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 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…
A line from Armundo Iannuci's radio show The Charm Offensive went something like 'You can't call an asylum a loony bin any more; it's madness gone PC.' Well, I thought it was funny.
Why do I mention this old gag? The editors of The Beano have decided, in their wisdom, that it is offensive to call a character in The Bash Street Kids, Fatty. Henceforth, he shall be known as Freddie. How ridiculous. Any gags involving that character have always been centred on his greed and obesity. Will this name change mean that his overeating will no longer be a subject for poking fun at because it will offend greedy b*******?
Does it also mean that another character known as Plug will have any mention of his ugliness censored for fear of offending anyone who is aesthetically challenged?
Will Smiffy, the stupid one of the class, be re-classified as dyslexic?
Will Spotty have his name changed because the name is deemed offensive to anyone with acne?
I grew up reading The Beano and its sister comic The Dandy and never did I think any character would offend anyone. Lord Snooty and his patronising attitude towards his ‘commoner’ friends did not affect me. Nor did the Public School shenanigans of Winker (I said winker) Watson. I'm sure I would have been as disdainful of upper class toffs whether I had read the comics or not.
Dennis the Menace getting beaten by his dad with a slipper at the end of each week’s menacing struck me as being only fair considering the boy’s dreadful behaviour. The same went for Minnie the Minx and Beryl the Peril, although I wasn’t too sure about the idea of hitting girls. Obviously, I was always a gentleman at heart. Beatings, once common in comics of this sort, are very much consigned to the history books nowadays... Or should that be history comics?
I recall a Beano annual I received as a Christmas gift many moons ago which had a running gag based on the beatings meted out by parents and teachers of the various characters.
Each character’s story ended with he/she or, in the case of the aforementioned Bash Street Kids, them being beaten violently for some misdemeanour. At the very point of the beating taking place there was a running joke which involved ‘the Beano artist’. You knew he was an artist because he wore a smock and beret and was carrying a paint palette. That, according to kids’ comics is how all artists dress. Any road up, he would appear and paint the awful expression on the miscreants’ faces. All was revealed on the very last page of the book when we see all the completed paintings, showing the poor victims of the thrashings, mounted in a farmer’s field, the joke being that such images were so horrific that even the crows were scared of them. Oh how we laughed.
Desperate Dan was similarly censored some years back. Apparently, his favourite snack of a cow pie (complete with horns sticking out of the crust) was considered to be sending out the wrong message at a time when mad cow disease was the most newsworthy story of the time. As if seeing a man eating a ridiculous looking meal is going to influence anyone’s diet! Did you ever attempt to shave yourself with a blow torch the way Dan did? Of course not. Nobody did.
Mind you, I was a bit scared of Biffo the Bear. I mean, a humanised bear that lived in his own bungalow? I think he must have escaped from The Island of Doctor Moreau. The same goes for Korky the Cat and Mickey the Monkey... although, he was obviously a chimpanzee rather than a monkey.
I also used to read story comics which went by the name of Commando. They always featured tales of derring-do with our plucky British soldiers/sailors/airmen giving Jerry what for. All the tales were from the First and Second World Wars, although the occasional earlier conflict such as the Boer War was thrown in for good measure. For some reason, the Germans only ever seemed to have the words ‘achtung’ or ‘Englisher schweinhund’ in their speech bubbles. Despite this British = good, German = bad means of storytelling, I never felt any sense of jingoism or hatred towards German folk. I also bear no grudge against any Japanese, who were also shown as being given a right old pasting. According to Commando comics, Japanese language skills got no further than ‘banzai’ which was the only speech bubble they ever got.
Anyway, back to self censorship. Another example was included in a 50th anniversary book that was released by D.C. Thomson, the comics’ publisher. During the war, any poking fun at the enemy was considered to be acceptable. The Beano, or was it The Dandy, featured a character based on a certain Italian leader of some infamy, Benito Mussolini. The Beano (or Dandy) character wasn't called Mussolini, though. Not quite. What did they come up with? Musso the Wop. How racist is that? It was subtitled ‘He’s a bigga da flop’. As the saying goes all’s fair in love and war. That obviously includes racism in a cartoon strip aimed at small children.
