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.
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…
As this lockdown continues, one thing that really bugs me [Only one? You must be slipping. - Ed.] is the news coverage. There isn't much to report right now so a lot of interviews are taking centre stage; the man in the street or doctors or politicians or so called experts. Actually in the street is wrong; such interviews are usually transmitted from the home. Here's a thing; why are all of them sent from a room with a rather full bookcase behind the person being interviewed? Are they hoping that we will be impressed by the fact they have got loads of books? I like to amuse myself by thinking that these heaving bookcases are filled with Viz or Beano annuals rather than anything highbrow. It brings a smile to my cynical old face.
Anyway, back to the topic. These 'experts ' generally do nothing but moan. We have become a nation of whingers...
Cue silly boom boom noises which constitute a news programme theme tune...
‘This is the six o’clock news...’ Bong! ‘NHS workers complain about the shortage of PPE...’ Bong! ‘We talk to PPE manufacturers who tell us about being unable to keep up with demand...’ Bong! ‘Some pub owners who want to reopen and are grumbling about the two metre distancing rule being unnecessary...’ Bong! ‘We talk to other pub owners who don't want to reopen because they fear that social distancing will be impossible...’ Bong! ‘We hear from a head teacher who thinks the government should reopen schools...’ Bong! ‘Another head teacher will be telling us why schools shouldn't reopen...’ Bong! ‘A hotelier will be having a right old moan about how their business will be going up the Swanee if they don't get some financial assistance...’ Bong! ‘A government spokesman will be telling us that hotel owners can whistle for assistance...’ Bong! ‘Some care home owner will be mumping on about it being the government's responsibility to provide protection equipment, not his... even though he owns nine care homes, drives a Bentley and has a dirty great villa in Majorca...’ Bong! ‘A restaurant owner will be bleating on about not being able to open...’ Bong! ‘A fast food chain operator will be telling us why he can't keep up with demand...’ Bong! ‘A barber well tell us how he is struggling to make ends meet... That'll be split ends presumably...’ Bong! ‘And we'll finish with a happy story (even though it's difficult to flaming well find one) as a hair clipper manufacturer enjoys a boom in sales. But first the weather with Thomas Knickerknackerknocker... Good God! Look at the length of his hair!'
Okay, it's not quite like that (Mind you that weather forecaster Thomas Nicknackynicknocknickynackynoo would do well to invest in a set of hair clippers; he's starting to look like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.) but it isn't far from the truth.
In Scotland, the coronavirus news bugs me another way. Old Nicola will be giving her spiel about what we can and can't do, after which we are redirected to the studio. Now, let's just say that on this particular day Ms Sturgeon tells us that we can finally meet friends or family in the open in groups no larger than eight as long as we still socially distance two metres. The news reader will then say something like...
'That was the First Minister informing us that it is now all right to see friends or family as long as it is outside and the total number doesn't exceed eight and social distancing of two metres is maintained.'
We know that. She's just told us...
'Let's go over to our political correspondent Ann Drookerr for analysis.
'Ann, the first minister was telling us that we can now meet up with friends or family...'
'Yes, Sally, that's right. The first minister tells us that it is now okay to meet up with friends or family...'
'And what does that mean?'
'Well, Sally, what that means is that it is now okay for you to visit friends or family. And if they wished to visit you, that would also be fine.'
'But only in the open, is that right?'
'Yes, Sally, that is correct...'
'So what should we take from that?'
'Well, Sally, the long and the short of it is that we can only meet up with friends or family in the open rather than indoors. And that means that if anyone comes to see you, or you go to visit them, you must all stay outdoors...'
'And only in groups of up to eight?'
'Indeed, Sally. That means any number as long as it doesn't exceed eight. So, you could meet in groups of say five, six, seven... whatever you want as long as it's no more than eight.'
'But we must still socially distance?'
'Absolutely, Sally. We must all still keep to that social distancing figure of two metres.'
'Thanks, Ann. That was our political correspondent Ann Drookerr explaining that the first minister has determined that we can now meet friends or family, outside, in groups of no more than eight as long as we maintain social distancing... and now the weather forecast with that bloke whose voice gets ever quieter as he finishes each sentence.'
