself ‘recovered’ and it’s thanks to various ways of changing alcohol-related behaviour.

But then I was in a restaurant the other night – not a big night – but there was a bottle of Merlot on the table and its bouquet was good. It smelled nice. And then it comes back to me. The basic reason why you, me and so many others do drink and drugs is cos we like the taste and what they do to us. Simple, eh? Just some of us take/took a touch too far.

Ponder on that policymakers and pontificators.

This is Doctor John as was promised to Jo the other day x

It was all to stay awake for the longest time. It was long; it was wrong but it felt so right. See you at the finishline if you got the heart to join us (Stay Awake)

June 1, 2013

And so, dear listener, there are exactly four weeks until the wedding of this and any other century – depending on when you read this. I have started my own checklist as father of the groom;

Kilt fitted and booked and I have been shown how to tie up the brogues;

Present bought and, hopefully, delivered;

Haircut booked and, eh, that’s it…..I think. I’m not really too sure if there’s anything else I should be doing – or will be asked to do.

But it’s not on everyone else’s mind. Take for example, the woman who spoke to me on the way out of (the) ASDA the other day – the subject out of nowhere;

‘I’m cooking for ma brother at the moment and he always comes in wi’ a wee drink in him and complains about my cooking…nothing serious but….then the other night, I dropped it on the floor and scraped it back together again and put it on the table for him…..never said a word….just shows you, doesn’t it?’

Or the rainforestriverman was in Glasgow the other day and we met for coffee. On the way I came through the Botanic Gardens and had cause to visit the toilet there. As I was standing there trying to unbutton my flies (which was difficult as it was a zip fly) I noticed a man washing one of his feet in the sink whilst standing on the other one. Before I could do anything he then tried to get the other in and fell over……

Obvs, my first thought was, ‘Why me?’ and, of course, I stopped doing what I wasn’t doing and helped him to stand up. As he stood there, putting his trainers through the Dyson dryer he explained that he’d been paddling in the River Kelvin and he felt his feet needed washed. As he cried out to me, ‘You’re a star, fella’ he picked up his half full bottle of Smirnoff with added orange juice for healthy drinking and wandered off, shouting into the bushes, ‘Billy, this is no’ funny. Are you in there?’ 🙂

Incidentally rrm, did you notice the ‘elderly’ gent sitting behind you? He spent most of his coffee smiling at our conversation but got up and left when I suggested that Tinderbox on a Saturday night is a singles bar for coffee drinkers.

He really liked my story about the charity shop denims. 😉

And so, my domination degree continues. I’ve reached the Thematic Coding stage. Don’t ask but part of it requires compiling lists and doing notes to yourself – which is fair enuff – and I use a lot of Post-Its anyway….leave them all over the house, but was a wee bit thrown when I came across one that said ‘Crack Cocaine – need more’……..but I’m researching alcoholism and speaking up for the problem drinker in recovery………Skippy? Is there something you want to tell me? You can squeeze my carrot if you want…Skippy?

And finally, just over a year ago I, and study buddie Fi, had the pleasure of flying with the just-retired Capt Stuart Linklater of Loganair who for 24 years has flown within the Orkney Isles, including the amazingly short journey from Papa Westray to Westray – the only flight I have ever been on where the pilot shouts out ‘Are you alright in the back? Okay. I’ll take off then.’ I have the certificate to prove it. And the photos. 🙂

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup and to pastures new as well.

Johnt850, still giving you more of what you’re funking for.

And so Con-Dem MP and auntie Jo Swinson says we should stop saying to our daughters that they look beautiful cos it sends out the wrong message……I was tempted to tell a story here about when Jay the Boy Wonder was asked which of two dresses his mum wanted to wear to uni-Sharon’s wedding was the most suitable…….’Good choice, Jay’……….first step to being a man.

But then I realised I work in a world/am associated with people who are so unused to hearing complements. About anything. The creative writing group that I was involved in in Easterhouse were so chuffed when good things were said about what they’d written and I recently gave a guy some money for milk for the project (cos he was on his way out to the shops) and I was told later he was amazed cos it was the first time in years, anyone had trosted him with money.

And as for seeing someone now in one of the projects I work, making an effort for going somewhere, and being able to say to them, ‘looking good’ and meaning it…….priceless and it makes such a difference.