As I said, the anniversary book had the same character but this time he was simply called Musso, the word Wop being sensibly dropped. It still had the same strap line though, which must have seemed confusing as all the other strap lines used in the comics rhyme, as in ‘Pansy Potter, the strong man’s daughter’. Okay, that only works in Scotland, but I'm sure you get the gist. So instead of Musso the Wop, he’s a bigga da flop, we got Musso, he’s a bigga da flop.
Doesn’t even scan, let alone rhyme.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 29th of May? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
John Walker 1781 - Chemist and inventor. He invented the friction match in 1827 and refused to patent it thus making his invention freely available for anyone to make. Top guy.
G. K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton 1874 - Writer, philosopher, theologian, literary and art critic. Most famous for Father Brown, the priest detective.
Eric Marshall 1879 - Doctor and Antarctic explorer. Part of Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod expedition of 1907-09. Part of the four man group that reached the furthest point south up to that date. Didn’t rate Shackleton at all calling him ‘the biggest mountebank of the century’.
Kynaston Reeves 1893 - Jobbing actor. Between 1931 and 1970 he appeared in 151 film or TV productions according to IMDb. Mr Quelch in Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School from 1952-57. Yikes! Leggo!
Beatrice Lillie 1894 - Actress, singer and comedy performer. She was once known as ‘the funniest woman in the world’.
Jack Sangster 1896 - Industrialist. Manufactured Ariel motorcycles.
Bob Hope 1903 - Comedian, actor, singer, dancer, author and... athlete? Really? Indeed, before he became one of the world’s most famous celebrities, Hope tried his luck as a boxer. He only fought four bouts, winning three and losing one. There you go. Educational, this is. Let’s have a clip of him singing Buttons and Bows.
Sebastian Shaw 1905 - Actor. Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Him.
Bruce Seton 1909 - Jobbing actor. His one starring role was as Fabian of the Yard.
Ben Warriss 1909 - Comedian. Half of comedy duo Jewel and Warriss. [Really? Which one was he? - Ed.] Ahem. They were actually cousins who grew up in the same household.
Carl Duering 1923 - Actor. Born in Berlin but worked mainly in the UK. If ever a production needed a German character, Carl was your man. Dr. Brodsky in A Clockwork Orange.
Mick McGahey 1925 - Firebrand trade union leader.
Katie Boyle 1926 - Presenter. Used to front the Eurovision Song Contest whe Britain took it seriously.
Frederick Jaeger 1928 - Jobbing actor. Never famous for any particular role, but IMDb gives him 162 film and TV credits over a 45 year career.
Nanette Newman 1934 - Actress. In a film and TV career spanning 60 years, her most famous role was ‘Her that sells washing up liquid’.
Doug Scott 1941 - Mountaineer or, as I like to call them, loony.
Gary Brooker 1945 - Musician. Let’s have a clip. Here he is with Procul Harum singing his most famous toon, A Whiter Shade of Pale.
Brian Kidd 1949 - Footy bloke.
Marguerite Hardiman 1950 - Jobbing actress. Muriel in Sorry! Her.
George Webley aka Big George 1957 - Musician, composer, bandleader and broadcaster. He wrote this.
Rupert Everett 1959 - Actor. George Downes in My Best Friend’s Wedding. Him.
Mel Gaynor 1959 - Sometime drummer with Simple Minds. Here he is on Someone Somewhere in Summertime.
Carol Kirkwood 1962 - Weather forecaster.
Andy Wightman 1963 - Orfer and politician.
Steve Francis 1964 - Footy bloke, innit.
Forbes KB 1965 - Actor jobbing. Appeared in Game Still he has. A butcher he played. Uncredited he was.
