Sunday, 12 January 2020

Week 23/24 - The Grambler NoBE


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

 

Happy new what we call a year to you all... a wee bit late. Sorry.

I don’t know about you but I couldn’t wait to see the New Year Honours List. [You are joking, of course. Tell me you’re joking. - Ed.] I am indeed joking. I couldn’t give a monkey’s who gets made a dame/knight/embeeyee/ohbeeyee. It all smacks of cronyism, anyway. Who makes up the list? Civil servants. Who gets most of the honours chucked at them? Civil servants. Hmm...

I do know that a lot of showbizzy types also get a mention. Strangely it seems, this year, to include folk who haven’t done much to write home about for a long time. Dame Olivia Newtown Bog? What has she done lately? The last time I recall anything of note was her getting physical in the gym. That was nearly 40 years ago.

Dame Floella Bendyman? A Playschool presenter who has not been much in the public eye since she was bouncing Humpty on her knees and looking through the square (or was it the round?) window.

Elton John gets a Companion of Honour to add to his knighthood. What, exactly does that entitle him to? And as with the previous two, what has he done lately? The only time he has been seen recently was being interviewed by a fawning Graham Norden... or was it Denis Norton?... simply to plug his book.

Ainsley Haricot? A tv chef who also hasn’t been seen much in recent years receives a gong for ‘services to broadcasting and the culinary arts’. Culinary arts? What bollocks. It’s cooking for crying out loud! Food! Where does art fit in?

Steve McQueen gets a knighthood. In case you didn’t know he is an artist and film director. [He was good in The Great Escape. - Ed.]

Sam Menzies also gets a knighthood. Another film director... seems to have the James Bond gig these days.

In all, 1,097 people have received some kind of award. Most of them get the embeeyee, ohbeeyee or bee-ee-em.

Not everyone is happy to be given an honour. Ohbeeyees have been turned down by such famous folk as David Bowie, George Melly, LS Lowry and even Nigella Lawson whose dad is a Baron. Presumably, she felt her services to the culinary arts weren’t quite up to Ainsley Haribo’s standards.

Famously, all four members of the Beatles were presented with gongs back in 1965. John Lennon, always able to ruffle feathers with a few well-chosen words, upset a lot of people when he said, ‘Lots of people who complained about us receiving the MBE received theirs for heroism in the war – for killing people... We received ours for entertaining other people. I'd say we deserve ours more.’ Oops. He later returned his medal during his ‘give peace a chance’ protest.

I have been trying to find out what a person who receives such an honour is entitled to. The only entitlement I could find was that the recipient could bung the letters OBE or MBE after their name. Well, whoop-de-doo for that. Honestly, that is the sum total of perks from having a medal given to you.

I actually know a couple of people who have received embeeyees in the past. Do they add those three letters to their name? No. Although they accepted the award, they consider it to be a little pretentious to actually use the honour. So what is the point?

Well, maybe someone who is given a knighthood or a damehood(?) should get something out of it. Nope. You simply stick Sir or Dame in front of your name and that is your whack.

The only perk I can imagine is that other people might think the title makes the recipient somebody special... Think Basil Fawlty and his obsequious fawning over someone he assumes is a lord.

For some – those with the correct ‘breeding’ – a knighthood could be a shoe-in to a directorship, for example. Indeed, there is a suggestion that many individuals are so desperate to receive a gong, they pay vast sums to (political) party funds for the chance. They are attempting to buy a title. If it happens nowadays [Perish the thought. - Ed.], the practice is never admitted. However, in bygone times it seemed to be acceptable behaviour; in fact, it was actively encouraged. One hundred years ago, when David Lloyd-George was Prime Minister there was almost a tariff for honours: a knighthood would set you back ten grand, a baronetcy three times as much and a peerage was at least another 20 grand on top of that. In the five years between 1917 and 1922 the Liberal Party funds were boosted by some £2 million thanks to such ‘business deals’. Allowing for inflation, that figure would be worth £132 million today. A nice little earner.

Any road up, back to the plot [What plot? - Ed.], most recipients of honours - the honest ones - receive no perks as such. How rubbish is that? I think that it would be nice if they got some freebies, don’t you? An OBE should at least get ten per cent off at McDonalds, for example. Maybe an MBE could get money off soap powder or some such. Yeah. That’s it, make it worth having.

I must get a letter off to Her Maj and suggest it... Maybe I’ll get an MBE for services to MBEs.

