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…
Well bejabers and begorra, och aye the noo, isn’t it dai bach, why aye man, ah’ll sithee and the top of the morning to youse all; happy Saint Patrick’s Day, look you boyo, hoots mon.
And now we’ve got that over and done with, let’s get on with this week’s blog.
Shall we start with a song? Why not. It’s been a busy week for the undertakers with Stephen Hawking, Jim ‘Super Great Smashin’ Bowen and the subject of this week’s edition all popping their clogs. Who is that third person? By jove missus! It’s that elder statesman of British comedy, Ken Dodd. Let us open with one of his signature tunes...
‘Love is like a violin...’
Hmm... more like a trombone, I reckon.
Here’s another sig tune...
The greatest gift that I possess.
I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed,
With more than my share of happiness.’
That was the beginning of Happiness, a song that provided mucky-minded schoolboys throughout Britain with their idea of a smutty joke.
So, the grand old man of stage comedy died this week. [Did he? No, Doddy. D’you geddit? - Ed.] Ahem. Thank you for that other example of a schoolboy joke.
Ken Dodd was 90 when he died this week, yet he was still performing his legendary marathon stage shows until just a few weeks ago. Those shows were indeed marathons. I realised a lifetime’s ambition to see him perform some years back when he was in his late seventies. He came onto the stage at 7.00pm and left at 10.00pm... for an interval! After a half hour’s support act, he was back on stage for another two and a half hours. It was 1am when I left that theatre. I was lucky to get out alive, I can tell you.
His opening gag should have warned me... ‘What date is it?’ shouted Ken Dodd. When an audience member shouted the answer, Doddy responded with, ‘It is now!’ the inference being that we were in for the long haul.
He also took out of a carrier bag some sandwiches and a flask of tea and asked, ‘Didn’t you bring anything?’
From the start to the finish, though, the gags just flew. They were all old ones that I’d heard on TV and radio many times before but, nevertheless, tears were streaming down my face and my jaw was sore with laughing so much. The man’s sheer exuberance drew you in and you couldn’t help but laugh at even the silliest of lines. Here’s an example...
‘Did you all get your free sausage on the way in?’
‘Well, you’ll get it on the way out!’
Come on. That just isn’t funny. It doesn’t look in the least bit amusing written down like that, but when Dodd shouted it out, it just seemed hilarious.
Performing was Dodd’s life. Those five hour shows would be performed night after night, week after week; he rarely took a break.
While he was this wild clown on stage, he switched off totally when off it. Read any obituary on him and the words ‘intensely private’ relate to his off stage persona. He was known for being stingy; he is alleged to have had £300,000 stashed in boxes around his home. In the 1980s he was charged with tax evasion and false accounting. Although he was acquitted, the trial cost him dearly; his finances and his reputation were both hit hard. He bounced back, though, and used the experience in his future stage act...
‘Lend us a quid; I could do with it.’
‘I told the Inland Revenue I didn't owe them a penny because I lived near the seaside.’
‘They stole that idea from me’ (Referring to the Inland Revenue and self-assessment of income tax.)
‘Good evening, my name is Kenneth Arthur Dodd, singer, photographic playboy and failed accountant.’
I think you have gathered that I really rated Ken Dodd. That may be to do with the fact that he was a constant in my life. He was probably the first comedian that I, as a child, ever laughed at. With his crazy hair and buck teeth, he looked funny, for a start. But I loved the sound of Doddy, especially when he exaggerated the Liverpool accent. Sunday lunchtimes in our house were full of fun as we laughed out loud at his radio show. To my childish delight, he repeated certain gags and catchphrases week after week...
‘Where’s me shirt?’
‘I’ll marmalise you!’
‘I must have a quick burst on me banjo...’ (followed by a brief speeded up banjo tune) ... ‘By jove, I needed that!’
What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was Eddie Braben that had written all these surreal jokes; to me, it was all Doddy’s work and he was a genius.
