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…
Did you have a nice Gramblemas? Good. Me? Yes, lovely; thanks for asking.
As usual, I missed most of the decent stuff that got shown on telly over the festive period. I mean, who’s got time to sit and watch television leading up to, and including, Christmas Day? The time the best telly programmes should be put on is not before Christmas, but after it, when we have all got some time to relax. But no; in time-honoured fashion, all the good stuff gets shown when I am in the perfect place to miss it.
Mind you, perhaps the choice of programmes wasn’t so wonderful. As far as the British Broadcorping Casteration is concerned, we are all still living in the 1970s. We were treated to (or had foisted upon us) large helpings of Morecambe and Wise, The Good Life, Porridge (the programme, not the breakfast food), Dad’s Army and The Two Ronnies. Good grief, the 70s ended 40 years ago and we are still being shown this stuff.
There was a huge fuss made by the Beeb that a new episode of Gavin and Stacey had been made. Whoop de f****** doo! A sitcom that first aired on BBC3 (because it wasn’t considered to be worth putting on one of the main channels) getting the star treatment on Christmas day? I suppose the reason it has been raised to such heady heights is thanks to the success of its main star and co-writer, comedian (it says here) James Condom.
But enough of my grumbles about the Beeb Beeb Ceeb scraping the bottom of the barrel for its programmes, I have another observation for you to consider. It concerns the way the makers of entertainments no longer content themselves with making a successful film. If a film is incredibly popular, they continue to cash in on its success by merchandising every conceivable product they can, based on aspects of it. Yes, the makers of Frozen and Frozen 2, I’m talking about you. Every shop and supermarket seems to sell some sort of Frozen-related
tat product. Apart from the actual character dolls, it seems that every item of children’s clothing can be had with the characters’ cross-eyed features staring
out at you... There’s a thing - Why do Disney’s cgi characters always look cross-eyed? They are. Next time you watch a film, you’ll spot it. Ahem, I digress. If it isn’t clothing, it’s food;
usually the unhealthier options. My grand-daughter even received a Frozen night light.
In 2014, the year after the first Frozen film was released, the dolls of the characters ousted Barbie as the top-selling doll in the good ol’ U S of A. It was reported that all Frozen-related merchandise was worth $531 million to Disney that year.
2014 was probably the peak year for sales, but products featuring the characters have always been around since then. Presumably, sales were beginning to flag a bit, so a second film had to be made to prop them up a bit. Obviously, I am just being cynical when I say that. Or am I? Why do the characters in the new film all wear different clothing? Anything to do with all previous dolls suddenly seeming to be out of date? Anything to do with children wanting the most up-to-date figure? Hmm... Who’s being cynical?
Of course, the Americans have always done merchandising on the back of a film’s success really well. Consider Star Wars and all the characters, spacecraft and weaponry that have been marketed over the years. Apparently, all that plastic is worth $5 - 6 billion per year. That’s billions, not millions.
It struck me that us Brits are not nearly as good at cashing in on popular films. Harry Potter has done very well, but it is an American company which made the film (and the money, presumably). I reckon the best example Britain can muster is the merchandise from Aardman creations Wallace and Gromit or Shawn the Sheep.
Our lack of marketing nous really came home to me recently. I went to the toilet [Sorry pardon excuse me? Is this really relevant? - Ed.]. Indeed, it is relevant. Do you remember Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman? You know the one... Walking in the Air... That one. It is a film that is shown every Christmas on British television. What merchandise was generated from that film? Toilet paper. That’s right. Toilet paper. You can wipe your a*** with paper that has The Snowman printed on it.
There are many things that the Brits don’t get right and this is one of them. Bog paper! I ask you!
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorius individuals born on the 21st of December? Of course there were; here are some I’ve actually heard of. Jack Russell 1795 (Dog breeder. I wonder what kind of dogs he bred.), Benjamin Disraeli 1804 (The well-known prime minister.), Walter Hagen 1892 (Golfy bloke.), Werner Von Trapp 1915 (Kurt in The Sound of Music.), Kurt Waldheim 1918 (The well-known president and war criminal.), Hanif Mohammad 1934 ( کرکٹر), Lorenzo Bandini 1935 (Pilota da corsa.), Jane Fonda 1937 (The well-known actress and fitness guru.), Frank Zappa 1940 (Musician. Have some cosmik debris. ), Albert Lee 1943 (Musician. Here he attests that he be a (west) country boy he be.), Michael Tilson Thomas 1944 (Composer. Have a bit of cultyer.), Carl Wilson 1946 (A beach boy. Here’s his most famous toon.), Samuel L. Jackson 1948 (Actor.), Steve Perryman 1951 (Footy bloke.), András Schiff 1953 (Conductor and tickler of the ivories. Have some more cultyer.), Betty Wright 1953 (Singer. Here she is cleaning up.), Chris Evert 1954 (Tennisy bloke.), Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland 1966 (Donald’s lad.) and Tom Sturridge 1985 (Ectaw.).
