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 https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .
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. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997
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…
Let’s be topical for once. George Martin, who produced much of the output of the Beatles (Whatever happened to them?), has popped his clogs. There have been all sorts of tributes paid to Martin. Hailed as a genius producer, he has even been dubbed the fifth Beatle. It is understandable, I suppose. Without him, would those wunnerful tunes of the Fab Four have been worse or better. I always thought much of their material was ‘overproduced’ (if there is such a word). Much of it was, to my sensitive ears, a cacophany. All You Need is Love? Awful. A dirge that turned into an absolute rabble at the end. Yeah, well done, George. Ditto, Strawberry Fields. A horrible song. Magical Mystery Tour? I am the Walrus? Dreadful. Good production? Pull the other one. However, it was different enough to get noticed. Granted, I didn’t much like the work of the Beatles, but millions did; old George must have had something.
Martin didn’t just produce the work of the Fab Four. Oh no, he was a very busy jobbing producer up to that point. He produced some real classics. There was Jimmy Shand’s 1955 hit Bluebell Polka, Eve Boswell’s Pickin’ a Chicken from the same year, Mandy Miller’s 1956 hit Nellie the Elephant, Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren’s Goodness Gracious Me from 1960, various things by Bernard Cribbens, Charlie Drake, Flanders and Swann, R*lf H*rr*s... The list goes on. Most of what he produced could be classed as ‘novelty’ (aka sh*te). He was certainly not a record producer that had much of a pedigree as a producer of quality music. Why did the Beatles get saddled with him?
I have a theory. Martin was a producer of fluff. The Beatles came along in 1962 and obviously ‘had’ something. I reckon the big wigs at Parlophone took them on but maybe saw them as just another novelty act...
‘Who should we get to produce their work?’
‘Oh, give ‘em to old George; he’ll produce any old rubbish we throw at him. They won’t last. Get him to produce a single for them and that’ll be the end of it. Then he can concentrate on what he does best... Lance Percival is looking for a producer.’
As history attests, the Beatles were no flash in the pan; they had staying power. And George Martin’s production work may have had much to do with that. Suddenly, after years of being given fairly mediocre jobs to do, Martin had a half-decent act to work with. He could actually use his producing skills properly and make something sound very special indeed. As the success of the Beatles grew, other acts came knocking at his door to tap in to his expertise. He became the producer of choice for many. It helped that the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, had quite a ‘stable’ of other acts, because every one of them would work with Martin. He worked with other acts too, but only occasionally; acts such as Shirley Bassey, Matt Monro, Jeff Beck, Larry Adler, Jimmy Webb, Tom Jones, Neil Sedaka and Ultravox.
I deliberately missed one act out of that list. One of my favourite albums from way back (1973 to be precise) was The Man in the Bowler Hat by a band called Stackridge. It was produced by your man, Martin. Only when reading of Sir George of Martin’s demise, did I realise the fact; obviously I had never thought to read the sleeve notes too carefully. Actually, in a way, it was a return to his roots; Stackridge, though perhaps not a novelty act, were difficult to label; ‘quirky’ sums them up, I suppose. Any road up, no doubt we will be inundated with invitations to hear all the stuff he did with the Beatles. But, hey, this is thegrambler.com. You won’t get any Beatles here. Instead, as an alternative - Ladeez and genullum, I give you Stackridge and The Man in the Bowler Hat. Click here and enjoy an entire album from a much underrated act.
Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 12th of March? As the Stylistics once told us, bet ya by golly wow. Thomas Arne 1710 (Jingoistic composer responsible for Rule, Brittania and the dirge that is God Save the King/Queen... not that we’ve ever had a king/queen; although Charles the second’s wig was a bit suspect.), Clement Studebaker 1831 (Co-founder of H & C Studebaker Company which built wagons and carriages. After his death the company moved on to building cars. [Yawn. - Ed.]), Charles Boycott 1832 (I’m going to refer to Wikipedia here for the story of how the word boycott entered the English language...After retiring from the army, Boycott worked as a land agent for Lord Erne, a landowner in the Lough Mask area of County Mayo. In 1880, as part of its campaign for the ‘Three Fs’ (fair rent, fixity of tenure, and free sale) and specifically in resistance to proposed evictions on the estate, local activists of the Irish Land League encouraged Boycott's employees (including the seasonal workers required to harvest the crops on Lord Erne's estate) to withdraw their labour, and began a campaign of isolation against Boycott in the local community. This campaign included shops in nearby Ballintrobe refusing to serve him, and the withdrawal of services. Some were threatened with violence to ensure compliance. The campaign against Boycott became a cause celebre in the British press after he wrote a letter to The Times. Newspapers sent correspondents to the West of Ireland to highlight what they viewed as the victimisation of a servant of a peer of the realm by Irish nationalists. Fifty Orangemen from County Cavan and County Monaghan travelled to Lord Erne's estate to harvest the crops, while a regiment of the 19th Royal Hussars and more than 1,000 men of the Royal Irish Constabulary were deployed to protect the harvesters. The episode was estimated to have cost the British government and others at least £10,000 to harvest about £500 worth of crops. So that was a great success, then.), Vaslav Nijinsky 1889 or 1890 (Ballet dancer who seemed to hang in mid air when jumping. When asked how he did it, he replied, ‘Not difficult. You have just to go up and then pause a little up there.’ Erm...), Googie Withers 1917 (Actress with silly name. Cue schoolboy joke. How does a man turn himself into a famous actress? He stands in front of the fire until he’s (his) Googie Withers. See also Rabbie Burns.), Giovanni Agnelli 1921 (Head of FIAT.), Gordon MacRae 1921 (There’s a bright golden haze on the medder.), Jack Kerouac 1922 (King of the Beats.), Gudrun Ure 1926 (Supergran.), Al Jarreau 1940 (Moonlighting.), Liza Minnelli 1946 (That’s Liza with a z.), James Taylor 1948 (One time herion addict. A slaphead, smackhead.), Virginia Bottomley 1948 (Good word to describe Kim Kardashian... ‘I say, you’re looking rather bottomley.'), David Mellor 1949 (Don’t mention Antonia de Sancha or Chelsea football strip.), Jon Provost 1950 (Who? A child actor, he played Timmy in the CBS series Lassie from 1957 to 1964. It seemed to be a TV era made for animals - Champion, Fury, Rin Tin Tin, The Hobo, Flipper, Skippy, Mr Ed - humans barely got a look in.), Ian Holloway 1963 (Footy bloke.), Graham Coxon 1969 (Love travels at illegal speeds. Has worked with...) Pete Doherty 1979 (A libertine.).
