Friday 14 August 2015

Week 2 - Cilla Black - The Grambler remembers

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…

Unless you have been hiding in a cupboard for the past two weeks, you have probably heard that the entertainer Cilla Black has popped her clogs.  Either that or you haven’t got a clue who she was [Lucky you. – Ed.].  Miss Black was a singer – and I used that word in its loosest sense – who had a few hits in the sixties and managed to remain a ‘star’ for the rest of her days.  Her singing voice was certainly unusual; unique, even.  I have to say I did not understand the appeal.  To me, her voice had the same effect as running fingernails down a blackboard or rubbing two pieces of polystyrene together.  An unpleasant aural experience.
She was fortunate enough to be a young would-be singer in Liverpool when the Beatles were first making it big.  At that time anything remotely related to the ‘Merseysound’ was worth investing in.  Cilla, while not being the greatest singer, had a certain chutzpah (or gobbiness as someone put it) that got her noticed.  The story goes that John Lennon introduced her to the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Managed by Epstein, she became the first female artist to top the British singles chart in three years when Anyone who had a Heart (a Bacharach/David song written for Dionne Warwick) hit the number one spot.  Dionne Warwick’s, arguably better, version got no higher than number eight.
On the back of this chart success, Cilla was given her own prime time Saturday evening show by the BBC.  This, however, was not unusual at the time; any young, attractive, female singer with a modicum of chart success seemed to get that gig – Kathy Kirby, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, Clodagh Rodgers and Lulu all had their own Saturday night series.  Where Cilla differed from them all was her personality.  The others sang their songs, did a duet with that week’s guest star and did little else.  Cilla showed a good intuition for comedy and, while the singing still provided the bulk of the content, the show featured some items to use this side of her talent.  She had a natural rapport with people and a section of the show had her chatting to members of the public on the street.
Eventually, singing would take a back seat and she became a presenter of programmes such as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise.
Why are you telling us all this, I hear you asking.  Well, there is one thing that has always puzzled me about Cilla Black – the name.  Her name.  Her real name was (Pris)cilla White, so why did anyone think it important to change it?  Fair enough if it had been altered to something a bit showbizzy, but White to Black?  I have never understood the reasoning…
Hmm, Green doesn’t sound right, let’s call you Brown.
Hmm, Jones doesn’t sound right, let’s call you Smith.
Hmm, McKenzie doesn’t sound right, let’s call you McKechnie.
You get the picture.  As far as I can recall, there were no singers at the time called White, so it wasn’t done to prevent confusing her with someone else.
Of course, changing a person’s name when they enter the business known as show is nothing new.  Would Cary Grant have seemed so debonair as Archie Leach?  Would Boris Karloff have been as menacing if he was still plain old Bill Pratt?  Would Judy Garland have become a star as Frances Gumm?  Certainly, we could never imagine John Wayne as a screen tough guy if he had kept the name Marion Morrison.  What were his parents thinking?
Often names are changed to hide a person’s roots.  Perhaps anti-Semitism was still rife when Issur Danielovitch changed his name to Kirk Douglas.  Or maybe it was simply too awkward a name for people to remember.  See also, Bernard Schwartz (Tony Curtis), Benjamin Cubelski (Jack Benny), Doris Kappelhoff (Doris Day), Carole Klein (Carole King), etc. etc.
A lot of people from an Italian background have done well in showbiz.  Many don’t change their names – Frank Sinatra, Robert de Nero, Al(fredo) Pacino – but many have done.  I think Dino Crocetti sounds okay, but Dino himself preferred Dean Martin, although he still liked the Dino part of his name.  How about Waldon Cassotto?  He preferred Bobby Darin.  Dion DiMucci didn’t exactly change his name; he simply dropped the surname.  What was wrong with Tony Benedetto, Mr Bennett?  Obviously Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew Nicolas didn’t want to cash in on his uncle’s name when he changed his surname from Coppola to Cage.  And you can’t get more Italian sounding than Anna Italiano, so perhaps Anne Bancroft was a better choice.  Incidentally, she was married to Melvin Kaminsky, better known as Mel Brooks.
Sometimes, though, a person’s name would just not lend itself to being up in lights.  Diana Fluck, for example.  That wouldn’t do at all.  How often might a typesetter on a newspaper ‘inadvertently’ forget to put in the ‘l’?  Diana Dors sounds much better.  She used to tell a lovely story relating to her real name.  It may or not be true; you know what ectaws are like when it comes to anecdotes.  Anyway, back in the days when she was seen as Britain’s answer to Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jeanne Mortenson) or Jayne Mansfield (Vera Palmer), she was hired as a special guest to open a village fete (or something) and there was some delay to the actual ceremony.  During this period, she got talking to the man tasked with introducing her to the gathered crowd.  They got on to the topic of her name and she told him that her real surname was Fluck.  When the time came for the opening, the man got up and addressed the people…
‘… I would like to introduce you to our special guest today, Miss Diana Dors (Applause).  Now, Miss Dors was telling me while we were waiting to open the fete that her name isn’t really Dors; it is, in fact, Clunt.’
Well, I liked it.