That is pretty much it... although they manage to string it out to last five minutes or so. However, no more information is actually imparted. Why? Why, when we have just heard what Nicola Sturgeon had told us, does it take two people to basically repeat what she has just said? Are they assuming that the viewers are so thick that they need to be told simple information three or four times?
Even dafter, is the fact that this isn't an actual news bulletin; once the weather forecast is out of the way, the next programme is, you've guessed it, the news... And we are told the whole thing again. Argh!
Do...not...get...me...started [That's quite good how you grit your teeth like that. - Ed.]
Bring back Mary Marquis, I say... There. That's got anyone under the age of fifty stumped.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 4th of July? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
George Everest 1790 (Surveyor and geographer who had something very famous named after him. [What? A double-glazing company? - Ed.] Ahem... Apparently, his name is pronounced Eve-rest, rather than the Ever-est that we all, wrongly, use.), Hiram Walker 1816 (Distiller. Introduced the world to Canadian Club.), Stephen Foster 1826 (Composer. Wrote some rather un-PC songs. Put it this way, if there was a statue of him, it would probably have been hauled down in recent weeks. I won’t bother with a clip.), Christopher Dresser 1834 (Industrial designer.), Ronald Hutchison 1872 (Who? Better known as comedian Harry Tate. He chose that as his stage because he worked for a certain sugar refiners prior to taking to the stage. Wikipedia offers this piece of trivia: Harry Tate had the original personalised number plate on his car; it was T8.), William Halcrow 1883 (Civil engineer. [Very polite, he was. - Ed.] He designed many of the underground tunnels and bunkers used in London during WWII. Post war, he designed the massive hydro-electric power stations and dams for the Scottish Hydro-Electric Board.), Gertrude Lawrence 1898 (Actress, singer, dancer and musical comedy performer.), Chris Gittins 1902 (Actor. Walter Gabriel in The Archers, me old pal, me old beauty. Him.), Vernon Sewell 1903 (Film director; mainly of what were known as B-movies.), Angela Baddeley 1904 (Actress. Mrs Bridges in Upstairs, Downstairs. Her.), James Curtis 1907 (Orfer. They Drive By Night. That was one of his. Factoid: He is often cited as being the first author to use the slang expression ‘Gordon Bennett!’), Woodrow Wyatt 1918 (Politician and orfer.), Eric and Alec Bedser 1918 (Crickety twins.), John Elliott 1918 (TV writer. A for Andromeda. He came up with that. The Troubleshooters. That was another.), Anthony Barber 1920 (Politician.), Anthony Oliver 1922 (Jobbing actor.), Willoughby Goddard 1926 (Jobbing actor. Sir Jason Toovey in The Mind of Mr. J. G. Reeder. Him.), Stephen Boyd 1931 (Actor. Messala in Ben Hur. Him. Her. Him. [Ooh I love a tikka messala, me. - Ed.]), Colin Welland 1934 (Actor/screenwriter. P.C. Graham in Z Cars. Him.), David Prentice 1936 (Artist.), Dave Rowberry 1940 (Keyboardist with The Animals. A clip? I think that can be arranged. Here's We [have] Gotta Get Outa This Place introduced by David McCallum of all people.), Prince Michael of Kent 1942 (Beardy royal.), Adam Hart-Davis 1943 (Scientist, author, photographer, historian and broadcaster... In fact, a right old smarty boots.), Michael N. Harbour 1945 (Jobbing actor. Appeared in all sorts of things. Perhaps his most famous role was as Sextronaut in Shafted!. Then again, perhaps not.), Jeremy Spencer 1968 (Musician. One-time member of Fleetwood Mac. Have a clip from 1968 where Spencer provides piano and vocals on Hellhound on My Trail.), Alex Miller 1949 (Fitba guy.), David Jensen 1950 (DJ with an increasingly inappropriate nickname. Happy 70th birthday ‘Kid’.), Doug Somner 1951 (Fitba guy.), John Waite 1952 (Musician. Shall we have his hit? Yeah, let’s have his hit, Missing You. [Missing you, too. Damn this lockdown. - Ed.]), Francis Maude 1953 (Politician.), Anne Lambton 1954 (Jobbing actress. Glenda in Soul Man. Her.), Jenny Seagrove 1957 (Actress. Jo Mills in Judge John Deed. Her.), Mark Steel 1960 (Comedian.), Neil Morrissey 1960 (Actor. Been in loadsa stuff.), Andrew Colins 1965 (Writer/broadcaster.), Jo Whiley 1965 (DJ/presenter.), Ronni Ancona 1968 (Actress/impressionist.), George ‘Doddie’ Weir 1970 (Rugby guy.), Jonny Owen 1971 (Actor. Ady in Shameless. Him.), Claire Price 1972 (Actress. Miriam Brindsley in Home Fires. Her.), Shelly Poole 1972 (A bit of Alisha’s Attic. Have a clip. Here’s Alisha Rules the World.), Michael Johnson 1973 (Footy bloke.), and Allan Campbell 1998 (Fitba guy with the ’Well.).
