Thursday, 14 September 2017

Week 7 - Grambleday wishes to the Gruffalo?


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy

 

Often I have a rant about poor grammar. Well, I’m sorry, but I’m going to do it again. Now, I realise that this is not the best written blog in the world; I split infinitives and use single inverted commas for speech when I should be making them doubles [Don’t mind if I do. Hic. It’s been a tough week. - Ed.]. And I start sentences with the word ‘and’. All lamentable, but I draw the line at blatant errors. Whatever do you mean, I hear you ask.

I received a piece of junk mail from a shop which had wheedled my address out of me when I bought an item there. They sent a beautifully printed catalogue of all the products on sale in the shop. It is now a beautifully printed, but unread, addition to my paper recycling bin. It came with a letter which was also well printed and was obviously a piece of mail that accompanied every catalogue posted out by the company. Perhaps thousands were sent out in this particular mail drop. I did begin to read this letter, but gave up after the first sentence which read...

‘As one of our loyal customers we thought you might enjoy this exclusive opportunity to see all of the new kit we’ve got in store and online this season.’

No. No. No. No. I am the loyal customer not whoever composed this letter (badly). It should begin... As one of our loyal customers, you might enjoy... Do you see? And they forgot the comma after the word customers.

Does nobody ever think to get such a document checked for mistakes before they print and mail thousands of them? Does nobody employ poofreaders any more?

I also noticed some notices (Do you see what I did there?) which contain howlers. The first was in the waiting room at the dealership where I took my car for its annual service. I had decided to wait there while the work was being carried out. Unfortunately, the room was bereft of any newspapers or magazines to read (Not even a year-old Readers Digest!) so I whiled away the time by reading some of the artwork on the walls. There were lots of bright and breezy signs dotted about the place telling us waiting drivers about things like pollen filter change and ‘Optiburn’ fuel treatment. [How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] However, the one that caught my eye (and ire) had the heading ‘Breath of fresh air’. The text underneath read... ‘Aircon service so you can breathe easy.’ No. No. No. No. So that you can breathe easily, for pity’s sake! How do these things happen? Did nobody think to have it checked before all the accompanying artwork was added? Did nobody read it before it went to the printer? Did nobody at the printing company check it? Did nobody notice the mistake before the poster was plastered on the walls of car dealerships up and down the land annoying the hell out of pedants like me?

I’m not too happy about aircon for air conditioning, either.

Another poster I have seen recently also bugs me no end. It is displayed in a school, of all places. The poster is issued by the local council, presumably to all the schools in the region and is all about saving energy. It gives suggestions such as switching off lights, not leaving taps running, etc.. Yes, we know it purports to be about saving the planet, but it is more about saving the council money. Being green equates to being a skinflint. Any road up, one of the statements reads thus... ‘Use less black bags.’ No. No. No. No. No! Use fewer black bags! Less black? What? Grey? Why would anyone care if a bin bag was black? Or any other colour, for that matter. Once again, nobody noticed the mistake during the production of these posters. Worse; nobody in the school where this is displayed has spotted the error and corrected it. It is displayed in a place of learning, for crying out loud! It doesn’t give you much confidence in the education system, does it?

A third poster has annoyed me for a different reason. I am not peeved at it being grammatically wrong. It is not. I am riled that a totally meaningless statement is used. Sorry pardon excuse me? This particular sign is on the back of many of our local buses. It extols the wonderful benefits you get by using this particular bus company. Free Wifi. Good; people can read thegrambler.com while travelling. Leather seats. Good? Not sure about that one. Would seats being made of inferior material persuade you to let other buses pass until one with leather seats drew up to the bus stop? Of course not. Anyway, back to the plot; one statement on this sign reads simply ‘Runs till late.’ Just that. What does that mean? If you are someone who likes to be in bed early, 9 o’clock might be your idea of late. If, however, you are something of a night owl, anything before 3am might be considered early. Does this bus still run at three in the morning? Doubt it. By using the word late, the bus company is saying nothing. I’m guessing that their idea of late is anything but.

Vague times like that are used all the time. How often have you phoned a company and been put on hold having been told ‘one of our agents will be with you in a moment?’ In my experience a moment usually equates to anything from three verses of Simply the Best to the complete Four Seasons suite by Vivaldi. And while I’m on my high horse, what is tea time all about? It’s a time that weather forecasters like a lot, as in ‘The rain will clear by tea time.’ Utterly meaningless. That could mean any time between 4pm and 8pm. Mind you, when you see how inaccurate their forecasting is, you can’t blame them for keeping it vague.

