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…
Happy new what we call a year to you all... a wee bit late. Sorry.
I don’t know about you but I couldn’t wait to see the New Year Honours List. [You are joking, of course. Tell me you’re joking. - Ed.] I am indeed joking. I couldn’t give a monkey’s who gets made a dame/knight/embeeyee/ohbeeyee. It all smacks of cronyism, anyway. Who makes up the list? Civil servants. Who gets most of the honours chucked at them? Civil servants. Hmm...
I do know that a lot of showbizzy types also get a mention. Strangely it seems, this year, to include folk who haven’t done much to write home about for a long time. Dame Olivia Newtown Bog? What has she done lately? The last time I recall anything of note was her getting physical in the gym. That was nearly 40 years ago.
Dame Floella Bendyman? A Playschool presenter who has not been much in the public eye since she was bouncing Humpty on her knees and looking through the square (or was it the round?) window.
Elton John gets a Companion of Honour to add to his knighthood. What, exactly does that entitle him to? And as with the previous two, what has he done lately? The only time he has been seen recently was being interviewed by a fawning Graham Norden... or was it Denis Norton?... simply to plug his book.
Ainsley Haricot? A tv chef who also hasn’t been seen much in recent years receives a gong for ‘services to broadcasting and the culinary arts’. Culinary arts? What bollocks. It’s cooking for crying out loud! Food! Where does art fit in?
Steve McQueen gets a knighthood. In case you didn’t know he is an artist and film director. [He was good in The Great Escape. - Ed.]
Sam Menzies also gets a knighthood. Another film director... seems to have the James Bond gig these days.
In all, 1,097 people have received some kind of award. Most of them get the embeeyee, ohbeeyee or bee-ee-em.
Not everyone is happy to be given an honour. Ohbeeyees have been turned down by such famous folk as David Bowie, George Melly, LS Lowry and even Nigella Lawson whose dad is a Baron. Presumably, she felt her services to the culinary arts weren’t quite up to Ainsley Haribo’s standards.
Famously, all four members of the Beatles were presented with gongs back in 1965. John Lennon, always able to ruffle feathers with a few well-chosen words, upset a lot of people when he said, ‘Lots of people who complained about us receiving the MBE received theirs for heroism in the war – for killing people... We received ours for entertaining other people. I'd say we deserve ours more.’ Oops. He later returned his medal during his ‘give peace a chance’ protest.
I have been trying to find out what a person who receives such an honour is entitled to. The only entitlement I could find was that the recipient could bung the letters OBE or MBE after their name. Well, whoop-de-doo for that. Honestly, that is the sum total of perks from having a medal given to you.
I actually know a couple of people who have received embeeyees in the past. Do they add those three letters to their name? No. Although they accepted the award, they consider it to be a little pretentious to actually use the honour. So what is the point?
Well, maybe someone who is given a knighthood or a damehood(?) should get something out of it. Nope. You simply stick Sir or Dame in front of your name and that is your whack.
The only perk I can imagine is that other people might think the title makes the recipient somebody special... Think Basil Fawlty and his obsequious fawning over someone he assumes is a lord.
For some – those with the correct ‘breeding’ – a knighthood could be a shoe-in to a directorship, for example. Indeed, there is a suggestion that many individuals are so desperate to receive a gong, they pay vast sums to (political) party funds for the chance. They are attempting to buy a title. If it happens nowadays [Perish the thought. - Ed.], the practice is never admitted. However, in bygone times it seemed to be acceptable behaviour; in fact, it was actively encouraged. One hundred years ago, when David Lloyd-George was Prime Minister there was almost a tariff for honours: a knighthood would set you back ten grand, a baronetcy three times as much and a peerage was at least another 20 grand on top of that. In the five years between 1917 and 1922 the Liberal Party funds were boosted by some £2 million thanks to such ‘business deals’. Allowing for inflation, that figure would be worth £132 million today. A nice little earner.
Any road up, back to the plot [What plot? - Ed.], most recipients of honours - the honest ones - receive no perks as such. How rubbish is that? I think that it would be nice if they got some freebies, don’t you? An OBE should at least get ten per cent off at McDonalds, for example. Maybe an MBE could get money off soap powder or some such. Yeah. That’s it, make it worth having.