Ian Bishop 1965 - Footy bloke.
Noel Gallagher 1967 - Musician. Once the driving force behind Oasis. Now fronts Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Here’s a single from 2020 which reached number 2 in the charts (in Scotland), Blue Moon Rising.
Shaun McSkimming 1970 - Fitba guy.
Sacha Skarbek 1972 - Composer and songwriter. [There’s a difference? - Ed.] He wrote this one which was a hit for James Blunt (I said Blunt.).
Sarah Millican 1975 - Comedian.
Mel Brown 1975 - Once a scary Spice Girl. She has had solo hits, this one reached number 4 in the UK charts... only got to number 7 in the Scottish charts.
Adam Rickitt 1978 - Actor (it says here), singer (it says here), model (it says here) and would be politician. I suppose we’d better have a clip. Here's I Breathe Again.
Daniel Pearce 1978 - Singer, songwriter and actor. He provided vocals on this, Sigma’s Nobody to Love.
Andy Kirk 1979 - Footy bloke, surely nigh.
Nick Gentry 1980 - Artist.
Adam Brown 1980 - Actor. Ori in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. Him.
Ben Mansfield 1983 - Actor. Captain Becker in Primeval.
Pearl Mackie 1987 - Actress. Bill in Doctor Who... The Peter Capaldi one... Her.
And now, June the 5
Thomas Chippendale 1718 - Cabinet maker and male stripper.
Adam Smith 1723 - Moral philosopher and political economist.
Frederick Tennyson 1807 - Poet. Alf’s brother.
John Maynard Keynes 1883 - Economist.
Ivy Compton-Burnett 1884 - Orfer.
John Abbott 1905 - Jobbing actor. Manuel in 1958’s Gigi. Him.
Jessie Robins 1905 - Jobbing actress. Ringo’s aunt in The Magical Mystery Tour. That was her.
Margaret Rawlings 1906 - Actress. Countess Vereberg in 1953’s Roman Holiday.
Gilbert Harding 1907 - Brodcaster.
Bill Fraser 1908 - Actor. Snudge in Bootsie and Snudge. Him.
Rose Hill 1914 - Actress. Madame Fanny in Allo Allo. Her.
Laurence Payne 1919 - Actor. He played Sexton Blake in... erm... Sexton Blake.
Tony Richardson 1928 - Director and producer.
Christopher Hancock 1928 - Actor. Charlie Cotton in Eastenders. Him.
Shaun Curry 1937 - Jobbing actor. Les Pinner in Just Good Friends.
Moira Anderson 1938 - Singer. Have a clip. All together now... For these are my mountains... [That all sounds a bit suspect to me. These are my mountains and this is my glen? Aye aye. Say no more. - Ed.]
Margaret Drabble 1939 - Orfer.
Jim Brogan 1944 - Fitba guy.
Nigel Rees 1944 - Orfer and broadcaster.
Gillian Hills 1944 - Actress. Sonietta in A Clockwork Orange. Her.
Chris Finnegan 1944 - Boxy bloke.
John Du Cann 1946 - Musician. A bit of Atomic Rooster. He wrote their biggest hit, Devil's Answer.
David Hare 1947 - Playwright, screenwriter and director. Collateral, that was one of his.
Tom Evans 1947 - Musician. A bit of Badfinger. He co-wrote this famous toon. All together now... No I can't forget this evening...
Frank Esler-Smith 1948 - Musician. A bit of Air Supply. Here, they are All Out of Love.
Ken Follett 1949 - Orfer.
Barbara Gaskin 1950 - Onetime singer with ‘Prog-folk’ outfit Spirogyra. Here she sings Old Boot Wine.
Sarah Thomas 1952 - Actress. Glenda in Last of the Summer Wine. She wasn’t in every episode. Only 215.
Nicko McBrain 1952 - Drummer with Iron Maiden. Here is The Trooper.
