Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.
Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .
If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997
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…
Did you have a good random date on a calendar? Yes? That’s nice? So did I. Guess what I did over New Year... my biannual bowel cancer screening test. Not at the bells, you understand. That would be a very unusual thing to do as the clock strikes midnight on hogmanay. Kiss, hug, have a drink, sure. Go to the bog to do a cancer screening test? Don't think it'd catch on.
Any road up, where is this talk of bowel cancer screening taking us? Well, such a test is carried out by 50 to 74 year old folk. Got that? 50 to 74 years old. Grown up, you would think. Not according to the people that want a sample of your stool (as they used to call it). No, nowadays, they prefer to treat us as four year olds. They now ask us to send a sample of our poo. Come off it. Poo? I stopped calling it that before I even started school. Mind you, what I called it after that would not be acceptable on a medical leaflet.
This dumbing down of our language ought to stop. Where will it all end?...
Now, this little test is for your own good. Do you understand? Good. Now, go and get your potty. That's a good little girl/boy. Mummy/daddy/wife/husband/daughter/son will be pleased. Now, pull your trousers down. And your pants. Now, sit on the potty and do a nice big poo. Well done! Before doing anything else, wipe your little botty so that it is nice and clean, and then take the little stick thingy and poke it into the poo.
Just a little bit. Try not to get it on your fingers. Or your clothes. And definitely not in your mouth. That would be very silly, wouldn't it?
Now, take your little stick and put it into its special little holder... yes, it's little house thingy, that's right. Now, get mummy/daddy/wife/husband/daughter/son to write the date on the little house and then you can put it in an envelope and post it. Perhaps mummy/daddy/wife/husband/daughter/son will let you put it into the box yourself. What a clever girl/boy! Perhaps you’ll get a lollipop/coffee/beer/whisky as a special treat on the way home.
Why am I thinking of Joyce Grenfell, at this moment?
Perhaps I am not taking this seriously enough. What you are being asked to do is send a sample of fecal matter to be tested for early signs of bowel cancer, which is certainly not a laughing matter. I urge every one of you who is eligible for the test to actually take the time to send a sample back to the scientists tasked with carrying out this very important work... so that they can play with your poo.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 25th of December? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Jesus 0001 - The main man. Here’s a thing; if AD means after the birth of Jesus, why is New Year a week after his birthday? Did the first year only last seven days? Was it an administrative error? I think we should be told.
Orlando Gibbons 1583 - Artist.
Claude Hulbert 1900 - Ector.
Lew Grade 1906 - TV company exec.
Andrew Cruickshank 1907 - Ecter. Played Dr. Cameron in Doctor Finlay’s Casebook.
Quentin Crisp 1908 - One of the stately homos of England.
Bertie Mee 1918 - Footy bloke.
Noele Gordon 1919 - Starred in Crossroads, which shouldn’t be confused with any song by Robert Johnson.
Norman Collier 1925 - f...ous ...edian.
St**rt H*ll 1929 - Disgraced presenter.
Princess Alexandra 1936 - A princess.
Alex Smith 1939 - Fitba guy.
Nigel Starmer-Smith 1944 - Rugby bloke.
Kenny Everett 1944 - DJ and comedian.
Noel Redding 1945 - Musician. Bass player with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Have a clip. Here’s Purple Haze.
Eve Pollard 1945 - Journalist.
Christopher Frayling 1946 - Writer.
Stuart Wilson 1946 - Actor. Johan Strauss II in The Strauss Family.
Kieran Prendiville 1947 - TV writer, producer and presenter. He was the creator of Ballykissangel.
Annie Lennox 1954 - Singer and songwriter. A clip? Why not. Here’s So Good To Be Back Home Again.
Simon Calder 1955 - Travel journalist.
Chris Kamara 1957 - Footy bloke. Unbelievable Jeff!
Shane MacGowan 1957 - A Pogue. I suppose you’ll be wanting a clip, so you will. Here’s A Rainy Night in Soho.
Gh*sl**n* M*xw*ll 1961 - Disgraced ‘socialite’ (whatever that means).
Ian Bostridge 1964 - Singer. Have a bit of cult’yer. Here he sings Stirb, Lieb und Freud. [Weren’t they The Three Stooges? - Ed.]
Gary McAllister 1964 - Fitba guy.
Ed Davey 1965 - Politician.
Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong 1971 - Who? Oh, the singer, Dido. No wonder she changed that name. Here’s her first big hit, Thank You. [You’re welcome. - Ed.]