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious (spelt correctly this week) individuals born on the 4th of January? Of course there were; here are some I’ve actually heard of. Isaac Newton 1643 (Polymath who told us why an apple falls down from the sky, and from this fact it’s very plain, all other objects do the same... ), Jacob Grimm 1785 (Him as what published the fairy tales. He was a philologist too. Apparently, it’s legal.), Louis Braille 1809 (Inventor of bumpy writing.), Isaac Pitman 1813 (He had a short hand... something like that.), Charles Stratton 1838 (Who? Better known as circus performer General Tom Thumb who stood only 99cm tall as an adult. Contrary to popular belief, he was not a dwarf but a midget.), Augustus John 1878 (Painter... not the ‘and decorator’ variety.), Max Eastman 1883 (Orfer.), Leroy Grumman 1895 (Aeroplane builder.), Sterling Holloway 1905 (Actor.), Lionel Newman 1916 (Composer. Time for a clip. He must have been proud of this one.), Barbara Rush 1927 (Actress.), Sorrell Booke 1930 (Actor. Boss Hogg; that was him.), Floyd Patterson 1935 (Boxy bloke. The youngest ever heavyweight world champion.), Dyan Cannon 1937 (Accessory for a small Citroen car.), John McLaughlin 1942 (musician. Here’s some jehhzzz.), Arthur Conley 1946 (Singer. Have some sweet soul music. Click on Week 12 - Do you like good grambling for another Arthur’s take on that song.), ‘Beto’ Alonso 1953 (Hombre de fútbol.), Bernard Sumner aka Bernard Albrecht aka Bernard Dicken aka Barney 1956 (A bit of Joy Division and New Order... Hmm... I wonder what his political views are. Oh, it’s meant to be ironic. He he is as part of duo Electronic with Get The Message.), Matt Frewer 1958 (Actor. Max Headroom; that was him.), Michael Stipe 1960 (A bit of REM. Here’s their biggest hit in the Yuk. Not what you expected, huh?), Guy Forget 1965 (Mec de tennis.), Craig Revel Horwood 1965 (Bloke from off of that dance programme.), Julia Ormond 1965 (Ectress.), James Milner 1986 (Footy bloke.) and Toni Kroos 1990 (Fußball-Typ.).

 

Shall we have a look at which famous or infamous types were born on the 11th of January? Yes, why not. Fred Archer 1857 (Horsey ridey bloke. The greatest jockey of his day and was Champion Jockey for 13 consecutive seasons. Died aged only 29.), Harry Selfridge 1858 (Shopkeeper. Ironically, didn’t sell fridges.), George Curzon aka Lord Curzon of Kedleston aka Earl Curzon of Kedleston or plain old Lord Curzon 1859 (The well-known Viceroy of India.), Lionel Stander... Stop sniggering at the back... 1908 (Actor), Mick McManus 1920 (Wrestler, it says here.), Carroll Shelby 1923 (Automotive engineer. Famously, developed the AC Cobra.), Rod Taylor 1930 (Strine ictor.), Arthur Scargill 1938 (Trade union leader who had a shredded wheat strapped to his head.), Gérson de Oliveira Nunes, known simply as Gérson 1941 (Cara de futebol.), Clarence Clemens 1942 (Saxophonist. Here is his Jungleland solo.), Tony Kaye 1946 (Ivory tickler. Here he is during his first spell with Yes on Yours is No Disgrace.), Joe Harper 1948 (Footy bloke.), Terry Williams 1948 (Drummer on this, Sabre Dance. Keep up!), Daryl Braithwaite 1949 (Sherbet singer. Here he seems to have got his dressing gown and shirt mixed up.), Ben Crenshaw 1952 (Golfy Bloke.), Bryan Robson 1957 (Footy bloke.), Vicki Peterson 1958 (A Bangle. Here she is on geetar, last seen heading for Liverpool.), Brian Moore 1962 (Rugby bloke.), Tracy Caulkins 1963 (Swimmy bloke.), Tom Dumont 1968 (Geetarist. No doubt you will like this. Geddit? No doubt... That’s the name of the band... Please yourselves.), Mary J. Blige 1971 (Chanter. Here’s her biggest solo hit in the Yuk, Everything.), Emile Heskey 1978 (Footy bloke.), Newton Faulkner 1985 (Musician of no fixed hairstyle. Here’s his biggest hit to date.), Jamie Vardy 1987 (Footy bloke.) and Leroy Sané 1996 (Fußball-Typ.).

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve received a letter...

 

Dear Bungle (Mr.),

I was surprised that you provided a link to a Sumner (Bernard) song from his time with Electonic rather than a song from his Order (New) days. After all, he released many more singles with that band; 43, to be precise. And don’t forget Order (New) still hold the record for the highest sales of a 12” single. Can you recall what it was called?

Sincerely yours,


 

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our little bet go last time? It won. Yay! No, not yay. £1.76 back from our £2.20 stake isn’t particulary good, is it. What happened? Read on.

 

Birmingham vs Leeds - Prediction Away win

Result - Birmingham 4 Leeds 5

Wow!

It looked like it might be a stroll for Leeds when Helder Costa and Jack Harrison scored inside the space of six first-half minutes.

