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…
Ahh... Sunday night drama. It’s always so reassuringly relaxing. From Call the Midwife to Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge to Victoria, you can always rely on calm, gentle-paced drama. Blame this Sunday evening fare on the daddy of all costume dramas, The Forsyte Saga which first aired back in the 1960s. We’ve had all sorts since. Who can recall the Onedin Line? That’s pronounced oh-knee-din not won-din. What about Hamish Macbeth? Ballykissangel? All very couthy and ‘nice’. There were never any sweary words on Sunday night telly, that’s for sure.
I had heard a lot of good reports about the current Sunday night offering from the Beeb Beeb Ceeb... Blinking Peaky, or something... so I switched it on thinking I ought to see what the fuss was about.
It certainly wasn’t about its calm pace or gentle humour; gritty might be a better term... although I can think of other terms. I don’t suppose I should have expected any cosy Sunday night drama. The seemingly daft name of the title hides a darker truth. It refers to Birmingham gangs of the early twentieth century who would sew razors into the front of their oversized caps and then use the tooled-up headgear as a weapon. The blinder part of the title refers to the blood spewing out of a headwound which would run down over the eyes thus temporarily blinding the recipient of said bunnet weapon. I wonder if that’s where Ian Fleming got the idea for Oddjob and his ballistic bowler.
Anyway, on Sunday night I sat down hoping that the programme that had received such plaudits lived up to the hype. Unfortunately, I started to watch half way through an episode. Perhaps I might have appreciated it more had I seen it from the start... I doubt it, though.
My first criticism concerns the language. [English? - Ed.]. Bad. I know people swear and f*ck is probably the commonest word in some people’s speech. However, it was totally wrong to use it as frequently as the writer saw fit to include it. Yes, I know I sound prudish, but my reasons for criticising its use are more to do with laziness from the writer as well as historical accuracy. Laziness? Indeed. The word f*ck has a real potency when it is used sparingly. By using it constantly, the writer ‘neutralised’ the word such that it became just any old word; it lost any sort of meaning; it was just ‘there’. He also needed a good few minutes of dialogue less, thanks to the amount of time the actors spent uttering words beginning f*ck. Ah, you might say, isn’t that exactly how modern young people talk. Yes it is and this brings me to my second gripe: historical accuracy. Such casual use of the word f*ck is, I would argue, a fairly modern phenomenon; after the Second World War, I would have thought. As Plinky Plonkers is set between the wars, its use would have been more rare... and consequently more dramatic.
Perhaps the writer was hoping to pick up the award for ‘Most Gratuitous Use of the Word F*ck’*.
Then there was the music. All dramas these days seem to have a bit of atmospheric music. This was no different in the respect that music was indeed in evidence. However, it was certainly not there to add anything to the plot. The music chosen was totally incongruous (That’s a good word. Must look it up.). It seemed as if whoever had been put in charge of the music had selected random play and hadn’t bothered to correct the error. I did say the action was set in the early twentieth century, didn’t I? So why was a heavy rock song circa 1970 played?
My next gripe concerns the lighting. There wasn’t any. Yes, the programme is meant to be dramatic, but does that mean every scene should be filmed with a black background. Most of the time, the only thing visible was the actors’ faces. Where were the actors meant to be? It didn’t matter, because it was pitch-black. They might as well have been in a cupboard.
Did I mention actors? Oh dear. How did the actors convey menace? In the best British soap opera style of... whispering. Ooh... I’m scared.
Hang on, we’ve got a Scotsman. How does a Scot show menace? By talking out of the side of his mouth, of course. That’s how all Scots talk when they want to appear threatening, isn’t it? It is in TV land.
Finally, and it marked the point at which I switched off, a Cockney made an appearance. He didn’t whisper. No, he talked very loudly, indeed. His style of speech was... erm... interesting. He might as well have been singing Chim chim cheree, his accent was so obviously based on Dick Van Dyke’s finest cinematic moment.
From being an evil and menacing swearathon, the programme had drifted into music hall territory. I’m sorry, I could take no more of this, in its own words perhaps, f*ck*ng sh*t*.
