Saturday 28 February 2015

Week 30 - The Grambler falling off a chair

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 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…


I see the Peter Pan of pop has been in the news again.  Another historic (or should that be histrionic) accusation has been made against him.  I know.  I have the transcript of the interview right here…

‘So what is it you are claiming that Mr Richard did to you, how long ago?  55 years ago, did you say?’

‘He made me cry.’

‘I see.  Anything else?’

‘Well, after that we would talk, and sleep together.’

‘Okay.  What else?’

‘Then he would send me away.  I had to walk home.’

‘Right… Let me note this down.  Crying?’







‘That’s right.  He was horrible to me.  But other times he could be really kind.  He seemed to be doing his best to please me, but…’

‘Go on.’

‘Then he would see someone else.  Claimed he had a roving eye.’

‘Is that a medical condition?’

‘No he just eyed up other girls, even though he claimed I satisfied his soul.’

‘From what you say, I don’t see why you want to press any charges…’

‘But there was worse.’


‘He used to parade me before his friends and let them all stroke my hair.’

‘Again, this hardly constitutes criminal activity.’

‘What about incarceration against my will?’

‘What about it?’

‘He imprisoned me.  He locked me up.’


‘In a trunk.’


‘A trunk.  A great big one.’

‘I hope it was a big one.’

‘He said it was for my own safety so that nobody could steal me away from him.’

‘Right.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  I think we might be on to something, Miss…?’

‘Van Dol, Lee Van Dol.’




Do you remember the big bloke with the moustache on the telly [Funny place to have a moustache. – Ed.] who used to point at you and boom, 'Have you had an accident at work through no fault of your own?  Yeah?  Well get over it.’

I added that last bit. 

It was basically an advertisement to encourage people who would not have considered suing for an injury to do so.  The carrot being dangled was that if your action for damages didn’t win, you would not be liable for any legal costs.  Of course, the advert didn’t point out that the firm of lawyers in the ad would only take your case on if it was a stonewall certain winner. 

So what has this week’s (g)ramble got to do with a big, shouty, moustachioed lawyery type bloke in an advert?

What follows will show the difference between being in Glasgow and being pretty much anywhere else.  It’s all to do with the current trend for suing people.  I think we got it from the good old US of A.  They love a bit of litigation over there.  I wonder if they’ve used that Johnny Cash song in an advert yet… I aim to sue, how do you do.

I was in Glasgow recently for a concert [Another? That's three in a year! -Ed.] and, prior to heading to the venue, my mate and I stopped off at a pub for a meal and a couple of drinks.  All very boring so far.  

I had an accident in said pub.  Through no fault of my own, I can assure you.  I only had a couple of drinks, I promise you.  I was sitting on a chair, reaching into my pocket for my phone or something and happened to shift my weight on the chair.  As I shifted my mass - I said mass - I felt myself fall to the floor.  Cue my Chic Murray gag – I fell straight to the floor.  Nothing spectacular.  At first I thought I must have been sitting too close to the edge of the chair and had simply moved my backside off the chair completely.  I repeat, I was not drunk.  As I lay on the floor I looked at the chair and realised that one of its legs had simply given way.

This is the point at which I remembered the guy in the advert.  Time for the legal machine to swing into action.  Obviously, the first thing to do is take a picture of the broken chair.  Then, take a picture of my bruises. Next, explain to the owner of the pub that I intend to claim him for injury to my person....

That last paragraph is bunkum. I did none of these things.

The bar owner came over to check how I was, offered me a drink of water and suggested that I head to the nearest A & E department just to see if I was okay…

That paragraph is bunkum too.

This occurred in a Glasgow pub, remember.  As I lay on the floor, all I could do was laugh at the ridiculous position I was in.  The rest of the people in the pub felt the same way and also had a right old laugh at my expense.  Some wag pointed out that I would have to pay for the damage done to the chair.  Ha fn ha.  Of course there were the expected jibes about me being steaming drunk.  Ha ha again.  When I got up, I showed the pub owner the chair.  His reaction?  He laughed too.  The situation seemed so ridiculous, who could blame him?

Sue for damages?  No.  I wouldn’t consider such a thing.  No bones broken.  Nothing hurt.  Well, perhaps my pride.

My mate’s reaction?  ‘Blast!  I wish I had filmed that.  I could have made £250 from You’ve Been Framed!’  You can always rely on a bit of sympathy from a pal.

To cap it all, I never even got offered a free drink!

Concert was good, though.