But 16-year-old Jude Bellingham scored with his first goal in over three months to reduce the arrears at half-time before Lukas Jutkiewicz levelled on 61 minutes.

Luke Ayling put Leeds back in front eight minutes later, but Jeremie Bela equalised for a second time.

Stuart Dallas then struck on 84 minutes, only for Jutkiewicz to level again - but Harding's own goal in the fifth minute of added time settled a classic contest.

Bristol City vs Luton - Prediction Home win

Result - Bristol City 3 Luton 0

Yay!

Marley ‘Jacob’ Watkins, on his first appearance since 10 November, opened the scoring after just four minutes, nodding in Niclas Eliasson's cross.

Famara Diedhou doubled the lead from the penalty spot before half-time, after Kazenga LuaLua was penalised for a foul on Jack Hunt. [Unfortunate name. - Ed.]

And Hunt, who earlier cleared a rare Luton chance off the line, created City's third, flicked in by Andreas Weimann.

Nottingham F vs Wigan - Prediction Home win

Result - Nottingham Forest 1 Wigan 0

Yay!

Tobias Figueiredo gave a headed winner in a game of penalty drama for Wigan Athletic.

Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba denied Josh Windass an equaliser from the spot after Alfa Semedo brought Joe Gelhardt down in the box, and Wigan then had a second penalty appeal for handball turned down minutes later.

Figueiredo's brilliantly steered header across goal from a Tiago Silva corner proved decisive and came just minutes after Nathan Byrne put an effort wide on the counter attack for the visitors.

Before the break, Joe Williams had gone closest to opening the scoring for the Latics with a toe-poked effort that forced Samba into a fine save at the near post.

Forest's top scorer Lewis Grabban then headed the Reds' best first-half chance wastefully wide from close range before Figueiredo's goal and Samba's penalty heroics secured the points for Forest.

Preston NE vs Reading - Prediction Home win

Result - Preston North End 0 Reading 2

Boo!

Reading shocked Preston North End with two goals in four first-half minutes to secure victory at Deepdale.

John Swift opened the scoring for the visitors, placing Tyler Blackett's cut-back beyond Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd.

And four minutes later Blackett was on hand again, playing in Lucas Joao to calmly doubled the Royals' lead.

Alex Neil's side pushed hard for a reply but were repeatedly denied by Royals keeper Rafael Cabral.

Swansea vs Barnsley - Prediction Home win

Result - Swansea City 0 Barnsley 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

The hosts created the clearer opportunities, but their failure to find a finish means they have won only two of their last 10 home league games.

Barnsley had their moments too and were worth a share of the spoils at the end of a hard-fought contest.

The first goalless game at the Liberty Stadium this season is a better result for Gerhard Struber's team, whose revival at the bottom continues, while Swansea remain on the fringes of the play-off places.

Can The Grambler improve on matters this week? Let’s see what he/she/it has chosen

Game - Result - Odds

Everton vs Brighton - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Leicester vs Southampton - Prediction Home win - 3/5

Charlton vs West Brom - Prediction Away win - 4/7

Coventry vs MK Dons - Prediction Home win - 3/5

Sunderland vs Wycombe - Prediction Home win - 17/20

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 Predictions (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!), the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping....

 

£8.64

Just not whopping enough, I’m sorry to say.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you what animal was raced at Stirling Albion’s ground, Forthbank, during the Second World War. The answer is cheetahs. The idea seems ludicrous, but someone obviously thought it would bring in the punters. Sadly, cheetahs aren’t that interested in a stuffed rabbit, so didn’t bother chasing it. Now, if it had been a live antelope...

One for this week? Quite often we hear of football games being local derbies. That is, two teams from the same town or city playing one another... Liverpool vs Everton or Manchester City vs Manchester United... That sort of thing. So, with that in mind, how many London derbies will take (including those that have aleady taken) place in the Premier League this season? Good un? I hope so.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you 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.....
 

Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. J.G. Ballard whose words ring especially relevant in a week that saw a couple of titled benefits scroungers decide to turn their backs on life as part of the British royal family...

‘The honours system is a Ruritanian charade that helps to prop up the top-heavy monarchy.’

He said those words when he was offered a knighthood back in 2003. Yup, totally agree.
 
Not Sir J.G.

 

 

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.

 

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Week 21/22 - Gramble out the old


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

 

 

Did you have a nice Gramblemas? Good. Me? Yes, lovely; thanks for asking.

As usual, I missed most of the decent stuff that got shown on telly over the festive period. I mean, who’s got time to sit and watch television leading up to, and including, Christmas Day? The time the best telly programmes should be put on is not before Christmas, but after it, when we have all got some time to relax. But no; in time-honoured fashion, all the good stuff gets shown when I am in the perfect place to miss it.