I read a review where the author called the programme ‘unmissable’; well, I am perhaps in a minority, but I call it ‘unwatchable’.
Bring back Heartbeat and The Darling Buds of May... proper Sunday night telly. It may have been tosh, but at least it was likeable tosh.
Flat cap - The best a man can get
* Did you spot the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference, there?
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 14th of September? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Alexander von Humboldt 1769 (Naturalist.), Robert Cecil 1864 (Diplomat. He was involved in the implementation of the League of Nations after WWI... and we all know what a success that was.), Hal B. Wallis 1898 (Film producer. Casablanca, that was one of his.), Peter Scott 1909 (Son of Robert. Painted a lot of birds.), Jack Hawkins 1910 (Ectaw. Tended to play stern but sympathetic military types.), Clayton Moore 1914 (Actor. Played the Lone Ranger... er... that was it. See Rupert Hine, below.), Janet Davies 1927 (Actress. Mrs Pike, in Dad’s Army.), Terence Donovan 1936 (Snapper.), Walter Koenig 1936 (Actor. Chekov in Star Trek, that was him.), Nicol Williamson 1938 (Ectaw, dear leddie. Cited as ‘The greatest actor since Marlon Brando’. Really? How interesting.), Martin Tyler 1945 (Footy commentator.), Pete Agnew 1946 (A bit of Nazareth. The last founding member still involved with the band. Time for a clip. Should have called the AA.), Sam Neill 1947 (Actor.), Paul Kossoff 1950 (Guitarist with Free. Another clip, methinks. Here’s Wishing Well.), Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins 1956 (Footy bloke.), Kepler Wessels 1957 (Creekutty blike.), Morten Harket 1959 (Aha! A Norwegian singer. Have a clip. I doubt if the bean counters at the Beeb Beeb Ceeb would agree.), Dmitry Medvedev 1965 (Prime minister of Russia.), John Power 1967 (Musician. Front man with Cast. A clip? Here’s Free Me.), Mark Webber 1970 (Guitarist with Pulp. Another clip coming up. Here are some Common People.), Andrew Lincoln 1973 (Actor.), Amy Winehouse 1983 (Singer. Have a clip. All together now... They tried to make me go to rehab...), Steven Naismith 1986 (Footy bloke.), Tinchy Stryder 1987 (Rapper. Here’s his first number one called... Number 1. What are the chances of that happening?) and Douglas Costa 1990 (Cara de futebol.).
Now then, what about the 21st of September? John Loudon McAdam 1756 (Engineer.), H.G.Wells 1866 (Orfer.), Gustav Holst 1874 (Composer. This could be his most well-known piece), Preston Tucker 1903 (Car maker.), Kwame Nkrumah 1909 (The well-known president.), Chuck Jones 1912 (Animator.), Karl Slover 1918 (A Munchkin.), Bob Stokoe 1930 (Footy bloke.), Larry Hagman 1931 (Actor. J.R. Ewing, that was him.), Shirley Conran 1932 (Orfer.), Leonard Cohen 1934 (Singer/songwriter. He was very popular in France where this song, Suzanne, reached number three.), Jimmy Armfield 1935 (Footy bloke.), Henry Gibson 1935 (Actor.), Bobby Tench 1944 (Jobbing musician. Here he is during his stint playing guitar for Streetwalkers.), Keith Harris 1947 (Gentriloquist.), Rupert Hine 1947 (Musician. Had a top ten hit with this Quantum Jump song.), Stephen King 1947 (Orfer.), Charles Clarke 1950 (Politician.), Bill Murray 1950 (Actor.), Dave Gregory 1952 (Musician. Former member of XTC, now with Big Big Train. Have a clip. Here’s English Electric.), Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor 1954 (Drummer with Motörhead. Here’s their biggie. All together now... If you want to gamble...), Ethan Coen 1957 (Filmmaker.), Simon Mayo 1958 (DJ and orfer.), Corinne Drewery 1959 (Singer with Swingout Sister. Time to break out.), Curtly Ambrose 1963 (Cricketty bloke.), Cheryl Hines 1965 (Actress.), Ricki Lake 1968 (Actress, talk show host.), Liam Gallagher 1972 (Swaggering singer. A clip? Let’s have some Oasis.), Andy Todd 1974 (Footy bloke.), James Allan 1979 (Musician. Frontman with Glasvegas. Meet your social worker.) and Richard Dunne 1979 (Footy bloke.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr. Grangler,
Thank you for playing a track by that wonderful band of the nineties, Cast. They were a pretty successful outfit, as well, having seven top ten singles from 1996 to 1999. I can remember some of them, but can’t for the life of me remember the follow up hit to the track you gave a link to. Can you recall it?
