Thursday 30 October 2014

Week 13 - The Grambler on tribute bands

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.


Stewart’s 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…


Do you remember a while back I told you I had been to a concert?  Well, I’ve been to another one [Two in one year, woo hoo! – Ed.].  Who, you may ask.  Steve Hackett, I answer.  Who, you may ask.  He was the geetarist with Genesis.  Who, you may ask…Don’t start that again.  And he can still play pretty damned well despite the advancing years.

It isn’t always the way with old rockers who want to keep performing.  When I were just a whippersnapper one of my favourite bands was Jethro Tull.  I say Jethro Tull but, as any Tull fan will admit, the band is basically Ian Anderson (writer, singer, flautist, flamingo impressionist) surrounded by a few other musicians of his choosing.  He is Jethro Tull.  He thinks himself far superior in intelligence to the others.  He is their leader.  Their guru.  What he says, goes.  37 years ago I went to a Tull concert which probably still counts as the best show I have ever been to.  The musicianship was spot on, the arrangements great, the vocals just right.

A couple of years back I went to see JT again.  Again the musicianship was spot on.  Old Ian can still play a mean flute (Did I just put the words mean and flute together in a sentence?).  The arrangements though slightly different were still good.  The vocals…oh dear.  Have you ever been unfortunate enough to go to a family party where everyone has to sing their party piece?  There is always some ancient old uncle, who everyone assures you used to have a wonderful singing voice, gets up and croaks his way wheezingly through some song that is well outside the old codger’s limited vocal range.  After his rendition everyone applauds politely but knows full well that they have just witnessed a song being not just murdered, but shot, drowned, stabbed and bludgeoned to death.  Ian Anderson on the last occasion I went to see him was that old uncle.  It was a squirm in your seat with embarrassment occasion.

So what is this week’s Grambler grumble?  Old rockers refusing to admit defeat?  Partly, but it is more to do with snobbery.  Sorry, pardon, excuse me?  Let me explain.

Old musos will continue to perform as long as they can.  Who can blame them?  They enjoy performing, it keeps their fans happy and it brings in money.  Sometimes, lots of money.

The trouble is that the older these people get, the more of a struggle it is to sound the way they used to.  So where does the snobbery fit in?  The really popular acts spawn imitators, or tribute acts.  The tribute acts can be pretty close to the original, not as he/she is now, but when he/she was at his/her peak.  I have a friend, who shall remain nameless (I wouldn’t want to embarrass you Harry), who refuses to go to see tribute acts, but will only go to see the ageing original.  There are others like him who will only pay to see original artists.  And pay they do.  I recently went to see a Pink Floyd tribute called MacFloyd (guess where they come from) and I thought them excellent [That’s three in one year! – Ed.].  Cost of the ticket?  13 quid.  Now, I doubt if Pink Floyd will ever tour again, but if they did, I am sure you could not get a ticket for less than ten times that amount.  And what would they sound like?  No doubt the instrument parts would sound as good as ever, but would Dave Gilmour’s voice be up to the task?

The thing is, the music snobs wouldn’t care.  It doesn’t matter that the voice isn’t what it once was, they are seeing the original artist and that is what matters.  They think nothing of paying a hundred quid to see some singer who is long past their prime.  I don’t think much of it either.

So, back to the plot.  What is better?  Pay exhorbitant ticket prices to see some has-been singer struggling to perform?  Or pay a fraction of that to see an act who could sound the way the original sounded 30 or 40 years ago?

To me it is no different to listening to a concert orchestra playing the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss et al.  The originals aren’t around to conduct them or play piano or violin, so these ‘tribute’ musicians continue to play ‘live’ music as the composer had intended.  Presumably, when the likes of Beethoven was getting a bit old, other younger musicians were out there performing in tribute to the original.  I wonder if they had the punny names that today’s tributes have – Mo’s Rat? Frederick Chip Pan?  - Here is just a few of the current ones…

Peatloaf, Abbariginal, No Way Sis, AB/CD, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Antarctic Monkeys, Velvet Underpants, Jef Leppard, By Jovi, Earth, Wind for Hire, Fleetwood Mock

…however, my favourite has to be the Motorhead tribute going by the name of Lemmy’s Wart.

Any famous birthdays on this day, the 1st of November?  L.S. Lowry 1887 (cartoonist), Michael Denison 1915 (ectaw dear leddie), Ted Lowe 1920 (snooker commentator who famously said, ‘…and for those of you watching in black and white, the pink is behind the blue.’), Gary Player 1935 (golfer sponsored by a cigarette company), Rick Grech 1945 (bass player), Jim Steinman 1947 (songwriter for Peatloaf), Anthony Kiedis 1962 (singer with Red Hot Chilli Pipers), Rick Allen 1963 (drummer with Jef Leppard), Mark Hughes 1963 (Grambler teaser answer), Tina Arena 1967 (football stadium), Paul Dickov 1972 (footie bloke), Dizzee Rascal 1985 (crapper).  Anything in there worth gramblerising?  What about this one from birthday boy Anthony Kiedis’ Red Hot Chilli Pipers?

Gramble away gramble away gramble away gramble away now Gramble away gramble away gramble away gramble away now
Gramble away gramble away gramble away gramble away now I can't tell if I'm a king pin or a pauper

Maybe not.