Mind you, perhaps the choice of programmes wasn’t so wonderful. As far as the British Broadcorping Casteration is concerned, we are all still living in the 1970s. We were treated to (or had foisted upon us) large helpings of Morecambe and Wise, The Good Life, Porridge (the programme, not the breakfast food), Dad’s Army and The Two Ronnies. Good grief, the 70s ended 40 years ago and we are still being shown this stuff.

There was a huge fuss made by the Beeb that a new episode of Gavin and Stacey had been made. Whoop de f****** doo! A sitcom that first aired on BBC3 (because it wasn’t considered to be worth putting on one of the main channels) getting the star treatment on Christmas day? I suppose the reason it has been raised to such heady heights is thanks to the success of its main star and co-writer, comedian (it says here) James Condom.

But enough of my grumbles about the Beeb Beeb Ceeb scraping the bottom of the barrel for its programmes, I have another observation for you to consider. It concerns the way the makers of entertainments no longer content themselves with making a successful film. If a film is incredibly popular, they continue to cash in on its success by merchandising every conceivable product they can, based on aspects of it. Yes, the makers of Frozen and Frozen 2, I’m talking about you. Every shop and supermarket seems to sell some sort of Frozen-related tat product. Apart from the actual character dolls, it seems that every item of children’s clothing can be had with the characters’ cross-eyed features staring out at you... There’s a thing - Why do Disney’s cgi characters always look cross-eyed? They are. Next time you watch a film, you’ll spot it. Ahem, I digress. If it isn’t clothing, it’s food; usually the unhealthier options. My grand-daughter even received a Frozen night light.

In 2014, the year after the first Frozen film was released, the dolls of the characters ousted Barbie as the top-selling doll in the good ol’ U S of A. It was reported that all Frozen-related merchandise was worth $531 million to Disney that year.

2014 was probably the peak year for sales, but products featuring the characters have always been around since then. Presumably, sales were beginning to flag a bit, so a second film had to be made to prop them up a bit. Obviously, I am just being cynical when I say that. Or am I? Why do the characters in the new film all wear different clothing? Anything to do with all previous dolls suddenly seeming to be out of date? Anything to do with children wanting the most up-to-date figure? Hmm... Who’s being cynical?

Of course, the Americans have always done merchandising on the back of a film’s success really well. Consider Star Wars and all the characters, spacecraft and weaponry that have been marketed over the years. Apparently, all that plastic is worth $5 - 6 billion per year. That’s billions, not millions.

It struck me that us Brits are not nearly as good at cashing in on popular films. Harry Potter has done very well, but it is an American company which made the film (and the money, presumably). I reckon the best example Britain can muster is the merchandise from Aardman creations Wallace and Gromit or Shawn the Sheep.

Our lack of marketing nous really came home to me recently. I went to the toilet [Sorry pardon excuse me? Is this really relevant? - Ed.]. Indeed, it is relevant. Do you remember Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman? You know the one... Walking in the Air... That one. It is a film that is shown every Christmas on British television. What merchandise was generated from that film? Toilet paper. That’s right. Toilet paper. You can wipe your a*** with paper that has The Snowman printed on it.

There are many things that the Brits don’t get right and this is one of them. Bog paper! I ask you!

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorius individuals born on the 21st of December? Of course there were; here are some I’ve actually heard of. Jack Russell 1795 (Dog breeder. I wonder what kind of dogs he bred.), Benjamin Disraeli 1804 (The well-known prime minister.), Walter Hagen 1892 (Golfy bloke.), Werner Von Trapp 1915 (Kurt in The Sound of Music.), Kurt Waldheim 1918 (The well-known president and war criminal.), Hanif Mohammad 1934 ( کرکٹر), Lorenzo Bandini 1935 (Pilota da corsa.), Jane Fonda 1937 (The well-known actress and fitness guru.), Frank Zappa 1940 (Musician. Have some cosmik debris. ), Albert Lee 1943 (Musician. Here he attests that he be a (west) country boy he be.), Michael Tilson Thomas 1944 (Composer. Have a bit of cultyer.), Carl Wilson 1946 (A beach boy. Here’s his most famous toon.), Samuel L. Jackson 1948 (Actor.), Steve Perryman 1951 (Footy bloke.), András Schiff 1953 (Conductor and tickler of the ivories. Have some more cultyer.), Betty Wright 1953 (Singer. Here she is cleaning up.), Chris Evert 1954 (Tennisy bloke.), Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland 1966 (Donald’s lad.) and Tom Sturridge 1985 (Ectaw.).

