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 are you all dealing with the lockdown? Here in the Yuk, we have all been told to self-isolate (They can’t touch you for it.) and that, basically, means don’t leave the house. Most people have been told to stay indoors for two weeks, but I and one and a half million others who have ‘health issues’ have to remain in this isolated state for twelve weeks. Three months stuck indoors!
Another group who have been told to stay indoors for three months is the over-seventies. Apparently, when you reach that three score years and ten landmark, you are also considered ‘at risk’.
We are also advised that we should not travel unless absolutely necessary. That boils down to going for a weekly shop and that’s it.
A news item that has bothered me this week has been the story of a pensioner (aged 71) from London who was showing signs of having the coronavirus and, when tested for Covid-19, it was found that indeed he had contracted it. Now, following government guidelines, he should have locked himself in his house for the next twelve weeks. Right? Not this old codger. What does he do? He travels 530 miles north to self-isolate. Sorry pardon excuse me? He lives in London so why did he travel all the way up to the north of Scotland? How many people did he infect along the way, eh? It’s a blibbing long way; he must have stopped at a few services on his journey for a slash and a Ginsters. He’s bound to have come into contact with a few folk and coughed in their general direction. Bound to. And do you know what? Instead of staying put in self-isolation for twelve weeks, he decides, after seven days, that he has had enough of this self-isolation malarkey. Eh? Twelve weeks we are told and yet this old so and so decides seven days is enough! And apparently, there is nothing anyone can do to stop him. His behaviour is not just misguided, it’s blibbing dangerous. Who the hell does he think he is? The bloody king? [Not quite. - Ed.]
How are the rest of us who are banged up for three months going to pass the time? Well, I have decided that I could spend a chunk of my time catching up on some reading. I’m not one for reading novels, but a newish one caught my eye. It is called Breaking Dad (That is not a spelling error). Oh, I thought, a pun on Breaking Bad. What is it about? A father, who after 18 years leading a decent, honest, family life turns to crime and becomes the country’s most sought after meth dealer. Hmm... I haven’t read it; nor do I intend to. However, I hope it is a piss-take of Breaking Bad, otherwise, the flood gates will open...
What about the book telling us of a heart-throb actor who, having married and divorced twice, realises that he is getting too old to play the leading man and turns to a life of crime making and/or selling drugs? Breaking Brad. [Oh, I see what you’re up to. - Ed.]
Then there is the story of a real rotter, a bit of a rogue, in fact, an absolute bounder who turns to making and/or selling drugs. Breaking Cad. [You’ve done this before. - Ed.]
Don’t forget the one about everyone following a new fashion for making and/or selling drugs. Breaking Fad. [Oh dear. - Ed.]
An interesting take on the theme is the nudists who decide to make and/or sell drugs while totally naked. Breaking Unclad [Getting silly now. - Ed.]
How about the inmates of an asylum who start up a business making and/or selling drugs? Breaking Mad. [It wasn’t funny the first time you subjected us to this... - Ed.]
Or the tale of a land-locked, African country, where all the inhabitants turn to the shady business of making and/or selling drugs. Breaking Chad. [...and it’s not funny now. - Ed.]
A historical one now - about a cruel 15th century Romanian leader who gives up the brutality of impaling people for the gentler regime of making and/or selling drugs. That’s Breaking Vlad. [They’re not getting any better. - Ed.]
Coming bang up to date is the one about the prog rock singer who gives up his musical career of working with Steve Hackett to pursue a dodgier path making and/or selling drugs. Breaking Nad*. [A bit too niche, I reckon. You’re running out of ideas. Good. - Ed.]
Of course there is the book concerning an Israeli intelligence agency that infiltrates covert operations by making and/or selling drugs. Yes, it’s Breaking Mossad. [I spoke too soon. - Ed.]
Not forgetting the heartwarming tale of a London entrepreneur famous for starting his own electronics company, owning a football club and bullying people on television who gives it all up to make and/or sell drugs. Breaking Amstrad. [Oh, for goodness sake. - Ed.]
Another historical tale... this time about a French nobleman who was famous for his unusual sexual peccadilloes [Ooer. - Ed.] and also began making and/or selling drugs. [Yep, I’ve worked it out. - Ed.] Breaking Sade. [Please stop this. - Ed.]
Or the sad tale of the man who had his testicles crushed [Uh oh, I know what’s coming. - Ed.] and to relieve the pain has to take large quantities of drugs and eventually begins making and/or selling his own. That’s [Don’t do it. - Ed.] Breaking [I’m warning you... - Ed.] Gonad. [Right... You asked for it. - Ed.]
What? What are you doing? Don’t swing that priceless violin around as if you are about to hit me on the... OWWW!... head.
[There you have it... Breaking Strad. - Ed.]
Incidentally, the book I am reading at present is Mr Nice, the autobiography of Howard Marks, the well-known Welsh drug-dealer.
*Nad Sylvan. Would you like a clip? Here is Nad singing One for the Vine. Yay! Go Nad! [Why am I reminded of Young Frankenstein. - Ed.]
