Saturday, 10 October 2020

Week 11 - The Grambler and the spinning authors

 

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 omplgood. 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 cacent. 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5SZQo1EW_c&feature=youtu.be

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

 

I have come up with a new energy source and shall be heading to the patent office forthwith to register it.

Wow, I hear you say, this must be some earth-shattering means of providing power. It is indeed. I intend to tap all the energy being generated by authors spinning in their graves.

Sorry pardon excuse me?

Yes. First A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh got hijacked by Disney and Christopher Robin got saddled with an American accent and Pooh Bear talked just like that stork on Dumbo.

Next up, Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book got the Disney treatment. I'm not talking about the I'm the king of the swingers and bare necessities film, which was bad enough. Oh no, this was even worse. Much worse. Baloo was changed from being a lovable ursine friend of Mowgli to being... have a guess... yes, that's right, an airline pilot. How the hell the bigwigs at Disney came up with that scenario is anybody's guess. I'm thinking they were smoking something other than tobacco the day that plot was mooted...

'Hey guys, you know that bear outta the Jungle Book film, he was so coowoowool. Why don't we use him in something else... Now what shall we make him?' says the big boss while taking a deep draw on his spliff.

'What about making him a pilot?' says an underling, while also partaking of his own spliff.

'That is brilliant!' says the boss as he and all the assembled pot heads collapse in a fit of giggles at their own sheer genius.

Then there is the Reverend W. Awdry. Perhaps that is a name that doesn't ring any bells, but he created that most English of children's characters, Thomas the Tank Engine. Yes a humanised steam engine that can talk... I think the reverend might have been on something when he dreamt that one up. Bad enough that they got Ringo Starr to voice him on the clunky animated series, but worse... much worse... was to come. Some American company bought the rights to the characters made famous by the Rev Awdry and made a full-length film. Now, as well as Thomas, James and Percy they have added their own characters, and we have to endure the likes of Duke, Butch and Hank. I tried watching it with the grand nippers, but I couldn't bear more than a few minutes of the cgi-ed film version complete with American accents.

Another author spinning at a rate knots in her grave must be Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit, whose only crimes in the books I read as a child were that he lost his blue jacket or stole a few carrots from Mr McGregor's garden, is getting the cgi treatment. The animated television series about his adventures with a load of made-up characters looks more like Last of the Summer Wine with animals. Now Peter has hit the big screen and has had two films made, such is the character's current popularity. And by popularity I mean money- spinning potential. I'm guessing that the plot has moved beyond stealing a few carrots or losing his jacket. Oh, and that cute little blue jacket has been replaced by a denim one. Oh dear. At least they are voiced by British actors, so points for that. Unfortunately, the voice of Peter is that of James Condom, so they have lost all those points and more. Just what is that guy’s appeal?

Arthur Conan the barbarian Doyle must also be rotating at some speed in his tomb, as well, when he sees what has been done to his Sherlock Holmes detective character, possibly the smuggest git in literature (You can tell I'm not a fan.). There seems to be a never-ending stream of films and television series based (very) loosely on the Conan Doyle characters. One is even set in the modern day, for goodness' sake. You know the one with Benedictine cucumber patch (Damn this predictive text.) and Bilbo Baggins chasing dastardly villains.

There is another writer now revolving in his resting place: Ken Kesey. Anyone recognise that name? Yes, you at the back? Correct. He wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, an everyday story of looni... head cas... nutte... What is the politically correct term for patients in a psychiatric hospital? [How about ‘patients in a psychiatric hospital’? - Ed.] Oh yes. Hadn’t thought of that. Unlike the other authors I have mentioned, he probably was on something when he wrote it; he was a great fan of recreational drug use. Any road up, the head administrative nurse of the hospital in his book was given the name of Nurse Mildred Ratched. She was cruel and heartless, certainly, but that was as much as we were told about her.

Now, somebody has thought to come up with a back-story for Nurse Ratched which spans eight Netflix episodes (So far. There is a further series being filmed). That might be interesting, thinks I. It might give some insight as to why she became such a cruel individual. Yes, it could definitely be intriguing.

Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. Whoever, came up with the idea was going for shocks and did a hatchet on Ratched. What a load of old bollocks...