It’s about boosting self-esteem, Jo……that’s part of the reason for doing the domination degree. I’ll send you a copy.

This is the incredibly lovely Daft Punk before they sold out and got lucky.

Any organisation created out of fear must create fear in order to survive (Bill Hicks)

May 24, 2013

And so, dear listener, I never made it to the sober Recovery Night last Sunday so I never found out what it was like to sing karaoke sober or to disco dance (for want of a better expression) sober – or as sober as everyone else is in the company. I discussed this with one or two people and they said that they would find it difficult to do these things without ‘a wee drink’ in them.

The front suspension ring thing had gone in my car and my car was going nowhere…well to the garage to get fixed (thanks AA* man) and it was fixed the next day…….so a large part of Sunday was cancelled or re-arranged – ‘can you now come up and pick me up?’ 😦

*Automobile Association

I’m not too bad when the rest of the company is drinking and doing things (as opposed to just drinking) but a real test of that particular pudding will come at the wedding of this and any other century at the end of next month….omg! It’s getting closer! It’s a ceildh band… at some point I will need to sit down with Youtube or similar and look at those dances…the Gay Sergeant and the Dashing White Waltz and so on. I’ll be fine. 🙂

I’ve got an inclination to smoke tobacco cigarettes at the moment. No. No reason. As well as a tattoo. Maybe it’s the company I’m not keeping. Now that the transcribing is done I want to get out as much as possible before the school holidays which always seems to have some kind of knock-on effect on much of my recent life but I’ve never been sure why…(time to get real, jt!)

So I’ve not mentioned the prostate cancer for some time but I helped out at a Prostate Cancer UK stand at a Health Fair in the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank. It’s joined to the hip of the Beardmore Hotel where on Tuesday, as I arrived, a conference was registering. Can I just say thanks to them for having the politeness not to say anything as I helped myself to Danish Pasties and fresh fruit altho’ I was obviously so much not one of them?

So how do you measure the success of a health fair? Well, in my case, I came home with a glass which shows me how many units I’m drinking, lots of pens, two samples of Aloe Vera gel and a six inch long rubber carrot, which I’m supposed to squeeze when I’m stressed. I intend to carry it everywhere and take it out on trains. Should other people wish to squeeze it, they will be more than welcome 😉

I did one Health Fair in Bellshill which was really badly attended apart from the free haircuts. The only stalls to swap things with were the healthy eating stand and the Terence Higgins Trust. I came home with a large leek, two onions, a potato and a small pack of favoured condoms (chocolate was one of them)……..

In my days as a PR pro (ha!) trade exhibitions were good, especially things like Food and Drink exhibitions, where you received really good freebies (lots of whisky miniatures and big cheeses) and, because so many people had travelled up from, say, London to work at these, there was a lot of thematic coding*, really hot and raunchy thematic coding. :-$

*It’s my euphemism for partying…….It’ll help me to get on with it altho’ ultimately I will be disappointed. Excuse me a second while I squeeze my carrot.

And finally, I have drawn a personal line under much of what was happening on a personal basis at this time last year and events that led to me almost drinking again. When I say ‘drinking again’, I don’t mean having a weekend bender and putting things behind me; I mean drinking to black out. Nightly. It’s a difficult thing to explain if you’ve never been there. I have been asked to ‘leave it’ and I will. Matters of business import is a totally different can of cheese, though.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, but I have still to introduce it to the carrot.

Johnt850, wild and misty, like the Isles.

So in America, the head of that Rifles Association say the only way to beat a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

In South London, they do it differently. There they leave it to the womenfolk who lie beside the dying serviceman and pray for him, talk to the two (alleged) murderers and prevent any carnage caused by Have-A-Go heroes or just ignore their meaningless rants and walk on by with their shopping trolleys.

In Edinburgh, they do things differently. The crew of HMS Edinburgh are given the freedom of the city as a thanks for their efforts both in protecting us and promoting the city and are then refused service in a pub called the Ensign Ewart cos they were in uniform….as one well-known Daily Mail columnist would say, ‘You couldn’t make it up.’

Drummer Rigby was not in uniform; apparently he was wearing a Help4Heroes top…..ironic after what I said last week, isn’t it?

Steve Earle was against the wars in Iraq and was ostracised by much of the US media at the time. This is he.

