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…
A song to start?
Way back in the mists of time there was a doowop group called Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. They had only one UK hit before Frankie went off to sell sweets. Remember his advertising jingle? ‘Lollipop, lollipop. Ooh lolly lolly lolly.’ Maybe not. Any road up, here’s Frankie and the Teenagers' hit...
‘Why do birds sing...’
‘Well... [wheeze wheeze] there are...[wheeze wheeze] various...[wheeze wheeze] reasons for this. Often...[wheeze wheeze] the males...[wheeze wheeze] are simply...[wheeze wheeze] letting it be known...[wheeze wheeze] that this...[wheeze wheeze] is their territory. During the mating season...[wheeze wheeze] the male sings...[wheeze wheeze] louder still...[wheeze wheeze] in the hopes of attracting...[wheeze wheeze] a mate.’
Thank you for that explanation Sir David of Attenborough.
I watched the TV news recently. There was an article about politicians from various countries considering taking action against Syria. [How interesting. Yawn. Ed.] Now don't worry, the grambler isn't going on a political rant. Far too serious. No, my gripe is to do with a statement that the reporter made. Without explaining what the term meant he said simply, 'They all need to get their ducks in a line.' That was it. I had never heard that line before and it annoyed me somewhat. Yes, I understood that it meant all the countries should get things organised so that they were all planning the same action, but not everyone would spot the thinking...
'It's no wonder the world's in the mess it is, what with them politicians all playing with toy ducks!'
It's nothing new, of course. How many times have you heard expressions like... 'It's a bit of a curate's egg'? Let's face it; that is a most ridiculous thing to say. Yet reporters often say it and don't go on to explain what it means.
Incidentally, that line comes from an old Punch cartoon where a curate is in a restaurant and the waiter enquires how his egg is. The curate, not wishing to cause offence, replies that it is good in places. Thus, any time the expression is used we are expected to understand that whatever is being discussed has both good and bad points to it. So now you know.
Another that crops up all the time is... 'It's a Catch 22 situation'. Again it is said without any explanation as to what it means. If you hadn’t read or heard of the book, it makes no sense whatever. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realise what it means and use it inappropriately.
In the Joseph Heller book, Catch-22 this is the explanation as to its meaning...
‘There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to, but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.’
The term ‘a catch-22 situation’ has since become all too frequently used to describe an event where no matter which choice is made, it will be wrong. I think if an expression were required, ‘heads I win, tales you lose’ better fits.
Before 1984, how often did you hear the complaint ‘It’s like 1984’? Quite often, I would imagine. Since that date, it has probably been used less, simply because many don’t understand that the reason for citing 1984 was nothing to do with a given year, but was more about being under constant surveillance.
Of course, it is still used by those who know that they are referring not to a year but to George Orwell’s book 1984. The date in the title is immaterial; the reference is to Orwell’s vision of a police-run state where everyone is being watched at all times. Thus, news reporters (and it does tend to be news reporters) will often comment on the proliferation of CCTV cameras and describe it as being like 1984. Again, they don’t bother to explain the reason why they mention it, it is assumed that the public at large know all about George Orwell’s novels. Sometimes they ‘almost’ explain it by describing such a situation as Orwellian. It doesn’t explain anything, other than their own smug gittishness.
Here’s another factoid for you. As I stated, the date 1984 is immaterial, so why was it chosen? Yes, you at the back? That’s right, it was finished in 1948 and Orwell surmised that by transposing the last two numbers to give a date 36 years away would be far enough in the future to imagine that such a policed state might actually become a reality.
34 years on from 1984 we are still not being watched in the way Orwell imagined. Not quite. Although Farcebook is getting close.
I believe that all these terms are used by reporters simply to illustrate how smart they are. It is as if they are saying, ‘look how clever I am. I use buzz phrases. I make references to a cartoon from an 1895 edition of Punch magazine. I understand what Joseph Heller meant by Catch-22. I know what 1984 really means.’ Well, Mr reporter, remember that a large number of people watching the news are not as clever as you, so stop bl**dy showing off!
To end, come with me if you will to my O grade history exam from some time in the last century. [Is this relevant? - Ed.] Yes it is. I was quite well prepared for the exam... I mean I knew my topics and dates well-enough, not just that I had a sharpened pencil.
My subject was the Great War of 1914-18 and I knew all about the various battles that I might be questioned on. Oh dear. I was utterly thrown by the first question which was something like, ‘Explain why the Battle of Jutland proved to be a watershed in the First World War.’ I’m sorry? What has a watershed got to do with the Battle of Jutland?
As a 16 year-old, I had never heard of the term ‘watershed’. Like those expressions I have alluded to, it was assumed that I would know. I didn’t. I hadn’t got a clue what it meant. I can’t remember what I wrote other than the last part of my last sentence...
’... and that is why the Battle of Jutland proved to be a watershed in World War One.’
Let’s end with a quote from Benny Hill (although like most of his material, it wasn’t original.) ‘If you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.’
Not funny, but I think you get the point.
Before I move on, I would just like to congratulate The Grambler’s favourite footballer, Andrew Robertson, on reaching the final of the Champions League. An absolutely brilliant achievement for Andy and the rest of the Liverpool team. The Grambler wishes you the best of luck in the final... go on, give the preening Portuguese popinjay and his cohorts a doing!
