Saturday, 1 August 2020

Week 1 - Let the grambling commence

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 I write this, Mrs G is watching a new Sunday-night drama called A Suitable Boy. It didn't appeal to me, so I am sitting in another room merrily typing the kind of incisive and insightful drivel you, both of my loyal readers, have come to expect. Unfortunately, I can still hear the programme from where I am sitting [Well, move then. - Ed.]. It doesn't bother me unduly, so why, you must be wondering, do I mention the fact?
The sound is low enough that I can't make out what is being said; it is just a murmur. What I can hear is music. Throughout the programme there is music being played. It is the music that bothers me. I am not concerned about it being there, but I am annoyed at the type of music being played. It is the sort of sitar and drum music that makes you immediately know that what you are watching concerns India or any of its sub-continental neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Why do I have a problem with it? I find it rather patronising to us, the viewers, but also, to the country concerned.
It is as if the producer of this drama thinks we might forget that this programme deals with India if this style of music stops... 'Why has the music stopped? Are we not in India any more?'
And I am convinced that there are many Asian people who watch such programmes who, like me, dislike the music chosen.
It has always been the case. Any documentary that was ever made about India, or China, say, is punctuated with what we in the West perceive to be authentic Indian/Chinese music. Do programme makers think the audience is too stupid to work out that it concerns these far eastern countries without such music... even though the title of the programme has already explained the fact and the narrator/presenter constantly reminds us throughout the programme?
I think the whole practice should cease. I know that music can play an important part in a programme, especially a travelogue type of thing where there might be scenes which show the grandeur of a particular place and long sweeping aerial views seem to work better without commentary; a bit of music fills the aural void. However, any type of music would suffice at such moments, it doesn't have to be ethnically authentic... Or does it?
Another Sunday night programme that Mrs G and I both enjoy is called Countryfile. Quite often, it features moments where an area's best features are shown from the air in the style I have already alluded to. At such moments, music is played while the piece of drone footage is shown. Usually, it is a piece of contemporary, instrumental music, which might suit the scenery, that is played. Surely, (Don't call me Shirley.) if the programme's producer is doing his/her job properly, they should be applying the same guidelines as used for those far-eastern documentaries. Sorry pardon excuse me? Yes, when sweeping views of the Yorkshire Dales are shown, we should be hearing some brass band music or Ilkley Moor Bar T'at. Or if they head up north of the border, we should be listening to Donald Where's Yer Troosers. Wales? We'll Keep a Welcome in the Hillside sung by a male voice choir? What about London, guv? Any Old Iron? My Old Man's a Dustman? Silly? Is it any sillier than the Indian/Chinese music? It's all about authenticity.
You may be thinking that such suggestions are just daft. Are you sure about that? We assume that the music being played over these eastern documentaries and dramas is suited to the programme in question. Is it, though? Maybe, whoever selects the music has a wicked sense of humour and what we are listening to is the Indian equivalent of The Birdie Song or Yackety Sax.
Yes... not so certain now, are you?


