Saturday 21 June 2014

Week 42 - Grambling at an Eels concert

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 .


If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which recently 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.


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…


Hey, guess what.  I have just been to a concert... Sorry, a gig, I believe the hip young folks call it.  Eels. Yes I did enjoy it, thank you for asking. I have a gripe though and it concerns the venue. It was the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. There's posh, I hear you say. Nothing wrong with the hall, seats were comfortable and the acoustics were excellent.... That's just reminded me of my favourite Norman Collier gag (ask your dad). He did a routine where he pretended to be the mc of a typical northern working men's club (not many of them left) and would shout things like 'Meat pies have come!' in the middle of an act. He could talk as if the mike was dodgy so you could only catch bits of words. He was absolutely brilliant. Well, I thought so, anyway. My favourite, though, went thus: 'We've had some complaints about the acoustics in here. We've set traps for them; we can't do fairer than that.' Anyway, my moan is about the catering. There is an excellent bar at the venue where you can buy most drinks. On the wall is a menu telling you of the various coffees on offer. I fancied a coffee before taking my seat in the hall, after all, the main act wasn't due on for at least an hour. 'Two coffees please,' says I, only to be told that the coffee machine was now switched off. Sorry, pardon, excuse me? I could have any cold drink I fancied, but not coffee. Why not, for goodness' sake? The bar was actually open long after I requested my coffee, so what was the problem? It's not a great way to ensure that folk don't drink and drive. I happen to dislike sweet soft drinks so coffee is my drink of choice when I don't want an alcoholic beverage. Moan, moan, chunter, chunter....

And another thing.  Why is it, whenever I go to a concert I end up next to the nutter? I do. The mildest form of nutter is the one who spends the whole gig filming the thing on his me phone. Why? He is not looking at the stage, he is looking at his phone to make sure he is filming it correctly. It shouldn't cause me any hassle, but it does. Why? Because I can't help looking at his phone to see what he is filming.  Admit it; you do the same.
Second nutter is the one that always stands next to me at a non-seated gig. Everything is fine until the music starts, then I realise this guy dances. Not your normal gig type of dancing. You know, a bit of swaying and moving the head about a bit.  Oh no. This guy does 'expressive'; in other words the wildest free-form dancing imaginable. The arms are whirling about and the legs are kicking out in all directions. Mainly in my direction, judging by the bruising I find next day!
Nutter number three is the singer. The guy, and it is invariably a guy, knows all the words to every song and insists on singing along to every song. He is usually steaming drunk to boot, so in his mind he is a better singer than the guy up on the stage. Only, he's not. He just can't sing. It makes for a hellish experience for the person standing next to him, ie. me.
I worried at the interval between the support act and Eels. Some rather cheesy orchestral arrangements of sixties classics - Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles, that sort of thing – was playing. The woman sitting next to me began to sing along. Shit. Then her boyfriend joined in. Double shit. I expected the worst when the Eels came on. Luckily, Mark Everett doesn't perform songs exactly as they are on record. Actually, the live versions are nothing like the recorded versions. Slow songs get speeded up, fast songs get slowed right down and some arrangements are so dissimilar that they are almost unrecognisable. I challenge even the most ardent fan to try and sing along. Thanks Mark, I owe you one.
Before I wind this section up, I remember going to a concert years ago where I was guaranteed to be safe from any of the above. It was to see the Glenn Miller orchestra. No, it wasn't fronted by Glenn Miller; I'm not that old. It was fronted by his nephew, John. As I took my seat, I looked forward to a nutter-free concert. No mobile phone filming. No mad dervish dancer. All seated, you see.  And because most Glenn Miller music has no vocals, no awful singer. Result.
Did I mention nutter number four? He is the old git who goes to Glenn miller concerts, sits next to me and, with arms flailing everywhere, 'conducts' along to every bloody tune! Jeezo! I can't win.

Any birthdays of note this week?  Yes indeedy.  Ray Davies, frontman and songsmith of the Kinks is 70 today (21st June).  I’ll bet there are a few good gramblerable songs in his repertoire. 

See my friends,

See my friends,

Gramblin’ ’cross the river,

See my friends,

See my friends,

Gramblin’ ’cross the river,

She is gone,

She is gone and now there’s no one left,

’cept my friends,

Gramblin’ ’cross the river.

Time for a picture?  Yeah, why not.  You know my views on popstars who think they can turn back time and by using a bit of Cherry Blossom* on their thinning locks can look younger than their 3 score years and 10?  Do you think Ray Davies spends a few quid on shoe polish?


Come on, Ray.  Who are you trying to kid?

*or Kiwi

Well, as I write this there have been some upsets in the World Cup.  Upset number one was Spain being effectively bundled out of the competition after only two games.  If you recall, they were my tip to win.  Ahem.  What do I know?