I don’t think those seats are leather, you know.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Were any famous or notorious people born on the 16th of September? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Bonar Law 1858 (Prime minister of UK and nothing to do with a law relating to... yes, well, we won’t go into that.), James Penney 1875 (Founder of J.C. Penney store. The C stands for Cash. Seriously.), Walter Owen Bentley 1888 (Builder of the world’s fastest lorry... according to rival car maker Ettore Bugatti.), Karl Donitz 1891 (Hitler’s successor with the title of President of Germany.), Alexander Korda 1893 (Hungarian-born film director, writer and producer. Made films in Britain that were credible rivals to Hollywood fayre. Prior to making the 1933 film ‘The Private Life of HenryVIII’ he knew nothing of the monarch. He only became interested in the king when he heard a taxi driver singing the comic song ‘I’m Henry the Eighth I am’ and wondered who was the inspiration for this silly song. Here is our first clip of the week; Harry Champion singing that very song.  And did you notice something Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits? The second verse is not the same as the first. In your version you didn’t even sing the verse; you sang the chorus. Twice. Doesn’t count.), Lauren Bacall 1924 (Actress. According to Victoria Wood, Bacall picked her Bogie. Clip two?  Her most famous line.  Ooer, missus!), Charles Haughey 1925 (Irish politician.), Riley King aka B.B. King 1925 (Musician. Here is a clip from 1989... The Thrill is Gone.), Peter Falk 1927 (Actor... ‘Just one more thing...’), George Chakiris 1934 (Dancer. In West Side Story, he was. Leader of the Sharks. You remember that ludicrous ‘fight’ scene where the rival gangs dance at each other? Scary stuff.), Dick Heckstall-Smith 1934 (Who? He was a jazz/blues saxophonist. Played in Blues Incorporated, The Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Colosseum. Here’s another clip... Here he is showing that he can blow two saxes at once.  Ooer, missus!), Julia Donaldson 1948 (Didn’t you know? It was she who wrote The Gruffalo.), Ed Begley Jr. 1949 (Actor. Sandy Lane. A little reference for your consideration there.), Loyd Grossman 1950 (Hyoo lurves in a hayoos loik thurs?), Andy Irvine 1951 (Rugby bloke.), Philip ‘Mickey’ Rourke 1952 (Ex-boxer.), Jerry Pate 1953 (Golfy bloke.), David Kotkin 1956 (Who? He’s better known as magician (it says here) David Copperfield. His greatest trick? Keeping his hair unfeasably black.), Neville Southall 1958 (Footy bloke, isn’t it.), Richard Marx 1963 (Musician. After the blog from a couple of weeks back, I can see another ‘... of the week’ category starting up and here is the first edition... Ladeez and Genullum I give you ‘Funeral song of the week’! Here is Right Here Waiting.), Katie Melua 1984 (Chanter. Here’s a nice toon, but surely the number of bicycles can’t be correct.  9 million?  Exactly 9 million? Doubt it. Must have been rounded up. Or down. Understandable, I suppose. I mean, if there were actually 9,265,407 bicycles in Beijing, and Katie was aiming for accuracy, the song would be a right old bugger to sing.) and Kyle Lafferty 1987 (Footy bloke. Plays for Hearts. Motherwell beat Hearts a couple of weeks back. Just thought I would mention it.).
 

 
I'm Henry the eighth, I am.
 


.....oooOooo.....
 

I’ve received a letter...

Dear Grambler Gascoigne,

We are three Katie Melua fans. We know you used to introduce that University quiz type programme before Germoline Paxo took over, so thought you might know the answer to our question. Katie Melua’s first two albums went to number one in the British charts, can you name them both?

Yours sincerely,

Carl Orff, Dee Surch and P. Spypiece.

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Well, time to get on with some grambling. How did The Grambler’s predictions for last week fare? We won. Yay! Honest. We did win. I know, I can’t believe it either. I say won. Four out of five predictions came good and we profited by £1.79. What happened? Read on...

 

 

Fulham vs Cardiff - Prediction Home win

Result - Fulham 1 Cardiff 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Cardiff City came from behind to salvage a draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage to remain top of the Championship.

The Cottagers took the lead with 15 minutes remaining through young star Ryan Sessegnon, a man who loves scoring against the Welsh club.

However, Cardiff again showed character and new man Liam Feeney set up his fellow substitute Danny Ward to grab an equaliser.

 

Norwich vs Birmingham - Prediction Home win

Result - Norwich 1 Birmingham 0

Yay!

Nelson Oliveira's fourth-minute goal was enough to give Norwich a slender victory over Birmingham at Carrow Road.

Defender Timm Klose supplied a pass to the back post and Oliveira poked home.

 

QPR vs Ipswich - Prediction Home win

Result - QPR 2 Ipswich 1

Yay!

Jamie Mackie gave QPR the lead just before half-time when he slid in to meet Pawel Wszolek's cross.

