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…
How about a joke from resident comic, George, before we begin this week’s (g)ramble? Take it away, George...
A horse walks into a bar and orders a pint...
How does a horse manage to walk into a bar? I mean, for a start, it is very unlikely that a horse would be anywhere near a bar... Unless it was a bar in the countryside and the horse had escaped from its field. Even then, it would be an impossibility for a horse to simply walk into a bar without causing quite a commotion. I would imagine that it would be stopped long before it reached the vicinity of the public house in question.
Let us assume, though, that this bulky equus had somehow managed to get through the low, narrow doorway of a pub... although how it would manipulate a door handle with its hoof, I don’t know... you then suggest that it simply heads to the bar and orders itself a drink. How on earth does he convey that message? It’s a horse, for goodness’ sake. What does he ask for? A pint of Heineighken? Absolute nonsense, the whole idea.
Anyway, you were saying, George? Oh dear... You don’t look very happy. Why the long face?
This week Mrs G and I spent an afternoon in the hottest, sunniest part of the country... Portabello. That sounds rather exotic, doesn't it? Hardly; it is Edinburgh's nearest seaside resort.
For a midweek day at the end of May, it was unusual to see such a crowded beach in Scotland. Normally, the only people brave enough to head to the beach are dog walkers and joggers.
This day, the world and his dog (complete with walker) seemed to have headed to this particular stretch of sandy beach. Who could blame them? There wasn't a cloud on the sky and the temperature was into the low twenties... That is just about tropical to Scots.
Folk were in the sea swimming, others were simply sitting on the beach sunbathing.
One kid, aged about eight or nine, was busy doing what children of that age always do... digging a hole in the sand so that he could sit in it. I wonder why that is. I'm sure I did the same when I were a nipper. I know my own kids did it and the grand kids do it. Odd that sand can have such an effect on generations of children.
Anyway, I digress. This particular kid was repeatedly running between his sandy den and the sea; basically, he was having a rare old time.
His mum sat close by, watching and occasionally joining in. Meanwhile, sat on a bench on the promenade, filming the scene for posterity, was granddad.
How nice. At least, I thought so until 'granddad' put his camera in its case and left without acknowledging his family.
Now then (now then, now then), the whole scene took on a more sinister hue. Who was this man? Was he related to the family on the beach? Why was he filming a small child playing in the sand? All a bit worrying.
Was he perhaps a modern day equivalent of the old bloke this song is about?
Well, it’s been a busy old week news-wise, and the biggest story? Theresa May (be time to do a runner) resigning? As if. Britain coming a humiliating last in the Eurovision song contest and then having that embarrassment compounded by having five points deducted? I should cocoa. No, the biggest, and downright funniest, news story of the week was Miguel Garage having a milk-shake thrown all over him. This, according to news reporters, raised some serious questions. About security, I hear you ask. No, more important than that. Questions need to be answered about why anyone would waste a milk-shake by chucking it over a tw*t like Norbert Farmage. And also, what flavour was it? Hope it was chocolate; he’d have hated that.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? A bit of confusion last time out, methinks. What happened to the birthday honours for May the 11th? Fear not, dear reader, here they are...
Were any famous or notorious individuals born on May 11th? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Irving Berlin 1888 (Songwriter. Let’s have a clip. Here is his first major hit. All together now... Come on and hear. Come on and hear...), Paul Nash 1889 (Penter.), William Grant Still 1895 (Composer. Here is part of his first major symphony. And you thought Gershwin was the first American to compose serious music.), Phil Silvers 1911 (The King of Chutzpah.), Richard Feynman 1918 (Physicist.), Eric Burdon 1941 (An Animal. Have another clip. Here Eric fears being misunderstood.), Ian Redpath 1941 (Strine crickuddy blike.), Jeremy Paxman 1950 (Answer the question!), John Gregory 1954 (Footy bloke. Has been manager of... deep breath... Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Wycombe Wanderers, Aston Villa, Derby County, QPR, Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, FC Ashdod, FC Kairat, Crawley Town and currently manages Chennaiyin FC. Gets around a bit, doesn’t he?), Jason Queally 1970 (Bike racey bloke.), Holly Valance 1983 (Ictress en chenter. Here’s her biggest hit to date. Give us a kiss... kiss.), Andrés Iniesta 1984 (Tipo de fútbol.), Abou Diaby 1986 (Footballeur.) and Thibaut Courtois 1992 (Footballeur and General de Gaulle lookalike.).