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Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 1st of August? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Claudius 10 BC (The well-known Roman emperor. Looked nothing like Derek Jacobi.), Herman Melville 1819 (Orfer. Wrote that one about whales. [I’ve been there. Llanelli, it was... Everywhere you went, they were singing We’ll Keep a Welcome in The Hillside. - Ed.]), Charlotte Hughes 1877 (Supercentenarian. She died in 1993.), Raymond Mays 1899 (Racey car bloke. Helped develop the ERA and BRM racing cars.), Daphne Heard 1904 (Actress. Popular in her later years, often playing old crones. She played Mrs Polouvicka in To The Manor Born.), Richard Pearson 1918 (Jobbing actor. He usually played jovial or absent-minded types. Voiced Mole in the animated film of The Wind in the Willows. [Ooh, you don’t want wind in the willows; very embarassing, that is. - Ed.]), Jeffrey Segal 1918 (Another jobbing actor. Arthur Perkins in Rentaghost. Him.), Jack Kramer 1921 (Tennisy bloke.), Frank Worrell 1924 (Crickety mon.), Hannah Hauxwell 1926 (Farmer who became a celebrity after her bleak life was featured in the documentary Too Long a Winter.), Lionel Bart 1930 (Composer. Oliver was his biggie, but he had a few stinkers including Twang, a musical based on the legend of Robin Hood. Here’s a track from a more successful effort, Blitz.), Norman Bowler 1932 (Actor. Frank Tate in Emmerdale. Him.), Dom DeLuise (Actor. Dom Bell... oh, how we laughed... in Silent Movie. Him.), Yves Saint Laurent 1936 (Dressmaker.), Laurie Taylor 1936 (Sociologist and radio presenter.), Donald Neilson 1936 (Psycho.), Ian Hogg 1937 (Jobbing actor. Alan Rockliffe in Rockliffe’s Babies and Rockliffe’s Follies. Him.), Mervin Kitchen 1940 (Crickety bloke.), Jerry Garcia 1942 (A bit of Grateful Dead. A clip? Why not. Here’s Touch of Grey), Geoff Britton 1943 (Drummer. Worked with Paul McCartney during his Wings period. Have a clip. Here’s Listen to What the Man Said), Laila Morse 1945 (Actress. Mo Harris in Eastenders. Her.), David Calder 1946 (Jobbing actor.), Raymond ‘Boz’ Burrell 1946 (Singer and bassist. Formed Bad Company with Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirk and Mick Ralphs. Here they are with Bad Company), Tim Bachman 1951 (Musician. Part of Messrs. Bachman, Turner and Overdrive. One for Harry Enfield fans there. Another clip, vicar? Here’s Roll on Down the Highway.  Anyone else spot Sugar Sugar by The Archies in there? Just me, then.), Tommy Bolin 1951 (Musician. Here’s the title track from the album Teaser.), Mick Ford 1952 (Actor and writer. Starred as Archer in Scum.), Robert Cray 1953 (Musician. Here’s a nice toon, Right Next Door.), Trevor Berbick 1954 (Boxy bloke.), Michael Audreson 1956 (Actor. Brains in The Double Deckers. Him.), Adrian Dunbar 1958 (Actor. Ted Hastings in Line of Duty. Him.), Joe Elliott 1959 (Def Leppard singer. Here’s When Love and Hate Collide, their ‘crossover’ song.), Carlton Ridenhour aka Chuck D. 1960 (Rapper. Part of Public Enemy. I was searching for a clip... It's harder than you think), Artis Ivey Jr. aka Coolio 1963 (Another rapper. Another track? Ooh la la!), Amber Rudd 1963 (Politician.), Mark Wright 1963 (Footy bloke.), John Carroll Lynch 1963 (Jobbing actor.), Adam Duritz 1964 (Counting Crows frontman. Who’s this Mr. Jones?), Sam Mendes 1965 (Stage and film director.), Robert Beck 1968 (Jobbing actor. Jimmy Dockerson in Corrie. Him.), Martin Phipps 1968 (Composer. You might recognise this composition.), Stuart Wade 1969 (Actor. Biff Fowler in Emmerdale. Him.), Paul Tonkinson 1969 (Comedian and radio presenter.), Graham Thorpe 1969 (Crickety bloke.), David James 1970 (Footy bloke of no fixed hairstyle.), Mark Petchy 1970 (Tennisy bloke.), Elizabeth Bower 1976 (Actress. Aunt Corey in The Secret Life of Boys. Her.), Chris Iwelumo 1978 (Fitba guy.), Dhani Harrison aka Ayrton Wilbury 1978 (Musician. Son of George. A clip? I should say. Here’s Motorways (Erase it).), Honeysuckle Weeks 1979 (Actress. Sam Wainwright in Foyle’s War. Her.), Julia Mallam 1982 (Actress. Dawn Woods in Emmerdale. Her.), Monserrat Lombard 1982 (Actress. Shaz Granger in Ashes to Ashes. Her.), Kenny Wright 1985 (Fitba guy. Ex-Motherwell.), Henry Lloyd-Hughes 1985 (Jobbing actor. Mark Donovan in The Inbetweeners.), Lee Wallace 1987 (Fitba Guy.), Jack O’Connell 1990 (Actor. James Cook in Skins. Him.) and Jason Cummings 1995 (Fitba guy.).