I must get a letter off to Her Maj and suggest it... Maybe I’ll get an MBE for services to MBEs.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious (spelt correctly this week) individuals born on the 4th of January? Of course there were; here are some I’ve actually heard of. Isaac Newton 1643 (Polymath who told us why an apple falls down from the sky, and from this fact it’s very plain, all other objects do the same... ), Jacob Grimm 1785 (Him as what published the fairy tales. He was a philologist too. Apparently, it’s legal.), Louis Braille 1809 (Inventor of bumpy writing.), Isaac Pitman 1813 (He had a short hand... something like that.), Charles Stratton 1838 (Who? Better known as circus performer General Tom Thumb who stood only 99cm tall as an adult. Contrary to popular belief, he was not a dwarf but a midget.), Augustus John 1878 (Painter... not the ‘and decorator’ variety.), Max Eastman 1883 (Orfer.), Leroy Grumman 1895 (Aeroplane builder.), Sterling Holloway 1905 (Actor.), Lionel Newman 1916 (Composer. Time for a clip. He must have been proud of this one.), Barbara Rush 1927 (Actress.), Sorrell Booke 1930 (Actor. Boss Hogg; that was him.), Floyd Patterson 1935 (Boxy bloke. The youngest ever heavyweight world champion.), Dyan Cannon 1937 (Accessory for a small Citroen car.), John McLaughlin 1942 (musician. Here’s some jehhzzz.), Arthur Conley 1946 (Singer. Have some sweet soul music. Click on Week 12 - Do you like good grambling for another Arthur’s take on that song.), ‘Beto’ Alonso 1953 (Hombre de fútbol.), Bernard Sumner aka Bernard Albrecht aka Bernard Dicken aka Barney 1956 (A bit of Joy Division and New Order... Hmm... I wonder what his political views are. Oh, it’s meant to be ironic. He he is as part of duo Electronic with Get The Message.), Matt Frewer 1958 (Actor. Max Headroom; that was him.), Michael Stipe 1960 (A bit of REM. Here’s their biggest hit in the Yuk. Not what you expected, huh?), Guy Forget 1965 (Mec de tennis.), Craig Revel Horwood 1965 (Bloke from off of that dance programme.), Julia Ormond 1965 (Ectress.), James Milner 1986 (Footy bloke.) and Toni Kroos 1990 (Fußball-Typ.).
Shall we have a look at which famous or infamous types were born on the 11th of January? Yes, why not. Fred Archer 1857 (Horsey ridey bloke. The greatest jockey of his day and was Champion Jockey for 13 consecutive seasons. Died aged only 29.), Harry Selfridge 1858 (Shopkeeper. Ironically, didn’t sell fridges.), George Curzon aka Lord Curzon of Kedleston aka Earl Curzon of Kedleston or plain old Lord Curzon 1859 (The well-known Viceroy of India.), Lionel Stander... Stop sniggering at the back... 1908 (Actor), Mick McManus 1920 (Wrestler, it says here.), Carroll Shelby 1923 (Automotive engineer. Famously, developed the AC Cobra.), Rod Taylor 1930 (Strine ictor.), Arthur Scargill 1938 (Trade union leader who had a shredded wheat strapped to his head.), Gérson de Oliveira Nunes, known simply as Gérson 1941 (Cara de futebol.), Clarence Clemens 1942 (Saxophonist. Here is his Jungleland solo.), Tony Kaye 1946 (Ivory tickler. Here he is during his first spell with Yes on Yours is No Disgrace.), Joe Harper 1948 (Footy bloke.), Terry Williams 1948 (Drummer on this, Sabre Dance. Keep up!), Daryl Braithwaite 1949 (Sherbet singer. Here he seems to have got his dressing gown and shirt mixed up.), Ben Crenshaw 1952 (Golfy Bloke.), Bryan Robson 1957 (Footy bloke.), Vicki Peterson 1958 (A Bangle. Here she is on geetar, last seen heading for Liverpool.), Brian Moore 1962 (Rugby bloke.), Tracy Caulkins 1963 (Swimmy bloke.), Tom Dumont 1968 (Geetarist. No doubt you will like this. Geddit? No doubt... That’s the name of the band... Please yourselves.), Mary J. Blige 1971 (Chanter. Here’s her biggest solo hit in the Yuk, Everything.), Emile Heskey 1978 (Footy bloke.), Newton Faulkner 1985 (Musician of no fixed hairstyle. Here’s his biggest hit to date.), Jamie Vardy 1987 (Footy bloke.) and Leroy Sané 1996 (Fußball-Typ.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Bungle (Mr.),
I was surprised that you provided a link to a Sumner (Bernard) song from his time with Electonic rather than a song from his Order (New) days. After all, he released many more singles with that band; 43, to be precise. And don’t forget Order (New) still hold the record for the highest sales of a 12” single. Can you recall what it was called?