And now... the 28th of December. Woodrow Wilson 1856 (The well-known president.), Earl Hines 1903 (Bandleader and ivory tickler. Here are some memories of you.), Lew Ayres 1908 (Actor. Starred in the first anti-war film, 1930’s All Quiet on the Western Front.), Billy Williams 1910 (Singer who writes letters to himself.), Roebuck ‘Pops’ Staples 1914 (A Staple singer. Have some gospelly blues down in Mississippi.), Johnny Otis 1921 (Singer/songwriter. Here’s Hand Jive. Best not to ask.), Stan Lee 1922 (Marvel Comics bloke.), Hildegard Knef 1925 (Schauspielerin und Sängerin. Heir ist In dieser Stadt.), Milton Obote 1925 (The well-known president.), Brian Redhead 1929 (Tv journalist... A journalist on tv... not someone who liked to dress as a woman. I'll get me coat.), Roy Hattersley 1932 (Politician.), Nichelle Nicols 1932 (Actress. Uhura in Star Trek.), Maggie Smith 1934 (Ectress.), Ratan Tata 1937 (Industrialist.), Frank McLintock 1939 (Footy bloke.), Intikhab Alam 1941 ( کرکٹر), Chas Hodges 1943 (Bloke who had a sing song while sitting at the Joanna. Have a clip.  Rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit etc.), Max Hastings 1945 (Journalist.), Hubert Green 1946 (Golfy bloke.), Edgar Winter 1946 (Musician. Johnny’s wee brother. Here’s a monster... It’s Frankenstein.), Alex Chilton 1950 (A box top. Here’s another letter.), Clifford Cocks 1950 (Stop sniggering at the back... He’s a mathemetician.), Richard Clayderman 1953 (Chatouiller d’ivoire. Voici un morceau... Ballade Pour Adeline.), Denzel Washington 1954 (Actor.), Stephen Frost 1955 (Comedian.), Nigel Kennedy 1956 (Fiddler. Here’s Gypsy Chardash.), Terry Butcher 1958 (Footy bloke. Ex-Motherwell manager.), Sean Casey 1967 (Storm chaser.), Linus Torvalds 1969 (Computer programmer. Developed Linux.), Anita Doth 1971 (Half of 2 Unlimited.  Get ready...), John Stephens aka John Legend 1978 (Musician. Here’s his first big ’it, Ordinary People.), James Blake 1979 (Tennisy bloke.), Lomana LuaLua 1980 (Mec de football.), Sienna Miller 1981 (Actress.), Frank Turner 1981 (Musician. Time to recover.), Tom Huddlestone 1986 (Footy bloke.) and Adam Peaty 1994 (Swimmy bloke.).
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve received a letter...

 

Dear Mr. Bamboo,

I am so pleased that you gave us a link to a John Legend song. He really is my favourite singer. The one you chose did reasonably well in the charts reaching number four. However, he had another song which got to number two, but I can’t remember which one. Can you help?

Yours affectionately,


 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our little bet go last time? It won. Sort of. 60 pees back from our £2.20 stake isn’t particulary good, is it. What happened? Read on.

 

 

AFC Wimbledon vs Doncaster - Prediction Away win

Result - Wimbledon 2 Doncaster 1

Boo!

Marcus Forss was the hero for AFC Wimbledon, scoring one and making the other as they came from behind to beat Doncaster 2-1 at Kingsmeadow.

The visitors started the game on the front foot and after Rakish Bingham's shot was shovelled behind by Dons goalkeeper Nathan Trott, Kwame Thomas was on hand to head home Reece James' inviting delivery after 12 minutes.

Darren Moore's men probably felt they should have led more comfortably at the break, and Forss made them pay after 56 minutes when he slammed home a penalty to take his League One goals tally this season into double figures after Donervon Daniels mistimed his sliding tackle on the Finnish youth international.

Both sides were going for all three points, and Forss was again the inspiration with 20 minutes left as he chased down a long ball over the top of the Doncaster backline before feeding the onrushing Callum Reilly, who slotted past Seny Dieng for his first league strike since joining the club in the summer.

There was still time for Jon Taylor to cushion a shot wide after James' cutback, but the hosts held on.

 

MK Dons vs Oxford Utd. - Prediction Away win

Result - MK Dons 1 Oxford Utd. 0

Boo!

Joe Mason scored his third goal of the season as MK Dons ended their 12-game winless league run with a 1-0 victory over Oxford United.

Defeat for Karl Robinson's injury-hit side put an end to the visitors' own 11-match unbeaten streak in League One.

Russell Martin's men looked dominant and took a deserved lead after 59 minutes when Mason cleverly evaded a number of defensive lunges inside the box, before his emphatic right-footed strike flew past U's keeper Jordan Archer.

Oxford reacted with a change of formation and it nearly paid off after 76 minutes when Shandon Baptiste's strike from the edge of the MK box forced defender Regan Poole into a last-ditch block.

Alex Gilbey should have doubled MK's lead nine minutes from time when he ran through on goal, only to fire his right-footed shot well wide with only Archer left to beat.

Despite a spirited Oxford resurgence, the hosts stood firm to see out victory and inflict defeat on former MK boss Robinson - denting United's play-off push in the process.