Do you recall I told you a Christmas or two back about getting a reel to reel tape recorder back in the nineteen sixties? (See Week 20 - The Grambler proves Santa Claus is real.) On the very day we got it, we were recording anything and everything because it was such a novelty. One thing we recorded was the big Christmas day show from the television (I told you we were recording anything) which that year was Ken Dodd’s show. Fifty-odd years later, I still recall some of the gags...
‘I’d like to sing my new record, I left my kidneys on Clapham Common.’ (This was at the time of Tony Bennett’s famous song.)
‘How tickled I am by all the holly and the ivy. Have you ever been tickled by the holly and the ivy, Missus? Well, why don’t you hang it above the fireplace like everyone else?’
‘My uncle gave me a scarf for Christmas; I knew he was getting me one because I woke up one night and he was measuring my neck.’
‘Did you all get your free sausage on the way in?’...
As I stated earlier, he did like to recycle material.
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 17th of March? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Gottlieb Daimler 1834 (Pioneer of internal combustion engine. Does his name really translate as dear god? What were his parents thinking?), Lawrence ‘Titus’ Oates 1880 (Explorer.), Alfred Newman 1901 (Composer, mainly of film music. He was Oscar nominated 44 times and won on 10 occasions. Here’s one you might know. How exactly do you splendour love?), Bobby Jones 1902 (Golfy bloke.), Ray Ellington 1915 (Singer on The Goon Show. Er... that’s it. Not quite; this was a minor hit for him in the early sixties. Here is The Madison.), Nat ‘King’ Cole 1919 (Musician. Another clip? Here he is eulogising about a bit of tarmac. Crikey, they made suits big in those days!), Rudolf Nureyev 1938 (Hoofer.), Robin Knox-Johnston 1939 (Hello sailor.), Giovanni Trapattoni 1939 (Footy bloke. Known as Il Trap.), Paul Kantner 1941 (A bit of Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship. You would like another clip? Okay, time to don your tie dye and trip out... here’s White Rabbit.), Jeff Banks 1943 (Fashion designer and rhyming slang.), Pattie Boyd 1944 (Clothes horse. Had two very famous songs written about her - this one and this one.), John Sebastion 1944 (A quarter of a spoonful. Have another clip. Here’s Daydream.), Alex MacDonald 1948 (Footy bloke.), Patrick Duffy 1949 (Actor. Came back from the dead in Dallas. Er... that’s it.), Pat Rice 1949 (Footy bloke and Elton John impressionist.), Scott Gorham 1951 (A bit of Thin Lizzy. Another clip? Here’s Jailbreak. Daft lyrics or what? Tonight there’s going to be a jailbreak somewhere in this town... Not the jail, then?), Kurt Russell 1951 (Tree.), Lesley-Anne Down 1954 (Ectress. She was in Upstairs Downstairs. Er... that’s it. As far as us Brits are concerned. She’s in a few minor US productions.), Rory McGrath 1956 (Comedian and writer. Here’s a little story gleaned from Wikipedia... McGrath supports Arsenal. He and fellow comedian Peter Cook (a Tottenham supporter) used to have a friendly rivalry over their respective clubs. On the night that Cook died in January 1995, Tottenham had beaten Arsenal. McGrath found out about his friend's death after failing to receive Cook's usual abusive phonecall the next morning.), Claire Grogan 1962 (Actress and singer. She used to be an Altered Image. Have a clip. I could be happy, but not with that dreadful video.), Lee Dixon 1964 (Footy bloke and Martina Navratilova impressionist.), Rob Lowe 1964 (Actor. Don’t mention that video tape.), Billy Corgan 1967 (A Smashing Pumpkin. A clip? Here’s Tonight, Tonight. The video is a brilliant tribute to Georges Melies, the great film pioneer.), Alexander McQueen 1969 (Fashion designer.), Caroline Corr 1973 (Drummy Corr. Another clip? What can I do?), Justin Hawkins 1975 (A bit of the Darkness. Another clip? Go on then... but not that one. Here’s Love is Only a Feeling Love is Only a Feeling. Make your mind up! It was like a violin earlier.), Steven Pienaar 1982 (Sokkerspeler.), Raul Meireles 1983 (Futebolista.), Fraser Forster 1988 (Footy bloke.) and Shinji Kagawa 1989 (Footy broke.).