I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Grambledore,
I was so pleased that you played a song by Paul McCartney and Wings. I was a big fan of theirs. I would be interested to know if they ever had a number one. Can you help?
Yours hopefully,

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Time to gramble. Hey, guess what! It’s a new footy season! Yay! Definitely time to get The Grambler out and give him/her/it a rub down with an oily cloth til he/she/it gleams, in readiness for Week 1 of the new season.
What has the wise and wonderful Grambler randomly selected for our first bet of the season? First of all, there is a slight problem. You see, it is only the Scottish Premiership which begins the new season this week, so there are only four matches taking place on the Saturday. There is, however, a certain cup game being played in England. It might even be the final. I believe the competition is called the fa cup, which I thought described the way the end of the 2019-20 season was organised. Any road up, shall we break all the (unwritten) Grambler rules and include a cup match? Aye, go on, then.

Game - Result - Odds
Arsenal vs Chelsea - Chelsea to lift trophy - 8/13
Aberdeen vs Rangers - Prediction Away win - 2/5
Dundee U vs St Johnstone - Prediction Home win - 17/10
Hibs vs Kilmarnock - Prediction Home win - 21/20
St Mirren vs Livingston - Prediction Home win - 9/5

Oh dear. I have a bad feeling about this.
The bets have been placed: a 20 pee accumulator plus ten 20 pee doubles which, if they all came up, [Some hope! - Ed.] would mean that the amount winging its way to the Bobby Moore Fund would be a whopping...

£15.68

Sometimes, that total is a bit too whopping.

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Teaser time. Yay! How did you get on with your five questions? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in 1940 in Aberdeen. I began my senior career at Huddersfield. Four years later I signed for Manchester City who paid £55,000 for me, a British record at the time. After a year, I signed for Torino for another record fee, before moving to Manchester United for yet another record fee. I hold the club record for most goals scored in a single season (46). I am the only Scot to have won the Balon d’Or award.
Answer: Denis Law
2. Who was the last English-born manager to win the FA Cup?
Answer: (Flash) Harry Rednapp
3. Which Premier League team’s original name was St. Lukes
Answer: Wolverhampton Wanderers
4. Which country has hosted the most UEFA European Cup/UEFA Champions League finals?
Answer: Italy (9 times)
5. Which nation became a full UEFA member in 2016 and played England for the first time in 2019?
Answer: Kosovo

Five for this week?
1. Who am I?
I was born in 1977 in Les Ulis, France. My first club at senior level was Monaco where I spent five years. I then went for a brief period to Juventus, before an eight year spell at Arsenal. During my time there, I scored 228 goals; a club record. I won the Premier League Golden Boot a record four times. I won the UEFA Champions League with my next club, Barcelona. Oh, and I played 123 times for France and won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.
2. One for facup day. What was the last club from outside the top division to win the FA Cup?
3. Who was the top-scoring Brazilian in the 2019-20 Premier League?
4. Which England manager won the most caps as an England player?
5. Which is the odd one out and why?
Aston Villa, Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea, Arsenal
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)?

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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

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Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

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And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. P. Green who has recently passed away. So, it’s a bit of a sad one this week. Any Fleetwood Mac fans ought to be aware that Peter Green was Fleetwood Mac in its first incarnation. He was the front man, singer and writer of the band’s earliest material. I have a confession to make; when I was a nipper Mac was my favourite band. I saved my pocket money and bought the singles Albatross, Man of the Word, Oh Well, etc. I don’t, generally, do hero worship, but Greeny was up there.
Sadly, at the height of the band’s fame, he left and disappeared (almost) without trace. He had taken LSD and it affected his, already fragile, mental health.
Having left Fleetwood Mac in 1970, the next decade saw his health decline and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. During those years, he became something of a recluse and rarely emerged from his modest terraced house. He would refuse money that he was due in royalties and even threatened his accountant with a shotgun when he had come to pass on money to him.
During the 1980s, he was helped by many musician friends, who would get him to guest on albums.
In the late 1990s, after several idle years, he was tempted back into performing by guitarist Nigel Green and they formed Peter Green’s Splinter Group with drummer Cozy Powell.
After quitting that band in 2004, Green moved to Sweden. He began playing and touring again with Peter Green and Friends.
I only saw my ‘hero’ playing live once; in the late 90s with his Splinter Group. It was a sad occasion for me. The bulk of the guitar work was handled by Nigel Watson, rather than Green who often stared vacantly into space as if he didn’t know where he was. Although he was only about 50 years old at the time, he shambled around like someone 20 years older.
Rather than dwell on that poor performance, let’s finish with a clip of Green when he was at his peak. Here’s Oh Well (Part 1) and the haunting B-side Oh Well (Part 2).

Peter Green - Axe-wielding god 


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.

Happy grambling.

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