I am now going to give you a brief outline of Nurse Ratched’s life prior to her time as the tyrannical head nurse and if you haven’t watched it and don’t want me to spoil your enjoyment, I suggest that you... just don’t watch it. It really is dreadful. Sumptuously filmed with stunning scenery and outfits (and fantastic 40s American cars), but underneath the wonderful settings it is just drivel. Honestly, Ken must be spinning faster than any of the previously mentioned authors. The writer has Mildred Ratched starting life as an orphan who was coerced by her foster parents to perform sexual acts with her ‘brother’ Edmund (Not her real brother). They run away, but not before Edmund murders the foster mum and dad. The two ‘siblings’ lose touch. During WWII, Mildred signs up as an army nurse (She has no qualifications incidentally. Does nobody check such things?) and treats injured servicemen with utter kindness... a pillow over the head being her preferred method. She is kicked out of the medical corps for asphyxiating the patients in her ‘care’. [Asphyxiation? Isn’t that what Kim Kardashian had done? - Ed.] Ahem... Strangely, she is not charged with these murders. Her brother, meanwhile [I thought his name was Edmund. - Ed.] Jeez... murders four priests and is sent to a psychiatric hospital for tests. Mildred manages to get a nursing job at the hospital, to free Edmund. Just like that. Once again, no questions are asked about her previous employment. Things go awry and, after a few random killings... I lost count..., Mildred performing a lobotomy on the only witness to Edmund’s crimes and embarking on a lesbian love affair, the eighth episode ends with Edmund free (Don’t ask me how; his escape is just too ridiculous for words.) and, having despatched seven nurses along the way, setting out to kill Mildred. Keep up at the back. Cue, setup for a second series of mayhem and murder.

There is obviously money to be made by lazily employing characters already used in literature...

Noddy lives in a plush apartment in Manhattan with his wise old friends Big Ears and Tessie Bear. His expensive apartment is funded by the Chief of Police, Mr Plod, who Noddy is blackmailing having discovered, first hand, the police chief’s predilection for underage boys who he likes to dress up in shorts and a blue hat with a bell on top. Plod turns a blind eye to the fact that Noddy drives a car even though he is too young to have a licence. He also overlooks the fact that Noddy is a vigilante who cruises the seedier areas of Noo Yawk to gun down members of the mob known as The Goblins, a gang of men that once gang-raped him. He is particularly keen to track down the gang’s top dogs, Sly and Gobbo. Talking of dogs, Noddy also helps to distribute drugs for his dealer girlfriend Dinah Doll, protected by Bumpy, her Rottweiler guard dog...

Hmm, not bad for starters. I might be onto something. Forget the patent office, I’m giving Netflix a ring.

Don't be fooled; this guy is a 
blackmailer, drug dealer and killer


 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?

Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 10th of October? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.

