Friday 8 January 2016

Week 23 - The Grambler gets shirty (I said shirty)

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


Do you buy clothes? I'm assuming you do. It would be very unlikely that you would be reading this on your computer/laptop/tablet/phone/any other smarty boots computery type thing if you came from a society where clothes were optional. So we've established that you do indeed buy clothes. Here's one for the gentlemen ­ what the hell are shirt manufacturers playing at? Sorry pardon excuse me? My gripe this week is shirt manufacturers. Why? Well, it's nothing to do with the product per se (Don't call me Percy.). It is to do with the packaging.

If you buy nearly any item of clothing, it is either hanging on a rack or is wrapped in such a way that it can be opened easily should you wish to try it on. Correct? Even shirts of the casual variety are on hangers. However, somewhere there is a line which differentiates casual from formal. From hanging unwrapped on hangers (casual) they change into something that suddenly has to be wrapped in cellophane with various bits of card and plastic to ensure that the collar remains stiff as well as clips and pins to bind the whole thing into a rectangular package that cannot be opened (formal). Why? Why do manufacturers deem it necessary to truss shirts up in this way? I can't think of any other item of attire that is packed in a similar manner.

Obviously, something has sparked my ire. It has indeed. I have just bought a formal shirt that came in a box. Once I opened the box, I discovered it was also wrapped in a sealed plastic bag. Having removed it from its box and the plastic bag, I then note that the shirt has a thin material band bearing the manufacturer’s name around it. What is that for? The maker’s name is on the fn box! You don’t need telling again! Next we come to actually removing any card/plastic and clips/pins from the folded up garment. First I removed the stiffeners from around the collar. How many? Four. A piece of card inside the collar, a piece of card underneath the collar and a piece of plastic around the button. Granted, they all served a purpose, but the fourth one had me beaten. I just couldn't work out is purpose. It was a small piece of card in much the same position as the plastic. So why was it there? Answers on a postcard please.

Next I came to the problem of removing any clips and pins. First of all, the plastic clips. There were five of them. Two held the back of the shirt in position, two held it at the shoulders to yet more card, and one held a cuff in a rather camp position at the front of the shirt. Next pins. Seven. Seven pins, for goodness sake. These were dotted all over the place. I reckon they were strategically placed so that I might not know they were there and end up stabbing myself when I put the thing on. I suppose if your job is wrapping up shirts in this way, it would get pretty boring so why not brighten it up a bit by hiding a few pins so that the buyer of the garment might cause himself an injury? Such thoughts might make the tedium of the job somehow worthwhile.

Any road up, by the time I have unwrapped this item of clothing I am a little bit annoyed. Why? Well, it takes ages to unwrap a shirt packed on this way. That isn't why I'm annoyed though. No, I am annoyed because I am thinking how long it must have taken the wrapper (that is my name for the person who wraps the shirt, not the material around the garment. Nor, incidentally, a person who talks along to music when he should be singing.) ages to do the wrapping. Why bother in the first place? It simply isn't necessary. But I am also thinking cash here. What proportion of the cost of the shirt is due solely to having it bound up in this manner? I imagine that folding the thing up so perfectly and inserting all the pins/plastic/card takes longer than unwrapping it. Agree? Granted, the person doing the job is probably so adept at doing it that it only takes a few minutes. But then, actually making the garment is also pretty quick. And as the garment is probably made by some 8 year old whose pay equates to a few pennies a month, the cost is probably next to nothing.

So come on Mr Real brook, instead of having some poor sod spend ages putting pins and stiffeners into your shirts and another poor sod having to spend ages removing them, just don't bother with wrapping them up in the first place. That way you might be able to bring the price down to a level which isn't so exorbitant! Or, heaven forbid, pay your workers a bit more than a bowl of rice a day.





Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 9th of January? But of course. Quite a number, some of whom I have heard of. Gracie Fields 1898 (Trivia: Gracie was the world’s highest paid film star in 1937.), Simone de Beauvoir 1908 (All oppression creates a state of war.), Richard Nixon 1913 (Yes, him. The ‘There will be no whitewash in the White House’ guy.), Gypsy Rose Lee 1914 (Trivia: Although known as a ‘stripper’, she never actually removed her clothes.), Chan Canasta 1920 (A remarkable man.), Clive Dunn 1920 (They don’t like it up ‘em.), Lee Van Cleef 1925 (Quote: ‘Being born with a pair of beady eyes was the best thing that happened to me.’), Judith Krantz 1928 (‘Some questions are not meant to be asked as long as the answers are right’ You what?), Wilbur Smith 1933 (‘Literature throws us many great heroes. Real life invariably outdoes them.’), Susannah York 1939 (Cigar munching actress.), Joan Baez 1941 (‘Hypothetical questions get hypothetical answers.’ Wise words there Joanie.), Freddie Starr 1943 (Hamster muncher. [Steady on. - Ed.], Scott Engel aka Scott Walker 1943 (A Walker Brother.), Jimmy Page 1944 (Axe wielding god. Has played with... deep breath... Led Zeppelin, the Yardbirds, the Honeydrippers, the Firm, Page and Plant, Stephen Stills, Eric Clapton, Coverdale and Page, XYZ, the Edge, Jack White, Herman’s Hermits, the Kinks, Joe Cocker, Donovan, Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages, old Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, old Uncle Tom Cobbley and all), David Johansen 1950 (A New York Doll.), Crystal Gayle 1951 (Singer with unusual eyes that can change colour.), Imelda Staunton 1956 (Married to Mr Carson; don’t tell Mrs Hughes.), Dave Matthews 1967 (Peter Gabriel wannabe.), Sarah Beeny 1972 (Inventor of knitted hat.), Sergio Garcia 1980 (Golfy bloke.) and Her Royal Highness Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge 1982 (Or Kate Middleton. The U S of Americans get a wee bit carried away with their news of Kate. Sample headline: ‘LOVE STORY OF THE CENTURY - WILLIAM GIVES UP THRONE... TO SAVE PREGNANT KATE’ What? Firstly, why is it the love story of the century? What about Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson? - Only joking, 1D’s lawyers will be pleased to know. William giving up throne? Who said that? No one. To save pregnant Kate? Excuse me? Both her pregnancies have been totally trouble-free; where do they get their information?)

We’ve not had a gramblerised toon for a while; anyone in amongst that lot with a song that might fit the bill?

Grambler, Grambler you're lovely
That's what we all think of you
Grambler, Grambler you're lovely
That's what we all think of you
Grambler Grambler

Ah... the old number one from Clive Dunn: Grandad. I was always surprised it reached number one; I’d have said it was more a number two.




Before we move onto grambling matters there is a story in the news this week which is just ridiculous. I will give you the Beeb Beeb Ceeb website story verbatum (That’s a good word; I must look it up.) just to prove that I am not making this up (For proof visit

Monkey selfie: Photographer 'relieved' over court ruling

A Monmouthshire wildlife photographer involved in a copyright row over a monkey selfie was "relieved" after a court ruled in his favour.

Animal rights activists argued all proceeds from the picture, taken in 2011, should benefit the monkey

But a court in San Francisco disagreed, ruling copyright protection cannot be applied to animals.

Snapper David Slater, of Mathern, said he believed he was "the first person in history to be sued by an animal".

The case was brought by the campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which claimed Naruto, a crested macaque from Indonesia, should be the author and owner.

Yet Mr Slater, 50, said the monkey in his photograph was a female called Ella.

'Long saga'

The monkey took the photograph after Mr Slater set up the camera and purposefully left it alone so it would approach and play with it.

He described the case as a "long saga" which he was "relieved to get out of the way".

"They [PETA] are more about money and publicity than animals. They have wasted people's donations on pursuing this case," he said.

"At least it's got people thinking about the monkey, its situation, animal rights and how intelligent these animals are."

A spokeswoman from PETA said despite the "setback", the case was "a vital step toward fundamental rights for non-human animals for their own sake".

Proof, if proof were needed, that the world has officially gone mad.




Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? We won. Again. Yay! Yup, £2.69 back from our £2.20 stake. 49 pees profit. Better than a slap in the face with a wet stick [Poke in the eye with a sharp fish, surely? - Ed.]. What happened? All is revealed below, fair reader...


Arsenal vs Newcastle - Prediction Home win

Result - Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0


The unconvincing Gunners looked set for a point on a soggy Emirates Stadium pitch until defender Laurent Koscielny came to the rescue with a close-range poked winner in the 72nd minute.


Manchester United vs Swansea - Prediction Home win

Result - Man United 2 Swansea 1


Anthony Martial had headed United in front, before Gylfi Sigurdsson's glancing effort set nerves on edge at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney flicked home a Martial cross with 13 minutes to go for the winner in a close contest.