Righty ho, any birthdays worth a mention?  Yes indeedy, lots of famous folk were born on 28th of February.  Thomas Newcomen 1663 (tank engine), Charles Blondin 1824 (loony [You can’t say loony!  Not pc is it?  He walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope?  He’s a loony. – Ed.]), Vincente Minelli 1903 (that’s Vincente with a V), Zero Mostel 1915 (inventor of the combover), Alfred Burke 1918 (Public Eye man), Harry H Corbett 1925 (rag and bone man), Brian Moore 1932 (2nd James Bond), Joe South 1940 (Woh oo), Mario Andretti 1940 (Super Mario), Brian Jones 1942 (champion swimmer [You’re sick. – Ed.]), Dino Zoff 1942 (footy bloke), Sepp Maier 1944 (another footy bloke), Robin Cook 1946 (gnome), Stephanie Beecham 1947 (cold remedy), Ainsley Harriott 1957 (biscuit maker), Barry McGuigan 1961 (fighty bloke) and Lee Carsley 1974 (yet another footy bloke).

So who out of that lot can provide us with a toon to gramblerise?  Erm… no one, quite frankly.  However, we can celebrate a musical anniversary.  Yes 24 years ago on the 28th of February 1991, Les Miserables (translation – The Glums) opened at Theatre Carre, Amsterdam.  Who’d have thought a musical that elaborates upon the history of France, the architecture and urban design of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love would be a success?  The title alone should have put people off.  But it didn’t and 24 years on, it is still pulling in the crowds.  It is often talked of in the same reverential way that arty types eulogise about West Side Story; another ‘quality’ musical.  I’m sorry.  It still doesn’t change my mind.  I just do not like musicals.  Any road up, let’s give it the gramblerising treatment.  Ladeez and genullum I give you ‘Do you hear the gramblers sing’…

Do you hear the gramblers sing?
Grambling a song of angry men?
It is the gramblings of a people
Who will not be grambled again!
When the grambling of your heart
Echoes the grambling of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Right let’s get on to grambling matters, shall we?  What happened last week?  We won.  Sort of.  53 pees back from a 2 quids 20 pee stake.  Not good.  Not good at all.  Come on Grambler; pull your socks up.

So what have we got this week for The Grambler to randomly select from?  Well, there is a full complement of games in the English and Scottish senior leagues; 59 for The Grambler to peruse.  What five has he/she/it selected for us?

Game – Result – Odds

Bournemouth vs Blackburn – Prediction Home win – 8/11

Cardiff vs Wolves – Prediction Home win – 17/10

Rotherham vs Millwall – Prediction Home win – 5/4

Chesterfield vs Fleetwood – Prediction Home win – 11/10

Coventry vs MK Dons – Prediction Away win – 21/20

Righty ho then, the bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator), how much will be winging its way to the Bobby Moore Fund?


£18.35?  That’s more than twice the totals of recent weeks.  What’s going on?  Has The Grambler been on the computer equivalent of ‘sauce’?  Whatever.  I get the feeling that the Bobby Moore Fund may be getting a little bit less than £18.35.

What about last week’s teaser, I hear you ask.  I asked you who was the only player to have won the Champions League title with three different clubs.  The answer is the great Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf.  He won winners’ medals with Ajax in 1995, Real Madrid in 1998 and AC Milan in 2003 and again in 2007.  He also sported one of the daftest hairstyles the football world has ever seen – and, let’s face it, when it comes to daft hairstyles the footy world has some belters.


What about a teaser for this week?  Right.  Only one club in the current English Premiershit has never featured in an FA Cup final; can you name it?  Hang on, the answer to that is either yes or no – Yes, I do know or no, I don’t know.  So, this week’s teaser is - name that team. [That’s better. – Ed.]

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, I am indebted to for a rather rude story relating to a concert given by Sir Cliff in Japan on the last leg of a successful world tour. The audience go wild as Cliff asks them if there is anything he can sing especially for them.

‘Tits and fanny!’ scream the audience. ‘I can't sing that’ says Cliff. ‘I'm a devout Christian.’

‘Tits and fanny!’ scream the crowd.

‘Oh, come on,’ says Cliff.

‘Tits and fanny!’ scream the crowd.

‘Okay, okay,’ says Cliff,  ‘But I don't know how it goes.’

‘Tits and fanny’ …sing the crowd in unison.. ‘… how we don't talk anymore.’


Happy grambling

Friday 20 February 2015

Week 29 - The Grambler on smoking

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 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…

Before we leave bowel cancer, I would suggest that you read which shows that at least here in Scotland, it is a cancer that is being taken very seriously indeed.