Inspiration for the Smashing Pumpkins
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Spatula,
You gave us a clip to a Jefferson Airplane song, White Rabbit. I’ve always been a big fan. Or should I say, I’ve always been a small fan, because I’m quite small. LOL. Anyway, did you know that Paul Kantner was the only remaining founding member when he left the band in 1984? Apparently, he took legal action against his former band ‘mates’ over the rights to the band name. The action was settled out of court, but the names ‘Jefferson’ or ‘Airplane’ were not to be used without all other remaining band members’ permission. Thus, to avoid upsetting him further perhaps, the band that was formed after his departure was called simply ‘Starship’. They actually had a few hits after that. The first one was a real biggie. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of it. Can you help?
Yours with heaps of love,
Wee Bill Tissitty.
Let’s move onto grambling matters. How did last week’s bet fare? It won. Sort of. 65 pees back from a stake of £2.20... Wait a minute, I’m getting a sense of deja vu... that is exactly the same as last week. How odd. What happened? Read on...
Blackburn vs Blackpool - Prediction Home win
Result - Blackburn 3 Blackpool 0
Bradley Dack broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage-time and two second-half goals from in-form Adam Armstrong settled proceedings.
Short and sweet.
Bristol Rovers vs Northampton - Prediction Home win
Result - Bristol 1 Northampton 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
The hosts went ahead in the 34th minutes when Northampton goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell parried a shot from inside the box by Ellis Harrison, only for Kyle Bennett to latch onto the rebound and net from close range.
But Luckassen headed the Cobblers level after 62 minutes within moments of going on, rising to convert Brendan Moloney's right-wing cross.
Northampton had midfielder Matt Crooks sent off after 74 minutes for a second yellow card after he clattered into Stuart Sinclair.
And the visitors were grateful to a fine late save from O'Donnell to keep out Dominic Telford's low drive.
They might have been grateful, but I’m not!
Portsmouth vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win
Result - Portsmouth 1 Gillingham 3
Jamal Lowe gave Pompey a 19th-minute lead when he fired a close-range effort into the roof of the net.
And the 23-year-old should have doubled his side's advantage just before the half-hour mark when he was in on goal but Gillingham defender Luke O'Neill got back to make a last-ditch tackle.
The visitors struck back through half-time substitute Conor Wilkinson in the 48th minute after he took a touch to set himself up before curling his shot into the bottom corner.
The Gills then took the lead through Lee Martin when his free-kick managed to drift past everyone and find the back of the net.
And Martin got his second and secured all three points for the away side with a spectacular goal in the 80th minute, the Gillingham captain curling the ball into the top corner from outside the area.
Rotherham vs Rochdale - Prediction Home win
Result - Rotherham 0 Rochdale 1
Rotherham's Marek Rodak made the first save of the game as he rushed out to deny Andrew Cannon.
The visitors threatened again through Humphrys but his shot was diverted wide of goal.
Rotherham thought they would have a half-time lead but Richard Wood's header was disallowed for a foul on Josh Lillis.
Rochdale's Brad Inman was denied early in the second half by another good stop from Rodak after bursting clear of the defence.
The away side deservedly went ahead after 67 minutes when Stephen Humphrys lashed a shot into the bottom corner following a rapid build-up.
Joe Mattock denied Ian Henderson a good chance for a second with a well-timed tackle in the box.
Semi Ajayi's late effort for Rotherham was cleared off the line and Rochdale hung on.
Shrewsbury vs Walsall - Prediction Home win
Result - Shrewsbury 2 Walsall 0
Shrewsbury were rewarded for a bright start with a sixth-minute breakthrough as Alex Rodman converted Jon Nolan's inviting low cross from the right.
