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 .

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.

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


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




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.





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


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


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


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


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...



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




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)?




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




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 where you can also catch up on any previous editions you may have missed.


Happy grambling.


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