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our little bet go last time? It won. Yay! No, not yay. £1.76 back from our £2.20 stake isn’t particulary good, is it. What happened? Read on.
Birmingham vs Leeds - Prediction Away win
Result - Birmingham 4 Leeds 5
It looked like it might be a stroll for Leeds when Helder Costa and Jack Harrison scored inside the space of six first-half minutes.
But 16-year-old Jude Bellingham scored with his first goal in over three months to reduce the arrears at half-time before Lukas Jutkiewicz levelled on 61 minutes.
Luke Ayling put Leeds back in front eight minutes later, but Jeremie Bela equalised for a second time.
Stuart Dallas then struck on 84 minutes, only for Jutkiewicz to level again - but Harding's own goal in the fifth minute of added time settled a classic contest.
Bristol City vs Luton - Prediction Home win
Result - Bristol City 3 Luton 0
Marley ‘Jacob’ Watkins, on his first appearance since 10 November, opened the scoring after just four minutes, nodding in Niclas Eliasson's cross.
Famara Diedhou doubled the lead from the penalty spot before half-time, after Kazenga LuaLua was penalised for a foul on Jack Hunt. [Unfortunate name. - Ed.]
And Hunt, who earlier cleared a rare Luton chance off the line, created City's third, flicked in by Andreas Weimann.
Nottingham F vs Wigan - Prediction Home win
Result - Nottingham Forest 1 Wigan 0
Tobias Figueiredo gave a headed winner in a game of penalty drama for Wigan Athletic.
Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba denied Josh Windass an equaliser from the spot after Alfa Semedo brought Joe Gelhardt down in the box, and Wigan then had a second penalty appeal for handball turned down minutes later.
Figueiredo's brilliantly steered header across goal from a Tiago Silva corner proved decisive and came just minutes after Nathan Byrne put an effort wide on the counter attack for the visitors.
Before the break, Joe Williams had gone closest to opening the scoring for the Latics with a toe-poked effort that forced Samba into a fine save at the near post.
Forest's top scorer Lewis Grabban then headed the Reds' best first-half chance wastefully wide from close range before Figueiredo's goal and Samba's penalty heroics secured the points for Forest.
Preston NE vs Reading - Prediction Home win
Result - Preston North End 0 Reading 2
Reading shocked Preston North End with two goals in four first-half minutes to secure victory at Deepdale.
John Swift opened the scoring for the visitors, placing Tyler Blackett's cut-back beyond Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd.
And four minutes later Blackett was on hand again, playing in Lucas Joao to calmly doubled the Royals' lead.
Alex Neil's side pushed hard for a reply but were repeatedly denied by Royals keeper Rafael Cabral.
Swansea vs Barnsley - Prediction Home win
Result - Swansea City 0 Barnsley 0
Ooh! ’It the bar!
The hosts created the clearer opportunities, but their failure to find a finish means they have won only two of their last 10 home league games.
Barnsley had their moments too and were worth a share of the spoils at the end of a hard-fought contest.
The first goalless game at the Liberty Stadium this season is a better result for Gerhard Struber's team, whose revival at the bottom continues, while Swansea remain on the fringes of the play-off places.
Can The Grambler improve on matters this week? Let’s see what he/she/it has chosen
Game - Result - Odds
Everton vs Brighton - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Leicester vs Southampton - Prediction Home win - 3/5
Charlton vs West Brom - Prediction Away win - 4/7
Coventry vs MK Dons - Prediction Home win - 3/5
Sunderland vs Wycombe - Prediction Home win - 17/20
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....
Just not whopping enough, I’m sorry to say.
Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you what animal was raced at Stirling Albion’s ground, Forthbank, during the Second World War. The answer is cheetahs. The idea seems ludicrous, but someone obviously thought it would bring in the punters. Sadly, cheetahs aren’t that interested in a stuffed rabbit, so didn’t bother chasing it. Now, if it had been a live antelope...
One for this week? Quite often we hear of football games being local derbies. That is, two teams from the same town or city playing one another... Liverpool vs Everton or Manchester City vs Manchester United... That sort of thing. So, with that in mind, how many London derbies will take (including those that have aleady taken) place in the Premier League this season? Good un? I hope so.
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, I am indebted to a Mr. J.G. Ballard whose words ring especially relevant in a week that saw a couple of titled benefits scroungers decide to turn their backs on life as part of the British royal family...
‘The honours system is a Ruritanian charade that helps to prop up the top-heavy monarchy.’
He said those words when he was offered a knighthood back in 2003. Yup, totally agree.
Not Sir J.G.
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