Now, let’s have birthday honours for May 18th. Omar Khayyam 1048 (Mathemetician and sometime poet.), Nicholas II of Russia 1868 (The well-known Tsar. Known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer [Ooer missus. - Ed.] or Nicholas the Bloody or Vile Nicholas... depending on your standpoint.), Bertrand Russell 1872 (Clever bloke.), Walter Gropius 1883 (Archtect.), Frank Capra 1897 (Film director famous for schmaltzy films that he dubbed Capra-corn.), Meredith Willson 1902 (The Music Man, which is apt as he wrote that very show. A clip? Here is the only song from a musical that the Beatles ever covered.), Fred Perry 1909 (Tennisy bloke.), ‘Big Joe’ Turner 1911 (Blues singer/shouter. He’s the originator of this.), Pierino ‘Perry’ Como 1912 (Singer. Have another clip. All together now... Magic moments... An early Burt Bacharach success there.), Margot Fonteyn 1919 (Hoofer.), John Paul II 1920 (The well-known pope with a tarmac fetish.), Pernell Roberts 1928 (Actor. Adam Cartwright in Bonanza. That was him.), Norman St John-Stevas 1929 (Politician don’t-cha-know.), Don Martin 1931 (Mad’s maddest artist.), Don Whillans 1933 (Mountaineer.), Miriam Margolyes 1941 (Ectress.), Nobby Stiles 1942 (Footy bloke.), Albert Hammond 1944 (Musician. Another clip? All together now... My father is a doctor; he's a family man...), Rick Wakeman 1949 (keyboardist, songwriter, producer, television and radio presenter, author and all round good egg. Have a clip. Brilliant or what.), Paul Da Vinci 1951 (Singer/musician. He was the voice behind the Rubettes, but here is his solo hit.), Wreckless Eric... not his real name... 1954 (Singer, it says here. Have a clip. Here’s Whole Wide World. ), Toyah Willcox 1958 (Singer, it says here. Here’s another clip... It's A Mystery this was ever a hit.), Graham Dilley 1959 (Crickety bloke. Famous for that ‘Lillee bowled Dilley, caught Willey’ moment.), Yannick Noah 1960 (Mec de tennis.), Heinz-Harald Frentzen 1967 (Rennfahrer.), Martika 1969 (Singer with a kitchen.), Billy Howerdel 1970 (Musician. A bit of A Perfect Circle... An arc, perhaps? Here’s a later example of their work and they seem a bit disillusioned.), Brad Freidel 1971 (Soccer guy.), John Higgins 1975 (Snookery bloke... The Wizard of Wishaw.), Lee Hendrie 1977 (Footy bloke.), Danny Mills 1977 (Footy bloke.) and Julian Speroni 1979 (Tipo de fútbol y Jimmy Carr parecido.).