Guiseppe Verdi 1813 (Composer. Have a clip. Here is La Donna e Mobile sung by Enrico Caruso in a recording from 1907. Quality is pretty damned good.), William Morris 1877 (The car maker not the wallpaper bloke.), Arthur Worsley 1882 (The crickety bloke not the ventriloquist.), Wolfram von Richthofen 1895 (Fighter pilot.), Helen Hayes 1900 (Jobbing actress. Ada Quonsett in Airport. Her.), Charles Lloyd-Pack 1902 (Jobbing actor. Trigger’s dad.), Thelonius Monk 1917 (Musician. Let’s have some jehhhzzz. Here’s Straight No Chaser ), Ian Appleyard 1923 (Racey car bloke.), Murray Walker 1923 (Racey car commentator.), Nicholas Parsons 1923 (Actor, radio and TV presenter.), Ed Wood 1924 (Film director), Harold Pinter 1930 (Playwright.), Daniel Massey 1933 (Actor. Dr. Gillespie’s lad.), Judith Chalmers 1935 (Television presenter.), Helen Nicoll 1937 (Orfer. Wrote Meg and Mog books.), Winston Churchill 1940 (Politician. Winnie’s grandnipper.), Peter Coyote 1941 (Actor. Not a real coyote.), Chris Tarrant 1946 (TV and radio presenter.), Ben Vereen 1946 (Actor. Chicken George in Roots. Him.), Willard White 1946 (Singer. Here he serenades Bess.), Charles Dance 1946 (Ectaw, dear leddie. Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown. Him.), Martin Ruane 1946 (Who? Better known as Giant Haystacks. Wrestly bloke. And he was giant... 6’ 11” tall and weighing in at anything between 31 and 48 stones. He wasn’t very nimble; he tended to just lie on his opponents and that was enough to win the match.), Larry Lamb 1947 (Actor. Mick Shipman in Gavin & Stacey. Him.), Séverine 1948 (Singer. Have a clip. Here is Un Banc, un Arbre, une Rue.), Vanessa Howard 1948 (Jobbing actress. Her first film role was as an uncredited girl guide in I Could Go on Singing.), Charlie George 1950 (Footy bloke.), Nora Roberts 1950 (Orfer. Aka J.D. Robb, Jill March and Sarah Hardesty.), Midge Ure 1953 (Musician. Here’s a toon you might like, Breathe.), David Lee Roth (Singer.), Fiona Fullerton 1956 (Actress. Famously played Alice in a television production of 1972 which featured some famous names including... Hywell Bennett, Michael Crawford, Ralph Richardson, Roy Kinnear, Robert Helpmann, Peter Sellers, Dudley Moore, Dennis Waterman, Dennis Price, Flora Robson, Rodney Bewes, Spike Milligan and Michael Hordern. Quite a line-up.), Amanda Burton 1956 (Actress. Sam Ryan in Silent Witness. Her.), Paul Sturrock 1956 (Fitba guy.), Kirsty MacColl 1959 (Singer. Have a clip. Here’s Belle of Belfast City.), Simon Townshend 1960 (Musician. Pete’s bro. Have a clip. Here’s Barriers with Eddie Vedder on vocals.), Eric Martin 1960 (Musician. Frontman with Mr Big. Here he wants to be with you.), Martin Kemp 1961 (Actor/musician. Played bass for this lot.), Crystal Waters 1961 or 1962 (Singer. Here’s her biggest Yuk hit, Gypsy Woman.), Tony Pitts 1962 (Jobbing actor. Fred West in West. Him.), Jim Glennie 1963 (Bassist with James. Have a clip. Here’s Destiny Calling.), Sarah Lancashire 1964 (Actress. Caroline in Last Tango in Halifax. Her.), Graham Crabb 1964 (Musician. Founding member of Pop Will Eat Itself. A clip? Wise Up, Sucker.), Martin Ball 1964 (Jobbing actor. Roy Palmer/Geoff Redmond/Harry Ridgard in Doctors. Them.), Joe Dixon 1965 (Jobbing actor. Jacques in The Mummy Returns. Him.), Tony Adams 1966 (Footy bloke.), Chris Ofili 1968 (Artist who works with... that’s horrible. Really? Elephant poo? Yeuch!), Matthew Pinsent 1970 (Rowy bloke.), Jon Campbell 1970 (Musician. This reached number one in Scotland; The Time Frequency with Real Love.), Joe Mace 1971 (Television producer and presenter.), Amanda Ryan 1971 (Jobbing actress. Carrie in Shameless. Her.), Scott Morriss 1973 (Musician/illustrator. Was once a Bluetone. Here’s their biggie, Slight Return.), Dan Stevens 1982 (Actor. Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey. Him.), Gemaal Hussain 1983 (Crickety bloke.), Lucy Griffiths 1986 (Actress. Jane Tarrant in Collision. Her.), James Northcote 1987 (Actor. Aldhelm in The Last Kingdom. Him.), Emer Kenny 1989 (Actress. Bunty in Father Brown. Her.), Leddra Chapman 1990 (Singer/songwriter. Have a clip. Here’s Summer Song.), Poppy Rush 1991 (Actress. Sophie Dodd in Eastenders. Her.), Gabrielle Aplin 1992 (Singer/songwriter. Have a clip. This is Salvation.) and Ryan Fredericks 1992 (Footy bloke.).

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve received a letter...

Dear Paul Gramblacini,

You are the most knowledgable person when it comes to music, so I thought you might be able to help me. Can you tell me what James’ biggest hit was?