Any birthdays to celebrate this week?  Which famous folk came into this world on the 15th of August?  Napoleon Bonaparte 1769 (Inventor of wee man syndrome), Walter Scott 1771 (Terry’s dad), James Keir Hardie 1856 (First Labour MP – now more famous for spinning in his grave), Wendy Hiller 1912 (Fell-walking actress), Robert Bolt 1924 (Door fitting), Oscar Peterson 1925 (Ivory tickler), Nick Roeg 1928 (Anagram), Jim Dale 1935 (Hengist Pod’s pal Horsa – One for all you Carry On buffs there), Peter York 1942 (Drum basher), Jimmy Webb 1946 (Original Spiderman), Tony Robinson 1946 (I have a cunning plan, my lord), Stieg Larsson 1954 (Driver on Top Gear) and Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt 1972 (No wonder he shortened that name).
Anyone in amongst that lot able to give us a toon worth gramblerising?  Yes indeedy.  Peter York was the drummer in the Spencer Davis Group – fronted by Stevie Winwood.  Remember them?  If so, you will probably remember this hit…
And I'm
So glad you made it
So glad you made it
You gotta
Gimme some gramblin'
Gimme some gramblin'
Gimme some gramblin' everyday


How did The Grambler’s predicting skills fare last week?  We won.  Yay!  No, not yay, because we only got £1.21 back from our £2.20 stake.  So 99 pees down for our first bet of the new footie season.  Oh well.  So, what happened?

Birmingham vs Reading – Prediction Home win
Result – Birmingham 2 Reading 1
Tomasz Kuszczak saved a last-minute penalty as Birmingham City held on to secure a dramatic victory against Reading at St Andrew's.
David Cotterill put Blues in front with a wildly deflected free-kick which beat Reading keeper Jonathan Bond.
Jon Toral doubled the hosts' advantage after the restart when he leapt to head home a Clayton Donaldson cross.
Ex Motherwell striker, Nick Blackman nodded the visitors back in it, but Kuszczak saved Orlando Sa's penalty after Simon Cox was fouled.
Birmingham went ahead after Paul McShane brought down Clayton Donaldson and Cotterill fired home the free-kick.
Debutant Toral put Birmingham 2-0 up after smart link-up play with Donaldson allowed him to head past Bond.
Reading were back in it soon afterwards when Chris Gunter fired a cross towards Blackman, who headed the ball past Blues debutant Kuszczak.
Deep into added time, Cox was brought down by David Davis in the box and Kuszczak coolly saved Sa's weak spot-kick.

Blackburn vs Wolves – Prediction Home win
Result – Blackburn 1 Wolves 2
A controversial winning goal just before half-time gave Wolves a victory at Blackburn.
Midfielder Dave Edwards appeared to divert Nouha Dicko's cross with a hand to give the visitors the lead.
Wolves had recovered from a slow start to lead through Benik Afobe, who collected Edwards' flick-on and finished past goalkeeper David Raya.
Rovers levelled when Carl Ikeme palmed in Craig Conway's (Russ’s lad) shot, but the hosts could not force a second equaliser.

Fleetwood vs Southend – Prediction Home win
Result – Fleetwood 1 Southend 1
Ooh! ‘It the bar!
David Worrall's goal six minutes from time earned promoted Southend a point at Fleetwood.
Declan McManus (What?  The Declan McManus?  Elvis Costello?  Oh.  Different spelling.), signed from Aberdeen in May, led a break to put Fleetwood ahead from 25 yards and Jamille Matt's header almost doubled the lead.
McManus struck the woodwork moments later but the visitors rallied late on.
In their first League One outing since 2010, they celebrated wildly when Worrall's floated ball from the left evaded everyone to nestle in the net.

Swindon vs Bradford – Prediction Home win
Result – Swindon 4 Bradford 1
Swindon's Nathan Byrne scored a 16-minute hat-trick as the Robins come back from a goal down to beat Bradford.
The visitors went ahead early on when Josh Morris struck, before Billy Clarke's poor penalty was saved.
After the break, Byrne curled in his first before his close range finish under goalkeeper Ben Williams put the hosts in the lead.
Byrne's third came after a mazy dribble and striker Jon Obika secured three points when he slotted home the fourth.

Accrington vs Luton – Prediction Away win
Result – Accrington 1 Luton 1
Ooh! ‘It the bar!
Jonathan Smith scored a fortunate injury-time equaliser for Luton at Accrington to rescue a point on the opening day of League Two.
Hatters debutant Craig Mackail-Smith's shot cannoned off Smith's back and into the net.
Smith had earlier conceded a penalty for a foul on Josh Windass, who stepped up to put Accrington ahead in the 61st minute.
Luton's Paul Benson could have scored a winner, but saw his shot blocked.
All together now… Everybody Stanley.  Keep it in the family… etc. etc.
Let’s see if we can improve on two out of five this week, Saturday the 15th of August.  There are 55 senior games in the English and Scottish leagues kicking off at 3pm.  So without further delay, here are the Grambler predictions for this week…

Game – Result  – Odds
Sunderland vs Norwich – Prediction Home win – 6/4
Fulham vs Brighton – Prediction Home win – 6/4
Bury vs Swindon – Prediction Home win – 13/10
Yeovil vs Bristol Rovers – Home win – 8/5
Clyde vs Queen’s Park – Prediction Home win – 10/11

…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…
Hmm.  Another big total.  Big totals are not good news.  Long odds, you see.  Well, it’s all about random gambling, isn’t it?  So, go for it.  Why not?


It’s Teaser time.  Yay!  Last week I asked you which club moved to its present ground from Boothferry Park in 2002?  The answer is, that unique team, Hull City.  What do you mean, why are they unique?  Haven’t you read Why Hull City are unique ?  Well, you should.
And now, a teaser for this week.  A Premiershit question for you.  Why is season 1994-95 unique in the Premiershit?  Clue: final placings.  A good un there, I reckon.


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 Messrs A. Buxton and J. Cornish for a rather unusual impression of Cilla Black on Blind Date.  It’s one of those things that some would consider hilarious while others struggle to see the joke.  I hope it gives you a lorra lorra laughs.

Happy grambling.

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