Friday 2 February 2018

Week 25 - The Grambler on the day the music died

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 .

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. Read on and enjoy


How about a song?


Reg Dwight aka Sir Elton of John has given us some cracking songs over the years. Here’s his very first hit, Your Song...


‘It’s a little bit funny...’


‘Yes, well just drop your trousers, Mr John and we’ll have a look. Yes, you’re right, it is rather unusual... Are those teeth marks?’




Fancy him having teeth marks on his knee...




That was quite an apt start, because this week’s (g)ramble concerns Britain’s health service.

What has the Beeb Beeb Ceeb got against the National Health Service? I ask because, for about a fortnight, every news broadcast began with another story about the (alleged) appalling state of the NHS.

First up was the fact that waiting times in Accident and Emergency Units were not being met. Another night, we were told that nurses were leaving the NHS in their droves because it was such a dreadful place to work. Then we had an item about people having to be left waiting in ambulances and on hospital trolleys because beds weren’t available. And so it went on night after night.

My question is - why? Why was it considered newsworthy to take a pop at the health system? Not just one pop, but several. Every aspect of the NHS seemed to be getting flak from the Beeb. To me, none of it was even news. The NHS is the largest employer in Britain; a huge organisation. It deals with masses of people on a daily basis. I don’t recall anything being said about the thousands of people who are perfectly satisfied with the way it works, so why should the business be subjected to all this negative reporting?

The Beeb Beeb Ceeb is often accused of left-wing bias; I believe that this constant knocking of the NHS is quite the opposite. It is very much biased towards right-wing conservatism. It has long been suggested by the Tories that the NHS needs a major overhaul. For major overhaul, read complete shutdown. They would like to see the US healthcare system being put in place. Basically, you get healthcare if you can afford to pay it yourself. The Beeb is surely providing ammunition for those that want to put an end to the NHS.

Actually, I wonder if, because the BBC had gone to all the trouble of setting up camera and sound crews in a hospital, they just made sure they got plenty of footage for a fortnight’s worth of news broadcasts... Or am I just being cynical? [You? As if! - Ed.]

There was even a slightly positive news item on a particular hospital. I say slightly, it was still pointing out how overworked nursing staff were in the hospital. This particular bulletin featured a hospital where clerical staff were helping nursing staff by doing some of their more menial duties. Isn’t that nice? But what does it tell us? Basically, the NHS has too many non-nursing staff members whose time could be utilised better than it is. Huzzah for common sense, says I.

Whenever I have to visit my local hospital, I have to go to two or three different reception areas before I get to the department I require. At each station, there are several receptionists; there never seem to be any queues. Some would suggest this proves the efficiency of the staff; to me it simply means overmanning. More often than not, the receptionist is sitting idle waiting for the next customer/patient.

So, well done to whoever realised that those staff could be better used elsewhere, when necessary.

Moving on, and changing the subject not quite entirely, Mrs G was watching a programme on TV recently [Really? How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] about people who felt that they were were the wrong gender and wanted sex-change operations. I, being incredibly squeamish, decided not to watch the programme as it was showing a lot of actual surgery taking place. I could still hear some of the dialogue, though...

‘...Linda is pleased with her breast implants... The next stage of her transformation from being a man to being a woman is gender re-alignment [I think I understand what that means... The unkindest cut of all. - Ed.] and that will be done through the NHS.’

WHAT??? The NHS is supposed to be treating people who are ill! This person is definitely not ill... well, not physically, anyway. The NHS should not be allowing such operations to be taking place under its banner. If they are being carried out, the individuals undergoing this unnecessary surgery should be made to pay! The full fn cost and all!

And don’t even get me started on gastric bands.





Were any famous or notorious people born on the 3rd of February? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Felix Mendelssohn 1809 (Composer. First clip coming up... It just has to be the Hebrides Overture.), Gertrude Stein 1874 (Novelist, poet and playwright. She wrote Q.E.D. which was about a lesbian love affair involving several of her friends. Brave stuff for 1903.), Norman Rockwell 1894 (Painter and illustrator. Famous for his pictures of everyday American life in the 20th century.), Douglas Douglas-Hamilton 1903 (Aviation pioneer. With D.F.McIntyre was the first to fly over Everest.), George Adamson 1906 (Baba ya Simba.), James A. Michener 1907 (Orfer. Wrote Tales of the South Pacific, which was used as the basis for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.), Joey Bishop 1918 (The Rat Pack member everyone forgets.), Henry Heimlich 1920 (Inventor of the manoeuvre which bears his name.), Shelley Berman 1925 (Comedian, it says here.), John Fiedler 1925 (Actor. Who? You might know him better as the voice of Winnie the Pooh in the early Disney films featuring the bear.), Kenneth Anger 1927 (Underground experimental filmmaker. Also an author; he wrote the scathing account Hollywood Babylon.), Victor Buono 1938 (Actor. Played Batman villain King Tut.), Michael Cimino 1939 (Film director. Famously made the moneypit known as Heaven’s Gate.), Blythe Danner 1943 (Actress. Izzy Huffstodt.), Eric Haydock 1943 (A Holly. Time for another clip methinks. Here’s Bus Stop.), Shawn Phillips 1943 (Musician. Another clip? Here’s a song called We.), Johnny Cymbal 1945 (Singer-songwriter and producer. Here’s a toon you might recognise... Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba etc.), Dave Davies (A Kink. Another clip? Here’s Dave with his solo hit Death of a Clown.), Morgan Fairchild 1950 (Actress. Jordan Roberts.), Nathan Lane 1956 (Actor. Max Bialystock.), Joachim Low 1960 (Coach for German footy team and Mark Steel impressionist.), Tim Flowers 1967 (Footy bloke.), Mixu Paatelainen 1967 (suomalainen jalkapalloilija.), Warwick Davis 1970 (Ectaw. Ewok Wicket.) and Jayne Middlemiss 1970 (Telly presen’er, laik.).