Luke Freeman beat Bartosz Bialkowski from outside the box with a low shot to make it 2-0 shortly after the break.

Bersant Celina pulled a goal back late on with a fine strike from distance, but Tom Adeyemi fired a great chance over the crossbar as QPR held on.

 

Wolverhampton vs Millwall - Prediction Home win

Result - Wolverhampton 1 Millwall 0

Yay!

Diogo Jota scored the only goal of the match when he fired past keeper Jordan Archer from the edge of the box after a one-two with Leo Bonatini.

Millwall were reduced to 10 men when Aiden O'Brien was given a second yellow card for pulling back Matt Doherty.

And Wolves went close to doubling their lead late on when Archer denied Romain Saiss from close range.

 

Sheffield Wed vs Nottingham Forest - Prediction Home win

Result - Sheffield 3 Nottingham 1

Yay!

A bright Owls start was rewarded when Gary Hooper tucked in after Jordan Smith's poor clearance, but Ben Osborn's near-post finish made it 1-1.

The hosts' Tom Lees had to head Jason Cummings' shot off the line, before an unmarked Steven Fletcher guided home from Lees' corner at the other end.

Kieran Lee added a close-range third as the Reds failed to clear a low cross.

 

Can The Grambler do it again this week? Yes, I know it doesn’t usually happen, but I can live in hope, can’t I? So what has he/she/it randomly selected for us this week?

Game - Result - Odds

Burton Albion vs Fulham - Prediction Away win - 5/6

Cardiff vs Sheffield Wednesday - Prediction Home win - Evens

Hull vs Sunderland - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Ipswich vs Bolton - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Millwall vs Leeds - Prediction Away win - 6/4

He/she/it’s done it again! All Championship matches! What’s going on here?

Any road up, the bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...

£15.10

 

You know what? Far too whopping.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the only man to win caps for Scotland while playing for Barcelona. The answer was Steve Archibald. Easy one that, wasn’t it?

Is this week’s teaser a little more difficult? Can you provide the next name in the following sequence? Plumstead Common, Sportsman Ground, Manor Ground, Invicta Ground, Manor Ground, Highbury. I think you might get that one. Try it down the pub.

 

…..oooOooo…..
 

As usual, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to Mr H. Blofeld [What? The Bond villain? - Ed.] a cricket commentator of the old school who, at the age of 77, has decided to retire from the Test Match Special team to concentrate on his live stage career. Like so many TMS commentators before him, ‘Blowers’ had a wonderful way with words. Let us finish with some of his observations.

He made the occasional gaffe...

‘It's a catch he would have caught 99 times times out of 1,000.’

‘If the tension here was a block of Cheddar cheese, you could cut it with a knife.’

‘Flintoff starts in, his shadow beside him. Where else would it be?’

‘Monty Python comes up and bowls.’ (He meant Monty Panesar.)

‘Harper there, the massive umpire from Australia, arms folded behind his backs.’

Sometimes he could be quite poetic in his descriptions...

‘Ashley Giles trundles in to bowl rather like a wheelie bin.’

‘It ballooned into the air and Bell dived forward like a porpoise after a fish and came up with the winner.’

‘They stoop like subservient wine waiters.’

Often, his attention was elsewhere...

‘Oh look - I've just seen a crane at Lord's actually moving, doing some work. I've seen cranes all around this ground for years and they've always been still. That big white one there is moving. A moving crane, a yellow helicopter - what more has the day got to offer?’

‘I can see a butterfly walking across the pitch and, what’s more, it appears to have a limp.’

Farewell Blowers.

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.

 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Week 6 - Happy grambleday to Michael Buble


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy

 

I bought a pineapple the other day. [Really? How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] I know that is an odd way to begin this week’s (g)ramble, but everything has to start somewhere. It cost me 69 pees. Cheaper than a Mars Bar (that well-known unit of price comparison). Why do I mention this? [Yes. Why? - Ed.] Three centuries back, pineapples were expensive and prized. A single specimen would cost the equivalent of over £7000 in today’s dosh. Yes, a pineapple was actually considered that valuable. Why, you could buy a brand new Dacia Sandero hatchback for less. [Not three centuries ago, you couldn’t. - Ed.] Ahem.

Talking of cars, the highest price ever for a British car was recently paid at auction for a 1956 Aston-Martin DBR1. How much? £17.5 million. You read that correctly - seventeen and a half million quid! For a car! An old one at that. You could buy over 2,900 brand new Sanderos (currently Britain’s cheapest new car) for that! Probably over 3,000 with dealer discount.

Seventeen and a half million? Peanuts! in 2014 a 1962 Ferrari 250GTO went for over £29 million (4,895 Sanderos).

What point am I making? Basically, I am saying that at any given time there is someone, somewhere, who has so much excess money that they will spend it on anything.

