We’ve come so far Yet back to the start, Don’t you be a roundabout Oh now baby don’t misread the signs If you turn the key then things will turn out fine

And I think The Ting Tings will be a brill concert, Katie M, and I did enquire about tickets for The Killers but 4 x £135 is just a wee bit too much at this stage of my entrepreunerial life. Fourth person? Not sure. Hang on. Wait a minute. I have an idea.

So can I say serious thanks to a certain young lady for the festive text received on 25th December? No. No connection. It was sooooo well received ‘cos Christmas Day at the workhouse, a.k.a. my son’s mum’s house, was completely cancelled because of illness, pestilence and disease amongst the extended 850 family, and even as I speak, I am full of pharmaceuticals, (not for the first time), but I feel my fingers are about to do all the talking today. I dread reading this blog after I send it…..just in case.

But this is supposed to be a simple review of the year, so, so far so good.

But first, a quick Christmas look back and my fave quote was made in a tapas restaurant off Byres Road last week when I was asked if I wanted the duck up my end.

I watched Rab C on BBC iPlayer and enjoyed the jokes about jaikies (I can use those), sexual positions (I can think about those, long and hard) and the TV joy that was the Muslim lesbians singing Karaoke in a Govan bar. So what did people complain about? The fact that the former Rangers reserve and f…f…f…philandering chef, Gordon Ramsay, was described as a “hun”. Ho, hum.

Thank goodness for the honesty that was the festive movie, American Psycho, with its unique hint of the Christmas message and the memories it brought back……..of the book, which I read earlier this year during my sandblasting period. Good writing creates pictures. (Gulp) I’ll move swiftly on.

So my top Chrissie pressie? It came from Son Brian (the socks were lovely). In the days before I plan to set up on my own (you’ve got to do these things when young) I discover that a major contribution has been made on my behalf to a guy, Nurunnari, in Bangla Desh who’s also starting his own business, The House of Bamboo. Good luck, mate. It’s a Gift for Life. And my thanks to those nice people at www.traidcraft.org.uk for making it possible. And, ta, Son Brian.

So the first ever johnt850 lifetime achievement award goes to Son Brian, not just for putting up with my alcoholic period, my cancer or my expanding CD collection, but for allowing me to pay for every meal we have ever had together (maybe the odd exception) and the current plan (plague allowing) is to lunch down Loch Lomond Shores this Monday.

If you’re in the area, know me and can answer a simple question correctly, then join us. It’s my treat. I will have my flexible friend with me. I should stress that is not an obscure reference to anyone, albeit unwittingly and I have not created any mental pictures of anyone…honest. (Gulp)

Literary disappointment of the year? The failure of the Days Like This competition to recognise the talents of two of Scotland’s three up and coming young literary talents of 2009, namely myself and my gd frnd Clr. The third? (who didn’t actually enter) Obviously my newest, latest, bestest friend ever, Caitlin. Any news for me, eh, eh?

Which brings me to the johnt850 annual team of the year award. Only one possible choice here and that is quite simply Gillian, Gillian, Claire and Christine. No team name, ‘cos no one name does you guys justice. As Katie M put it (she kindly helped judge), you guys were the first chapter in what turned out to be an incredible yearbook. So serious ta, and maybe some time in 2009?…….It could be anyone’s call, any variation of numbers and you know where to find me. Sticky Toffee Pudding rools, okay?

Clairely, two Gillians there, and, yes, there have been two Claires tremendously influential in 2008 but there are three Katies and a Kay on my e-mail address list, which did come close to causing problems at one stage, and to one of them, can I just say; “I had the stilton but not the port. Hope you enjoyed yours.”

(Surely doctor, if I have both the Benylin and Boots’s own brand at the same time, I’ll get better quicker?)

And before we move to the main event of the evening I’d like to mention my album of the year, in a year of many albums, and my thanks to Missie K, Emma J and Heather C for suggesting many of them, and to the ol’ Fopp shop and the Rainforest riverman for selling them to me. And the Vampire Slayer for protecting them.

It is the Infadels‘ Universe in Reverse (I saw them at Loch Lomond thanks to the Parfery person…how you doin?) and the top track?: We All Make Mistakes From Time to Time. That is just sooooooooo uncoded, isn’t it?

I am reminded of the man (No. No reason) who won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Literary Prize and the Nobel Economics Prize. Turning to the cameras before going to prison he paused and said, “One lousy sheep, that’s all it was. One lousy sheep.”

So, to third place in the first ever johnt850 annual personality of the year awards;

It goes to the amazing Laura F who, for months, must have wondered when her name and the words “big prick” would appear in the same sentence. Well they just did. And I’ve seen some pretty large needles this year as well, let me tell you. For your patience (in so many things) well done.

And in second place is the person who many people thought would be the odds-on winner; my good friend and copy taster Claire (to give her her Sunday name). Your name, in fact, came to epitomise the tremendous support I got from people during the cancer treatment (and obviously the possible relapsing alcoholic worries) and also with encouraging the blog and blook writing (plus people like Dennis, e, L frae Troon, Kevin C and the Blogmeister amongst so many others) and most years you would have been a shoe-in, a shoo-in or a chou-in. So, so close, but always keeping it fun.

Still, updates’r’good. (Kinda gulp)

So, to the winner, in a smashing year.

It is the amazing three year old Ruby, daughter of BBC Steve, who explained to his PT supporting mates in the Doublet that they were going to be joined by a mate of his, this season “and, oh by the way, he’s an alkie, but he’s alright….at the moment”. I think that was real neck on the line stuff. Serious ta, and nice meeting you Ruby from time to time, strangelyenough in pubs and at football matches. And Merry Christmas to your mum, Alison. To be honest, you take more after her. 

(Now will you issue those invites, Steve? Just the three. I’ll give you the names again, shall I?)

Ruby’s pressie, I mean prize? A lovely dragon kite as in “high as a….” (It’s okay, doctor, it’s a blackcurrant lem-sip. They don’t count, do they?). All other prizes on application. And, yes, Ruby did get her prize on Christmas Day, ahead of the phone lines opening, but, hey, I used to work for the BBC.

So, the johnt850 review of the year, 2008. There it goes. I think it did exactly what it said on the tin.

cya in 2009 (and ta for help, Katie M. You’ve got strangely good taste)

Johnt850, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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