And now... the 28th of December. Woodrow Wilson 1856 (The well-known president.), Earl Hines 1903 (Bandleader and ivory tickler. Here are some memories of you.), Lew Ayres 1908 (Actor. Starred in the first anti-war film, 1930’s All Quiet on the Western Front.), Billy Williams 1910 (Singer who writes letters to himself.), Roebuck ‘Pops’ Staples 1914 (A Staple singer. Have some gospelly blues down in Mississippi.), Johnny Otis 1921 (Singer/songwriter. Here’s Hand Jive. Best not to ask.), Stan Lee 1922 (Marvel Comics bloke.), Hildegard Knef 1925 (Schauspielerin und Sängerin. Heir ist In dieser Stadt.), Milton Obote 1925 (The well-known president.), Brian Redhead 1929 (Tv journalist... A journalist on tv... not someone who liked to dress as a woman. I'll get me coat.), Roy Hattersley 1932 (Politician.), Nichelle Nicols 1932 (Actress. Uhura in Star Trek.), Maggie Smith 1934 (Ectress.), Ratan Tata 1937 (Industrialist.), Frank McLintock 1939 (Footy bloke.), Intikhab Alam 1941 ( کرکٹر), Chas Hodges 1943 (Bloke who had a sing song while sitting at the Joanna. Have a clip. Rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit etc.), Max Hastings 1945 (Journalist.), Hubert Green 1946 (Golfy bloke.), Edgar Winter 1946 (Musician. Johnny’s wee brother. Here’s a monster... It’s Frankenstein.), Alex Chilton 1950 (A box top. Here’s another letter.), Clifford Cocks 1950 (Stop sniggering at the back... He’s a mathemetician.), Richard Clayderman 1953 (Chatouiller d’ivoire. Voici un morceau... Ballade Pour Adeline.), Denzel Washington 1954 (Actor.), Stephen Frost 1955 (Comedian.), Nigel Kennedy 1956 (Fiddler. Here’s Gypsy Chardash.), Terry Butcher 1958 (Footy bloke. Ex-Motherwell manager.), Sean Casey 1967 (Storm chaser.), Linus Torvalds 1969 (Computer programmer. Developed Linux.), Anita Doth 1971 (Half of 2 Unlimited. Get ready...), John Stephens aka John Legend 1978 (Musician. Here’s his first big ’it, Ordinary People.), James Blake 1979 (Tennisy bloke.), Lomana LuaLua 1980 (Mec de football.), Sienna Miller 1981 (Actress.), Frank Turner 1981 (Musician. Time to recover.), Tom Huddlestone 1986 (Footy bloke.) and Adam Peaty 1994 (Swimmy bloke.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr. Bamboo,
I am so pleased that you gave us a link to a John Legend song. He really is my favourite singer. The one you chose did reasonably well in the charts reaching number four. However, he had another song which got to number two, but I can’t remember which one. Can you help?
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our little bet go last time? It won. Sort of. 60 pees back from our £2.20 stake isn’t particulary good, is it. What happened? Read on.
AFC Wimbledon vs Doncaster - Prediction Away win
Result - Wimbledon 2 Doncaster 1
Marcus Forss was the hero for AFC Wimbledon, scoring one and making the other as they came from behind to beat Doncaster 2-1 at Kingsmeadow.
The visitors started the game on the front foot and after Rakish Bingham's shot was shovelled behind by Dons goalkeeper Nathan Trott, Kwame Thomas was on hand to head home Reece James' inviting delivery after 12 minutes.
Darren Moore's men probably felt they should have led more comfortably at the break, and Forss made them pay after 56 minutes when he slammed home a penalty to take his League One goals tally this season into double figures after Donervon Daniels mistimed his sliding tackle on the Finnish youth international.
Both sides were going for all three points, and Forss was again the inspiration with 20 minutes left as he chased down a long ball over the top of the Doncaster backline before feeding the onrushing Callum Reilly, who slotted past Seny Dieng for his first league strike since joining the club in the summer.
There was still time for Jon Taylor to cushion a shot wide after James' cutback, but the hosts held on.
MK Dons vs Oxford Utd. - Prediction Away win
Result - MK Dons 1 Oxford Utd. 0
Joe Mason scored his third goal of the season as MK Dons ended their 12-game winless league run with a 1-0 victory over Oxford United.
Defeat for Karl Robinson's injury-hit side put an end to the visitors' own 11-match unbeaten streak in League One.