In 2010 a Picasso painting with the catchy title Nude, Green Leaves and Bust was sold at auction for... wait for it... £82 million (13,678 Sanderos). Eighty two million quid? For a picture? They want their bumps felt.

Why on earth do such fripperies command crazy prices? Simply because some self-styled expert has decreed that an item is collectable and is therefore worth a lot of money. Sure enough some idiot with more money than they know what to do with will come along and buy it.

It happened with the pineapple in the past and it happens with works of art today. Rich people believe that they have bought an object of value. They haven’t. They have spent a lot of money on something of little or no use. At least you can drive a car (although if you had spent so many millions on it, you might not dare). Some items that have had millions spent on them, probably never get to be seen again; instead they languish in a bank vault somewhere.

The words more money than sense come to mind. See also: A fool and his money are soon parted. Ah, they would argue, it is an investment. Yeah, sure. If they can find someone with even more money to waste than themselves, to take it off their hands, it’s an investment.

Anyone with such obscenely large amounts of spare dosh should consider the world around them. In my view, anyone who wastes such serious amounts of money on such useless objects, should be forced by law to give the same amount to good works such as building, staffing and operating a few schools/hospitals/care homes for several years.

Yes, all very altruistic, but it would never happen. Such people would never dream of using their vast fortune on something so humanitarian. All that would happen would be that auction prices for artworks and rare cars would tumble to values which reflect their real worth... probably less than the cost of a Dacia Sandero.
 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Were any famous or notorious people born on the 9th of September? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Cardinal Richelieu 1585 (Petula Clark impersonator. One for Python fans there. Would you like a clip?  Go on then.), William Bligh 1754 (‘I’ll live to see you, all of you, hanging from the highest yard arm in the British fleet.’ Actually, he probably didn’t say that, but Charles Laughton did in the 1935 film ‘Mutiny on The Bounty’.), Leo Tolstoy 1828 (Orfer. Factoid: According to Wikipedia, a photograph of him taken on his 80th birthday - see below - was the first colour photo ever taken in Russia.), Harland ‘Colonel’ Sanders 1890 (‘Finger licking good.’), Arthur Freed 1894 (Film producer and lyricist. Here’s one of his - often heard in Tom and Jerry cartoons - Sing Before Breakfast.  Buddy Ebsen comes across as quite camp in that clip, don’t you think? Rather disturbing factoid about Freed: He intentionally exposed himself to 12 year old Shirley Temple. I’ve no idea what reaction he was expecting, but I am certain that her laughing was not it.), Margaret Tyzack 1931 (Ectress. Winifred Dartie.), Chaim Topol 1935 (Ectaw. Here is his most famous moment, complete with subtitles, so now you know how to spell biddy biddy bum.), Otis Redding 1941 (Singer. Here is his posthumous number one.), John Curry 1949 (Skatey bloke.), Dave Stewart 1952 (A Tourist and a Eurythmic. Want a clip? Cue pretentious video.), Hugh Grant 1960 (Ectaw. Pirate Captain.), Adam Sandler 1966 (Comedian - it says here.), Julia Sawalha 1968 (Ectress.), Rachel Hunter 1969 (New Zealand ictriss. Could have been lady Stewart if she’d stuck with Rod.), Natasha Kaplinsky 1972 (Newsreader.), Gok Wan 1974 (Fashion consultant - it says here. What the fu... What is a fashion consultant? Someone who tells you what clothes to wear? And he’s famous because of that?), Michael Buble 1975 (Frank Sinatra wannabe.), Luka Modric 1985 (Footy bloke. He lives on the second floor.), Danilo D’Ambrosio 1988 (Footy bloke who likes rice pudding. [The jokes don’t get any better, do they. - Ed.]) and Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior 1991 (Who? Footy bloke known simply as Oscar.).


 Leo Tolstoy in 1908 - the first ever
colour photograph of a man with a
comb over
 

.....oooOooo.....

 

I’ve received a letter...

Dear Paul Gramblercini,

As you are famous for knowing all about musical matters, could you answer a question for us? We know that Dave Stewart was in The Eurythmics with Annie Lennox and we know that they were both in a band called The Tourists before that. We also know that they had a hit record, but none of us can remember what. We think it might have been a cover of a Dusty Springfield song.

Yours sincerely,

I. Owen, Lee Warner, B. Witt, Hugh.

 

I’ve received another letter...

Dear Mr Mumbler,

I am writing to apologise for my son Hugh who I believe has written you a letter. He tells me that he signed it with just his first name. I keep telling him that a formal letter should be properly signed, but he refuses to do it. I don’t know why he behaves like this.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Jarse.