Crewe vs Coventry - Prediction Away win

Result - Crewe 0 Coventry 5

And thrice Yay!

Adam Armstrong claimed a first-half hat-trick and fellow Premier League loan striker Jacob Murphy scored twice as Coventry City demolished Crewe.

Despite boss Tony Mowbray's one-game touchline ban, City were 4-0 up by the break, set on their way when Armstrong cashed in on a Ben Nugent mistake.

Murphy then fired left-footed into the corner before Armstrong's penalty when Marcus Haber fouled Romain Vincelot.

Armstrong completed his treble on 45 minutes before Murphy rounded it off.


Portsmouth vs Crawley - Prediction Home win

Result - Portsmouth 3 Crawley 0

One more time... Yay!

Matt Clarke opened the scoring with a near-post header from Ben Davies' corner.

Marc McNulty doubled Pompey's advantage when he powerfully rifled in Enda Stevens' low cross.

Gwion Edwards struck the bar from a free-kick for the Red Devils, but Gary Roberts added a third on the counter to put the result beyond any doubt.


Kilmarnock vs Hearts - Prediction Away win

Result - Kilmarnock 2 Hearts 2

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

The hosts' composed start was rewarded when Conrad Balatoni scrambled in, but Gavin Reilly tapped in to equalise almost immediately.

After the break, Hearts took the lead through a Callum Paterson volley.

But Josh Magennis headed in his ninth goal of the season to ensure Kilmarnock started 2016 in positive fashion.

Shame about that; The Grambler very nearly got 2016 off to the perfect start. No matter; what about this week, Saturday the 9th of January? Houston, we have a problem. It is cup weekend in both Scotland and England. And? And it means that there are only eleven league matches taking place at 3pm on the day. Well, rules are rules. If there are league games on, then The Grambler must make his/her/its prediction from those. So what has he/she/it randomly selected?


Game - Result - Odds

Rochdale vs Chesterfield - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Accrington Stanley vs Notts County - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Mansfield vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win - 19/20

East Fife vs Berwick - Prediction Home win - Evens

Montrose vs East Stirling - Prediction Home win - 4/5


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…


1243? What happened that year? Apparently, the 89th Emperor of Japan was born. Go-Fukakusa was his name. Hmm... wonder what a ‘kusa’ is?




Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked which club drew the most Premiershit matches (15 from 38 played) in the calendar year January to December 2015. The answer was West ham.

What about one for this week? Let’s have one about the rules of play, shall we? A couple of questions for this week’s teaser. If play is at a standstill when a substitute is brought on, what two things is he not allowed to do? What is the reason for this rule? Hmm... very interesting.




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 Ms G. Fields, one of this week’s birthday celebrants, who provides us with an amusing monologuy type thing from over 75 years back. Our Gracie, as she was known, was well past her prime when I was first made aware of her. To me, she was just an old lady who was occasionally wheeled out on anniversary programmes relating to the war years to sing a song called ‘Sally’. Even as a nipper, I couldn’t work out why she was singing a man’s song. That’s neither here nor there. I recall a moment from That was the Week that was (Yes I am that old) when David Frost actually did a pretty good (and, I thought, hilarious) impression of her [David Frost? Hilarious? Must be some mistake. - Ed.]. She had sung a song called ‘Now is the Hour’ based on an Australian tune called Swiss Cradle Song. The words begin...

Now is the hour
For me to say goodbye
Soon I'll be sailing
Far across the sea
While I'm away
Oh please remember me
When I return
I'll find you waiting here

[You’re rambling. Where is this heading? - Ed.] Yes, Gracie was famous for ‘retiring’ only to come out of retirement at a later date. Frost’s impression of her was pretty accurate as he followed the Gracie method of shouting out each line for the audience to sing the song for her - a bit like Robbie Williams holding his mike towards the audience when he does Angels. Frosty’s version went thus...

FROST (shouting) :                  Now is the hour...

AUDIENCE (singing) :         Now is the hour...

FROST (shouting) :                  For me to say goodbye...

AUDIENCE (singing) :         For me to say goodbye...

FROST (shouting) :                  But I keep coming back...

Perhaps you had to be there.

Any road up, since that time, I have learned more about old Gracie and can understand why she was so highly thought of when she was younger. This week’s link is called 'I never cried so much in all my life'. It’s a bit creaky, but quite risque for prewar Britain. I hope you like it.

Happy Grambling.


No comments:

Post a Comment