The hosts nearly added to their lead shortly afterwards but Carlton Morris struck the post from Shaun Whalley's cross.
Then the influential Nolan hammered a powerful 20-yard drive over the bar.
Walsall were also lively going forward and Dean Henderson, the Shrewsbury goalkeeper, had to be alert to tip a Kieron Morris header over the bar.
Nicky Devlin then went close to an equaliser when he burst into the box and fired against the near post from a narrow angle before Erhun Oztumer was off-target from a 25-yard free kick.
Walsall's Liam Leahy headed against the woodwork in the closing stages before Shrewsbury doubled their lead in the 88th minute as skipper Abu Ogogo swept home Rodman's cross from the right.
Ho hum; not a good week for The Grambler. What can he/she/it come up with to make amends? Let’s have a butchers...
Game - Result - Odds
Northampton vs Rotherham - Prediction Away win - 19/20
Brechin vs Dumbarton - Prediction Away win - 10/11
Albion vs Arbroath - Prediction Away win - 4/5
Berwick vs Stenhousemuir - Prediction Away win - 17/20
Montrose vs Peterhead - Prediction Away win - 10/11
Oh dear. All away predictions. I foresee a few draws. I also foresee a lack of match reports next week as some of those predictions come from the lower reaches of the Scottish leagues and, as you all know, the Beeb Beeb Ceeb tend to ignore those.
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...
Even more whopping than last week. So instead of not winning £10.73, we won’t win £11.82.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which Portuguese player had won the most Premiershit League title medals. Who said Ronaldo? Wrong! He only won three. The answer is Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha. Who the fu... Who is that? He is better known as Nani. He spent eight seasons with the Manchester United side that won the league on four occasions.
One for this week? Coming right up. Here’s a Premiershit question. Which Premiershit club has had the most managers in the Premier League era? Easy? Hmm...
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
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr K. Dodd who provides us with a few chuckles to end this week’s edition...
‘My dad knew I was going to be a comedian. When I was a baby, he said, ‘Is this a joke?’’
‘I love my girlfriend, my girlfriend loves me. She loves my hair, she loves my eyes, she loves my teeth. She loves my teeth because I'm the only person that can peel an orange through a tennis racket.’
‘I haven't spoken to my mother-in-law for 18 months. I don't like to interrupt her.’
‘My act is very educational. I heard a man leaving the other night, saying: ‘Well, that taught me.’’
‘Do I believe in safe sex? Of course I do. I have a handrail around the bed.’
‘I did 25 minutes running on the spot this morning - I had my braces caught in the banister.’
‘This audience tonight represents the creme de la creme. That's French for evaporated milk.’
‘Did any of us in our wildest dreams ever think we'd live long enough to see the end of the DFS sale?’
‘I wanted to take the dog to obedience class but it wouldn't go.’
‘So it turns out that if you bang two halves of a horse together, it doesn't make the sound of a coconut.’
‘Men's legs have a terribly lonely life - standing in the dark in your trousers all day.’
‘It's ten years since I went out of my mind. I'd never go back.’
‘The trouble with Freud is that he never played the Glasgow Empire on a Saturday night after Rangers and Celtic had both lost.’
‘You think you can get away, but you can't. I'll follow you home and I'll shout jokes through your letterbox’ - when he was still going strong at a show as it approached midnight.
‘I've seen a topless lady ventriloquist. Nobody has ever seen her lips move.’
‘Fifty-five years in show business, ladies and gentlemen. That's a hell of a long time to wait for a laugh.’
‘Tonight when you get home, put a handful of ice cubes down your wife's nightie and say: ‘There's the chest freezer you always wanted’.’
‘I used to think I was marvellous in bed until I discovered that all my girl friends suffered from asthma.’
‘An official went to ask my big Auntie Nellie to come off the beach because the tide was waiting to come in.’
‘The man who invented cats’ eyes got the idea when he saw the eyes of a cat in his headlights. If the cat had been going the other way, he would have invented the pencil sharpener.’
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