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 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
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…
Dear Mr Grimbling,
I am a great fan of the Championship side Leeds United but cannot remember what they call their ground. Can you enlighten me?
Christmas is coming and it’s panto time. I hate pantos. Men dressed as women. Women dressed as men. Men dressed as animals. Shaky sets. Dodgy scripts. Awful gags. Dreadful acting. Appalling singing. The whole experience of pantomime is just dire. But that is only my opinion. For some reason, the British at Christmas have an insatiable appetite for these embarrassing productions. Why? Why do they want to watch these terrible shows?
I took my grandson to a panto at the weekend. Don’t ask me why; I just did. I thought it might not be as bad as I remembered other productions to be. Sadly, it was. The acting was dire. The singing? Sorry, was that really meant to be singing? And the gags… here’s an example, ‘My husband died while he was vacuuming the carpet. He was Dyson with death.’ Ye gods! It was based on the Little Red Riding Hood story which, of course, features a woodsman who just happens to carry an axe or ‘chopper’ as it was called in the panto. I lost count of the chopper related ‘gags’ – ‘What a big chopper’, ‘You’re not holding your chopper right’ etc. Oh, how we laughed. But there was one brief moment of comedy genius. Little Red’s granny in this production was played as someone who did aerobics but feigned infirmity when anyone came visiting. She would use a walking aid known as a ‘zimmer’ frame. With me so far? As with all the characters, she had a song to perform – Money Money Money, incidentally – and she dragged someone out of the audience to perform a dance with her. The finishing flourish of the song involved her placing the zimmer centre stage, standing behind it, with the audience member behind her with his arms around her waist. She then raised her arms outwards so that the end of the performance was a perfect recreation of the Kate Winslett and Leonardo di Caprio moment from Titanic. Inspired. No? Don’t agree? You had to be there.
You must be thinking, why do you (i.e. me) not like pantomimes? Surely they are good, clean, wholesome fun. Even the sainted Mary Whitehouse would have approved. Alas, my dislike of pantomime stems from a very early age - three to be precise – when I was taken to see my first ever panto. Dick Whittington it was and it was performed at the Carriage and Wagon Club in Derby. Carriage and Wagon was the social club for British Rail employees, Derby had a huge works where railway carriages were built and repaired and my uncle worked there. Any road up, as everyone knows, Dick Whittington has a cat [I didn’t know that. – Ed.] which accompanies him to London. Now at the age of three I knew that cats were little cuddly creatures, but the cat in this show was huge; why, it was as big as a man, for goodness’ sake. I also knew that fearsome creatures like lions and tigers were cats and they were huge. I knew most of the big cats – leopard, cheetah and panther. Panthers are black. So was the thing on stage. Panthers are huge. So was the thing on stage. To my young mind, the thing on stage was definitely a panther. I had been told the story of Dick Whittington – primed, if you will – and knew he had a cat. Nobody told me it was a dirty great panther. Unfortunately, I had the best/worst seat in the club – right at the front. I was convinced that this panther was going to eat me. I spent most of the first act hiding behind my mother. Frankly, the interval – and the promise of a bottle of fizzy drink and a bag of crisps - couldn’t come soon enough. As I queued with my mother at the tuck shop I was aware of a man in a furry, black, one-piece suit immediately in front of us. He also had an enormous cat head under his arm. Oh I see, not a panther, it’s a man dressed up in a suit. Thank goodness for that. He shook my hand and I returned to my seat a happier bunny for the second half of the performance. I was no longer frightened, but I reckon the episode put me off pantomimes forever. Oh no it didn’t! Oh yes it did!
A man dressed as a cat. Definitely not a panther.
Any birthdays of note this week? Why yes. Van Heflin 1910 (a term relating to something one does to a commercial vehicle), Dick Van Dyke 1925 (Lord Lav ya Murry Pappins), Christopher Plummer 1929 (very reasonable rates, no call-out fee), Anouska Hempel 1941 (song by Kate Bush), Lilian Board 1948 (athlete), Ted Nugent 1948 (Coronation Street character), Paula Wilcox 1949 (will them to what?), Robert Lindsay 1951 (Freedom for Tooting!!!), John Francombe 1952 (little tiny bloke) and Steve Buscemi 1957 (Bush emmy? Bus kemmy? I don’t know). None of them had any hit records worth gramblerising. So, for the first time in I don’t know how long, there will be no gramblerised toon. Who cheered? Come on, own up.
Let’s get on with grambling matters shall we? How did we fare last weekend? Well, we didn’t lose exactly, but we didn’t win either. Unfortunately, the return from our £2.20 bet was only 57 pees. A bit crap. It would have been more if The Grambler hadn’t predicted Arsenal to win away from home. They are always worth avoiding if they are not at home. Any road up, let’s not dwell too much on last week’s rubbish effort and see what The Grambler has predicted for us this week. There are 57 games taking place in the English and Scottish senior leagues at 3pm on Saturday the 13th of December. A full card. Plenty to choose from. Just don’t pick Arsenal…
Game – Result – Odds
Bolton vs Ipswich – Prediction Away win – 7/4
Watford vs Wigan – Prediction Home win – 21/20
Oldham vs Yeovil – Prediction Home win – 8/11
Bristol City vs Crawley – Prediction Home win – 2/5
Burton vs Hartlepool – Prediction Home win – 8/11
Hmm… The Grambler seems to be playing it safer this week by selecting mainly home wins. So, the bets are placed (10 x 20 pees doubles and 1 x 20 pees accumulator) and if The Grambler has got those predictions spot on [Ha ha ha. – Ed.] The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund will be giving the Bobby Moore Fund a whopping…
It’s not that whopping, is it?
Okay all you grambler teaser fans, what was the answer to last week’s teaser? I asked what was odd about the English top league in season 1987/88. The answer is, simply, the number of teams in that division. There were 21 that year. Why? The powers that be were gearing up for the changeover from Division One as the top division (sensible) to the Premiershit as the top division with division one as the second division (stupid). In order to start the new league with 20 teams as opposed to 22, for two seasons one fewer was promoted than relegated; hence 21. Make sense? Does to me.
Here’s a daft teaser for this week. In the Premiershit, what record do the weekend of 2/3 December 1995 and the weekend of 23/24 September 2000 share? A good un, I think.
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, let’s finish with a few more pantomime gags…
Lord Chamberlain [Sleeping Beauty & The Beast]: I hear eggs are going up again
Dame: That'll surprise a few chickens
Snow White: How long does it take to burn a candle down? Dopey: About a wick.
Muddles [in Mother Goose]:I went to the doctor, because I keep seeing things. One minute it's Mickey Mouse, the next it's Donald Duck and the doctor said: 'How long have you been having these Disney spells?'
and finally, the joke that is widely regarded as the most overused gag in panto…
'It's the king — kneel!'
Is it really any wonder that I hate panto so much?