Patrick Baladi 1971 - Actor. Darren in Breeders.
Ewen MacIntosh 1973 - Actor. Keith Bishop in The Office.
Robbie Elliott 1973 - Footy bloke.
Marcus Trescothick 1975 - Crickety bloke.
Simon Jones 1978 - Crickety bloke.
Rob Edwards 1982 - Pêl-droediwr.
Georgia Tennant 1984 - Actress. Played alongside husband David in Staged.
Nadiya Hussain 1984 - TV baker.
Alistair Cook 1984 - Crickety bloke.
Perdita Weeks 1985 - Actress. Juliet Higgins in the reboot of Magnum P.I. [I like the dark chocolate one. Or the one with nuts in. - Ed.]
What about anyone born on the 1st of January? There must be a few I’ll recognise.
Edward Morgan ‘E. M.’ Forster 1879 - Orfer.
Basil Dearden 1911 - Film writer, director and producer.
Kim Philby 1912 - Spy.
Sheila Mercier 1919 - Actress. Annie Sugden in Emmerdale.
Stella Tanner 1925 - Actress. Mrs Fletcher in Budgie. Ask your dad.
Joe Orton 1933 - Playwright. Factoid: He and his partner were jailed for the heinous crime of defacing library books.
Suzy Kendall 1937 (or 1944 according to some sources) - Actress. Most famously Mrs Dudley Moore number one.
Robert Jankel 1938 - Car maker. His company built Panther cars, which were based on Jaguar mechanical bits. Jaguar... panther. Geddit? Any road up, they produced some truly horrible cars.
Neil Connery 1938 - Actor. Sean’s not-so-famous wee bro.
Phil Read 1939 - Motorbikey bloke.
Tony Waddington 1943 - Singer-songwriter, record producer, film producer, screenplay writer and creative media executive. In fact, a right old smarty boots. He and songwriting partner, Wayne Bickerton, wrote a few hits from the 1970s including this from The Rubettes, Sugar Baby Love. Factoid: That song was turned down by Showaddywaddy before being given to the session musicians who became The Rubettes.
Andy Provan 1944 - Fitba guy.
Anne Aston 1948 - Actress. Most famous as the hostess who tried (and failed) to add up the scores on The Golden Shot.
Penny Spencer 1948 - Actress. Sharon Eversleigh in Please Sir!
Tony Currie 1950 - Footy bloke. Famous for snogging Alan Birchinall at Bramall Lane.
Peter Frampton 1950 - Musician. How about a clip. Here’s his first stab at fame with The Herd. Here the man who the following year would be dubbed ‘The Face of ’68’ sings From the Underworld.
Chris Black 1950 - Hammer chucker bloke.
Morgan Fisher 1950 - Musician and artist. Keyboard player with Mott The Hoople. Time for another clip. Which one? No, not All The Young Dudes; Fisher wasn’t in the band then. Here’s the later, Roll Away The Stone.
Ally McLeod 1951 - Fitba guy.
Richard Gibson 1954 - Actor. Herr Flick in Allo Allo.
Ian Bartholemew 1954 - Actor. Geoff Metcalfe in Coronation Street.
Simon Schaffer 1955 - Acedemic and sometime television presenter.
Mary Beard 1955 - Classicist and sometime television presenter.
Adrian Hall 1959 - Actor. Jeremy Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Ask your mum.
Michael Bates 1960 - Prince of Sealand.
Fiona Phillips 1961 - TV presenter.
Mark Wingett 1961 - Actor. Dave in Quadrophenia.
Frank Harper 1962 - Actor. Dog in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
Phil Hammond 1962 - Doctor, writer and comedian. I once went to his Edinburgh Fringe show; he was trying to flog some of his books at the end. I don’t think he was too pleased with me when I told him I could get them in The Works remainder bin for two quid each.
Michelle Holmes 1967 - Actress. Tina Fowler in Coronation Street.
Sharon Small 1967 - Actress. Rose Marshbrook in The Bay.
Paul Lawrie 1969 - Golfy bloke.
Nicholas Gleaves 1969 - Jobbing actor. Headmaster in The Demon Headmaster.
Andre Marriner 1971 - Footy ref.
Steven Robertson 1977 (or 1980 according to some sources) - Actor. DC Sandy Wilson in Shetland.
Sam Spruell 1977 - Actor. Last seen as Swarm in Doctor Who.
Colin Morgan 1986 - Actor. Merlin in... would you Adam and Eve it... Merlin.
Zoe Boyle 1989 - Actress. Lavinia Swire in Downton Abbey.
