Saturday 4 July 2015

Week 48 - The Grambler on non PC comedy

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 is 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.


Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery.  He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter.  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 beginning this week’s (g)ramble, I wish to applaud Mrs G who, this week, hosted a ‘Tea for Stewart’ (in the garden) which, thanks to the generosity of over one hundred people who came along, - Incidentally, we haven’t got an enormous garden; there were four ‘sittings’ – raised over £1500 for The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund.  If you click on the link you can see how much has been raised for the Bobby Moore Fund.





I often have a dig at Farcebook in these articles and I am going to discuss an item that somebody posted recently.  It was a piece of comedy film, the vintage of which, when I describe it to you, you will probably be able to ascertain.
The film opens with an attractive young lady riding a bike.  It focuses on her bottom which is also very attractive and is clad in hotpants.  As she pedals the bike, the camera focuses on the movement of her bottom.  The scene is now set and what follows is a string of incidents featuring men who are so focused on ogling her bottom that they don't concentrate on what they are meant to be doing.  Thus we see a man walking into a tree, a man on a bike crashing because he doesn't see what is ahead of him, a man pushing a lawnmower into a flower bed, another cyclist riding into a parked lorry, a man pouring a drink and forgetting to stop... I don't need to go on, you get the picture.  It is the sort of sketch which could only have been made in the late sixties/early seventies.  All these years on it looks old-fashioned and sexist.  Its worst attribute though, to my mind, is that it just isn't funny.  Every bump, spillage and crash is laboured and obvious.

Why am I telling you about this dreadful piece of comedy from the 60s or 70s?  Because this was not unusual at the time.  Many comedy (and I use that word with reservations) programmes were filled with examples like this; men leering at pretty women.  Sid James built a career on being a leering, dirty old man with a filthy laugh whose hands were never far away from groping some attractive, younger (much, much younger) woman's bottom or breasts.  Benny Hill, probably the top earning British comic of the era, finished every show he made with him chasing after some scantily clad young women in a speeded up film with the equally speeded up tune Yakkety Sax being played.  It was all utterly sexist.  Benny Hill's career was similar to Sid James' in that he was generally portrayed as a dirty old man but he also had the added string to his bow of casual racism. There was a Chinese character who would regularly appear simply to mispronounce the word election, or call the supposed interviewer a stoopit irriot.

It was all typical of British comedy at the time...

There was On the Buses - Reg Varney as a 50 something bus driver who would leer at the younger conductresses (probably less than half his age) who always seemed to be bursting out of their uniforms. Or Rising damp - Leonard Rossiter as a seedy landlord who was basically trying to bed one of his tenants.

Even sit coms which had a plot based on totally non sexist matters would always feature the main (older) character chasing younger attractive women.  There was a dreadful show on at the time called Love Thy Neighbour which was as racist as it was possible to be - it featured a black couple moving in next door to a white couple (with 'hilarious' consequences).  One of the asides to this 'hilarious' plot device was the white guy lusting after his black neighbour's wife.
You are probably wondering where all this is leading.

I have recently seen a newspaper article which asked if men wolf-whistling at women (as was considered quite normal in those pre political correctness days) was sexual harassment.  Two learned types gave their opinion; one agreeing that it was, the other arguing against. 

Operation Yew (thought you’d got away with it) tree has put a few people behind bars for their shocking behaviour towards young women and children in the 70s.  Yes, what they did was utterly dreadful and every one of them deserves to be locked up.

However, one of the number who was brought to book for 'historical' offences was the DJ Dave Lee Travis who was charged with groping women inappropriately.  That doesn't read too well, does it? It suggests that there is an appropriate way to grope.  However, these allegations were about groping in the 70s.  Groping in the 70s?  Sounds like a title for a channel 5 documentary.  Any road up, my point is that, given the popularity of mainstream comedy that was based on treating women as nothing more than objects to be ogled or groped, was it any surprise that DLT thought that such behaviour was acceptable? 

I recall seeing guys actually smacking girls' bottoms as they walked by.  Although it wasn't something that I would ever have contemplated doing, I didn't perceive it as being particularly wrong.  The men and girls in question did know each other, it wasn't just a guy smacking some random girl's bum.  The reaction from the women was generally to laugh about it.  And because their reaction was good-humoured, nobody considered it to be offensive.  It was a joke - Benny Hill/Sid James/Reg Varney et al did it, so it must be okay.  Only, it wasn't.  I once did observe a girl being offended when she received a playful smack on the bottom.  Did the perpetrator apologise?  No he didn't.  He merely said, 'Just a bit of fun.'
His following remark, reserved for his mates, sums up the attitude of bum smacking men of the time - 'Time of the month.'

I also remember seeing an incident of the shoe being on the other foot, if you like, when an older woman smacked a young guy on the bottom. His reaction?  Bear in mind that this did occur near Glasgow.  He told her to f*** off.