Right, on with the usual stuff.

Firstly, I wish to apologise profusely for last week’s effort at writing this article.  Honestly!  You leave someone in charge… I’ll do it, he says, I used to be an writer… and they make a right old mess of it.

Holiday?  Yes, very nice, thank you for asking.  Mrs G and I did enjoy it.  The highlight of the week was probably seeing the Funchal Carnival.  Very good.  Claimed to be the second best in the world after Rio.  Although one section of the parade was a little odd.  About ten guys in electric wheelchairs did a bit of formation wheelchair manoeuvring.  It wasn’t very good and was very much at odds with the professionalism and vibrancy of the rest of the spectacle.  I suppose it was all about ‘inclusion’, but it didn’t really fit in with the rest.  What I did notice was that these guys had, on average, less than three limbs and it prompts this week’s (g)ramble…

Here's a thing. If I were to suggest to you that each week you were to take £60 and set fire to it, you would probably say I was bonkers in the nut.  Why would anyone in their right mind set fire to that amount of money?  Although the KLF allegedly took a million quid and set fire to it.  Yeah, I think they may well have been a bit mad.  As well as suggesting that you voluntarily burn this amount of money (60 quid, not a million), I would also suggest that you cause yourself to age quicker than you should and give yourself heart problems, circulation troubles, breathing difficulties and give yourself a better chance of contracting cancer.  You would definitely tell me to stop being ridiculous.  Who in their right mind would make such choices?
What convoluted point are you making here, you are probably asking.  Let me explain (in case you haven’t already guessed).  Smoking.  Why is this week's rant aimed at smoking?  Let me explain...
I just happened to be in my local newsagent's the other day and a young guy came in and asked for ten ciggies.  Four pounds and 29 pees!  For ten fags!  That to me is just mental.  I know guys who smoke.  The amount they consume... No, that's not right... Burn.  That's better.  The amount they burn is usually something like 20 per day.  That's over £8.50 spent each day.  Crazy or what?
Surely nobody would smoke if they added up how much it was actually costing. Let's assume that someone starts to smoke at the age of... Ooh... 15, and is fortunate enough to be still going at 65.  Assuming that they smoke on average 20 fags a day for that 50 years.  Also assuming that the £8.50 I quoted is the average price, do you know how much money has gone up in smoke?  Over £155,000.  No, you read that right, £155,000.  The cost of a reasonable house.  Probably enough to buy and run a new car every few years for a lifetime.  Or enough to pay for a lifetime's worth of luxury holidays.
Ah, say you smokers out there in Gramblerland, but you wouldn't have the enjoyment to be gained from a daily nicotine habit.  True.  Nor would you have to stand outside in the pouring rain to feed that habit.  And you wouldn't have the threat of emphysema or lung cancer constantly hanging over you.
I'm sorry I sound so callous, but I didn't realise just how anti-smoking I was until a couple of years ago when Stewart was in hospital fighting for his life through no fault of his own.  Every day as I left the hospital after seeing his health deteriorate from the day before, I had to walk through a fog of smoke as I passed the patients who were sitting outside the hospital building - usually in wheelchairs - feeding their smoking, sorry, drug habit.  What I saw just made me angry. Why? Because these smokers had all had one or both legs amputated.  Obviously poor circulation had been caused by them smoking for much of their life, hence the loss of limbs.  And yet they continued to smoke therefore sticking a metaphorical two fingers up at the surgeons who had saved their lives...
'Thanks for saving my life doc, I'll be back in a few months for you to remove my other leg.'
Is it really worth it?  It isn't as if they were unaware of the facts prior to starting to smoke.  When I was a nipper, [Here we go; Hovis time. - Ed.] the famous singer and example of rhyming slang, Nat King Cole, died.  That was 50 years ago.  Even then, I knew that he had died of lung cancer caused by him smoking.  It was certainly something that influenced me when I refused to take up smoking, but I remember trying cigarettes and thinking that it was not even a pleasant experience.  I also had very little money to spare and felt it was wasting what I had, to spend it on fags.  As the years went by and the price went up, I felt I had made the correct decision.
The main consideration for a person not smoking should always be one of health, however.  I have seen too many people struggling with their health because of what smoking has done to their bodies.  Why gamble with your health?  There are enough problems to contend with in life without deliberately causing a few of your own.  Give yourself a chance.  Don't even start smoking.
I am reminded of the old gag of a guy smoking.  He is wheezing and coughing his lungs up much to the distaste of the person standing next to him.  'Why don't you give up smoking?' says the onlooker, to which the smoker, still coughing, replies, 'What? And give up my only pleasure in life?'
As a footnote to this rant, may I mention an uncle of mine who died many years ago, his life shortened by heavy smoking.  He claimed that he could light his first cigarette of the day and never need a match or lighter for the rest of the day.  He was what used to be known as a chain smoker, each cigarette being lit from the one smoked previously.  He also reckoned that he smoked on average 100 cigarettes per day.  One hundred!  The amount of money that he spent?  Based on my £8.50 per day for 20 over 50 years?  Are you ready for this?  Over £775,000.  Over three quarters of a million quid literally up in smoke.  Maybe the KLF weren't the only crazy ones.*