 

Arbroath vs Dundee Utd. - Prediction Away win

Result - Arbroath 0 Dundee Utd. 1

Yay!

Dundee United moved 13 points clear at the top of the Scottish Championship thanks to Sam Stanton's early strike away to Arbroath.

The midfielder fired home from 20 yards to give Robbie Neilson's an ideal start after six minutes at Gayfield.

United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist denied Bobby Linn and Ricky Little as the hosts threatened an equaliser.

Home goalkeeper Derek Gaston pulled down Nicky Clark but saved the striker's penalty.

With 10 minutes remaining, Linn delivered a wicked low cross, but Luke Donnelly could not connect two yards from goal as United took three points while second-top Inverness Caledonian Thistle lost 3-1 away to Partick Thistle.

 

Stranraer vs East Fife - Prediction Away win

Result - Stranraer 0 East Fife 2

Yay!

No match report. Boo!

Brechin vs Cowdenbeath - Prediction Away win

Result - Brechin City 2 Cowdenbeath 1

Boo!

No match report for this one either. Double boo!

 

So there you have it; two out of three correct. The Grambler is going to have to his/her/its socks up. [Er... it’s a random number generator; it doesn’t wear socks. - Ed.] Blibbing pedant... Let’s see this week’s selections. As there are more matches taking place on Sunday 29th of December than the Saturday, these are the matches from which the following five have been selected.

Game - Result - Odds

Birmingham vs Leeds - Prediction Away win - 4/6

Bristol City vs Luton - Prediction Home win - 4/6

Nottingham F vs Wigan - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Preston NE vs Reading - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Swansea vs Barnsley - Prediction Home win - 10/11

 

Hmm... The Grambler has made all the selections from the English Championship. We may not win any dosh, but there is one thing we can be certain of... at least there will be five match reports.

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 Predictions (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!), the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping....

 

£10.04

On a whoppingness scale of one to ten, that barely musters a one.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you which ex-Premier League player scored with his very first touch of his senior career. The answer was Louis Saha. On his debut for Metz he was brought as sub in the 90th minute and did nothing other than tap in for a goal. Yay!

Here’s a cracker for this week [A Christmas cracker. Ha! - Ed.]. As I was saying... This week’s teaser concerns an unusual use for a football stadium. During WWII many football stadiums were given over to greyhound racing. Stirling Albion’s ground at the time, Forthbank, was used in this way, but what other animal was also raced at the stadium? Hmm... that’s a toughie...

 

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you 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.....

 

Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).  The total quoted is out of date; the amount raised for the Bobby Moore Fund is now over £53,000.  If you want to donate, simply go to the Justgiving page and follow the instructions.  You can donate as little as £2.

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. G. Harrison who provides our finishing item. As always at this time of year the airwaves/broadband are awash with Christmas songs. Maria Carey is currently number 2 in the Yuk charts with her own Christmas classic, All I Want for Christmas is You, a song which first charted 25 years ago. Wham sit at number 3 with Last Christmas (35 years old), pop pickers and at number 4 it’s the dirgiest of modern Crimbo songs Fairytale of New York (32) by the Pogues and Kirsty McColl. Not arf. Very rarely does anyone come up with a song for the New Year.

Incidentally, it has often intrigued me that here, in Scotland, New Year used to be the time for a celebration whereas Christmas was a fairly low-key affair. Some have suggested that this suggests that Scottish people were not as religious as other folk by almost ignoring Christmas. In fact, the opposite is true. Scots always acknowledged the birth of Christ, but chose to observe it for its significance as a religious festival rather than a time to party. They reserved the partying for the following week and , boy, they knew how to party.

Any road up, where is all this leading? Well, apart from Auld Lang Syne, there aren’t many songs associated with New Year. George Harrison obviously thought the same and he tried to remedy this by producing his own song for the occasion. So, here (Probably not for the first time in this esteemed blog... nor the last, I'll wager.) all the way from the 1970s is Ding Dong, Ding Dong (Apologies for the video quality.).  Happy New Year.
 
Thanks to B3ta.com
 

 

 

 

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.

 

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Week 19/20 - The Grambler goes to court


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

 

The law is an ass. So said Charles Dickens character Mr Bumble, the workhouse beadle in Oliver Twist. He should have added that it was also incredibly expensive and wasteful of time. Why do I mention this? Recently, yours truly was called up for jury duty. It had to happen eventually I suppose; I have been lucky to avoid the call up (or is that conscription?) until now.  Expensive? Indeed.

Here is how it works. 140 people receive a citation to appear in court at 10am on a Monday morning. From this number, 15 jurors are selected. The rest are told to go home but come back the next day. It so happened that the week I attended, the case that was being heard on the Monday collapsed without a decision. So, on Tuesday the same 140 were there again and another 15 were going to be selected.