Upset number two was Uruguay being beaten by Costa Rica.  Why was this an upset?  Because that was one of the bets that The Grambler picked out last week.  It meant that only three games of the five went our way.  How much did we win?  Are you ready for this?  £1.22.  Rubbish.  That means we actually lost 98 pees.  Nearly a quid.  I’m still in shock.

Upset number three involved Costa Rica again.  Who’d have thought they could beat the mighty Italians.  But beat them they did and it is they that top the group.  The Italy/Uruguay encounter should be a cracking match.  One of them is going to qualify; one is going home.

Oh and Engerland are heading for an early flight home as well.

What about the gee gees?  Well, they didn’t all come in as we had hoped.  However, unlike the footie, we did win more than the stake money.  Not much more, admittedly, but 42 pees are not to be sneezed at.

So overall this week, we are down by a disappointing 56 pees.  Oh well, onwards and upwards.  What about this week?

First up, World Cup footie.  We will persevere with the favourites rule and see if it works this week.  As last week, we will have five games which take place between Saturday the 21st of June and Friday the 27th of June.

This week’s games are even harder to predict than last week’s.  I hate to say it, but a lot of factors conspire to give us ‘erratic’ results.  Politics come into it, of course.  A team that has played well enough to qualify from its first two games can play indifferently in the third to ensure that these opponents qualify instead of another side who can only qualify if said opponents fail.  Why it should matter, I don’t know.  As I said; politics.

What five games has The Grambler selected this week?

Date – Time – Game – Result – Odds


21/6  23.00         Nigeria – Bosnia                   Bosnia       10/11

22/6  23.00         USA – Portugal                    Portugal    4/5

23/6  21.00         Croatia – Mexico                 Croatia      6/4

24/6  17.00         Costa Rica – England         England    8/13 

25/6  21.00         Ecuador – France                France      7/10


What do you reckon?  No chance.  Odd to see The Grambler pick Engerland to beat the group winners Costa Rica.  That’s the same Costa Rica who beat Uruguay and Italy.  The same Uruguay and Italy that beat Engerland.  Still, it’s the favourites that get picked and, for whatever reason, Engerland are the favourites, at least with the bookies.  Not with me though.

Okay, so how much dosh will be heading for the Bobby Moore Fund if all these selections win?


Not much, but a better total than last week.  At least we might actually make some money if only 3 of the selections win, as happened last week.  But hey, that’s me being pessimistic; I should be optimistic and say that this will win.  It will.  I am sure it will.  Bound to.  Definitely.  Mmm.


Before we move on to our gee gee bet, let’s have the answer to last week’s teaser and a new teaser for this week.

I asked you who was the first player to win in every round of the World Cup finals tournament.  The answer was Brazilian winger Jairzinho in Mexico 1970.

That was easy.  Everyone knows that.  How about this one?  Staying with the World Cup theme, what have the following countries got in common?  Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, England, New Zealand and Scotland.


Right time for our gee gee bet.  The Grambler has decided.  The bet is on.  Which nags has he/she/it predicted will win this week?

Meeting – Time – Horse – Odds


Redcar                2.05            Home Cummins                    SP

Ayr                      2.20            Pretzel                                   8/13

Newmarket        4.05            Made with Love                   1/4

Redcar                4.30            Illustrious Prince                  5/6

Lingfield             8.05            Passionate Affair                 1/2


So how much will be winging its way to the Bobby Moore Fund if all these donkeys win?  The grand total of…

Don’t know

Yes, because of Home Cummins’ price not being quoted, it is not possible to give a figure.  Never mind, it will be a nice surprise if we win.

Before we leave the sport of kings, I spotted another horse running today which would attract a few bets from fans of Monty Python.  Its name? Welease Bwian.  Like it.


How about another couple of Stewart’s Euro 2012 gags to finish?  Yeah.  Why not?

First a certain German gentleman who scored a hat-trick against Postugal [And you’ve got Portugal to beat USA? Ye Gods! – Ed.].  Bear in mind the text is from 2012.  That is, before Kylie joined The Voice.



The judges of the BBC’s popular talent show the Voice are sitting down to lunch during a break from recording.  They start to discuss the yoghurts which their mothers have packed for them.  Jessie (who looks scarily like Little My from the Moomins) has Petit Filous.  William (not Will.I.Am, his name is WILLIAM) has Munch Bunch.  Danny (who genuinely seems like a twat) has Activia.

Tom has Muller.

Oh dear.  Here.  Try this one…

What do you call a Frenchman who is straight to the point and also made of a synthetic material which enables him to bounce?

Frank Rubbery


And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, for all you Bacefook folk out there in Gramblerland…

Happy grambling.





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