Friday 21 March 2014

Week 29 - The Grambler watches Mr Selfridge

The Grambler is the brainchild of Stewart David Smith, who lost his wonderful life to Colorectal, or Bowel, cancer aged just 28.  He fought a horrendous battle for 2 years and 1 month, defeating septicemia, multi-organ failure, antibiotic-induced hearing loss, kidney failure and countless other complications with a bravery none of us will ever see again. 

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 will be 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 .

His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige.  Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see. Read on and enjoy…


I am ready for another grumble.  British Sunday evening TV.  Currently running is a programme entitled Mr Selfridge.  It is ostensibly about the founder of Oxford Street’s Selfridges store, Harry Gordon Selfridge.  It features a handsome actor in the title role and a pretty young actress as his wife.  Fair enough, TV companies always like to glamorise things by having good-looking people playing fairly plain individuals.  I can allow that liberty, but the producers might at least go for a little historical accuracy.  The real Harry Selfridge was a stern looking man who had a flamboyant moustache (but no beard as sported by Jeremy Piven, the actor who portrays him) and wore pince-nez spectacles.  In short, he looks nothing like Mr Piven.

Okay, so the actors don’t look much like the real individuals; I can go with that.  It shouldn’t make a difference to the performance.  And what a performance!  Selfridge is portrayed as a kindly man who cares for his staff in an almost paternal way.  Everything he does or says is kindly.  He has been turned from a fairly ruthless business tycoon into a person who would fit seamlessly into The Waltons.  He is just so annoyingly nice.

So that’s the portrayal of our ‘hero’.  But every hero must have his nemesis; the bad guy.  Step up Lord Loxley.  Now I don’t know if this gentleman even existed.  I am guessing not, because his scheming and deceiving portrayal is enough to send his descendants to their nearest lawyer suing for libel.  The role is played by Aiden McArdle in true pantomime villain style.  His portrayal owes more to Dick Dastardly than the English aristocracy.  It’s a wonder he doesn’t wrap his cape across his face and exit with an evil laugh (Mwah ha ha ha!).

There is a lot of action involving the shop workers.  I am assuming all the characters are fictional because they are played in such a one-dimensional manner, they couldn’t possibly be based on real people.  All the shop girls are giggling and simpering and seem to be based on the acting style of Kathleen Harrison (A British actress from way back who specialised in playing salt of the earth cockneys.  Usually ending every utterance with the words ‘Well, I don’t know, I’m sure,’ in a whiny nasal style.  Yeah, I know; ‘well, I don’t know, I’m sure’ doesn’t make much sense when it’s written down.).

The whole programme is formulaic tosh.  It could be any British Sunday night ‘drama’.  It follows the well-worn path of programmes like Ballykissangel, Heartbeat, Downton Abbey or Monarch of the Glen.  There are goodies; there are baddies out to spoil the goodies’ plans; there are heartwarming moments; there are amusing moments.  Light frothy drama at its lightest.  And yet, for millions of viewers it is just what they want on a Sunday evening.  Well, I don’t know, I’m sure; I must just be too cynical to appreciate it.


Right.  Any birthdays of note this week?  Indeed, yes.  None other than Nairobi’s most famous star, Roger Whittaker.  He was born on 22nd March 1936.  So here’s a gramblerised version of one of his toons.



Did you like that?  That was, of course, his famous The Mexican Grambler.  In case you are confused, the toon was actually called The Mexican Whistler and here is old Rodge performing it .  Check it out; they had some crazy set designs in 1968!

Who said cop out?  Okay.  Here’s a proper one.


I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
I've got to leave old Gramblham town.
I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
And the grambling's gonna get me down.

Back in nineteen forty-four,
I remember Daddy grambling out the door.
Mama told me he was going to war, he was grambling,
Grambling, grambling, grambling, grambling me.

I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
I've got to leave old Gramblham town.
I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
And the grambling's gonna get me down.

When I was a boy, I spent my time,

Grambling on the banks of the River Tyne.
Watching all the ships grambling down the line, they were grambling,
Grambling, grambling, grambling, grambling me.

I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
I've got to leave old Gramblham town.
I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
And the grambling's gonna get me down.

The last week Mama grambled away,
Good-bye, son, was all she'd say.
There's no cause for me to stay, so I'm grambling,
Grambling, grambling, grambling, grambling free.