The way the selection is carried out is quite odd. A goldfish bowl is produced with all 140 names in it and the 15 unlucky ones are fished out (Do you see what I did there?). It's a bit like a game of bingo, except you don't shout house when your number is called, you simply mutter b*gg*r under your breath.

This same process continues all week and if you are fortunate enough to avoid selection, your stint as potential juror is finished; a different 140 will continue the process the next week.

I was unlucky. My name was plucked out of the bowl on Tuesday. Wasteful of time? I told you that we had to be at court for 10am; the selection of the jury takes well over an hour. And by the time the jury is sworn in [What, like, Come in you f*ck*ng tw*ts? - Ed.] Ahem... The time is approaching midday. There seems to be time for just a couple of introductory speeches and it’s time to adjourn for lunch.

Another thing really bothered me about the selection process. Now, every potential juror has a number; they could simply have called that out. But no, your name is called out and if anyone connected with the accused was so-minded, they could find out all about you if you are involved with social media. Indeed, while your name is being called out, the accused is already sitting in the dock... making mental notes probably.

Any road up, after lunch there might be half an hour or so of evidence being given when the sheriff (judge) suggests that the jurors might want a ‘comfort break’ for ten minutes. Ten minutes?  Hah!  Three quarters of an hour later we re-enter the courtroom only for one of the barristers [You get coffee too! - Ed.] Ahem... to ask the sheriff for an adjournment due to some legal point. All the jurors have to leave the courtroom again. Half an hour later we might get called back in, just in time for court to be adjourned again because it is nearly 4 o'clock.

This sort of thing went on all week. It took four days for a fairly straightforward trial to be completed. If more than a couple of hours of each day had been given over to actual court time, it could have finished a lot earlier, I am sure.

Of course I understand that there is a lot more to any case than actual courtroom time but, to me, it all seemed there was a lot of time wasted.

One thing that I did realise from the whole experience was that tv courtroom dramas are totally inaccurate. I can't remember ever seeing a television courtroom having jurors being selected as if a raffle was being drawn. I don't recall any times when Judge John Deed asks a jury to leave the courtroom while a legal point is discussed. I don't recall any comfort breaks on Rumpole of the Bailey.

I think it proves that accuracy does not necessarily make good tv.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorius individuals born on the 7th of December? Of course there were; here are some I’ve actually heard of. Columba 521 (The well-known saint.), Clarence Nash 1904 (Voice of Donald Duck.), Gerard Kuiper 1905 (Astronomer with a belt.), Louis Prima 1910 (Musician/actor. King Louie in The Jungle Book. Want a clip. No oobydoos on this one; here is Buona Sera.), Eli Wallach 1915 (Calvera in The Magnificent Seven.), Ted Knight 1923 (Actor.), Noam Chomsky 1928 (‘The father of modern linguistics’.), Ellen Burstyn 1932 (Actress who always needs to go to the loo.), Stan Boardman 1937 (Comedian, it says here.), Harry Chapin 1942 (Musician. Here’s his biggest, though most mawkish, hit.), Tom Waits 1949 (Singer, it says here. I suppose you’ll want a clip. Here’s his biggest hit - it reached number 50 in France - Bad As Me. You said it, mate.), Anna Soubry 1956 (Politician.), Tim Butler 1958 (Another Psychedelic Fur. Here’s Pretty in Pink.), Saleem Yousuf 1959 (کرکٹر.), Craig Scanlon 1960 (A bit of The Fall. Here’s How I Wrote Elastic Man.), Theo Snelders 1963 (Doelverdediger.), Hermann Maier 1972 (Skifahrer.), Nicole Appleton 1974 (An All Saint. Have a clip. Anyone fancy a coffee? ), Dominic Howard 1977 (Drummy bloke with Muse. How are you feeling? Good?), John Terry 1980 (Footy bloke.), Nicholas Hoult 1989 (Actor.) and David Goffin 1990 (Mec de tennis.).

And now... the 14th of December. George VI 1895 (The well-known king.), Spike Jones 1911 (Singer and bandleader. Have a clip. This is from the 1944 film Ladies Man.), Dan Dailey 1915 (Song and dance man. Howzabout a clip? All together now... Pardon me boys...), Raj Kapoor 1924 (Film maker.), Charlie Rich 1932 (Curntry and wyastern sanger. Here’s his biggest hit. All together now... Hey, did you happen to see...), Lee Remick 1935 (Actress.), Jane Birkin 1946 (Actress and singer, it says here. Have a clip. Banned by the Beeb Beeb Ceeb, I think we know why.), Peter Lorimer 1946 (Fitballer.), Stan Smith 1946 (Tennisy bloke.), Vijay Amritraj 1953 (Tenis khilaadee.), Linda Fabiani 1956 (Politician; represents Polomint City.), Mike Scott 1958 (A Waterboy. Have a clip. All together now... I pictured a rainbow... I love that toon.), Chris Waddle 1960 (Foo’y blurk, like. Made a couple of records with Glenn Hoddle. Here is the prophetic [Did you say pathetic? - Ed.] It’s Goodbye), Arthur Numan 1969 (Voetbal kerel.), Beth Orton 1970 (Musician. Here she is crying your name.), Miranda Hart 1972 (Comedian, it says here.), Tomasz Radzinski 1973 (Piłkarz.) and Michael Owen 1979 (Footy bloke.).