Any birthdays to mention?  Yes, quite a few famous folk were born on the 21st of February. Felix Aylmer 1889 (cat), Andres Segovia 1893 (rock god), W H Auden 1907 (prune), Douglas Bader 1910 (Kenneth More impressionist), Eddie Waring 1910 (Oop anunder), Robert Mugabe 1924 (liberal president of Zimbabwe), Sam Peckinpah 1925 (director of family films), Nina Simone 1933 (doomba doomba dommba doomba doomba dommba), Rue McClanahan 1934 (street in French speaking part of Scotland), Mark McManus 1935 (there’s been a murrduh), David Geffen 1943 (asylum seeker), Alan Rickman 1946 (eef I were a Rickman, zubba zubba zubba zubba zubba zubba zubba zum), Tyne Daly 1946 (Geordie), Jean-Jacques Brunel 1952 (engineer), Kelsey Grammer 1955 (school), Ranking Roger 1961 (wapper), Vanessa Feltz 1962 (lovechild of Michael Winner), Michael McIntyre 1976 (grinning giggling bloke) and Georgios Samaras 1985 (Eurovision song contest winner).

A few in there could provide us with a toon to gramblerise – Nina Simone had a few hits, Jean-Jacques Brunel was a Strangler (musical variety) and Ranking Roger did the talky bits on hits by the Beat.  Who do you think?  Nina Simone, I think…

Doomba doomba doomba doomba doomba doomba

Doomba doomba doomba doomba doomba doomba
My Grambler don't care for shows

My Grambler don't care for clothes

My Grambler just cares for me

My Grambler don't care for cars and races

My Grambler don't care for high-tone places

etc. etc.

Shall we move onto grambling matters.  Well, I cannot believe it!  I wasn’t here to celebrate the first time The Grambler actually made an all-correct footy prediction.  Yep.  Five out of five.  Let’s hear it for The Grambler!  Actually, let’s not bother.  One out of… How many?  I’ve been writing this for well over a year and it hasn’t happened once in all that time.  Hardly a ringing endorsement for his/her/its method of prediction.  Can he/she/it do it two week’s running (forget about last week being missing)?  Course not.  But we’ll try anyway.  What has The Grambler come up with this week?

Game – Result – Odds

Blackburn vs Blackpool – Prediction Home win – 1/2

Derby vs Sheffield Wednesday – Prediction Home win – 4/6

Sheffield United vs Coventry – Prediction Home win – 7/10

Bury vs Hartlepool – Prediction Home win – 8/13

Albion vs East Stirling – Prediction Home win – 4/9

So the bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and, if they all go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will stand to gain the sensational sum of …


Seven quids?  Is that all?  Hardly worth trekking all the way down to my local thief bookie to place the bet.

Tell you what… Let’s move on to this week’s teaser.  But first, you’ll be desperate to know the answer to the teaser I put to you two weeks ago.  I asked you what the term ‘perfect hat-trick’ meant.  As all you footy buffs out there will know, a perfect hat-trick is – 1 goal scored with the left foot, 1 with the right foot and 1 with the head.  Not necessarily in that order, of course.

How about a teaser for this week?  Who is the only player to have won the Champions League with three different clubs?  An easy one for you there, I reckon, but worth asking your mates down the allotment/pub/gym.

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther I am indebted to Mr Ian Fleming who wrote these lines in his novel Goldfinger

“Smoking I find the most ridiculous of all the varieties of human behaviour and practically the only one that is entirely against nature. Can you imagine a cow or any animal taking a mouthful of smouldering straw then breathing in the smoke and blowing it out through its nostrils?”


*To any smokers out there, I do apologise for this anti-smoking edition of**


**I don’t, really.


Happy grambling.