Let’s move on to grangling... grangling?... grambling matters. How did the last edition’s predictions fare? Not very well at all. Not a penny piece back. What happened? Read on...
Colchester vs Walsall - Prediction Home win
Result - Colchester 0 Walsall 0
Ooh! ’It the bar!
The Saddlers defended well to pick up an away point, in a game where defences were on top.
Colchester almost took a first-minute lead through defender Ryan Jackson, whose low strike was well held by keeper Liam Roberts.
Roberts was in action again soon after when he pushed away Luke Norris' low drive while Danny Guthrie's effort for Walsall was plucked out of the air by keeper Dean Gerken.
Visiting goalkeeper Roberts saved another low strike from Norris just before half-time and early in the second half, Ryan Clampin's deflected effort flew just wide for Colchester.
Just before the hour mark, Gary Liddle's 25-yard deflected strike was pushed away by Gerken, as both sides looked to make the breakthrough.
But the U's looked more likely to break the deadlock, with Jackson's 20-yard strike turned away by Roberts.
Walsall substitute Elijah Adebayo's spectacular overhead kick flew straight at Gerken as the spoils were shared.
Orient vs Swindon - Prediction Home win
Result - Orient 1 Swindon 3
Boo! Told you...
Keshi Anderson put the visitors ahead in the 23rd minute. He was fouled and sent his free-kick into the wall but reacted quickest to pounce on the loose ball and curl into the far corner past Dean Brill.
Swindon continued to push forward and that attacking intent paid dividends again two minutes before the break, with Rob Hunt's audacious side-foot from the corner of the box taking a telling deflection off Orient left-back Joe Widdowson and flying past a surprised Brill.
The game was then over in first-half stoppage time when Lloyd Isgrove provided his sixth assist of the league season when he darted through the centre of the pitch before laying off to Jerry Yates, who cut onto his right foot before finishing with aplomb.
Jordan Maguire-Drew curled home brilliantly from 20 yards to give Orient hope with 16 minutes of normal time left but Swindon held on to send their fans home happy.
Mansfield vs Scunthorpe - Prediction Home win
Result - Mansfield 2 Scunthorpe 0
The visitors started confidently with Abo Eisa firing just over after 12 minutes.
Seven minutes later the same player was booked after diving to try to win a penalty.
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Rory Watson beat away a long-range Nicky Maynard effort in the 22nd minute, after Jordan Clarke gave the ball away.
Matt Preston slotted home CJ Hamilton's cross at the back post to give Mansfield the lead nine minutes later.
Jamie Proctor nearly levelled four minutes before the interval when he fired inches wide from a free-kick.
However, Danny Rose doubled the lead nine minutes into the second half, after taking advantage of indecision between Andy Butler and Watson.
Jamie Proctor headed narrowly off target in the 74th minute as Iron failed to get back into the game.
Plymouth vs Oldham - Prediction Home win
Result - Plymouth 2 Oldham 2
Ooh! ’It the bar again!
Oldham opened the scoring against the run of play following a 27th-minute counter-attack as Johan Branger fired an unstoppable low angled drive past the diving Alex Palmer from the left into the far corner.
Just two minutes earlier defender Niall Canavan had cleared Filipe Morais' looping header off the Argyle goal-line, with Palmer beaten.