Recovery should be enjoyed, not endured………

May 18, 2013

And just minutes after this blog gets posted on Facebook (kinda its official publication) I’m off to an event down Dunbartonshire way which seeks to provide an evening out for many people, like myself, who don’t drink or do drugs. Amongst other highlights, there’s a karaoke disco.

Ask yourselves, dear listeners; have you ever spent the night doing karaoke or disco dancing without a drink in you? Some sober tasks are harder than others. I’ll let you know how I get on. It used to be Summertime Blues but that was a long time ago.

The wee line above is the tagline they have used for the event. It means there will be lots of happy smiling faces tonight 😀 and not people full of doom and gloom, going ‘woe is me’ 😦

For me, I suppose, it’s one way of celebrating one part of the Domination Degree being over. I have now done eight interviews – two of which have still to be transcribed – and then it’s a matter of thematic coding (No. Me neither) and then it’s the writing. I make the point again that soontime I will become more or less a hermit for about five to six weeks (weddings excluded) and that I am keen to catch up with some folk.

(It is at this point, a form of paranoia kicks in where I worry in case I’ve said something not nice to someone by one of the many means of communication I use – or even worse – not said something).

Mind you I’ve been a wee bit remiss. There’s not been a meeting of the High Council for some time. Actually, some people have been saying; Is the Vampire Slayer okay? Watch this space.

But I need to lose weight – kilt wearing or no kilt-wearing. There are at least two pairs of denims where I cannot do the top button. This time last year I was getting into waist size 30 no problem. What is the difference between then and now? Yup. I’m not walking as much; I’m eating too much chocolate and too many crisps: there’s not enuff tuna in my diet 😉 ; and I’m watching too much TV.

Speaking of which….whilst the nation was getting ready for its apoplexy at the sight of John Terry coming on fully-kitted after the game was over, me and the man they call Bean, and newly appointed dad Dougie L, and one or two others were watching a smashing football match on BBC Alba between Alloa and Dunfermline – a gem of a game. Over the years Dunfermline, like many other teams, have spent too much on mediocre players, but one of the sights that will remain with me for ever, after we’d played them in Dunfermline, was all the coke and pie-sellers (aged 16-17 ish) hanging around after the game waiting to get paid.

And I’d like to say a big thanks to young AJ for holding my hand as he walked alone along that big wall. I wasn’t scared that he’d fall – no. not me – I still have panther-like reflexes. At least in Hillhead Librray, but that dear listener is for another day.

And finally, a few months ago, the Good Dr W ran a challenge called Tough Mudder (see for a frightening video about what’s involved). The main beneficiary was a charity called Help for Heroes and I had purchased a wrist band in their name. A good friend of mine harrumphed; ‘Hadn’t I seen the Newsnight where the charity was accused of ‘mis-spending funds?’’ No, I hadn’t and continued to wear the band. This week Newsnight apologised. I owe my good friend £15. I’m sure he won’t mind if I give it to Help for Heroes and I’m sure he’ll match it……

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes, but maybe not tonight.

Johnt850, for once not looking at himself in mirrors

So a few days ago a musician friend sent me a copy of his latest CD, which I will plug shamelessly on another occasion.

I’d known him at school and he also sent me a programme from a school performance of Orpheus in the Underworld in which I played Mercury, Messenger of the Gods. I genuinely don’t remember much about it other than I was given aluminium wings for my legs to give the impression of running through the sky.

I did no rehearsals with them and wore them for the first night. They tore my legs to shreds. They still had rough edges. Maybe they were put together by the tech teacher I’d once thrown a block of wood at. The bastard getting his own back.

But even then I had an ego and played it all for sympathy. I kept going much to the adulation of (some of) the female extras in the chorus. But the following night, they were made of light cardboard. These days I might sue for some form of compensation but we were a tougher breed then. Our thoughts were solely on the fact that we would not be able to get to the pub before it shut and hopeful that someone had got some cans in for the dressing room. Happy daze.

Wonder whatever happened to Anne Forman, AndreaTocher, Susan Tait, Gail Summers and Elizabeth Haywood? No. No reason.

This is The Who performing Summertime Blues on a quiet Sunday night in Monterey with no drink or drugs having been partaken obviously. Shows what you can do (the quality’s not bad for 1967);