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 28th of March? Of course there were and here are some I have actually heard of. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino known as Raphael 1483 (The teenage mutant ninja turtle with the red mask... Okay, he was a painter.), Joseph Bazalgette 1819 (Civil engineer... really polite, he was.), Maxim Gorky 1868 (Orfer.), Paul Whiteman 1890 (Bandleader. Here is his orchestra with George Gershwin at the joanna playing his own Rhapsody in Blue... presumbly as he intended it to be played. It is a lot faster than it became in later versions.), Flora Robson 1902 (Ectress.), Jay Livingston 1915 (Composer. He wrote this. Yee hah!), Dirk Bogarde 1921 (Ectaw, luvvie.), Freddie Bartholomew 1924 (Actor.), Robert James 1924 (Actor.), Morris Perry 1925 (Actor.), Michael Parkinson 1935 (A reet good presenter ont telly.), Christopher Morris 1938 (News presenter.), Neil Kinnock 1942 (Politician.), Mike Newell 1942 (Director. Harry Potter and the Giblets of Fire, that was one of his.), Richard Eyre 1943 (Theatrical director, luvvie.), Richard Stilgoe 1943 (Musician.), Tom Percival 1943 (Powerboat racey bloke.), Sally Carr 1945 (Singer with Middle of the Road. Here’s their biggest hit all about abandoning a child. All together now... Where's your mama gone?), Sheila Ruskin 1946 (Ectress, luvvie.), Tony St. Clair 1947 (Wrestler. Oh. Aye. Sure.), John Evan 1948 (Musician. Pianist for Jethro Tull. Have a clip. Here's Locomotive Breath.), Diane Weist 1948 (Actress.), Matthew Corbett 1948 (Man who used to put his hand up Sooty’s a***... until the authorities heard about it.), Kevin Lloyd 1948 (Actor. Tosh Lines in The Bill.), Reba McEntire 1955 (Sayanger. Have a clip. Here’s Last Night, Every Night. [Well? Which is it? Last night or every night? Make your mind up. - Ed.]), Beverley Callard 1957 (Actress in Corrie.), Chris Barrie 1960 (Actor/comedian.), Simon Bazalgette 1962 (No idea if he is famous, but he was born exactly 143 years after his great great great grandfather.), Andy Cousin 1963 (Bassist. Here he is with All About Eve. Here they are in the clouds.), Steve Bull 1965 (Footy bloke.), Tim Lovejoy 1968 (TV footy presenter.), Jon Lee 1968 (Feeder’s original drummer. A clip? Here’s Buck Rogers. [I thought it was Feeder. - Ed.]), Nasser Hussain 1968 (Crickety bloke), Nick Frost 1972 (Actor/writer.), Paul Daly 1972 (Booler.), Scott Mills 1974 (DJ/actor.), Mark King 1974 (Snookery bloke.), Ant Anstead 1979 (TV presenter.), Thom Tuck 1982 (Comedian.), Lady Gaga 1986 (Singer. Have a bit of bad romance. ), David Goodwillie 1989 (Fitba guy.), Lucas Jutkiewicz 1989 (Footy bloke.) and Nicolas Hamilton 1992 (Racey car bloke.)
And now, the 4th of April. Grinling Gibbons 1648 (Wood cutter.), Mary Ward 1884 (Nurse to the canal folk.), Brian White 1902 (Cartoonist.), George Stevenson 1905 (Footy bloke. Played for, and managed, Motherwell.), McKinley Morganfield aka Muddy Waters 1913 (Musician. Apparently, he was the Hoochie Coochie Man.), Frances Langford 1913 (Singer. She appeared in Yankee Doodle Dandy, you know.), David White 1916 (Actor. Larry Tate. Bewitched. Him.), Elmer Bernstein 1922 (Composer. Here’s one you might recognise. [What’s with that guy in the dress? - Ed.]), Peter Vaughan 1923 (Actor. Grouty... Porridge.), Jimmy Logan 1928 (Comedian, it says here.), Monty Norman 1928 (Songwriter. Most famous for this.... Okay you know it better as this.), Anthony Perkins 1932 (Actor who kept his mother in the cellar.), Kenneth Mars 1935 (Actor. Factoid: Voiced King Triton in The Little Mermaid.), Hugh Masekela 1939 (Musician. Here he wants a Change.), Mary Kenny 1944 (Orfer.), Dave Hill 1946 (A bit of Slade. Here’s an early one, Look Wot You Dun [Dredfull grammer and speling. - Ed.].), James Hazeldine 1947 (Actor. Bayleaf in London’s Burning.), Ray Russell 1947 (Musician. Writes music for TV. Here’s one of his. ), Berry Oakley 1948 (An original Allman brother. Here’s One Way Out.), Derek Thompson 1948 (Actor. Charlie Fairhead... Casualty... Him.), David ‘Pick’ Withers 1948 (An original Dire Strait. Here’s an oldie, Sultans of Swing.), Steve Bingham 1949 (Jobbing bassist. He was in the Foundations and has worked with Colin Blunstone and Ronnie Lane. Here he is with Colin on I Don't Believe in Miracles. [Smokey Robinson does. - Ed.]), Cherie Lunghi 1952 (Actress.), Gary Moore 1952 (Geetarist. Here he is with Parisienne Walkways.), Paul Downton 1957 (Keeper of the wicket.), Hugo Weaving 1960 (Actor.), Jonathan ‘Aggers’ Agnew 1960 (Crickety broadcaster.), Craig Adams 1962 (Jobbing bassist. He has played bass for several acts, including the Mission. Here’s Butterfly on a Wheel.), Jane McDonald 1963 (Singer. Her from off of The Cruise. Do you want a clip? No? Didn’t think you would.), Nigel Preston 1963 (Unreliable drummer with The Cult. He turned up for this one, though.), Graham Norton 1963 (Comedian.), Robert Downey Jr. 1965 (Actor.), Sean Wilson 1965 (Actor. Martin Platt in Corrie. Married to Gail. Him.), Karren Brady 1969 (Footy bloke... sort of. She is vice-chairman of West Ham.), Anthony Green 1970 (Actor. He was in London’s Burning too.), Magnus Sveningson 1972 (A Cardigan. Here is their biggest UK hit, Lovefool.), David Blaine 1973 (Illusionist.), Loris Capirossi 1973 (Motorbike racey bloke.), Peter Hoekstra 1973 (Voetballer.), Nicola Wheeler 1974 (Actress. Nicola King. Emmerdale. Her.), Stephen Mulhern 1977 (TV presenter.), Lemar Obika known as Lemar 1978 (Singer who wants to dance with you... sorry... u.), Heath Ledger 1979 (Actor.), Johnny Borrell 1980 (Razorlight frontman. Here’s their number one, America.), Stewart Smith 1985 (Founder of the world’s greatest ill-informed blog.), Aiden McGeady 1986 (Footy bloke.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Dingler,