Best regards,

Syd Downe.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Time to gramble. How did The Grambler’s predictions go last week? Not too badly. We were actually in profit winning £3.18 from our £2.20 bet. What happened? Read on...

Hull vs Plymouth - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Result - Hull 1 Plymouth 0

Yay!

Hakeeb Adelakun scored what would be the match-winner after just 10 minutes.

Keane Lewis-Potter had the option to take a touch on the left flank, but instead curled a lovely first-time cross towards the back post. Adelakun timed his run perfectly and cushioned a precise right-footed volley into the far corner.

Argyle had their moments in the first half - Conor Grant struck just over from distance - but they could find no way through.

It was a similar story after the restart, with the visitors offering plenty of resistance without testing goalkeeper Matt Ingram.

That was until the 69th minute when Kell Watts' drive was cleared off the line - with his follow-up well saved by Ingram.

Plymouth continued to push for an equaliser but Hull's defence stood firm.

 

Oxford vs Crewe - Prediction Home win

Result - Postponed

Shame.

The match was postponed because one of the Crewe Alexandra squad members tested positive for Covid-19.

Peterborough vs Swindon - Prediction Home win

Result - Peterborough 3 Swindon 1

Yay!

Jack Payne slotted home first time from inside the area after Jordan Stevens' cutback from the right. The midfielder and striker Brett Pitman were then both denied by low saves from Christy Pym after mistakes from ex-Swindon captain Nathan Thompson.

Sammie Szmodics appeared lucky not to give away a penalty after challenging Swindon's Paul Caddis, but three minutes after the break Posh equalised when Jonson Clarke-Harris fired in low from Joe Ward's cutback.

A minute later Siriki Dembele's 25-yard shot and Clarke-Harris' follow-up header both hit the bar, but the striker scored low to his left from the spot on 69 minutes after Szmodics was tripped by Mathieu Baudry.

Ryan Broom's near-post finish from the left 12 minutes from time sealed the points after he collected Dembele's pass.

 

Rochdale vs Fleetwood - Prediction Away win

Result - Rochdale 2 Fleetwood 1

Yay!

The home side dominated the first half and saw penalty claims waved away when Alex Cairns challenged Jake Beesley.

Cairns kept out Ollie Rathbone's header on 14 minutes but, from the resulting corner, Matty Lund climbed unchallenged to glance home.

Cairns palmed away a rising 25-yard effort from Lund and saves from Jimmy Keohane and Alex Newby ensured he was kept busy. The visitors, in contrast, had created just one opening by half-time, Paddy Madden's drive from six yards blocked by Dale skipper Eoghan O'Connell.

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton made three substitutions early in the second half and one of the players introduced, Harvey Saunders, levelled on 78 minutes, sweeping home a Barrie McKay delivery from the left.

The visitors were close to a second when Dale goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu twice spilled crosses only for his defenders to spare his blushes.

Cairns saved brilliantly from Lund's header but was beaten when he pushed Matty Done's shot into the path of Fabio Tavares and the 19-year-old, only introduced in the 85th minute, slammed in the winner.

 

Colchester vs Oldham - Prediction Home win

Result - Colchester 3 Oldham 3

Ooh! ’It the bar!

An 89th-minute equaliser from Conor McAleny earned Oldham a point in a six-goal clash.

The Latics fought back from two goals down and then equalised again through McAleny's second of the game after Miles Welch-Hayes had restored the hosts' lead.

Colchester went ahead in the 27th minute through Ben Stevenson, who controlled Callum Harriott's pass well before lifting the ball skilfully past goalkeeper Ian Lawlor.

And the hosts doubled their lead in the 37th minute when Harriott scored from the spot after McAleny handled Cohen Bramall's shot in the box.

But Oldham turned things around with two goals in three minutes early in the second half.

They pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute when McAleny netted from the penalty spot, after Bramall had fouled Dylan Bahamboula in the area.

And Oldham equalised two minutes later through defender Carl Piergianni, who fired in from close range after McAleny had flicked on Jordan Barnett's corner.

Colchester regained their lead in the 65th minute when defender Welch-Hayes' looping header flew in following Stevenson's cross.

But Oldham were not to be denied as McAleny slammed home from 10 yards.