Jack Wishere 1992 - Footy bloke.
Glenn Middleton 2000 - Fitba guy.
And now, what about the 8th of January?
Dennis Wheatley 1897 - Orfer.
Barry McKay 1906 - Actor. Fred in A Christmas Carol.
William Hartnell 1908 - Actor. The original Doctor in Doctor Who.
Douglas Wilmer 1920 - Actor. Sherlock Holmes in the 1964 TV series Sherlock Holmes.
Ron Moody 1924 - Actor. Fagin in Oliver!
Daniel Farson 1927 - Writer and broadcaster.
Saeed Jaffrey 1929 - Actor. Aslam Rafic in Gangsters. 210 credits on IMDb. That’s the most I’ve seen. Popular guy.
Roy Kinnear 1934 - Actor. Starred in There Was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman. He was the Scotsman. Only 170 credits on IMDb, but he was only 54 when he died.
Shirley Bassey 1937 - Singer. A clip? Why not. Here she is at Glastonbury when she was aged 70 and still belting out Big Spender.
Michael Graham Cox 1938 - Actor. Syd Rowse in Poldark. (the 1977 series)
Bobby Ferguson 1938 - Footy bloke.
Graham Chapman 1941 - He’s not the Messiah; he’s a very naughty boy.
Stephen Hawking 1942 - Genius.
Robin Ellis 1942 - Actor. Ross Poldark in the original 1970s Poldark and Reverand Halse in the newer version.
Lee Jackson 1943 - Bassist with The Nice, Jackson Heights and Refugee. How about a bit of prog? Here is a track by Refugee which takes its title from Belgian keyboardist Patrick Moraz’s pronunciation of the word rhythmically, Ritt Mickley.
Terry Sylvester 1947 - Musician. Famously, replaced Graham Nash when he left The Hollies on the Marrakesh express. Have another clip. Here, they can't tell the bottom from the top. You might recognise the piano playing of a certain Mr. Reg Dwight.
David Bowie 1947 - Musician, songwriter and actor. Another clip is required, but which of his various persona do we plump for? Let’s have a bit of glamrock with Ziggy who is only dancing, John.
Steve Garvey 1958 - A bass-playing Buzzcock. Have a clip. Here they are asking What Do I Get.
Bill Buckley 1959 - Radio presenter and one-time co-host of That’s Life.
Robbie Savage 1960 - Footy bloke.
Adam Henson 1966 - TV presenter and farmer.
Tom Watson 1967 - Politician. I’ve no idea if he can play golf.
Nick Miller 1970 - Weatherman.
Paul Clement 1972 - Footy bloke.
Charlie Condou 1973 - Actor. Marcus Dent in Coronation Street.
Steven ‘Stove’ King 1974 - Mansun bassist. Have another clip. Is that your leg I see?
Chris Simmons 1975 - Actor. Mickey Webb in The Bill.
Tomasz Shafernaker 1979 - Another weatherman.
Sam Riley 1980 - Actor. Played Joy Division singer, Ian Curtis in Control.
Shane Zaza 1984 - Actor. Shafiq Shah in Happy Valley.
Freddie Stroma 1987 - Actor. Prince Friedrich in Bridgerton.
Kenny McLean 1992 - Fitba guy.
Kyle Edmund 1995 - Tennisy bloke.
Stephen Hendrie 1995 - Fitba guy. Ex-Motherwell player, you know.
When I was checking the birthday honours for January the 1st, I thought there was a lot more than the usual quota of famous people born on that date. Then I realised that, in days gone by, if a person didn’t know what date his, or her, birthday was, it was just fixed as the 1st of January. Apparently, it still happens when refugees come to the Yuk. [That’s very interesting. Yawn. - Ed.]
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Miss Grambley Bassey,
We have been avid followers of your career for many many many many years. Here is a question we have been pondering... What was your first top ten hit record?
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last time? Well, sadly, only some of the games took place. Thanks to a new strain of Covid raising its ugly head, a lot of games had to be cancelled. However, the games that were played went as predicted by The Grambler. Okay, we didn’t win the fantastic sum of £10.16, but we were in profit for a nice change. How much did we win? £5.68. Woo hoo! The children shall eat tonight!