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 5th of May? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Karl Marx 1818 (Did he play the piano or the harp?), John Stetson 1830 (The big hat man.), Tyrone Power 1914 (Actor,), Alice Faye 1915 (Actress.), James Gilbert 1923 (TV producer... I mean he produced TV programmes... not... actual... TVs.), Delia Derbyshire 1937 (Musician. You will know her most famous piece of work. She may not have written it, but her arrangement made it very special indeed.), Ray Gosling 1939 (Broadcaster and journalist.), Tammy Wynette 1942 (Saynger. Time for a clip? Shall we have one of her big hits? Stand by your beds? Dee ah vee oh arse ee ee? No, let’s head for Moomooland.), Michael Palin 1943 (A jolly nice bloke.), John Rhys-Davies 1944 (Ectaw, isn’t it. Laughing Spam Fritter.), Roger Rees 1944 (Ectaw, wasn’t it.), Bill Ward 1948 (Drummy Brummy. Original drummer for Black Sabbath. A clip? Here’s It's Alright.), Maggie MacNeal 1950 (The MacNeal part of Mouth and MacNeal. Another clip? Here’s their Eurovision hit I See a Star.), Richard E. Grant 1957 (Ectaw.), Peter Howitt 1957 (Actor turned director.), Ian McCulloch 1959 (A Bunnyman. Time for another clip. Here’s Echo and co’s biggest hit.), James Cracknell 1972 (Rowing bloke... By that I mean he rows a boat... he doesn’t... fall out... with people.), Craig David 1981 (Singer. Time for a clip, methinks. Here’s 7 Days.), Graham Dorrans 1987 (Footy bloke.), Adele (Adkins) 1988 (Singer/songwriter. A clip, you say? Why not. Here’s one you'll know.), Chris Brown 1989 (Singer and actor. Have another clip. Time to turn up the music.) and Raul Jimenez 1991 (Hombre de futbol.).
Not a Marx brother
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Chandler,
I’d forgotten all about that Craig David bloke. He seemed to disappear very quickly after a few fruitful years. I don’t think Bo Selecta did his career any favours. Mind you, I see that he is still recording and still getting into the charts. Odd that you chose his second number one rather than his first, the name of which escapes me.
Let’s move onto grambling matters. How did last week’s bet fare? It won. Sort of. I didn’t make a profit. 62 pees back from a £2.20 stake. Two pees better than last week. Big deal. What happened? Read on...
Newcastle vs West Brom - Prediction Home win
Result - Newcastle 0 West Bromwich Albion 1
West Brom just needed one goal to see off Newcastle on Saturday, with Matt Phillips smashing in a 29th-minute strike after being picked out by Jake Livermore.
James McClean and Jay Rodriguez also went close for the Baggies, while their keeper Ben Foster made a sensational save to keep out Dwight Gayle's header.
The Magpies were also denied by the post after Kenedy had beaten Foster with a poked shot.
Southampton vs Bournemouth - Prediction Home win
Result - Southampton 2 Bournemouth 1
DusanTadic put the home side ahead with a low finish after a swift counter-attack, only for Bournemouth forward Joshua King to fire in an equaliser seconds before half-time.
Tadic restored the advantage with a precise finish after a penetrating run, although Saints needed keeper Alex McCarthy to make a flying save from Ryan Fraser in stoppage time.
Aston Villa vs Derby - Prediction Home win
Result - Aston Villa 1 Derby County 1
Ooh!’It the bar!
The Rams took the lead thanks to Cameron Jerome's low, first-half finish at a lively Villa Park.
But Lewis Grabban fired in from close range in the closing stages to earn Villa a point.
Norwich vs Leeds - Prediction Home win
Result - Norwich 2 Leeds 1
Kalvin Phillips opened the scoring for Leeds with a fantastic half-volley from 25 yards out.
Hoolahan, captain for the day, equalised five minutes later with a deflected shot which looped over Leeds keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Hoolahan then assisted Josh Murphy, who fired in to complete the comeback.
Reading vs Ipswich - Prediction Home win
Result - Reading 0 Ipswich 4
After a goalless first half Martyn Waghorn broke the deadlock with a spin and shot after being well found by Jordan Spence.
Waghorn returned the favour soon afterwards, playing in Spence, who scored with a stunning shot.
Substitute Freddie Sears tapped in the third goal before Callum Connolly completed the scoring in stoppage time.
Oh well, ne’er mind, eh. What has the great and powerful Grambler randomly selected for us this week?
Game - Result - Odds
Wycombe vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win - 13/20
Coventry vs Morecambe - Prediction Home win - 5/4
Cambridge vs Port Vale - Prediction Home win - Evens
Notts County vs Luton - Prediction Away win - 10/11
Swindon vs Accrington Stanley - Prediction Away win - 5/4
The selections have been made. 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...
Oh dear, a bit too whopping for my liking.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the only other Manchester City player, other than Leroy Sane, to have won the PFA young player of the year award. You had to delve back a few years to find Peter Barnes who won the title back in 1976.
The second part of the teaser was a little easier. As Mo Salah had won the PFA player of the year award, I asked who was the last Liverpool player to win the title. It was none other than the Hungry Horace of football, ear muncher, Luis Suarez back in 2014.
One for this week? Here’s a daft one. Which British league club has a name that begins with five consonants? One for fans of Countdown there.
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. M. Palin who provides us with this week’s finishing link. I think if you were asked what Mr Palin’s most famous Python moment was, a few of you would cite this.
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