 

So, there you have it. Not a bad week for The Grambler with three correct predictions and a ‘nearly right’ prediction. Pity about the postponed game, though.

Can he/she/it keep us in profit? Let’s have a butchers at this week’s predictions...

 

Game - Result - Odds

Plymouth vs Burton - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Lincoln vs Bristol - Prediction Home win - 5/6

Bolton vs Grimsby - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Cheltenham vs Crawley - Prediction Home win - 17/20

Mansfield vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win - 4/5

 

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles and 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if The Grambler’s predictions are spot on, the Bobby Moore Fund stands (or sits) to win a whopping...

 

£12.00

Hmm... That’s whopping enough, don’t you think?

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! How did you get on with your five questions? Here are the answers.

1. Who am I?

I was born in Erlangen, West Germany in 1961. I began my senior career at Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1979. I moved to Bayern Munich in 1984, then Inter Milan in 1988, before moving back to Bayern in 1992. I am the most capped German player of all time and captained the World Cup winning side of 1990. I hold the record for the most World Cup matches played.

Answer: Lothar Matthäus

2. Which Belgian player has won Football League Cup Winners medals on four occasions?

Answer: Vincent Kompany (2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019)

3. Which Liverpool player has scored the most times for England?

Answer: Michael Owen (26 goals)

4. Which Premier League side has received the most yellow cards in a single game?

Answer: Tottenham Hotspur with 9 against Chelsea in 2016

5. Another daft one. How many teams currently in the English senior leagues have the word ‘United’ in their name?

Answer: 13 - Leeds, Newcastle, West Ham, Manchester, Sheffield, Rotherham, Peterborough, Oxford, Cambridge, Colchester, Carlisle, Scunthorpe and Southend.

Let’s have another five for this week.

1. Who am I?

I was born on the 21st March 1980 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. I began my senior career at my local team, Grêmio, before moving to Paris Saint Germain and then Barcelona where I helped to win the club its first Champions League title in 14 years. In my time at Barca I played in 145 games, scoring 70 goals. I was capped 97 times for Brazil, winning the World Cup in 2002. At that time I was one of the most recognisable faces in football and in 2006 I earned over $19 million endorsing products such as Nike, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, EA Sports, Gatorade and Danone.

2. When was the last time a club managed by an Englishman won the League Cup?

3. Who has played in the most Premier League games?

4. Which club has been relegated from the Premier League the most times?

5. Okay, another daft one to end with... I’m not sure how long I can keep these going. This week, tell me how many teams in the English senior leagues have the word ‘town’ in their name.

 

There you have it; five teasers to test you. Can you answer them without resorting to Googlie or Bung (or any other search engine, for that matter)?

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

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


.....oooOooo.....

 

 

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, it has been a sad week in the world of rock music. Eddie Van Halen, the driving force behind Van Halen has died of throat cancer at the age of 65. He was one of the most respected guitarists in rock and popularised the tapping guitar style of playing which became something of a trademark although, as he freely acknowledged, he was not the first to use it. He was also an accomplished pianist, having learned to play from the age of six. He worked with many musicians and artistes, including Michael Jackson; the guitar solo on Jackson’s song Beat It is the work of EVH. He was also something of an inventor, having patented three guitar-based ‘gadgets’.

You may have noticed in the birthday honours that I did not provide a clip of fellow band member, vocalist Dave Lee Roth who it 66 today. I thought, by way of tribute to Eddie, I would finish with, arguably, the band’s most famous song. Ladeez and genullum please enjoy Jump.

 

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.

 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Week 10 - A survey with The Grambler

 

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 omplgood. 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 cacent. 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5SZQo1EW_c&feature=youtu.be

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

 

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. So said Mark Twain, although it has also been attributed (wrongly) to Benjamin Disraeli. Odd way to start this week's gramble, I hear you say.

I wanna tell you a story (said in my best Max Bygraves voice).