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Well, time to get on with some grambling. How did The Grambler’s predictions for last week fare? We won. Yay! I say won, we made a slight profit. How slight? 18 pees. That is incredibly slight. What happened? Read on...

 

Doncaster vs Peterborough - Prediction Home win

Result - Doncaster 0 Peterborough 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Doncaster started the stronger and should have been ahead when John ‘Mary’ Marquis was presented with a clear shot from a Jack Baldwin error but tamely hit straight at Jonathan Bond.

Peterborough's Marcus ‘Oscar’ Maddison came closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit the crossbar with a superb curling effort from close to 30 yards.

The visitors grew into the game and swarmed forward with pace and power but Doncaster had the better of the second half, keeping Peterborough at bay well and attacking quickly themselves.

Ben Whiteman drilled a shot narrowly wide and substitute Andy ‘Moon River’ Williams had a shot blocked on the line after reaching a Matty ‘Lionel’ Blair cross.

 

Oldham vs Charlton - Prediction Away win

Result - Oldham 3 Charlton 4

Yay!

The Addicks grabbed an 18th-minute lead when Ricky ‘Eamonn’ Holmes unleashed a stunning 30-yard drive into the top corner.

Tarique Fosu-Henry doubled the advantage three minutes later, cutting in from the left and firing beyond goalkeeper Ben Wilson from 10 yards.

Struggling Oldham responded after 34 minutes as Charlton defender Patrick Bauer was penalised for fouling Craig Davies, who drilled the resulting penalty past the dive of Ben Amos.

The Latics levelled six minutes after the break when the visitors failed to handle a long ball, allowing Eoin Doyle to mark his Oldham debut with a clinical 12-yard finish.

However, Oldham were soon down to 10 men as Ousmane Fane received a second yellow card for bringing down Chris Solly.

Charlton capitalised after 62 minutes, Fosu-Henry feeding Billy Clarke to score from close range, and - 10 minutes later - they made it 4-2 when debutant Joe Dodoo went clean through to beat Wilson.

The home side regained hope with Jack Byrne's 20-yard strike eight minutes from time.

 

Southend vs Rochdale - Prediction Home win

Result - Southend 0 Rochdale 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Nile ‘Lone’ Ranger came on as a 53rd-minute substitute in place of Marc-Antoine Fortune but was unable to help Southend make the breakthrough against a Rochdale side who had skipper Ian Henderson sent off five minutes into the second half for a late challenge on Stephen Hendrie.

The Shrimpers had earlier seen Simon Cox's first-half penalty saved by Brendan Moore after Joseph Rafferty had fouled Ryan Leonard.

Rochdale threatened first in the opening exchanges with Jordan Williams having a powerful left-footed shot tipped onto the left post by Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley.

The Shrimpers wasted an even clearer chance just before the break when referee Tim Robinson pointed to the spot but Cox's low spot-kick was saved down to his right hand side by Moore.

 

Walsall vs Plymouth - Prediction Home win

Result - Walsall 2 Plymouth 1

Yay!

Burnley striker Daniel Agyei nodded home in the first half and Erhun Oztumer sealed the points for Walsall before Graham Carey's late penalty reduced the deficit.

 

Wycombe vs Forest Green - Prediction Home win

Result - Wycombe 3 Forest Green 1

Yay!

Wycombe went ahead in the seventh minute when Adebayo Akinfenwa knocked down a long ball and Paris Cowan-Hall swept past a static Sam Russell.

The dominant Chairboys then doubled their lead, with Anthony Stewart being given too much time and space to fire into the bottom corner from just inside the box.

Liam Noble senselessly gave the ball away to Akinfenwa, who rumbled through on goal only for Russell to parry his shot and give Luke O'Nien an easy tap-in.

Forest Green finally had something to cheer midway through the second half when Christian Doidge nodded into an empty net after his initial header from Luke James' cross had struck the post.

 

Not a bad showing from The Grambler there. A slight improvement could see us winning even more dosh this week. So what has he/she/it randomly selected?

Game - Result - Odds

Fulham vs Cardiff - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Norwich vs Birmingham - Prediction Home win - 5/6

QPR vs Ipswich - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Wolverhampton vs Millwall - Prediction Home win - 3/4

Sheffield Wed vs Nottingham Forest - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Hmm. All games are from the Championship. Odd.

Any road up, the bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...

£11.12

 

Moderately whopping, I think.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which Yugoslav born full back made 167 appearances for Southampton and later managed a Scottish club to Cup Final success. The answer was Ivan Golac who took over from Jim McLean as Dundee United’s manager in 1993, leading them to Scottish Cup victory in 1994. He apparently had an odd approach to football management, sometimes taking his squad of players to Camperdown Park to ‘smell the flowers’. Hmm.