How did we get on with last week’s predictions?  We lost.  Yep.  We lost 6 pees.  £2.14 return from our £2.20 stake.  What happened?  Read on…

Birmingham vs Bournemouth – Prediction Away win

Result – Birmingham 0 Bournemouth 8

Eight!!! Yay!

Managerless Birmingham City suffered a record home defeat as Bournemouth scored eight goals at St Andrew's.

Brett Pitman put the visitors ahead inside three minutes before Blues defender David Edgar was then sent off for a foul on Callum Wilson.

Wilson and Matt Ritchie made it 3-0 by half-time before the Cherries ran riot in the second period.

Marc Pugh netted a hat-trick and two more from Tokelo Rantie, the first a penalty, completed Birmingham's misery.

In addition, Paul Caddis had a spot-kick saved by Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc with the score at 3-0.

Good start for The Grambler.  What next?

Derby vs Wigan – Prediction Home win

Result – Derby 1 Wigan 2

What!!! Boo!

Substitute James McClean scored twice as Wigan came from behind to win at Championship leaders Derby.

The Rams led after an incident-packed 90 seconds just before half-time when John Eustace turned in Johnny Russell's free-kick from close range.

But McClean then converted Roger Espinoza's cross to level before Butland spilled Adam Forshaw's shot and McClean scrambled in a late winner.

Wigan manager Uwe Rosler celebrates after his team’s win at Derby

Oldham vs Bradford – Prediction Home win

Result – Oldham 2 Bradford 1


Jonathan Forte scored his 11th of the season as in-form Oldham beat Bradford.

Jabo Ibehre headed down a Joseph Mills cross for Forte to finish, before Mike Jones's deflected strike from 20 yards made it 2-0 after 24 minutes.

On-loan winger Andy Halliday volleyed his first goal for Bradford from James Hanson's header just before the break.

Alan Sheehan's stinging shot was pushed away by Latics keeper Paul Rachubka as City pushed for an equaliser, but they had Rory McCardle dismissed late on.

Oldham manager (Suffolk born) Lee Johnson said, "It was a tarf goime furll o endeavour. Surm good footborl was ployed.

"Oi felt woi moide it durfficult for arsels boi not furnishing surm good charrnces that woi hed and then we gev them a loifeloine with a poor gool on urr part, but a good gool on their part.

"It was a tarpsy-turvy end to end passionate Loigue wurne toi and Oi was jurst deloighted to curme out on the roight end o it."

He doesn’t talk like that really, but he’s from Suffolk; how often do I get the chance to ‘write’ in a Suffolk accent.

Preston vs Fleetwood – Prediction Home win

Result – Preston 3 Fleetwood 2


High-flying Preston North End made it six wins in a row despite an early scare from Fleetwood Town.

Stephen Jordan headed in from Steven Schumacher's corner and Scott Laird deflected a cross into his own net to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

But the home side hit back in the second half when Joe Garner twice headed in to draw level.

And Garner completed his hat-trick to win the match with a left-footed strike from 12 yards.

Raith vs Alloa – Prediction Home win

Result – Raith 1 Alloa 1

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Alloa Athletic moved off the bottom of the Scottish Championship after claiming a hard-fought draw against Raith Rovers.

Liam Buchanan headed in before the quarter-hour mark to give the visitors the lead.

Grant Anderson nodded Raith level before half-time.

The Wasps were reduced to 10 men when Kyle Benedictus picked up a second yellow card late on but held out for a point.

That was then, this is another point in time entirely.  What has The Grambler selected for our random gamble this week?  There are 42 senior league games for him/her/it to randomly select from. 

Game – Result – Odds

Hull vs Southampton – Prediction Away win – 21/20

Cardiff vs Leeds – Prediction Home win –  5/6

Bournemouth vs Brighton – Prediction Home win – 19/20

Sheffield Utd vs Barnsley – Prediction Home win – 3/4

Oxford Utd vs Wycombe – Prediction Away win – 15/8

Some interesting predictions there Grambler…Could this be the week we finally get that win? Hope so.  The bet is on (10 x 20 pees doubles and 1 x 20 pees accumulator) and if all selections go our way, The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund will be giving the Bobby Moore Fund a whopping…


How whopping is that?  Fingers crossed my little Gramblerinis.


What about last week’s teaser answer?  I asked who had managed five Premiershit clubs.  The answer was Mark Hughes (Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham, QPR and Stoke) and Harry Rednapp (West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and QPR).

What about a teaser for this week?  Another Premiershit question for you.  Which team has been relegated from the Premiershit the most times (and it stands to reason, has been promoted from the second tier the most times)?  A good un there I think.

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther after last week’s Balotelli Snakes and Ladders game here is another game for all you gramblerinis out there to enjoy.  You remember the party game ‘pin the tail on the donkey’?  Well, here is The Grambler’s variation of it…


Pin the eyebrows on Neil Warnock*


First, print out the picture of Neil, then select and print your choice of eyebrows.  Put a bit of double-sided tape on the back of each eyebrow.  Next, while blindfolded, try to stick the eyebrows on Neil.  Will provide minutes of fun…perhaps.


*Also available in Monty Don and David Moyes versions.


Happy grambling.