I don't know why, but I've got a notion
for a Toblerone right now.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Gramreaper,
We were so pleased to see that you chose a Fleetwood Mac song that was performed with Jeremy Spencer as vocalist; there weren’t many of them. He always preferred the more bluesy style. There was a particular Elmore James song that the band recorded on their first album where Spencer got the chance to shine. Can you remember its title?
Yours from the bottom of our hearts,
Do you fancy a gramble? [Ooer missus! - Ed.] Yes indeedy! The Grambler is back with his/her/its predictions. Here is what has been randomly selected for you to have a little flutter on. [Ooer mi... I’ve done that already, haven’t I? - Ed.]*
Game - Result - Odds
Blackburn vs Leeds - Away win - 4/6
Brentford vs Wigan - Home win - 8/15
Fulham vs Birmingham - Home win - 3/4
Bristol City vs Cardiff - Away win - 5/4
Stoke vs Barnsley - Home win - 6/5
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, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
Whopping? Don’t think so.
*As this is going to print on the day after the matches were played, the results are already known. Details next week but, if anyone actually followed the advice given in The Grambler's post on Farcebook yesterday... I'm sure you were pleasantly surprised.
Teaser time. Yay! How did you get on with your five questions? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I hailed from Belshill. In my playing career I was at Manchester City for eight years before spending nine years at Liverpool. When I moved into management I coached the same club for 24 years, during which time I led them to European Cup victory.
Sir Matt Busby
2. Which Norwegian was in Liverpool’s 2005 UEFA Champions League winning team?
John Arne Riise
3. Who made the most Premier League appearances for Derby County?
Darryl Powell with 170 appearances
4. Which company sponsored both Rangers and Celtic in 1984?
C. R. Smith [Not Eve-rest? - Ed.]
5. What first was seen at the 1933 FA Cup Final between Everton and Manchester City?
Numbered shirts. Everton players were numbered 1-11 and Man City 12-22
How about another five for this week? Why not.
Who am I?
I was born in the Ivory Coast in 1978. I was the all-time top scorer for my national team. Most of my playing career was spent at Chelsea (2 spells) where I played 254 games and scored 104 goals including a hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League.
2. Who is the top scoring Belgian player in the Premier League?
3. Who was the youngest manager to win the Premier League?
4. Which Scottish club’s ground is called Cliftonhill?
5. Apart from Bobby Moore who is the only World Cup winning captain to play for an English club (at the time of winning)?
There you have it; five teasers to test you. Can you answer them without resorting to Googlie (or any other search engine, for that matter)?
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. M. Steel for this week’s final item. Those of you who live in the Yuk will no doubt recall Prime Minister Bozza’s speech to the nation about staying safe during the coronavirus lockdown... Go to work, but don’t go out, so don’t go to work, or something like that. Well, birthday boy, Mark Steel, gives us his take on that broadcast. Hmm... Probably makes more sense than the original.
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 have missed.
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