I’ve received a letter...

Dear Mr Gruntfuttock,

Thanks for playing a track from Dave Davies of the Kinks. We have been great fans since their first number one record back in 1964. It’s hard to believe that Davies was only 16 years of age when he first gave us that terrific guitar riff on that first song. Here’s a teaser for you, what was that first hit called?

Yours quizzically,

Hugh Ree, Leigh Gottme.




Let’s move onto grambling matters. How did last week’s bet go? Well, since last week’s edition was printed incredibly late, the answer was given for you: £2.11 return from our £2.20 bet. A loss of nine pees. What happened? Read on...




Barnsley vs Fulham - Prediction Away win

Result - Barnsley 1 Fulham 3


The Tykes led when Liam Lindsay turned in from a corner, but Fulham dominated after Dimitri Cavare's second booking for a push on Stefan Johansen.

Ryan Sessegnon fired in the rebound after Ryan Fredericks' shot came back off the post early in the second half.

Kevin McDonald stabbed in from close range to put Fulham ahead, before Sessegnon's second goal sealed the win.


Brentford vs Norwich - Prediction Home win

Result - Brentford 0 Norwich 1


James Maddison's superb long-range strike was enough for Norwich to end Brentford's 13-game unbeaten home run.

Brentford had not lost at Griffin Park in the Championship since the opening day of the season, but Maddison's 30-yard effort put Norwich ahead early on.

Nelson Oliveira and Grant Hanley went close to making it 2-0 while Florian Jozefzoon (Definitely the winner of ‘Cracking name of the week’.), Yoann Barbet and Alan Judge all had efforts for the hosts.


Bristol City vs QPR - Prediction Home win

Result - Bristol City 2 QPR 0


Bristol City scored twice with 10 men as they beat Queens Park Rangers.

City had Nathan Baker sent off for a late tackle on Josh Scowen after half an hour.

Famara Diedhiou put the 10-man Robins ahead just before half-time, glancing home Ryan Kent's corner.

Diedhiou set up the second as his saved shot was turned in by Joe Bryan.


Ipswich vs Wolves - Prediction Away win

Result - Ipswich 0 Wolves 1


Full-back Matt Doherty headed in Barry Douglas' left-wing cross to give Wolves a deserved half-time lead.

Diogo Jota, Ruben Neves and left-back Douglas also went close for the visitors in the first period.

Jota had two more efforts saved by Ipswich goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, while Martyn Waghorn shot into the side-netting for the hosts.


Portsmouth vs Shrewsbury - Prediction Home win

Result - Portsmouth 0 Shrewsbury 1


The visitors showed their intent in the opening moments when Abu ‘Einstein’ Ogogo headed just wide in the third minute.

And Shrewsbury took the lead in the 21st minute when Shaun Whalley's corner made its way through the Portsmouth area before being poked in at the back post by James Bolton.

Oliver Hawkins then had Pompey's best chance after he was picked out in the box by Gareth Evans, but he could not guide his header past Craig MacGillivray.

And the home side were left furious seconds later as referee David Coote waved their appeal for a penalty away when Whalley appeared to handle the ball in his own area.

Pompey went close throughout the second-half, with Brett Pitman firing the final chance wide in stoppage time after Adam May was dismissed for a second yellow.


Ho hum. Only three out of five correct and the other two not even close. Can The Grambler improve this week? [Nope. - Ed.] Let’s see what he/she/it has randomly chosen.

Game - Result - Odds

Derby vs Brentford - Prediction Home win - 5/4

Fulham vs Nottingham Forest - Prediction Home win - 13/20

Charlton vs Oxford Utd - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Peterborough vs Southend - Prediction Home win - 11/10

Accrington vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win - 17/20

Let’s see how much we could win in the unlikely event that the results go as predicted.

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...




Too whopping for my liking.





Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the only player, other than the sainted Lionel of Messi, to have scored five goals in a Champions League match. The answer was Luiz Adriano who was in the Shakhtar Donetsk side which beat BATE Borisov by seven goals to nil in 2014.

One for this week? Let’s stay with the Champions League. In the 2015 Champions League, who scored for Barcelona in both legs of the quarter-finals, both legs of the semi-final and the final? Easy peasy?




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




And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr D. McLean who provides us with a rather poignant end to this week’s proceedings. You see, the 3rd of February 1959 is the date that old Don McLean referred to as ‘the day the music died’. That was when Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens perished in an air crash. I thought it apt, then, to finish this week with American Pie..

It is a song whose lyrics have bamboozled listeners for years. There have been web forums discussing their meaning since the invention of web forums. So what does the song American Pie mean? Perhaps the best person to ask is the writer, himself. Here’s Don...

‘When people ask me what American Pie means, I tell them it means I don’t ever have to work again if I don’t want to.’

I do like it when someone I thought was humourless proves to be the exact opposite. Here’s the song.

Don McLean
[You barmy pillock! That's the Brummie comic that
used to be on Crackerjack! - 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


Happy grambling.


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