Richard Butler 1956 - Singer with Psychdelic Furs. Have a bit of Heaven.
Stephen Pacey 1957 - Actor. Del Tarrant in Blake’s 7. Him.
Rosie Kane 1961 - Politician.
Richard Beaumont 1961 - Actor. Reg Mandell in Shades of Bad. Him.
Richard Sinnott 1963 - Jobbing actor. He has played four different characters in Coronation Street. Blink and you’ll miss him. Seems to play estate agents a lot.
Eddie Nestor 1964 - Jobbing actor. He was in Trainspotting as... an estate agent. Was Richard Sinnott busy that day?
John Marquez 1970 - Actor. P.C. Joe Penhale in Doc Martin. Him.
Susan Lynch 1971 - Actress. Stace in Save Me. Her.
Andy McLaren 1973 - Fitba guy.
Nina Conti 1974 - Gentrilokist.
Jack Ross 1976 - Fitba guy.
Rachel Leskovac 1976 - Actress. Natasha in Coronation Street. Her.
Ross Noble 1976 - Comedian.
Emma Crosby 1977 - Newsreader and journalist.
Jade Goody 1981 - Celebrity.
Marc Pickering 1985 - Actor. R Wayne in Peter Kay’s Britain’s Got the Pop Factor... and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Strictly on Ice.
Jamie Mulgrew 1986 - Footy bloke surely nigh.
Charlie Clements 1987 - Jobbing actor. Bradley in Eastenders. Him.
Kieran Tierney 1997 - Fitba guy.
Lewis MacDougal 2002 - Actor. Tullo in His Dark Materials. Him.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Noel Grambleger,
It was nice to hear a track from your High Flying Birds. However, I think most readers would prefer to hear a Noasis tune instead. I was wondering, what was their first top 40 single?
How did The Grambler’s predictions go last time we had a bet? 52 pees back from a £2.20 stake. Rubbish or what? What happened? Here are the results...
Arsenal vs Brighton - Home win
Result - Arsenal 2 Brighton 0
Aston Villa vs Chelsea - Away win
Result - Aston Villa 2 Chelsea 1
Fulham vs Newcastle - Home win
Result - Fulham 0 Newcastle 2
Leicester vs Tottenham - Home win
Result - Leicester 2 Tottenham 4
Oh dear oh dear.
West Ham vs Southampton - Home win
Result - West Ham 3 Southampton 0
No gramble this week. Football season is over. Next week, though, it’s Euro 2020. Yay! Hang on. 2020? A year late? Something must have happened to cause that. Whatever could it be?
Yay! How did you get on with last time’s five questions? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in Milan in 1968. I joined Milan aged 10 and spent seven years in the youth squad before progressing to the senior squad where I remained for 25 seasons making 902 appearances in all competitions. I was also capped 126 times for Italy. I now work as technical director for guess which club... Milan, of course.
Answer - Paolo Maldini. Factoid: Number 3 as worn by Maldini has been retired, so no other player will wear it. Although, if either of his sons should play professionally for the club, it might be reinstated.
2. St. Johnstone today won the Scottish Cup making them only the second Scottish club to win two trophies in a season (other than Rangers and Celtic, of course). Which is that other club?
Answer - Aberdeen
3. Sergio Agüero has been with Manchester City for 10 years; which club is he moving to?
Answer - Barcelona
4. What was the name of the club which won the first F.A. Cup?
Answer - Wanderers (a London club)
5. A silly one to finish. How many teams in the English and Scottish senior leagues have pairs of letters in their names? Whatever do you mean, I hear you ask. Well, take the word English; it has none. However, the word Scottish has one. Do you see? Have fun.