Way back in the days when I was at school, 1970 to be precise... Yes, I am that old. In January 1970, to be even more precise, we pupils were given a wee break from the usual maths subjects like algebra, geometry and calculus and were attempting to conduct our own statistical survey. Each pupil was to pick a topic and then question everyone else in the class on their favourite whatever. [I don't have a favourite whatever. - Ed.] Ahem... Thus, there were questions such as favourite sweets, crisps, cake, tv programme, etc.. The topic I chose was favourite song. There was no other instruction. If somebody wanted to choose a hymn, a chart song or Armenian folk song, that was fine... anything went. Actually, I guessed that everybody would choose something modern, say a song by the Beatles, Elvis or the Stones. My plan was to choose the class top ten. This was, of course, rather short-sighted of me since it was quite possible that from a class of 40, I would get 40 different songs.

Luckily, that didn't happen; I got a clear favourite and several others that were chosen by more than one person.

The clear winner was a surprise, although it really shouldn't have been given the time the survey was conducted; January 1970, remember? And the winner was... cue fanfare... Edison Lighthouse with Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes. Cue trumpets and trombones collapsing into chaotic squeaks and dissonant farting noises. What? Favourite song of all time? The current number one?

Bollocks! It made an absolute mockery of the survey.

If anything was gleaned, it was that people tend to select something fresh in their minds when asked to choose a favourite of anything.

Where is all this leading, I hear you ask. [I should see someone about all these voices you are hearing. - Ed.] Well, this very week I have been reading the latest edition of Prog magazine. Yes, I admit it; I enjoy prog music. It doesn't make you a bad person.

The big topic was a survey that had been conducted by the magazine earlier this year to name the greatest prog musician. All very subjective, I grant you, why, for example, were there no prog flautists who favour standing on one leg?

Anyway, I worked my way through the list, wondering who might be number one... not a flautist called Ian though. The top 200 favourites were listed. So who was the likeliest top dog? Possibly a keyboard wizard like Rick Wakeman, Tony Banks or Keith Emerson. Maybe a guitarist? Perhaps one called Steve? Hackett, Hillage or Howe come to mind. Robert Fripp? Mike Oldfield?

Not a drummer, surely (Don't call me Shirley.). The man tasked with keeping the beat rather than playing a tune? No, it couldn't be. Well actually, it could.

Neil Peart, the drummer with Canadian prog rockers, Rush, was voted the top prog instrumentalist. Really? The top drummer, perhaps; although Messrs Bruford and Palmer might disagree. So why on earth should an, admittedly, very good drummer take the top spot? It's all to do with timing. [Well, that’s what drummers are meant to keep. - Ed.]

Ahem... Like my own survey of fifty years ago, the number one place was taken by something/someone fresh in the minds of those completing the survey. You see, Neil Peart had died just before this poll was carried out and the very month’s edition of the magazine that invited readers to complete the survey dedicated about half of the issue’s content to him.

I would be willing to wager a not inconsiderable sum that, were the same survey carried out next year or the year after, the outcome would be different.

Mr Twain's statement could be right. Basically, figures prove nothing.

How could the world's foremost prog rock flautist not even get a mention, I would like to know.

The world's greatest drum kit

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?

Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 3rd of October? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.

