Saturday, 3 June 2017

Week 42 - The Grambler on Coronation Street


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

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. Read on and enjoy

 

Mrs G watches some weird stuff on the telly. When I say weird, quite often ‘harrowing’ is a better word. Take one of the programmes she watched this week which, as I was in the same room, I couldn’t avoid. Here are some of the plot details. A paedophile primes his victim with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. He also arranges for two heavies to ‘deal with’ a former victim. We then see the two thugs dealing with her to within an inch of her life. [How very entertaining. - Ed.] But wait. There’s more. Another, unrelated plot is taking place elsewhere. A young man is holding his elderly father hostage. He may even be considering murdering the old fellow. However, this character is so screwed up, he could equally be considering taking his own life. [Getting cheerier by the minute, this is. - Ed.] A third plot is taking place at the seaside. [Ah, that sounds a bit happier. Any donkeys? - Ed.] No. No donkeys. Here, there are two couples, a baby and another bloke. One of the men isn’t particularly well liked by the others. One of them does actually attempt to attack the unpopular guy and is only stopped from doing so by the intervention of the third chap. The despised bloke walks off down the beach. Alone. Uh oh. What is he planning? Suicide? Walking into the sea, Reginald Perrin style? No, he doesn’t reach the sea. The scene ends with Billy No Mates up to his waist in quicksand and sinking further by the second. [Jeezo! Laugh a minute stuff this is. - Ed.]

These traumatic events all took place in a programme lasting only half an hour. You would be forgiven for thinking that it was some late-night horror show. It wasn’t. It was a programme which has been on British TV for not a kick in the shirt off 60 years: the soap opera, Coronation Street. So all these awful things are supposed to be happening to the residents of a single street.

Why am I discussing Coronation Street? Because, when it was first broadcast back in 1960, it was praised for its gritty realism; its reflection of life in the northeast of England. In more recent times, the plots, as you have already seen, have become depressing and/or scary and/or just plain ludicrous.

Just how true to life the programme is, I will let you decide after you read some of the statistics associated with the programme...

Over the 57 years of the programme’s existence there have been 171 deaths [And counting, by the sound of it. - Ed.]. Only 77 of these have been on-screen deaths, admittedly; the rest are people associated with characters or characters who have left. 77 is still a hefty number for one street, though. Worse though is that only 26 of those deaths took place in the first 40 years; in the first 17 years of the twenty-first century there have been 51 deaths. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were elderly folk popping their clogs, but many are young people dying in horrific accidents or being murdered. Oh yes, I nearly forgot. Murders. 21 of those.

Why the hell would anyone want to live there, I want to know.

But, hey, there have been loads of happy events too. Well, events that are meant to be happy: weddings and births. How many weddings? 90. In 57 years. In one street. That’s not all. There have been 23 non weddings, where one or both partners don’t turn up, or do turn up and have an almighty barney at the altar.

Okay, what about babies? They always bring joy, don’t they? Not in Soapland, they don’t. There have been 41 on-screen pregnancies and 9 off. Many of these pregnancies have been between people who have been cheating on their partner. Honestly, the way they all sleep around, the local health centre must be treating them all for some form of STD.

That pregnancy figure doesn’t include 13 miscarriages and seven terminations. Seven! Haven’t they heard of birth control?

True to life? I have already mentioned the murders. Other storylines have featured a train crash and years later, a tram crash, the local public house being burned down and crashed into I don’t know how many times. Ditto the local factory. There have been armed raids and sieges. The street has been the home to several serial killers. Realistic? Don’t make me laugh.

I’ve lived in the same street for 35 years and the most exciting thing that I can recall is a neighbour calling the police to a guy who parked in front of his house. Or my next-door neighbour coming up the street drunk and singing ‘Irish’ songs whenever Celtic win the league and/or cup [Definitely ‘and’ I think - Ed.].

Then again, a soap opera based on the street where I live [Isn’t that a song? - Ed.] wouldn’t get many viewers. Corry, as it is popularly known, attracts millions, no matter how barmy the plots may get. Long may it continue... just don’t force me to watch it.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

It doesn’t seem a year since the passing of the man once called the greatest sportsman ever? Much as I hate the sport of boxing, I saw Muhammad Ali as one of the most wonderful, charismatic characters in sport. He was a born comedy performer and I used to love watching Michael Parkinson’s chat show whenever Ali was going to be on. So, on the anniversary of the death of ‘The Greatest’, I hope you will enjoy (in spite of the boxing content) Parky's tribute to Ali .