This all happened so long ago that there is no point in giving you any match reviews. [Does anyone actually read them? - Ed.] We’ll just move on to this week’s selections
Game - Result - Odds
Gillingham vs Ipswich - Away win - 10/11
Queen of the South vs Kilmarnock - Away win - 5/6
Clyde vs Cove Rangers - Away win - 8/11
Stirling vs Kelty Hearts - Away win - 8/11
Cowdenbeath vs Annan - Away win - 10/11
Uh oh, The Grambler has gone for away wins again. Never a sensible thing to do. Anyway, the bets have been placed - Ten 20 pee doubles plus a single 20 pee accumulator. If the results go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will be richer to the tune of a whopping
Hmm... A bit more whopping than last time.
Yay! How did you get on with our Christmas quiz questions? Here are the answers.
1. Actor. From a women’s prison to My Fair Lady? (EFL 1)
Answer - Stanley Holloway (Accrington Stanley)
2. West Indies cricketer; averaged 92 runs in test matches. (Premier League)
Answer - Everton Weekes
3. Actor/singer. Had a UK number one with Johnny, Remember Me. (EFL 2)
Answer - John Leyton (Leyton Orient)
3. Criminal. 1967 film told the story of his (and his partner’s) life. (EFL 2)
Answer - Clyde Barrow (Barrow) [Bonus for Clyde? - Ed.]
4. Half of Britain’s most popular comedy act. (EFL 1)
Answer - Eric Morecambe
5. Daughter of ex-US president. (Premier League)
Answer - Chelsea Clinton
6. The first DJ to broadcast on Radio One. (EFL Championship)
Answer - Tony Blackburn (Blackburn Rovers)
7. Walker Brothers drummer and vocalist. (Premier League)
Answer - Gary Leeds (Leeds United)
8. Actor who starred in The Music Man. (EFL Championship)
Answer - Robert Preston (Preston North End)
9. Entertainer who worked with an aggressive bird. (EFL Championship)
Answer - Rod Hull (Hull City)
10. The greatest driver never to win the F1 World Championship. (SPFL 2)
Answer - Stirling Moss (Stirling Albion)
11. Jimi’s bass player. (EFL Championship)
Answer - Noel Redding (Reading) [Obviously. - Ed.]
12. Musical founding father. (SPFL Championship)
Answer - Alexander Hamilton (Hamilton Academical)
13. Actor reputed to have bought his film star wife a $1.5 million diamond ring in 1968. (EFL 1)
Answer - Richard Burton (Burton Albion)
14. This actor was Moses before becoming an ape. (EFL 1)
Answer - Charlton Heston (Charlton Athletic)
15. Pop rock balladeer famous for his mullet hairstyle. (EFL 1)
Answer - Michael Bolton (Bolton Wanderers)
16. This chat show host is the last resort. (SPFL Premiership)
Answer - Jonathan Ross (Ross County)
17. The greatest US president? (EFL 1)
Answer - Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln City)
18. Drummer in a band formed in 1967 and still going. (EFL 1)
Answer - Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Town)
19. US film director and writer known for his gothic style. (EFL 1)
Answer - Tim Burton (Burton Albion - again. Was that a bit sneaky of me?) [You rotten swine. - Ed.]
20. Actor famous for playing a detective, an alcoholic psychopath and a stripper. (EFL 2)
Answer - Robert Carlyle (Carlisle United)
I hope you enjoyed that little diversion from the normal teasers (including my little bit of trickery). This week, it’s back to our usual five teasers to test you...
1. Who am I?
I was born in 1924. I played as a centre half for Wolverhampton Wanderers for my entire playing career making 490 appearances in all. I was capped 105 times for England, the first English player to reach the magic ton. I was captain of the national side for 11 years.
2.What was unusual about the England side that beat Wales on the 21st of November 1962?
3. Which famous singer had a trial for Brentford FC in 1960?
4. At which club did David Moyes begin his career as a football manager?
5. Which club has the Latin motto ‘Nil satis nisi optimum’ - which translates as Nothing but the best is good enough.
There you have it; five teasers to test you or, if you prefer, five tests to tease you. As always, try and answer them before shouting out Hey Googly, Syria or Alexis. Please feel free to pass on the link to your pals so that they can enjoy The Grambler’s footy teasers too.
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. The amount raised is a little out of date, though. Check the Justgiving page link given at the beginning of this blog to see the current figure.
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. E. Idle who provides this week’s final clip. Why Eric Idle, I hear you ask. Because he provides the unusual ending for Monty Python’s Life of Brian, which starred Graham Chapman, who would have been 81 today, as the eponymous (That’s a good word... wonder what it means.) hero. So, let’s start this new year (which will probably be every bit as bad as the previous two) by all singing along to Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.
Always makes me smile.
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.