I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
I've got to leave old Gramblham town.
I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
And the grambling's gonna get me down.

I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
I've got to leave old Gramblham town.
I've got to leave old Gramblham town,
And the grambling's gonna get me down.

There you go.  The whole song this week.  Why not.

And so, on to the grambling.  How did The Grambler do this week?  We almost, but not quite, got our stake money back.  The bet costs £2.20.  What did we win?  £2.19.  One pee short!  Any road up, it was our best result for yonks, so let’s see how it came about.

Game 1 – Everton vs Cardiff – Prediction Home win Yay!

Everton 2 Cardiff 1

Cardiff were cruelly denied a point by Seamus Coleman's injury-time winner as the Bluebirds slipped further behind in their bid for Premier League survival.

Goalkeeper David Marshall looked to have earned a draw with a string of saves after Juan Cala had equalised Gerard Deulofeu's deflected effort.

But, after another stop to deny Romelu Lukaku's shot, Marshall was beaten by Coleman's miscue.

I had to copy that report wholesale from the BBC page.  Why?  Just to show how biased the supposedly unbiased reporting is.  Can this guy be a Blue/Redbirds fan, by any chance?  Everton’s goals were ‘a deflected effort’ and a ‘miscue’ while Cardiff’s goalkeeper is shown as being nothing less than heroic.

Do I care?  No.  The Grambler got us off to a flier with a correct prediction.

Game 2 – Sunderland vs Crystal Palace – Prediction Away win Nope

Sunderland 0 Crystal Palace 0

So much for our flying start.  Normal service is resumed.

Crystal Palace remain three points clear of fellow Premier League strugglers Sunderland after a goalless draw at a windy Stadium of Light.

Black Cats forward Fabio Borini went closest to breaking the deadlock when his second-half shot struck the post.

Kagisho Dikgacoi [Bless you! – Ed.] had Palace's best chance, firing an effort wide late on.

But, in a game lacking quality, Palace will probably be happy with a point that leaves them a place above Sunderland who are third from bottom.

Sunderland’s Uruguayan manager, Hercule Poyet still thinks his team will get results to ensure their survival in the Premier League.  He said afterwards, “Iffa we try to fatta likea we didda today, zen we hevva de chence.”

Game 3 – Millwall vs Charlton – Prediction Home win Nope

Millwall 0 Charlton 0

Charlton moved off the bottom of the Championship on goal difference after a draw at fellow strugglers Millwall.

Fred Onyedinma headed an early Millwall chance wide, while Charlton's Callum Harriott had an effort saved by David Forde when one-on-one with the keeper.

Harriott also sent a volley wide before he set up Reza Ghoochannejhad [Bless you.  Nasty cold you seem to be getting. – Ed.] who shot straight at Forde.

Stefan Maierhofer headed over for Millwall, for who Owen Garvan had a late free-kick tipped over.

The home side applied all the late pressure but Charlton held on for a point in their second goalless draw since Jose Riga took over as their manager.

Charlton are now three points adrift of Millwall but have three games in hand on their rivals, who are just one place above the relegation zone.

Millwall’s winless run at the Den is now six games.

Game 4 – QPR vs Yeovil – Prediction Home win Yahoo!

QPR 3 Yeovil 0

Huzzah!  Another prediction right for The Grambler.

Ravel Morrison grabbed another brace as QPR got back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Yeovil.
The on-loan West Ham midfielder, whose two goals against Birmingham last weekend earned Rangers their first win in six attempts, repeated the trick against the lowly Glovers.
Forgotten striker Bobby Zamora also got in on the act with his first goal in more than a year as Harry Redknapp's side bounced back from their midweek defeat at Brighton.
The scoreline was harsh on Yeovil, though, who went agonisingly close to equalising when Tom Lawrence's shot hit a post.
The Somerset side remain in with a chance of staying up but the gulf in resources between them and their opponents eventually told at Loftus Road.
While Yeovil have to survive on a League Two budget, QPR continue to throw good money after bad as they bid for promotion.  In other words, Harry Redface is still squandering millions.  65 squillion loss this year.  177 squillion in the red.  Why do clubs employ this man?  Crazy.

Game 5 – Southend vs Bury – Prediction Draw Woohoo!

Southend 0 Bury 0

Shrimpers striker Barry Corr was sent off with eight minutes to go after a tussle with Frederic Veseli.