Right, let’s move on to the birthday honours.  Any famous folk born on the 4th of July?  Of course there were…. Stephen Foster 1826 (Racist songwriter), Angela Baddeley 1904 (Mrs Bridges), William T ‘Champion Jack’ Dupree 1908, or 1909 or, possibly, 1910.  In fact, he may not have been born on July 4th; it might have been the 10th or, even, the 23rd (Confused boxer/pianist), Mitch Miller 1911 (Not Frank Sinatra’s favourite person), Gina Lollobrigida 1927 (Interviewer of Fidel Castro), Neil Simon 1927 (Paul’s Dad), Colin Welland 1934 (PC Graham), Bill Withers 1938 (Punchline to joke about a duck), Jeremy Spencer 1948 (Oh well), Rene Arnoux 1948 (Racey car bloke), David Jensen 1950 (65 year old kid), John Waite 1952 (12 stones), Pam Shriver 1962 (How do you shrive a pam?), Neil Morrisey 1962 (Can we fix it?), Henri Leconte 1963 (I say, that’s a bit uncalled for) and Jo Whiley 1965 (Coyote).  Anyone in amongst that lot able to give us a toon to gramblerise?  Mitch Miller?  The grambly rose of Texas?  John Waite?  I ain’t grambling you at all? [Steady on. – Ed.]  What about something from Stephen Foster?  Actually, yes, but I won’t gramblerise anything.  I give you the complete lyrics to a famous song written by a white, that is, pale skinned - not in the least bit black - American gentleman…

I came from Alabama
Wid my banjo on my knee,
I'm g'wan to Louisiana,
My true love for to see,
It rain'd all night the day I left
The weather it was dry,
The sun so hot I froze to death
Susanna don't you cry.

Oh! Susanna Oh! Don't you cry for me
I've come from Alabama wid mi banjo on my knee.

I had a dream de odder night,
When ebery ting was still;
I thought I saw Susanna,
A coming down de hill.
De buckwheat cake was in her mouth,
De tear was in her eye,
Says I, I'm coming from de South,
Susanna, don't you cry.

Oh! Susanna Oh! Don't you cry for me
I've come from Alabama wid mi banjo on my knee.

I soon will be in New Orleans,
And den I'll look all round,
And when I find Susanna,
I'll fall upon the ground.
But if I do not find her,
This darkie'l surely die,
And when I'm dead and buried,
Susanna, don't you cry.

Oh! Susanna Oh! Don't you cry for me
I've come from Alabama wid mi banjo on my knee.

You think that’s racist?  Here are the lyrics to one of his lesser-known songs: Uncle Ned

Dere was an old Nigga, dey call'd him Uncle Ned
He's dead long ago, long ago!
He had no wool on de top ob his head
De place whar de wool ought to grow.

Den lay down de shubble and de hoe
Hang up de fiddle and de bow:
No more work for poor Old Ned
He's gone where the good Niggas go.

When Old Ned die Massa take it mighty bad,
De tears run down like de rain;
Old missus turn pale, and she gets berry sad
Cayse she nebber see Old Ned again.

His fingers were long like de cane in de brake,
He had no eyes for to see;
He had no teeth for eat de corn cake
So had to let de corn cake be.


How the hell did he get away with it?




How did The Grambler’s predicting skills fare last week?  We lost.  Big time.  Nothing back at all.  Zero.  Zilch.  Zip.  And any other words beginning with zed that mean rugger ball.  Ho hum.  Let’s see what this week’s random choices are…

Meeting – Time – Horse – Odds

Sandown            2.00            Waady                          2/1

Leicester            2.40            That’ll Happen            8/13

Sandown            3.45            Golden Horn               4/11

Beverley             5.20            Grand Beauty             11/8

Nottingham        8.45            Raddeh                         SP

…and if the bets (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) all go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will benefit to the tune of… fanfare please…

Don’t know


Unfortunately, that ‘SP’ means that the total we could be sending to the BMF cannot be calculated as the odds on that particular gee gee are either not yet calculated or were in the midst of being changed at the moment my bet was being placed.  Never mind.  It won’t alter the fact that we are not likely to win.  How am I able to predict that?  Because we very rarely do win.  That’s how.




It’s Teaser time.  Yay!  Last week I asked you what the following ‘shirts’ have in common - West Ham’s No. 6, Man City’s No. 23 and Chelsea’s No. 25.  The answer is that they were all ‘retired’ after the famous wearer departed the club.

West Ham number 6 was worn by the man whose charity we support; Bobby Moore.  He made 544 appearances for the Hammers over 15 seasons and was captain for ten years.

Manchester City number 23 was worn by Marc Vivien Foe who died suddenly during an international match aged just 28.

Chelsea number 25 was the shirt of Gianfranco Zola who played a total of 312 games and scored 80 goals for the Blues.

Okay then, what about a teaser for this week?  Which English football club is geographically the furthest south as well as being the furthest west?  Easy peasy.




Once again, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer.  If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration.  Just point your doctor in the direction of .




And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr R. Stewart who continues this week’s theme of political incorrectness with an album title and sleeve that can only be judged as being just a little bit questionable…



How the hell did he get away with it?


Happy grambling.


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