Answer - I make it 34... Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Leeds United, Aston Villa, Sheffield United, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers, Middlesbrough, Millwall, Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town, Sheffield United, Hull City, Blackpool, Gillingham, Accrington Stanley, Fleetwood Town, Forest Green Rovers, Harrogate Town, Walsall, Barrow, Aberdeen, St Mirren, Motherwell, Dundee United, Ross County, Dundee, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Queen of the South, Greenock Morton, Alloa Athletic, Queen’s Park and Annan Athletic. How many did you miss?
I told you it was a silly one.
What about five for this week?
1. Who am I?
I was born in Strasbourg in 1949. After a so-so playing career, I moved into football management, obtaining my manager’s diploma in 1981. I managed clubs in France and Japan before moving to England in 1996 where I stayed for over 20 years. During that time I became the most successful manager in F.A. Cup history, winning the trophy seven times. Fans and media call me ‘Le Professeur’.
2. Who is the current UEFA President?
3. Which country has competed in the most UEFA European Football Championship finals since 1960? (Excluding those countries with name or boundary changes.)
4. Who was the last Englishman to win Manchester City’s Player of the Year Award?
5. This year’s Europa League Final was decided with a penalty shoot-out; when was the last time this occurred?
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)?
Remember the serious message...
As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign
Please, take a few minutes to watch an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).
Click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26HWQXMalX4
And finally, Cyril...
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to two Geordies who are both in our birthday honours: Miss S. Millican and Mr R. Noble. Let’s finish with a few gags from them...
SM - My mother told me, you don't have to put anything in your mouth you don't want to. Then she made me eat broccoli, which felt like double standards.
RN - How come Miss Universe is only won by people from Earth?
SM - My husband and I don't have children. We can't have children because we hate them.
RN - Should your house burn down and you lose everything, my advice would be – don’t turn to your wife and say: ‘This means that technically I’m now sleeping with a homeless woman.’
SM - I stopped buying women’s magazines. The only time I ever see someone who looks like me is under the word ‘Before’.
RN - I had to take the batteries out of the carbon monoxide detector. It was beeping all night.
SM - My Dad always told me there’s three things you need to have in the boot of your car: a blanket, a shovel and a flask. And he’s right – because whenever I’ve killed a man I’m parched.
RN - When’s someone gonna turn round to Bono and go, ‘Oi Bono! Take those glasses off! You look like a t***! You’re from Ireland! You shouldn’t even own sunglasses!’
SM - My New Year’s resolution is to get in shape. I choose round.
RN - I had a sat-nav, after Port Pirie, and the Nullarbor Plain in Australia, the longest straight road in the world. And I turned it on and it said, ‘Drive forward for two days.’ And the next bit went, ‘then turn left.’ But the thing was… But the stupid thing was, it was such a long road, I missed the left hand turn!
SM - I read about a couple in their 80s where she died and he died soon after. The paper said he died of a broken heart. But that’s not a medical condition. I think if she died and then a fortnight later he died, it’s probably because he didn’t know how to cook.
RN - “[On self-service checkouts] What you can do is you can ‘bleep’ the stuff yourself. What I like to do is, as I’m doing that, time it to pretend that I’m on TV and I’m swearing too much. I like to go: ‘Oi, you *bleep* I’m gonna *bleep* with your *bleep* and if your mum *bleep* I’ll *bleep* her right up the *bleep* with a *bleep* and you can *bleep* go and *bleep* yourself you *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* b***ard!
SM - From what I understand about child birth, it changes you ‘downstairs’. I like my downstairs the way it is thank you very much. I certainly don’t need an extension.
RN - [On Winona Ryder claiming she was rehearsing for a role during a shoplifting trial] So does that basically mean that if you commit a crime, as long you can somehow link it to your job, it’s all right? Like, if you’re, like, murdering somebody with a hammer, if you go “Oh, well, I’m a master cobbler and I was just practicing.”
And we’ll leave the last word to Miss Millican...
SM - I’m not used to country living. Every time I see someone with a big marquee tent in their garden, I don’t think ‘ooo, someone’s having a nice summer party’. I think ‘ooo, someone’s been murdered.
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.