One for this week? A relatively easy one. Who was the only man to win caps for Scotland while playing for Barcelona? Try that one down the pub.

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

As usual, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to Ms J. Sawalha for some amusing moments from Absolutely Fabulous in which she played the sensible daughter of the somewhat less sensible Edina... Poor Saffy.

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.

 

Friday, 1 September 2017

Week 5 - The Grambler remembering Stewart 4 years on


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy



 
This has been a sad week.  Tuesday saw the fourth anniversary of the death of the founder of this, the world’s best ill-informed blog.

In the months leading up to his death, Stewart was aware that his time was limited. Indeed, although he lived until the August, he knew in January that he didn’t have long to live (See http://www.thegrambler.com/2013/01/week-22-cest-le-grambler-finalment.html). That gave him and Geraldine a long time to discuss the kind of things that most people don’t ever have the chance to talk about. They even chose the minister who would be perform Stewart’s funeral.

On the anniversary of his death, we, his family, remembered that funeral. That sounds ultra-depressing, doesn’t it? But we were actually sharing some amusing memories. On the day, we asked mourners to share their funnier moments with Stewart by getting them to write their thoughts down. Having not seen the slips of paper for almost four years, on Tuesday, we read some of these messages again.

I hope his friends won’t mind me sharing some of them with you. They weren’t always entirely complimentary.

Many jolly parties were mentioned. Stewart always seemed to be the one that would do the daftest things. When he had long hair, he let the other partygoers put his hair into bunches using elasticated baubles. Not just one or two bunches; dozens of them. So he looked ridiculous. Who cared? Another occasion somebody wondered if you could ‘snort’ sherbet. Geuss who tried it.

One person’s memory was of when he took his passport to school on his 18th birthday so that he could go out for his first legal pint at lunchtime. Lunchtime! School lunchtime!

Another recalled how at a wedding he taught everyone to do the Scottish dances and later began a conga line and as well as providing suitable noises and chants.

Others recalled his playful sense of humour which quite often got him into trouble... Rearranging the cones at a roadworks so that drivers had to stop and move them before being able to drive on. Or when doing something similar on another occasion he was invited to sit in a police car to explain his ‘Alan Partridge moment’. Apparently, they saw the funny side too.

Other times his idea of fun upset people. Calling the quizmaster’s mother something very rude at a pub quiz was not the most sensible thing to do. And if you are standing next to someone wearing a check shirt, you perhaps shouldn’t start singing the Monty Python ‘lumberjack’ song at the top of your voice.

Going with Stewart to some unusual gigs was another thing that his friends remembered. The Leeds festival of 2005 was one event recalled for some odd moments... Stealing beer from lorries? Singing Merry Christmas Everyone (the Shakin’ Stevens song) at the height of summer. Starting random rumours like telling everyone that Neil Buchanan had died of an art attack. Arriving home in scruffy jeans and teeshirt but wearing a black dinner jacket complete with silk lapels bought in a charity stall at the festival.

Another friend recalled the time that he and Stewart were singing karaoke so badly that someone actually threw a shoe at them (The song was Peaches by Presidents of the United States so who could blame them?).

His fussy or unusual eating habits were also remembered. The time he was offered pie - ‘Don’t like that kind of pie.’ A cheese sandwich? - ‘Don’t like that kind of cheese.’ A piece and Jam? - ‘Don’t like that kind of jam.’ Yet he would eat fried pancakes. Yuk!

Many remembered his time as a rock star in the band called The Incredible Monkey Man (They became (very) local celebrities by winning a battle of the bands competition.) and especially the song they had in their repertoire relating to a famous TV celebrity which may or may not have been libellous.

His most famous gig was as part of a trio at my nephew’s wedding. I’ll let his cousin tell the tale...

‘Whenever the subject of our wedding would arise with friends or family, the rendition of ‘500 Miles’ by Stewart, Colin and Kevin always gets brought up.

It seems that playing an inflatable guitar in a kilt on stage is a show stopper at any event.

When I have mentioned Stewart’s illness in the past, people say, ‘Your cousin... the air guitar guy?’

Gone far too soon.’
 
500 Miles on blow-up guitar and kilt
 

Indeed. Okay, we asked everyone to give their happy memories of him, hence the emphasis on his more ‘playful’ side. However, one friend, a fellow T.I.M.M. member decided to quickly write another piece which probably covers many people’s feelings about Stewart...

‘To Geraldine and Stewart’s family.

I wrote another story of memories, but this one I wanted to be more personal.

I’m so happy Stewart had [Geraldine] in his life throughout the last four years. Geraldine was perfect for him and kept him strong throughout the pain.

I always joke about my ‘25 month plan’ where I plan my life to have all the necessities - a good job, a house, a good wife and a family. Turns out Smit [Stewart] was many steps ahead of me, he had everything I wanted and it kills me to see him taken so early. Geraldine gave him all this and I will be forever thankful for that.

