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.
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.
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?
*There is a video associated with this song, but it’s a bit risque, so I thought it best to avoid it.
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
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...
So, we’re not going to win two quid less than we didn’t win last week.
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)?
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
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.