Saturday 26 September 2015

Week 8 - Brian Sewell - the haughty culturalist

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


Farewell to Brian Sewell. Who, you ask. He was that art critic with the incredibly posh accent. He snuffed it, this week. Tim Brook-Taylor, himself an incredibly posh bloke, described him as a Haughty culturalist. Geddit? Horticulturalist? Haughty culturalist? Please yourselves.

Any road up, old Sewell was a bloke I couldn’t really take to. His clipped way of talking just grated on the lugholes as far as I was concerned. At least that was the case until I watched a programme he made about the surreallist artist, Salvador Dali.

When he was just a young pup, Sewell managed to spend some time at the great artist’s home at Portlligat. He told a story of his time with Dali that says a lot about the weirdness of the great artist, but also says a bit about Brian Sewell. The story goes that Brian was swimming around in Dali’s unusually shaped swimming pool when the great man asked if he could take some photographs. Not a problem, says Brian. Dali then asks him to take his swimming costume off and pose naked. What the hell, thinks Brian and duly obliges. Dali then asks him to indulge in a.. erm... monosexual act. What the hell, thinks Brian and begins to perform as required.

He said of Dali that he was obviously ‘turned on’ by this performance and clicked away with his camera, although Sewell says he doubted if there was any film in it.

It is a story which does not tally with Sewell’s later, cultured but utterly waspish persona. When Sewell wrote, be it a review or otherwise, he took no prisoners...

‘When Tracey Emin makes a neon sign, that’s not the “worst art”, it just isn’t art.’

‘Banksy should have been put down at birth...His work has no virtue.’

On modern art: ‘We pee on things, we pee into things, we pee over things... and call it art.’

‘By and large, women are bloody awful painters. Don’t ask me why; they just are.

On great female composers and writers: ‘Where is the female Mozart? Where’s Mrs Shakespeare?’

On Jane Austen: ‘She’s a terrible bore, writing about people I’m not remotely interested in.’

The day after Princess Diana died, he wrote a piece for the London Evening Standard wondering what all the fuss was about, when she was nothing but a whiny brood mare. Oddly, the piece was never published.

On the Arts Council: ‘An incestuous clique, politically correct in every endeavour, the instrument of the unscrupulous and self-seeking, rewarding the briefly fashionable and incompetent.

On why he had not been made a director of Christie’s, the auction house: ‘I sleep with the wrong people.’

On David Hockney: ‘[He owed his fame] entirely to his homosexuality.’

Brian Sewell... probably not the nicest person to know.




Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 26th of September? Why, yes. Hunners. Saint Francis of Assisi 1181 (He loved the Eucharist, he really did.), Edmund Gwenn 1875 (Kris Kringle), Barnes Wallis 1887 (Bouncy bouncy.), Thomas Stearns Elliot 1888 (Old Possum.), George Gershwin 1898 (Here’s a fact - After My Way and Yesterday, Gershwin’s Summertime is the most recorded song.), George Raft 1901 (Name of Thor Heyerdahl’s vessel.), Anthony Blunt 1907 (Rhyming slang and a friend of Brian Sewell’s, incidentally.), Marty Robbins 1925 (Inventor of Old El Paso nachos.), Julie London 1926 (Cry her a river.), Ricky Tomlinson 1939 (My arse!), Ian Chappell 1943 (Aussie crickety bloke.), Anne Robinson 1944 (Goodbye.), Brian Ferry 1945 (Character in Thomas the Tank Engine stories.), Lynn Anderson 1947 (I beg your pardon.), Olivia Newton-John 1948 (Aussie trio.), Will Self 1961 (Will self what? Mutilate? Destruct?), Michael Ballack 1976 (German footie bloke.) and Serena Williams 1981 (Tennisy bloke.),

Now, who amongst that lot could provide us with a toon to gramblerise? Julie London? Gramble me a river? Hmm. Maybe not. Lynn Anderson? I beg your pardon, I didn’t gramble you a rose garden? I know. Let’s have the third most recorded song.  Wrong season, I know, but here it is anyway...

And the gramblin' is easy
Fish are gramblin'
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up grambling
Then you'll gramble your wings
And you'll take to the sky

But until that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy grambling by

Wise words there, mate.



Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our bet go last week? We made a slight improvement on last week. By the grand sum of tuppence! Yes, this week The Grambler’s predictions brought us a return of £1.55 instead of the £1.53 of the previous week. Woo bloody hoo.  Here is just a quick rundown of the results.


Bournemouth vs Sunderland - Prediction Home win

Result - Bournemouth 2 Sunderland 0 - Yay!

Hull vs QPR - Prediction Home win

Result - Hull 1 QPR 1 - Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Shrewsbury vs Crewe - Prediction Home win

Result - Shrewsbury 0 Crewe 1 - Boo!

Livingston vs Hibs - Prediction Away win

Result - Livingston 0 Hibs 1 - Yay!

Stenhousemuir vs Dunfermline - Prediction Away win

Result - Stenhousemuir 0 Dunfermline 5 - Yay!

Let’s see what The Grambler comes up with this week. Can he/she/it predict his/her/its way to profit?  Here, ladeez and genullum are your five random selections from this week’s games (all of which take place at 3pm on Saturday the 26th of September).

Game - Result - Odds

Liverpool vs Aston Villa - Prediction Home win - 1/2

Southampton vs Swansea - Prediction Home win - Evens

Bradford vs Peterborough - Prediction Home win - Evens

Shrewsbury vs Blackpool - Prediction Home win - 7/10

Walsall vs Crewe - Prediction Home win - 8/15

…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... What do you reckon? Do you think this could be our week? No, neither do I.




Teaser time! Yay! Last week I asked you who was the highest placed Scot in the English Premiershit’s chart of top goalscorers. So coming in at position 53, pop pickers, it’s Duncan ‘Have a go’ Ferguson who scored 68 premiershit goals. Not arf!

One for this week... Who was the last British player to be the top scorer in a Champions League or European Cup competition? A good one to test your mates down the pub, methinks.




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 J. Gleason who provides us with this week’s album cover...

Spot the signature. Yes, old Salvi, himself.   The great artist describes the artwork thus: “The first effect is that of anguish, of space, and of solitude. Secondly, the fragility of the wings of a butterfly, projecting long shadows of late afternoon, reverberates in the landscape like an echo. The feminine element, distant and isolated, forms a perfect triangle with the musical instrument and its other echo, the shell.” Hmm. That’s top bollocks there, mate.


Happy Grambling.






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