Russell Martin's men looked dominant and took a deserved lead after 59 minutes when Mason cleverly evaded a number of defensive lunges inside the box, before his emphatic right-footed strike flew past U's keeper Jordan Archer.
Oxford reacted with a change of formation and it nearly paid off after 76 minutes when Shandon Baptiste's strike from the edge of the MK box forced defender Regan Poole into a last-ditch block.
Alex Gilbey should have doubled MK's lead nine minutes from time when he ran through on goal, only to fire his right-footed shot well wide with only Archer left to beat.
Despite a spirited Oxford resurgence, the hosts stood firm to see out victory and inflict defeat on former MK boss Robinson - denting United's play-off push in the process.
Arbroath vs Dundee Utd. - Prediction Away win
Result - Arbroath 0 Dundee Utd. 1
Dundee United moved 13 points clear at the top of the Scottish Championship thanks to Sam Stanton's early strike away to Arbroath.
The midfielder fired home from 20 yards to give Robbie Neilson's an ideal start after six minutes at Gayfield.
United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist denied Bobby Linn and Ricky Little as the hosts threatened an equaliser.
Home goalkeeper Derek Gaston pulled down Nicky Clark but saved the striker's penalty.
With 10 minutes remaining, Linn delivered a wicked low cross, but Luke Donnelly could not connect two yards from goal as United took three points while second-top Inverness Caledonian Thistle lost 3-1 away to Partick Thistle.
Stranraer vs East Fife - Prediction Away win
Result - Stranraer 0 East Fife 2
No match report. Boo!
Brechin vs Cowdenbeath - Prediction Away win
Result - Brechin City 2 Cowdenbeath 1
No match report for this one either. Double boo!
So there you have it; two out of three correct. The Grambler is going to have to his/her/its socks up. [Er... it’s a random number generator; it doesn’t wear socks. - Ed.] Blibbing pedant... Let’s see this week’s selections. As there are more matches taking place on Sunday 29th of December than the Saturday, these are the matches from which the following five have been selected.
Game - Result - Odds
Birmingham vs Leeds - Prediction Away win - 4/6
Bristol City vs Luton - Prediction Home win - 4/6
Nottingham F vs Wigan - Prediction Home win - 4/5
Preston NE vs Reading - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Swansea vs Barnsley - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Hmm... The Grambler has made all the selections from the English Championship. We may not win any dosh, but there is one thing we can be certain of... at least there will be five match reports.
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 Predictions (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!), the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping....
On a whoppingness scale of one to ten, that barely musters a one.
Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you which ex-Premier League player scored with his very first touch of his senior career. The answer was Louis Saha. On his debut for Metz he was brought as sub in the 90th minute and did nothing other than tap in for a goal. Yay!
Here’s a cracker for this week [A Christmas cracker. Ha! - Ed.]. As I was saying... This week’s teaser concerns an unusual use for a football stadium. During WWII many football stadiums were given over to greyhound racing. Stirling Albion’s ground at the time, Forthbank, was used in this way, but what other animal was also raced at the stadium? Hmm... that’s a toughie...
As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you 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
Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s). The total quoted is out of date; the amount raised for the Bobby Moore Fund is now over £53,000. If you want to donate, simply go to the Justgiving page and follow the instructions. You can donate as little as £2.
And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. G. Harrison who provides our finishing item. As always at this time of year the airwaves/broadband are awash with Christmas songs. Maria Carey is currently number 2 in the Yuk charts with her own Christmas classic, All I Want for Christmas is You, a song which first charted 25 years ago. Wham sit at number 3 with Last Christmas (35 years old), pop pickers and at number 4 it’s the dirgiest of modern Crimbo songs Fairytale of New York (32) by the Pogues and Kirsty McColl. Not arf. Very rarely does anyone come up with a song for the New Year.
Incidentally, it has often intrigued me that here, in Scotland, New Year used to be the time for a celebration whereas Christmas was a fairly low-key affair. Some have suggested that this suggests that Scottish people were not as religious as other folk by almost ignoring Christmas. In fact, the opposite is true. Scots always acknowledged the birth of Christ, but chose to observe it for its significance as a religious festival rather than a time to party. They reserved the partying for the following week and , boy, they knew how to party.
Any road up, where is all this leading? Well, apart from Auld Lang Syne, there aren’t many songs associated with New Year. George Harrison obviously thought the same and he tried to remedy this by producing his own song for the occasion. So, here (Probably not for the first time in this esteemed blog... nor the last, I'll wager.) all the way from the 1970s is Ding Dong, Ding Dong (Apologies for the video quality.). Happy New Year.
Thanks to B3ta.com
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