Central defender Scott Wootton levelled with a close-range 31st-minute header, powering Josh Grant's headed cross into the roof of the Oldham net.
Argyle took the lead when wing-back Callum McFadzean's angled cross was swept home by fit-again striker Byron Moore on 74 minutes, but it was short-lived.
Oldham skipper and central defender David Wheater leapt to head the visitors level from Branger's 77th-minute corner.
Oldham goalkeeper Gary Woods made a last-minute point-blank stop to deny substitute striker Zak Rudden as the on-loan Rangers forward slid in to meet McFadzean's cross.
Forfar vs East Fife - Prediction Home win
Result - Forfar 1 East Fife 2
As usual, nobody at the Beeb Beeb Ceeb realises that games take place north of the border, so they just don’t even bother providing a match report. I think I will quote the words of the wise and wonderful Mr Johnson, our esteemed PM [I detect a touch of sarcasm. - Ed.], donnez moi un break!
Anyway, the result was not what The Grambler had predicted, so it all means that we lost our money. Can he/she/it come up with five spot-on predictions this week? I have every faith in The Grambler. [You must be about the only one. - Ed.] What are this week’s selections?
Game - Result - Odds
Albion vs Edinburgh City - Prediction Away win - 10/11
Annan vs Stirling - Prediction Home win - 7/10
Elgin vs Cove Rangers - Prediction Away win - 3/5
Queen’s Park vs Cowdenbeath - Prediction Home win - 17/20
Stenhousemuir vs Brechin - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Hmm... The Grambler seems to have simply selected the Scottish League Two fixtures. That is odd predicting. One thing I can predict; there won’t be any write-ups available next time... the Beeb doesn’t cover such ‘lowly’ games.
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....
Unwhopping, I reckon.
Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you which top club was originally known as Dial Square F.C. Did you manage to answer Arsenal? Then, you’d be right.
One for this week? Can you guess the player from this description?
Born in Romford in 1978, this player began his career with West Ham United before a switch to Stamford Bridge brought 147 goals in 429 games. Won the Champions League in 2012.
Any idea? One to start a discussion down the pub.
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).
And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, let us finish by celebrating an anniversary... a week late, admittedly. Did you know that sixty years ago, on the 14th (or 13th if you lived further east) of September 1959, the first object from Earth landed on the moon? No? Well, it did. I say landed... crashed is a better word to use as that was exactly what happened. Luna 2 was an unmanned Russian spacecraft which was launched on the 12th (13th?) of September and its mission was, basically, to hit the moon. Apparently, there had been five earlier attempts, but all had either failed to launch or had simply missed the target.
Do you recall that Neil Armstrong had stuck the American flag into the moon’s surface in 1969? Well, the Rooskies did their own version of flag planting ten years earlier. Just prior to impact, two sphere-shaped pennants with USSR and the launch date engraved in Cyrillic were detonated, sending pentagonal shields in all directions.
It was the start of all sorts of junk ending up on the moon. The remains of various USSR, US, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Israeli and European Space Agency rockets have been left on its surface. Other objects such as lunar buggies, commemorative plaques, a bible, a statuette and golf balls have also been left up there. In all, there has been over 187 tonnes of man-made rubbish left up there.
You may be interested to know that there are also something like 130 million items of debris orbiting the Earth. There are so many up there now that they are becoming a hazard to spacecraft.
There is even a hypothesis known as the Kessler Syndrome which suggests that if these objects start colliding with each other, they would fragment and the smaller pieces would continue colliding with each other and keep fragmenting. The thinking goes that the Earth’s orbit will become so crowded with fragments of rubbish that satellites will also be damaged and in their disabled state will continue to collide and break up, so adding to this ‘soup’ of debris flying around up there. The worry is that eventually the Earth’s orbit will be so overcrowded with junk that it will become impassable. So much for the idea of travelling to other planets. And as for mobile phones and satnav...
Thought that might cheer you up.
Nice to know that we humans are not only making a mess of our planet by filling it with crap, we have progressed to filling space with our junk as well. What a clever bunch we are, to be sure.
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