I really love Lady Gaga and have all her hits in my collection. I haven’t bought any this year yet. Could you tell me any songs which have been hits in 2020 which I may have missed?
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our little bet go last time? Do you remember we had a gramble on the horses? How did it fare? Not well. I think we got 50 pees back. Something like that.
Until there is something to have a bet on, we have to suspend our gambling activities. There is little point in betting on some computer generated gee gees. That’s my thinking anyway. So let’s expand the teasers a wee bit instead...
Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you which Premier League team was originally called St. Marks. It was Manchester City. Did you get it?
So here are your five, yes five, teasers for this week.
1. Who am I? [You’re the writer of this drivel. - Ed.] Ahem... I’ll give you some clues and you name the footballer in question.
My first name is Andrew and I was born on the 10th of June 1964 in Leeds. I began my senior career at Bradford City and later played for Everton, Rangers and Sheffield United. Because my father was Scottish I was selected to play for Scotland.
2. Which club’s stadium is currently called the Tony Macaroni Arena?
3. Who is currently the Premier League’s longest-serving manager?
4. By what name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento known?
5. Who is the shortest player in the Premier League?
There you are, try that lot without having a google.
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, I think I’ll finish by remembering the founder of this, the world’s greatest ill-informed blog, Stewart, whose 35th birthday would have been today (see birthday honours). As you know, this blog has been written in the years since he died to continue his vision of promoting awareness about bowel cancer while having a bit of fun with random gambling. It also entertains (I hope) in the way Stewart intended.
The readership levels have varied over the years... from highs of several hundreds some weeks, to lows where only 50 or so regulars log in. Thank you all for your loyalty (Or should that be patience?). Over the eight years that the blog has been in existence it has had approaching a quarter of a million ‘hits’; that’s an average of over 600 per week. How does that calculation make sense, I hear you ask. Well, many people will read, say, the latest edition and then go on to read older blogs; catching up on ones they had missed.
Another point should be made that, occasionally, readers will donate something to the charity that Stewart, himself chose: the Bobby Moore Fund. Thank you anyone out there who has given to The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund. You have helped to raise over £54,000 for the charity which works so hard to find better ways to treat bowel cancer and one day, hopefully, find a cure. The money we have raised in Stewart’s memory may only be a fraction of what is required to run the research labs but, as the advert for a major supermarket used to tell us, every little helps.
Sadly, our fundraising has been brought to an abrupt halt by the coronavirus and its lockdowns. Last week should have seen the seventh Kick Cancer’s Backside Quiz of the Year take place. That would have ensured at least £2,000 for the fund. It also looks as though Mrs G’s Tea for Stewart will need to be put on hold this year. That would also have raised at least £2,000. Then there are all the presentations that are given over the year. Cancelled. Another chunk of money that won’t be going to the fund.
Of course, when (if) the virus is beaten, all our fundraising events will be up and running again and we will do our best to make up for the lost time.
So, to everyone who is reading this, please follow the government guidelines about washing hands, not touching your face, social distancing and self-isolating/quarantining and we will all be able to get back to normality sooner rather than later.
I’ll bet you thought I was going to ask you to donate to the fund. Perish the thought. As if I would do such a thing... Although, if you do feel like adding to the fund, I wouldn’t dream of stopping you. Just click on this link to donate.
That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week (well, most weeks) by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com where you can also catch up on any previous editions you may missed.