Michael Hordern 1911 (Ectaw, dear leddie. Simeon Simcox in Paradise Postponed. Him.), James Wight 1916 (Who? Oh, James Herriot. The vet bloke.), Ray Lindwall 1921 (Creekiter.), Gore Vidal 1925 (Orfer.), Steve Reich 1936 (Composer. Have a bit of Electric Counterpoint.), Sheila Fearn 1940 (Jobbing actress. Audrey Collier in The Likely Lads. Her.), Ernest Evans 1941 (Who? Oh Chubby Checker. Let’s have something other than the twist. I wonder if he promoted any other dances.), Harry Hood 1944 (Fitba guy.), Patricia Cole 1946 (Who? Oh, P.P. Arnold. Her. She was the first to release The First Cut is the Deepest, a song she bought from its composer Cat Stevens for 30 quid.), Lindsey Buckingham 1949 (Ex-Fleetwood Mac member. Having parted company with the band on two occasions, perhaps this song is becoming increasingly apt and it isn't Go Your Own Way.), Mark Wilkinson 1952 (Illustrator. Designed artwork for many albums, especially those of Marillion, Fish and Judas Priest.), Stevie Ray Vaughan 1954 (Guitarist. Here’s Life by the Drop.), Michael Garner 1954 (Jobbing actor. Geoffrey ‘Poison’ Pearce in London’s Burning. Him.), Tim Westwood 1957 (DJ.), Roderic Noble 1957 (Former actor. Appeared in Nicholas and Alexandra in 1971 as Alexis, who suffered from haemophilia, a disease which affects the blood’s ability to clot. Why do I remember the actor or the film? Well, it was supposed to be a serious look at the last days of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II. Unfortunately, lines such as, ‘My son’s a little bleeder’ made it seem more like Carry On Rasputin. Yes, Tom Baker’s wild-eyed portrayal of Rasputin would have been perfect for a Sid James’ Tsar and Hattie Jacques’ Tsarina. God it was a shocking film.), Greg Proops 1959 (Comedian.), Fred Couples 1959 (Golfy bloke.), Kevin Eldon 1960 (Jobbing actor. Voices Penfold in Danger Mouse.), Matthew Amroliwala 1961 (Newsreader.), Tommy Lee 1962 (Drummer with Mötley Crüe. Have a clip. Here, with perhaps the worst ever official video, is Smoking in the Boys' Room.), Clive Owen 1964 (Actor. Larry in Closer. Him.), Gwen Stefani 1969 (Singer. Used to front No Doubt. Here’s a solo effort, What You Waiting For.  [What are you waiting for.  Shocking grammar. - Ed.]), Zoe Lyons 1971 (Comedian.), Josie D’Arby 1972 (Actress.), Shazia Mirza 1972 (Comedian.), Lena Headey 1973 (Jobbing actress. Voiced Jeopardy Mouse in Danger Mouse.), Jamie McQuilken 1974 (Fitba guy.), Jake Shears 1978 (Ex-Scissor Sisters singer. Have a clip. Here’s the group’s famous tribute to the Bee Gees.), Christian Coulson 1978 (Actor. Jolly in The Forsyte Saga. Him.) and Charlie Wernham 1994 (Actor. Mitchell in Bad Education. Him.).

 

 

 

 

I’ve received a letter...

Dear Sol Gramble,

I just love Scissor Sisters’ songs. You gave a link to their biggest hit, but what was their next most successful record, chartwise?

Yours,

Phil Theegor-Juss*

*There is a video associated with this song, but it’s a bit risque, so I thought it best to avoid it.

 

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Time to gramble. How did The Grambler’s predictions go last week? Down, basically. No money back at all. What happened? Read on...

 

Crystal Palace vs Everton - Prediction Away win

Result - Crystal Palace 1 Everton 2

Yay!

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's goal opened the scoring for the Toffees following neat build-up from James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman.

Cheikhou Kouyate's free header drew Palace level, but Richarlison restored the visitors' lead from the penalty spot after Joel Ward was controversially adjudged to have handled Lucas Digne's knock-down.

 

Millwall vs Brentford - Prediction Away win

Result - Millwall 1 Brentford 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

The Lions took an early lead when Jed Wallace headed in Mason Bennett's cross after the forward had outmuscled Pontus ‘Pilate’ Jansson on the left flank.

Ivan Toney equalised for the visitors midway through the first half with a composed penalty, having been pulled down in the box by Shaun Hutchinson.

Millwall came closest to finding a winner, with wing-back Mahlon Romeo hitting the post before the break and Tom Bradshaw driving a low effort wide in the second half.

 

Barnsley vs Coventry - Prediction Home win

Result - Barnsley 0 Coventry 0

Ooh!! ’It the bar again!

The Sky Blues went closest in an even first half when Leo Ostigard met Gustavo ‘MC’ Hamer's corner and crashed a header against the underside of the crossbar.

Barnsley improved after the break and almost scored when Cauley Woodrow's close-range effort deflected into the side-netting.

And Elliot Simoes then scooped a shot just over after a good move involving Kilian Ludewig, Alex Mowatt and Dominik Frieser.

 

Birmingham vs Rotherham - Prediction Home win

Result - Birmingham 1 Rotherham 1

I don’t believe it! ’It the bar yet again

Jeremie Bela's late penalty earned Birmingham a draw after a dramatic finish saw Rotherham take an 87th-minute lead with a spot-kick of their own.

Bela levelled the scores just moments after conceding the penalty which Kieran Sadlier emphatically dispatched to put the Millers ahead.