Finally, let’s hear it for the birthday celebrants of 25th of May. Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803 (Poet and philosopher.), Max Aitken 1879 (Publisher. He was the Rupert Murdoch of his day. Without the charm, of course.), Miles Malleson 1888 (Ectaw.), Igor Sikorsky 1889 (Aircraft manufacturer.), Gene Tunney 1897 (Boxy bloke.), U Nu 1907 (Prime minister of Burma. [Sorry, pardon, excuse me? You Knew U Nu? - Ed.] Yes, he made a state visit to Polomint City back in the early 1960s.), Richard Dimbleby 1913 (TV presenter. Davie and Jonny’s dad.), Steve Cochran 1917 (Actor.), Hal David 1921 (Lyricist for Burt Bacharach. See above.), Kitty Kallen 1921 (Chanter. Time for a clip. When did we last have one? It’s been a long long time.), Claude Akins 1926 (Actor. Mainly in westerns. Yee hah!), Robert Ludlum 1927 (Orfer. The Jason Bourne bloke.), Norman Petty 1927 (Producer for Buddy Holly and often cited as being ultimately to blame for Holly’s death by forcing him to tour.), Tom T. Hall 1936 (Singer/songwriter. He wrote this.), Margaret Forster 1938 (Orfer. Georgy Girl. She wrote that.), Ian McKellen 1939 (A thespian, no less. One of the best pretenders out there.), John ‘Poli’ Palmer 1943 (A bit of Family. Here he is on the vibraphone. [Ooer, missus. - Ed.]), Frank Oz 1944 (Actor/puppeteer. Miss Piggy. That’s him.), David Jenkins 1952 (Runner... of tracks and drugs.), Alastair Campbell 1957 (Political... erm... aide?), Paul Weller 1958 (Musician. a bit of Jam. Let's have a clip.), Julian Clary 1959 (Comedian. Aka Gillian Pieface aka The Joan Collins Fanclub.), Anthea Turner 1960 (Former Blue Peter presenter, more recently a presenter of unsubtle adverts.), Mike Myers 1963 (Comedian, it says here.), Robert Croft 1970 (Cricketty bloke.), Stefan Holm 1976 (Höjdhoppare.), Jonny Wilkinson 1979 (Ruggery bloke.), Ezekiel Kemboi 1982 (Steeplechasy bloke.) and Geraint Thomas 1986 (Rasiwr beicio.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Grimbewlah,
It was so nice of you to play a song by that fine performer and charming personality, Mr Perry Como. We are both great fans and recall he had another hit record around the same time as Magic Moments, but neither of us can remember the title. Can you help?
Yours with fondest good wishes,
Katya Fall, Ian Starr.
Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened the last time we had a bet? We won... ish. 82 pees back from an outlay of £2.20 isn’t very clever, is it?
Oh well, onwards and upwards. Since the footy has now ended for the summer break, we will have to shift our gambling to that other well-known way of losing money, betting on the nags. So can you remember the form? No? Well, I’ll remind you. The Grambler will select five random races from Saturday’s racecard and bets of 20 pees will be placed on each of the favourites from those races. There will also be a five race accumulator bet of 20 pees each way. The each way part of the bet is a way to improve our chances of winning the accumulator because, if any of the gee gees that The Grambler has selected come second, our bet will continue onto the next race. Does that make sense to you? No? Nor me.
Anyway, that’s how the bets will go for the next few weeks until the footy season starts up again. So what has The Grambler randomly selected for this week’s flutter?
Meeting - Time - Horse - Odds
Cartmel - 2.05 - Young Wolf - 8/15
Goodwood - 3.10 - Silent Wave - 5/6
Goodwood - 5.30 - Neon Sea - 5/6
Haydock - 4.00 - Baltaash - 11/10
Chester - 4.05 - Raffle Prize - 8/13
The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator plus 20 pee each way cop out bet) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
Hardly whopping at all.
Teaser time. Yay! Last time I told you about the only times two English teams had contested a European competition final and asked you to name the competitions, the teams and the years in which the finals took place. The answers are that Tottenham Hotspur played Wolverhampton Wanderers in the two-leg final of the UEFA Cup in 1972. Spurs won that 3-2 on aggregate. The other English final occured in the Champions League final of 2008 when Manchester United played Chelsea. Man U won that one on penalties (6-5) when the game finished 1-1 after extra time.
One for this week? Sticking with European competitions, there used to be a competition called the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. [Really, how interesting. - Ed.] It only ran between the years 1956 and 1971, but two English sides won it twice each. (Does that make sense?) Can you name them, without resorting to Googly, that is? [No. I win. - Ed.]
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
And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr P. Silvers, a Vaudeville comedian who starred in his own very famous comedy series between 1955 and 1959 during which time 143 episodes were shown. It was named simply The Phil Silvers Show, but everyone remembers it as Bilko, the name of the scheming, but workshy character he played. The programme was so popular that animators Hanna and Barbera made a cartoon version of it featuring some of the characters as alley cats. The main character, Top Cat or TC, was a straight copy of Bilko. To finish, here is the first Phil Silvers Show to be transmitted. I do hope you enjoy it.
All right, all right, all right!
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