Friday 25 March 2016

Week 34 - The Grambler salutes the Prefab Four

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


I am indebted to a Mr Todd McGrumble of Blantyre for this week’s (g)ramble. You see, Mr McGrumble reminded me last week that another band of renown can claim to have been ‘helped’ by the subject of week 32’s topic - Sir George of Martin.

Were you a fan of the spoof documentary (mockumentary?), 1984’s This is Spinal Tap? [Is this relevant? - Ed.] Yes it is. Ahem... It is a film which has become something of a cult (I said cult). A lot of its fans believe it to be quite an original concept; a mock-serious documentary about a made-up rock band. Those fans obviously weren’t aware that The comic Strip Presents came up with the idea a year earlier. Bad News was the name of the ‘spoof’ band and a documentary of their nationwide tour was shown on Channel 4.

Evidence that Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer came up with the idea first. Didn’t they? Not necessarily. It is likely that both ‘documentaries’ were in production at the same time, so it isn’t really possible for either camp to claim responsibility for the concept. Whatever. One of the creative forces behind one of these productions can claim to have come up with a really original idea. Yes? Well, no, they can’t.

Time for a little history lesson. Are you sitting comfortably? Then, I’ll begin.

Way way back in the dim and distant past, 1967 [1967? Where is this leading? - Ed.], there was a children’s television programme called Do Not Adjust Your Set. It starred jobbing actors David Jason and Denise Coffey together with three young guys who had never really done any TV work other than writing scripts for programmes like The Frost Report. Who were these three amateurs? Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Eric Idle. The programme consisted of sketches, mainly, and there were some animated sections provided by a chap going by the name of Terry Gilliam. Whatever became of him? Some of the material was pretty surreal and probably lost on kids. There was also a musical section in the show provided by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.

As we all know, Messrs. Palin, Jones, Idle and Gilliam progressed to a similar programme aimed at adults when they were joined by Graham Chapman and John Cleese in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The Bonzos had a number one hit with I’m the Urban Spaceman. Denise Coffey continued in comedy as did David Jason.

After Python closed up shop, the six members of the team went their separate ways, reforming occasionally to make the odd film such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The British Broadcorping Casteration knew it was on to a winner with these guys and promptly commissioned some (but not all) of them to come up with their own Post-Python programmes. Michael Palin came up with Ripping Yarns. John Cleese gave us the classic (it says here) Fawlty Towers, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones saw their futures in films. The last of the group, Eric Idle, came up with Rutland Weekend Television, a series ostensibly (That’s a good word; I must look it up.) produced by a small TV company with an equally small budget. It is that programme which brings us to the nub of this week’s (g)ramble. [At last. Thank goodness. - Ed.]

There were just two series of RWT programmes made. There was no specific format to the show, each was just a selection of sketches. One of the more memorable sketches featured a spoof version of the Beatles [Ah, so that’s the George Martin link. - Ed.], renamed the Rutles, who performed songs which were eerily close to the originals (Though not so close as to infringe copyright). This was not so much down to Idle; he was the wordsmith, not the songwriter. The songs were the work of Neil Innes... the same man that penned and sang the number one hit I’m the Urban Spaceman (Remember the Bonzos?)... and he did a mean John Lennon impression.

Idle and Innes realised that there was more to be made of this idea and the two of them set about producing a documentary on the story of the Rutles which ever-so-slightly echoed the story of the Beatles. No, that’s wrong. It completely mirrored the story of the Beatles. All You Need is Cash was the brilliant result. Click here to watch the story of the Prefab Four. Apologies for only being able to find it with German subtitles. I hope it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment.




Before we move on to the birthday honours, I was saddened to hear of the death this week of possibly the greatest footballer to ever wear the orange shirt of the Netherlands, Johan Cruyff. He was famous for his ‘total football’ approach to the game. He maintained that the head was the most important part of any footballer’s make-up, the feet were there to carry out instructions from it. Basically, he was a player who thought about what he was doing whenever he was playing - not always the case with other players of that era. He was a very heavy smoker until 1991 when open-heart surgery gave him a ‘wake up call’. He gave up smoking immediately and argued vehemently against the habit thereafter. Sadly, it seems, the damage was done and it was lung cancer that took his life.

So what is my memory of Cruyff? Typically for it is a bit off the wall. You see, my abiding memory is not of his marvellous playing ability; it does not even feature him per se (Don’t call me Percy.). It relates to Jack Charlton. Sorry pardon excuse me? After his playing career, Charlton became a pundit on ITV’s football programmes. He was a Northumbrian (They can’t touch you for it) and Big Jack had his own way. When commenting after a game featuring Cruyff, the other speakers on the panel knew exactly how to pronounce the various Dutch names. Not Jack. He just said them in his own odd way and this is where my Cruyff memory comes in. Big Jack could never pronounce his name correctly. No matter how often he heard the others say it correctly, he insisted that somehow Johan had changed sex, because he always called him Joanne Cruff.




Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 26th March. As the ‘Oo once said, you better you bet [Were they Italian, then? - Ed.]. Tennessee Williams 1911 (Had a hit with Sixteen Tons [Ernie Ford, surely. - Ed.] Don’t call me Shirley.), Bill Edrich 1916 (Crickety bloke.), Sterling Hayden 1916 (As Jack D. Ripper - geddit? - in Dr. Strangelove, ‘My boys will give you the best kind of start, 1400 megatons worth, and you sure as hell won't stop them now. So let's get going. There's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.’ Hm... Not much changed in the past 50 odd years.), Rufus Thomas 1917 (The world’s oldest teenager.), Pierre Boulez 1925 (‘For me, curiosity is life. If you are not curious, you are in your coffin.’), Leonard Nimoy 1931 (Famous as Paul ‘Monk’ Baroni.), Alan Arkin 1934 (A baby sitter.), James Caan 1940 (‘There’s nothing more boring than actors talking about acting.’), Erica Jong 1942 (Shylock’s daughter.), Diana Ross 1944 (A Supreme... A supreme what? Pain in the ar... backside? Backstage staff must not make eye contact with her. Her own staff must call her Miss Ross or Lady Diana. She is said to have sacked her entire entourage after a bad press article about her. Definitely a P.I.T.A.), Steven Tyler 1948 (Singer who can fit a whole baguette in his gob... sideways.), Teddy Pendergrass 1950 (A bluenote.), Didier Pironi 1952 (Racey car bloke.), William Hague 1961 (‘Most of you will be dead in thirty years.’), The Reverand Richard Coles 1962 (A Communard.), Nacho Novo 1979 (Crunchy footy bloke.) and Keira Knightley 1985 (If you’re not careful she’ll bend it like Beckham. Ooh! Nasty!)




Let’s move on to grambling matters. How good was last week’s bet? Not very. What happened? We won. Yeah. Pull the other one. No, really. We won. A whole £1.70. Profit. Woo hoo! All is revealed below, fair reader...


Barnet vs Oxford Utd - Prediction Away win

Result - Barnet 0 Oxford Utd 3


In a goalless first half, Barnet goalkeeper Jamie Stephens was made to work hard to keep Oxford at bay.

But Callum O'Dowda broke through in the second half, slotting in after a defensive error before running through from the half-way line to double the lead.

Barnet's Andy Yiadom had a shot saved by Oxford's Benjamin Buchel before Danny Hylton smashed in the third.


Dag & Redbridge vs Accrington - Prediction Away win

Result - Dag & Redbridge 0 Accrington 1


Sean McConville nearly gave the visitors a half-time lead, but his firm header cannoned off the crossbar.

With just seven minutes to play, Billy Kee fired home from close range after his first effort was blocked by Dom Hyam to put Stanley ahead.

All together now...

Everybody Stanley

Keep it in the family

They can do the Stanley too...

They’ll like it


Stevenage vs Northampton - Prediction Away win

Result - Stevenage 2 Northampton 3


Luke Wilkinson met two Dean ‘Pretty Boy’ Parrett corners to score his first two goals for Stevenage, putting them 2-0 up.

A James Collins header and John-Joe O'Toole's stabbed finish either side of half-time brought the Cobblers level.

Fraser Franks was sent off for pulling down Sam Hoskins before Ricky Holmes' sensational 95th-minute strike from the edge of the box won it for Northampton.


Forfar vs Ayr Utd - Prediction Away win

Result - Forfar 3 Ayr 1


Andy Ryan fired into the top corner to give Forfar the lead but Ayr were level through Ryan Stevenson's strike.

Another Ryan shot gave the hosts the advantage again in the second half.

And Steven Craig finished with his left foot to seal all three points for the home side.


Stranraer vs Stenhousemuir - Prediction Home win

Result - Stranraer 3 Stenhousemuir 1


Mark McGuigan's calm finish gave Stranraer the lead and Scott Robertson fired home the hosts' second.

McGuigan notched his second from Kyle Turner's assist before the break.

Stenny pulled one back in the second half from the penalty spot, Jason Scotland converting after Craig Pettigrew had fouled Mark Gilhaney.


What about this week? It is Easter weekend. And? We mourn the passing of the originator of a religion by mucking about with the football schedules and eating chocolate. Weird. Any road up, in England there are just two senior league games taking place at 3pm on Saturday the 26th of March; most matches take place either on Good Friday or Easter Monday. Luckily, there is a few more taking place in Scotland; fourteen. So, which five has The Grambler randomly selected?

Game - Result - Odds

Alloa vs St. Mirren - Prediction Away win - 8/15

Falkirk vs Livingston - Predication Home win - 4/9

Ayr vs Stranraer - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Clyde vs Arbroath - Prediction Home win - 4/7

East Fife vs Queen’s Park - 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…


Not a lot, is it?



Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you why Sheffield Wednesday are called the Owls. The answer is simply that the club is based at Owlerton in Sheffield.

One for this week. An easy, but apt, teaser for you this week. How old was Johan Cruyff when he first joined AFC Ajax?




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 thought it has been a long time since we finished with a dodgy album cover. This week, I think a bit of spot the difference might be a good idea...


The Fab Four


The Prefab Four

Or is it the other way round?

Happy Grambling.


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