 

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Were any famous or notorious people born on the 3rd of June? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Ransom E. Olds 1864 (Founder of Oldsmobile car company and later, the other company which bore his name, REO which made the Speedwagon... hence the name of the group. Not a lot of people know that. The lorry company went bust in 1975. Sadly, the group did not.), George V 1865 (A king. Changed the family name to Windsor which sounded a bit more British than Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.), Josephine Baker 1906 (Ernest Hemingway called her ‘the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.’), Paulette Goddard 1910 (Mrs C. Chaplin at one time.), Patrick Cargill 1918 (‘We’re not all Rob Roys.’ A quote for Hancock fans there.), Bernard Schwartz 1925 (Who? Oh, Tony Curtis. Danny Wilde in the Persuaders. Also Aunt Sophie.), Thomas Winning 1925 (A cardinal.), Allen Ginsberg 1926 (Poet. Howl!), Raul Castro 1931 (El presidente.), Ian Hunter 1939 (Mott the Hoople front man. Time for a clip? Yes indeedy. Here is the hit that got them noticed... All together now... Billy rapped all night about his suicide....), Curtis Mayfield 1942 (Influential soul musician. Another clip? Here’s Move On Up which you can sing along to in German.), Brian Barnes and Hale Irwin 1945 (Golfy blokes.), Bill Paterson 1945 (Actor. Voice of the Assistant Arcturan pilot in episode seven of the radio series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Honest.), Eddie Holman 1946 (Singer. Another clip, vicar? Here’s Hey There, Lonely Girl.  Blimey, they must be tight trousers he's wearing.), Penelope Wilton 1946 (Actress. Her from Downton Abbey. You know her. You do. Married to Richard Briers.), Mickey Finn 1947 (Marc Bolan’s sidekick. Another clip? Why not? Have you got half an hour to spare? Here’s a chance to hear the pair as Tyrannosaurus Rex before they morphed into glam rock band T Rex. Here is the complete Beard of Stars album.), Suzi Quatro 1950 (Singer. Time for yet another clip, methinks. Here are Suzi and the boys miming along to Can the Can.), Deniece Williams 1950 (Another singer. Another clip? Here she is back in 1976 with Free.), Billy Powell 1952 (Pianist for Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1972 to 2009. Here is a clip showcasing his talent.), Dan Hill 1954 (Yet another singer. Yet another clip? All together now... You ask me if I love you... Crazy hairdo Dan.), George Burley 1956 (Footy bloke.), Cameron Sharpe 1958 (Runny bloke.), Ed Wynne 1961 (Guitarist and genius behind my favourite band, Ozric Tentacles. You are getting a clip whether you like it or not. Here’s Sploosh! I want that to be played at my funeral.), Wasim Akram 1966 (Crickety bloke.) and Rafa Nadal 1986 (Tennisy bloke.).

 


The most sensational woman anyone ever saw
 
.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did we do last week? Not too well. Only two of the five predictions came good. So we only won a measly [Not whopping? - Ed.] £1.45. What happened? I’ll tell ee...

 

Haydock - 5.40 - Chessman - 5/6 - Second - Ooh! So close!

Ffos Las - 6.00 - Delface - 11/8 - Won - Yay!

Salisbury - 7.45 - Pow Wow - 5/2 - Won - Yay!

Salisbury - 8.15 - Gunmaker - 11/4 - Last - Last???

Ffos Las - 8.30 - Get Home Now - 10/3 - Fourth - Mince!

Can The Grambler get back on track this week? Hope so. It’s time he/she/it stopped horsing around. Do you see what I did there?

Meeting - Time - Horse - Odds

Musselburgh - 2.15 - Rebel Assault - 8/13

Epsom - 2.35 - Laugh Aloud - 11/10

Hexham - 4.45 - No Such Number - 11/8

Newcastle - 7.40 - Abjar - 8/11

Lingfield - 8.50 - Monteamiata - 2/1

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...

£17.57

Not as whopping as previous weeks, but still moderately whopping, I am sure you will agree.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you what ‘first’ was achieved at the 1901 cup final between Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United. The answer was that it was the first time a cup final crowd exceeded 100,000 in number. Yes you read that right... 100,000. The actual figure was 110,820. It was probably many more than that as, in those days, many parents would take their children along and not have to pay to get them in to a match.

One for this week? As it is Champions League Final weekend, let’s have a related question. This week’s teaser refers to the old European Cup - same competition, less money. Which club was banned from European competitions after its fans rioted at the 1975 European Cup final? Easy peasy.

 

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As usual, 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

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to Messrs P. Cargill and A. Hancock for our finishing link. Here is the part of 'The Blood Donor' where Tony meets ‘Doctor’ Cargill.  A little story for you... When my father first bought a record player (a Dansette) he bought one album... Tony Hancock - The Blood Donor and The Radio Ham. Stone me! It got played to death, it did. I knew the whole thing off by heart. Which is more than can be said for Hancock himself. Look closely at his eyes throughout this clip and you will realise that he is reading the script off some not very well placed ‘idiot boards’.
It may seem old-fashioned humour nowadays, but I still smile when I watch it, despite him not knowing his lines. Or have I just got a touch of nostalgia? [I’d take a couple of paracetemol for that, if I were you. - Ed.]

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.

 

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