Freddy Eastwood struck over the Shakers bar from eight yards in a game short on clear chances.

Southend defender John Egan's late header was the only effort on target all afternoon.

Southend United extended their winless run to 11 games with this goalless draw.  It is just as well they started the season well, because that is a terrible record.  And thanks to Plymouth winning on Tuesday evening, Southend are now out of the playoff places.

Righty ho.  That’s the results taken care of.  What about this week’s random predictions?  There are 55 games in the English and Scottish senior leagues this Saturday, 22nd March at 3pm.  What 5 has The Grambler randomly chosen for us?

Game – Result – Odds

Everton vs Swansea – Home win – 4/6

For our first game of the week we head once more to Goodison Park (we never seem to be away from it these days) where the Toffees play host to the Swans.  The Grambler has predicted that this will end with 3 points heading Everton’s way.  Can’t really argue with that; in the clubs’ last six meetings Everton have won 5 and drawn 1.  Have you seen the mascots for these two clubs?  Ye gods and little fishes! Who thinks them up?  These two are the stuff of nightmares; especially Cyril the swan.

Changi vs Cyril – Which is the scariest?

Manchester City vs Fulham – Home win – 1/6

For game number 2 we travel 36 miles to the City of Manchester Stadium where the Sky Blues play host to George Michael’s favourite club Fulham.  The Grambler reckons that Man City will win this one.  Given that they sit 4th in the table and Fulham are in bottom spot, that would seem to be a fair call.  The last time Fulham won against City was almost 5 years ago.  That year Fulham finished the league in 7th place; 3 places ahead of City.  Changed days.  But hold on there Bald Eagle – The last time Man City was selected by The Grambler they were up against Aston Villa.  We all scoffed (scoff scoff) when he/she/it picked Villa to win, but win they did.  The Grambler has played it safe this time, but you never know; it might happen again.

Charlton Athletic vs Burnley – Away win – 13/10

Game number 3 takes us into the Valley where the Addicks (Or the Red Robins if you prefer.  Some teams seem to have several nicknames to choose from.) play host to the Clarets.  The Grambler has once again, in his/her/its wisdom, predicted that Charlton will get beaten.  Look what happened last week Grambler.  Home win you said and Charlton took a point away to Millwall.  Granted, Burnley are a tad better than Millwall, sitting in second spot in the league.  Their away form is not so bad either, having won more than half their games on the road.  Maybe I will concede this one to the Grambler.

Leeds United vs Millwall – Home win – 10/11

For our 4th game…blimey first Everton, then Charlton and now Millwall all chosen for two weeks on the trot…we head to Elland Road where the Whites play host to the Lions.  The Grambler has predicted that Leeds will take all three points in this one.  Leeds have a pretty abysmal record at home winning only 7 of their last 17 and have not won any games since the 8th of February.  Millwall are useless on the road having won only 2 of the 18 away games played this season and they have won only 1 of their last 10 games.  Millwall also have the dubious distinction of letting in more goals than any other side in the Championship – 62 (although that is a figure matched by bottom of the table Barnsley).  Millwall did win the last encounter when Leeds visited the Lions’ Den and are currently struggling to stay in the division; maybe they will have the greater desire to win this one.  The Grambler thinks not, but I reckon Millwall could take at least a point here. 

Alloa vs Falkirk – Away win – 8/11

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther we head over the border to Recreation Park where the Wasps play host to the Bairns.  The Grambler has predicted that Falkirk will take all the points here.  The clubs have already met twice this season and both games ended as 0-0 draws.  Admittedly, Alloa’s home record has been poor of late; the last game they won at home was in the middle of November.  Falkirk have a better away record having lost only 5 in 14.  On current form, then, The Grambler should have called this one right.

So there you have it my little gramblerados.  Three home wins and two aways.  The bet (10 – 20 pee doubles and 1 – 20 pee accumulator) is on and if the predictions all come up [Ha ha! – Ed] the Bobby Moore will benefit by…fanfare please…


Nine quids and two pees?  That’s mince.  The reason for such crappy odds is that The Grambler has played it ultra safe this week.  I mean, look at those Man City odds.  Still, if it is so safe I will ask for the umpteenth time – Is this the week when we finally get that big win?

And to finish, for absolutely no reason at all, a gag that Stewart put on B3ta a long long time ago…

Thank you and goodnight.


No comments:

Post a Comment