 

 

 

 

I’ve received a letter...

 

Dear Mr. Ambla,

We are fans of The Waterboys and really pleased that you gave us a link to their biggest hit. I wonder if you could see your way clear to giving us another clip; maybe a love song even.

Yours hopefully,


 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our little bet go last time? It won. Yay! Yes, we actually made a real profit. Honest. Nae kidding. £3.28 back from our £2.20 stake. Yay indeed. What happened? Read on.

 

Macclesfield vs Bradford - Prediction Away win

Result - Macclesfield 1 Bradford 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

James Vaughan was Bradford's hero as his header rescued a point at Macclesfield, who finished with 10 men.

The striker put a shocking first-half miss behind him to score with little more than 15 minutes to play.

Macclesfield took a first-half lead through Jak McCourt's penalty and looked like seeing out victory before Vaughan finally showed his class with a fine finish.

The opening goal came just after the half-hour mark.

Corey O'Keeffe charged into the Bradford box and was sent tumbling by Ben Richards-Everton. After referee Scott Oldham had pointed to the spot, McCourt sent keeper Richard O'Donnell the wrong way with the penalty.

Bradford should have been a goal up before that but the unmarked Vaughan somehow put his finish wide in a real howler from six yards.

In the second half it was the hosts who went closer to notching another with set-pieces seeing Fraser Horsfall and Fiacre Kelleher go close with headers.

But after Macclesfield failed to see off the visitors, Vaughan struck, glancing in Harry Pritchard's wicked free-kick.

And though Bradford smelled blood late on with Connor Kirby dismissed for a second yellow card, they could not find a second goal and had to settle for a point.

 

Alloa vs Inverness - Prediction Away win

Result - Alloa 0 Inverness 2

Yay!

Inverness Caledonian Thistle beat a spirited 10-man Alloa Athletic in this encounter.

A mix-up in the home defence culminated in Scott Taggart diverting beyond his own goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.

Aaron Doran thumped home Jordan White's cross to make it 2-0 at half-time.

Alloa's Liam Dick was sent off for a heavy tackle on James Keatings

 

Morton vs Dundee Utd. - Prediction Away win

Result - Morton 1 Dundee Utd. 2

Yay!

Louis Appere and Lawrence Shankland both finished smartly from 10 yards in the first half - the latter after ex-Motherwell man John Sutton's scrambled leveller.

It was the first United had conceded to an opposition player since mid-October.

But Morton could not fashion a second, despite repeatedly troubling United from-set plays.

 

Montrose vs Raith - Prediction Away win

Result - Montrose 0 Raith Rovers 1

Yay!

No Match report. Boo.

Brechin vs Stenhousemuir - Prediction Away win

Result - Brechin 1 Stenhousemuir 2

Yay!

No match report. Boo.

 

What has the great and powerful Grambler predicted for us this week?

Game - Result - Odds

AFC Wimbledon vs Doncaster - Prediction Away win - 19/20

MK Dons vs Oxford Utd. - Prediction Away win - 19/20

Arbroath vs Dundee Utd. - Prediction Away win - 8/13

Stranraer vs East Fife - Prediction Away win - 5/6

Brechin vs Cowdenbeath - Prediction Away win - 10/11

 

Uh oh, The Grambler’s picked all away wins... Again. It worked last time; don’t think it’ll happen twice.

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 Predictions (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!), the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping....

 

£ 1 1 . 1 4

How very unwhopping.

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you who was the first reigning monarch to attend an F.A. Cup Final. The answer is, that well-known king, George V in 1914. Burnley beat Liverpool 1 - 0 watched by a crowd of over 72,000.

One for this week? Which ex-Premier League player scored with his very first touch of his senior career? Nice one to discuss int pub.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you 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.....
 

Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. C. Nash who is heard but not seen in this week’s finishing clip. This short animated film, which Disney termed a ‘Silly Symphony’ (which led to rival animation studios coming up with ‘Merry Melodies’ and ‘Loony Tunes’), was the first time the public got to see and hear Donald Duck. So, sit back and enjoy a rather different-looking duck to the one we know so well... obviously, even ducks change a bit in 85 years. Here’s The Wise Little Hen.

 
Donald Duck before the nose job


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.