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How good was last week’s bet? Don’t ask. What happened? All is revealed below, fair reader...
Reading vs Fulham - Prediction Home win
Result - Reading 2 Fulham 2
Ooh! ‘It the bar!
Moussa Dembele guided in Michael Madl's header to give Fulham the lead but Hal Robson-Kanu levelled from the spot when he was fouled by Fernando Amorebieta.
Just before the break, Reading went in front when Robson-Kanu latched on to Ola John's precise cross to head home.
But Fulham restored parity when Jake Cooper felled Ryan Fredericks and Ross McCormack scored the spot-kick.
Crewe vs Burton Albion - Prediction Away win
Result - Crewe 1 Burton Albion 1
Ooh! ‘It the bar! Again!
Crewe seized the lead when Marcus Haber tapped in a rebound in the first significant opening of the game.
Brad ‘I’m free’ Inman then fired at goal from 20 yards, stinging the palms of Jon McLaughlin as Crewe sought a second.
But Lucas Akins grabbed the equaliser for the Brewers when, from Mark Duffy's cross, he turned three Crewe defenders and slotted past Ben Garratt.
Wigan vs Peterborough - Prediction Home win
Result - Wigan 1 Peterborough 1
Ooh! ‘It the bar! Blimey, not again!!
Posh's ex-Wigan loan striker Shaq Coulthirst found the net early on, but had his effort ruled out for offside.
Wigan grew into the game, and took the lead when top scorer Will Grigg fired past Stuart Moore for his 16th goal of the season.
Posh levelled with a 30-yard Marcus Maddison free-kick, which went in off the near post to deny Wigan victory.
Stevenage vs Portsmouth - Prediction Away win
Result - Stevenage 0 Portsmouth 2
Gary Roberts slid a ball through to Marc McNulty, who calmly slotted for his 10th goal of the season as the visitors took the lead.
Tom Conlon went close for Boro, thumping an effort off the crossbar late on.
But it was Kai Naismith who found the crucial goal, firing in after being on the pitch for only 11 minutes.
Brechin vs Ayr - Prediction Away win
Result - Brechin 1 Ayr 0
The hosts started brightly in a half of few chances, Liam Watt shooting over and player-manager Darren Dods heading straight at goalkeeper Greg Fleming.
Brechin keeper Graeme Smith fumbled an effort from Jamie Adams before tipping away Jordan Preston's strike.
They proved crucial interventions as Robert Thomson headed home Watt's cross for the winner.
So not a bean back this week. Rubbish or what? Oh well, let’s see if The Grambler can make amends this week? There are 49 senior games kicking off on Saturday the 12th of March at 3pm; what five has he/she/it randomly selected for us?
Game - Result - Odds
Bradford vs Doncaster - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Colchester vs Wigan - Prediction Away win - 3/4
Bristol Rovers vs Mansfield - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Luton vs Crawley - Prediction Home win - 3/4
Alloa vs Raith Rovers - Prediction Away 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…
Did anything interesting happen in 1065? Apart from the consecration of Westminster Abbey, not a lot has been recorded. That wasn’t the current abbey building; it wasn’t started until 1245 and was finished in... Can you hazard a guess? 1517! Flippin’ cowboy builders...
‘Sorry mate. Can’t get the delivery we were promised for thursday.’
‘Oh dear. When do you think it will be finished?’
‘Ooh... You’re looking at 272 years, mate.’
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the first manager to win the League Cup twice. The answer is Joe Mercer. As manager of Aston Villa, he won the inaugural League Cup competition in 1961. Despite suffering a stroke in 1964 (and subsequently being sacked by Aston Villa’s board of directors on his recovery; b******s!) he went on to great success managing Manchester City and won the league cup for the second time in 1970.
One for this week? How many times have Crystal Palace, a Premiershit side who have yet to win a league game in 2016, been promoted to the Premiershit since its inception in 1992?
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 http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. P. Sellers for this week’s final links. Plural. I said I wasn’t going to give you any Beatles’ links, but I finish this week’s edition of thegrambler.com with some unusual takes on their work. In 1965, he released a single of the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night backed by Help!. Both were spoken rather than sung. Help! was read in the style of an old vicar reading a sermon. A Hard Day’s Night was delivered as Laurence Olivier at his most hammy. I thought them both hilarious at the time. Not sure if they have stood the test of time, but that won’t stop me giving you the links. For A Hard Day’s Night click here and for Help! click here. Hope you enjoy them.