The visitors went agonisingly close to a first-half lead when Chiedozie Ogbene's shot deflected off Adam Clayton and looped over Neil Etheridge, but just past the post.

Lukas Jutkiewicz went close for the improving Blues after the break when he rose well and sent a looping header against the bar.

 

Cardiff vs Reading - Prediction Home win

Result - Cardiff 1 Reading 2

Boo boo boo-ety boo!

A sedate first half offered little excitement but, two minutes into the second, Michael Morrison headed the visitors in front from a free-kick.

Lucas Joao finished with composure to double Reading's lead.

Cardiff substitute Lee Tomlin bundled in from close range to set up a tense finish, but the hosts could not force a late equaliser.

 

Unlucky for The Grambler, there. Can he/she/it have better luck this week? [Not much hope of that. - Ed.] What has The Grambler given us this week?

Game - Result - Odds

Hull vs Plymouth - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Oxford vs Crewe - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Peterborough vs Swindon - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Rochdale vs Fleetwood - Prediction Away win - 5/6

Colchester vs Oldham - Prediction Home win - 19/20

 

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles and 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if The Grambler’s predictions are spot on, the Bobby Moore Fund stands (or sits) to win a whopping...

 

£16.02


So, we’re not going to win two quid less than we didn’t win last week.

 

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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 North Lanarkshire in 1944. I began my senior career at Celtic in 1962 and played 529 games for them scoring 135 goals. I was 5 feet 4 inches tall.

Answer: Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Johnstone

2. What was unusual about the ‘Golden Boot’ competition in 1962’s World Cup in Chile?

Answer: It wasn’t won outright; six players shared the honour - Flórián Albert, Valentin Ivanov, Garrincha, Vavá, Dražan Jerković and Leonel Sánchez each scored four goals. A similar thing occurred in 2010 when three players tied on five goals apiece. However, Thomas Müller was awarded the trophy thanks to some convoluted rule about more assists and more minutes on the field than the two others.

3. Which current Premier League side has suffered the most defeats since that league began?

Answer: West Ham 393 losses (to date)

4. Who was the oldest goalscorer in the Premier League?

Answer: Teddy Sheringham aged 40 years 268 days.

5. Another daft one. How many teams currently in the English senior leagues have the word ‘City’ in their name?

Answer: 14 - Leicester, Manchester, Bristol, Swansea, Birmingham, Coventry, Norwich, Stoke, Cardiff, Lincoln, Hull, Salford, Bradford and Exeter.

Five for this week? Aye, go on then...

1. Who am I?

I was born in Erlangen, West Germany in 1961. I began my senior career at Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1979. I moved to Bayern Munich in 1984, then Inter Milan in 1988, before moving back to Bayern in 1992. I am the most capped German player of all time and captained the World Cup winning side of 1990. I hold the record for the most World Cup matches played.

2. Which Belgian player has won Football League Cup Winners medals on four occasions?

3. Which Liverpool player has scored the most times for England?

4. Which Premier League side has received the most yellow cards in a single game?

5. Another daft one. How many teams currently in the English senior leagues have the word ‘United’ in their name?

There you have it; five teasers to test you. Can you answer them without resorting to Googlie or Bung (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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And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. K. Eldon for this week’s closing link. He features in this week’s birthday honours and I was a bit cruel in dismissing him as a jobbing actor. There is more to him than providing the voice for a cartoon hamster. He is known as British comedy’s prolific supporting star. He has been involved in many of the top comedy shows on British television over the past 25 years or so... Here is a short list: Fist of Fun, I’m Alan Partridge, This Morning with Richard not Judy, Jam, Black Books, Spaced, Brass Eye, World of Pub, Big Train, Smack the Pony, Nighty Night, Hyperdrive, Saxondale, Comedy Lab, Dead Set, The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, Ruddy Hell! It’s Harry and Paul, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, Red Dwarf, Inside No. 9, Damned, Cavendish and Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes (as Lance-Corporal Jones). Phew! That is just a selection; there are films and serious acting roles to consider, as well. In 2013 he got his chance to shine in his own show, so Ladeez and genullum please give it up for It's Kevin.  His take on an updated Love Thy Neighbour is worth watching.

 

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.