I just can’t believe he’s gone. And I can’t believe our music career never took off, we were destined to be rock stars together. It was an honour to be Smit’s friend, see him through school, attend his wedding and, unfortunately, attend his funeral.

[Stewart’s mum] asked us at the hospital in January, ‘You’re not going to forget him, are you?’ I promise you, that will never happen as the boy Smit is unforgettable. He is a true gent, a great friend and, above all, an absolutely terrible trombone player.

I realise these posts have no structure whatsoever, but it’s so hard to find the right memories and put them into literature. In summary... That Smit was no’ bad. We’ll miss him greatly.’

 
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And now... The usual drivel.

I see Wean Rooney has been charged with drink driving. Police officers stopped his black Volkswagen Beetle at 2am.

Shocking isn’t it? It’s absolutely disgraceful from such an influential individual. What kind of example is that to be setting?  A VW Beetle?  What the hell was he thinking?

 

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Were any famous or notorious people born on the 2nd of September? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Bill Shankly 1913 (Footy bloke.), Hugo Montenegro 1925 (Composer. Would you like to hear his most famous piece? Although he didn’t actually write this, it is considered to be the ‘definitive’ version. Ladeez and Genullum, I give you lo bueno, lo malo y lo feo.), Victor Spinetti 1929 (Welsh actor, isn’t it. Factoid: He is the only actor to have appeared in all the Beatles’ films.), Billy Preston 1946 (Musician. Also worked with the Beatles. A clip? Why not. All together now... Why can't we be humble...), Mark Harmon 1951 (Simon Donovan.), Jimmy Connors 1952 (Tennisy bloke.), Carlos Valderrama 1961 (Footy bloke.), Keanu Reeves 1964 (Theodore Logan.), Lennox Lewis 1965 (Boxy bloke.), Salma Hayek 1966 (Mexican actreth eth eth eth eth.), Danny Shittu 1980 (I do apologise. Footy bloke.), Joey Barton 1982 (Another footy bloke.) and Javi Martinez 1988 (Yet another footy bloke.).

 

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I’ve received a letter...

Dear Mr Bumbler,

Here on the farm in Cambridgeshire, I do like the music clips you include each week. Nice to hear Hugo Montenegro’s version of Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Here’s a teaser for you. What early seventies kids’ programme about a musical group and featuring a future teen idol, had music composed by Hugo Montenegro?

Yours sincerely,

D. Parr, Tridge Farm, Ely.

 

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Well, time to get on with some grambling. How did The Grambler’s predictions for last week fare? Even more absolute sh*t than last week. Not a single pee back. What happened? Read on...

 

Watford vs Brighton - Prediction Home win

Result - Watford 0 Brighton 0

Ooh! ’It the Bar!

Defender Miguel Britos was shown a first-half red card for a high and reckless challenge on Brighton's Anthony Knockaert, who was lucky to escape injury.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, Brighton came closest to making the breakthrough as they twice hit the post through Knockaert and Tomer Hemed.

But Watford's 10 men held firm to claim a point.

 

Cardiff vs QPR - Prediction Home win

Result - Cardiff 2 QPR 1

Yay!

Matt ‘The Doctor’ Smith nodded QPR in front before their former winger Junior Hoilett equalised by blocking goalkeeper Alex Smithies' clearance.

Sol Bamba's header gave Cardiff the lead and the win.

 

Middlesbrough vs Preston - Prediction Home win

Result - Middlesbrough 0 Preston North End 0

Ooh! ’It the bar, again!

Tom Barkhuizen had the best effort of the first half as his shot was pushed onto the post by Boro (and ex-Motherwell) keeper Darren Randolph, who also saved well from Paul Huntington just before the break.

Randolph was forced into another fine save from Sean Maguire after an hour.

All together now... Randolph! In the middle of our goal! (Sung to the tune of Our House by Madness.)

 

Cambridge vs Morecambe - Prediction Home win

Result - Cambridge 0 Morecambe 0

Ooh! ’It the bar, yet again!

The U's should have been ahead inside a minute, with Ade Azeez firing wide after being played in by Uche Ikpeazu (That would score a bit in Scrabble), before the pair combined again and Ikpeazu's shot was deflected over.

Jevani Brown saw a powerful effort parried by Shrimps goalkeeper Barry Roche, and Brown then laid the ball off for Azeez to fire into the side-netting after 19 minutes.

Morecambe's only real chance of the half came when Aaron Wildig's volley from Patrick Brough's cross hit defender Leon Legge and deflected wide.

The Cambridge pressure continued in the second half with Roche saving from Azeez and Dean Winnard producing a superb block to deny Ikpeazu after the forward had beaten two men and burst into the box.

Morecambe could have stolen the lead in the 67th minute but Garry Thompson blazed over from close range when Aaron McGowan's cross fell to him.

 

Swindon vs Crawley - Prediction Home win

Result - Swindon 0 Crawley 3

Boo!

Oliver Lancashire headed Lewis Young's cross into his own net in the 36th minute, before late goals from Jordan Roberts and captain Jimmy Smith sealed the points for the visitors.

 

A poor show from The Grambler there. Can he/she/it make amends this week? [Do want the honest answer? No. - Ed.] Let’s see what five games The Grambler has randomly selected from only 19 league games available (It’s a weekend of international games so there are no games in the top divisions in England or Scotland.)

Game - Result - Odds

Doncaster vs Peterborough - Prediction Home win - Evens

Oldham vs Charlton - Prediction Away win - 10/11

Southend vs Rochdale - Prediction Home win - 23/20

Walsall vs Plymouth - Prediction Home win - 23/20

Wycombe vs Forest Green - Prediction Home win - 10/11

 

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...

£14.91

 

A bit more whopping than usual.

 

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Teaser time. Yay! Last week I told you that Chelsea had won the FA Cup seven times in all with seven different managers, only one of whom was English and I asked you who that was. The answer was Dave Sexton who was in charge for the club’s first FA Cup win in 1970. The others? Ruud Gullit in 1997, Gianluca Vialli in 2000, Jose Mourinho in 2007, Guus Hiddink in 2009, Carlo Ancelotti in 2010 and Roberto di Matteo in 2012.

One for this week? Indeed not. There are two questions for you this week; both relating to the same man. Question 1 - Which Yugoslav born full back made 167 appearances for Southampton in two spells? Question 2 - Who did he manage to a Scottish Cup Final success in 1994? One to ask down the pub, I reckon.
 

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As usual, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

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And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, in the week that marks the fourth anniversary of Stewart’s funeral, I thought a few words on suitable songs to be played at funerals might be apt. Nowadays, rather than a hymn, funerals tend to end with a song suitable for the person who has died; perhaps a favourite of theirs; perhaps one considered appropriate to the occasion. Some of those selected are a little bit bizarre. Apparently, the Countdown theme is quite a popular, if rather tasteless, choice. The same can be said of the Queen song I mentioned just a few weeks back - Another One Bites the Dust. A wee bitty sick, don’t you reckon? Nonetheless, it is a popular funeral toon.

Similarly appropriate, but inappropriate if you follow my drift, songs are AC/DC’s Highway to Hell or the Wizard of Oz song Ding Dong the Witch is Dead. What about Going Underground by the Jam? No, I don’t think so, but they are apparently popular choices these days.

I suppose a nice cheery song is good after the rather sombre affair that is the standard funeral. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from The Life of Brian is very popular. Morecambe and Wise’ Bring Me Sunshine and Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy are others.

Popular TV themes are often selected. These tend to be programmes that the deceased enjoyed. The Coronation Street theme for a fan of soap operas, the Match of the Day theme for a footy fan and Soul Limbo (The Test Match Special theme) for a cricket fan are all played regularly at funerals. The Eric Idle song from One Foot in the Grave is another jokey one that is often used.

Sometimes, the wrong choice entirely is made. Lou Reed’s Perfect Day would seem to be a nice funeral-friendly song until you realise that the song is about drug abuse. Not really suitable for a funeral.

I recall going to the funeral of someone who liked ballroom dancing. The Fred Astaire song Cheek to Cheek would seem most appropriate, you would think. Unfortunately, the first line of the song goes ‘Heaven. I’m in heaven...’ Oops.

Have you ever wondered what the most popular choices are? No? Well, I’m going to tell you, anyway. Here are the top five funeral songs, pop pickers. Orl right? Right.

At number five it’s Eva Cassidy committing murder with Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

At number four it’s Stoke-on-Trent’s favourite son, Robbie Williams with, you’ve guessed it, Angels.

Coming in at number three it’s Time to Say Goodbye. That’s by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli, not Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

At number two it’s the classic Wind Beneath my Wings from Bette Midler, not to be confused with Wind Beneath my Wheels by Brian Potter.

And number one pop pickers? It’s that good old song about bullying those around you and basically not giving a f*ck - My Way by Frank Sinatra. Not arf.

But what about Stewart’s funeral, I hear you ask. What was played for him? Well, it was a very odd choice, certainly. It was a song that, for some reason, Stewart and his pals played a lot at break times in school, even though it was already at least 20 years since it had been a minor hit. It seemed appropriate for the occasion because all of those friends came to the funeral. Ladeez and Genullum, here is 2-4-6-8 Motorway.

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.