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…
You may recall me mentioning to you that I enjoy playing a scrabble type game on line. You don't? I told you. I did. You must have forgotten. No matter, that isn't what I plan to (g)ramble about today. [Then why are you carping on about it? - Ed.] Let me explain...
It's not the game I am planning to discuss, but the advertising that occasionally pops up on screen. Quite often, these little annoyances try to persuade you to play another game using your phone/tablet/laptop. Gone are the days when your choice was Candy Crush Saga and that was it. Now we are bombarded with ads for word games, who wants to be a millionaire type games, penny falls type things and games where you pop bubbles. Seriously, where is the satisfaction in that? The whole point of popping bubble wrap is getting a wee buzz from achieving that tiny bang. Yeah, l know; some people are easily pleased. But, surely, a virtual version of bubble wrap is missing the point.
Most of the games are a bit of harmless fun, but there are some that seem to me to be anything but. And I'm not talking about the ones that encourage you to gamble... Don't get me started on that one. No, I am talking about those that involve injury... not to the player, but to the characters involved in the games. Yes, I know they are only cartoon type figures but some of the games are really quite nasty.
One is called Evony and it involves trying to get a 'hero' through various obstacles to reach some treasure by pulling pins to open certain doors in the correct order. Depending on how you pull them, our hero can avoid things like molten lava, a vicious tiger and a huge villain armed with a spiky club. Pull the pins in the wrong order and the goodie gets melted, mauled or mashed to death. It's all rather horrible. I don't believe a computer game needs such graphic images. If it were a game you bought for an X Station or Play Box (Do you see what I did there?) there would be an age restriction applied. This game, because it is simply an app, is available to everyone, of any age.
Another game, the name of which escapes me, is rather jokier in its approach with a less serious look to the characters. A character, in this case a king (Why?) has a target and it is the player's task to get him there. Some of the tasks are a bit, shall we say, scatalogical. We have his majesty, clutching his privates in desperation to get to the toilet and it is up to the player to get him past the various obstacles which present themselves. I don't play any of these games, so I don't know what happens if the king doesn't make it. Does he actually fill his pants?
Okay, that one isn’t too bad, apart from being a bit on the crude side. The last game I will tell you about is downright creepy and, worryingly, it suggests that voyeurism is okay. I'm not sure who it is aimed at, but I'm guessing the designer of the game is an out-and-out pervert.
As with the others, I don't turn up the volume when these adverts appear so I may have missed something, but I don't think so. The game is called Breaker Fun and involves a scantily clad young woman gyrating provocatively. It is a cartoon I should add, not an actual person. The premise of the game seems to be that the player tries to make the girl lose the rest of her already skimpy outfit.
He, and it must surely be a he, selects an item of her clothing... say her top or her (very mini) skirt. Having done so, the player scores some points and voila the item of clothing disappears and the woman is even more scantily clad.
That is as far as the advert takes us, thank goodness.
Presumably, the maker of the game is banking on there being plenty of similarly lecherous saddos, desperate to make a cartoon lady totally naked, to make the ad worthwhile.
You could argue that this is simply a bit of harmless fun that is no more dangerous than the old 'What the butler saw' machines that proliferated in seedy amusement arcades in the early part of the twentieth century. However, those machines were strictly adult only; no child would ever go near them... much as they would have liked to.
As I have already said, this advert can be seen by anyone, of any age. What kind of message is it putting out to impressionable kids? That it is okay to get a young woman to take her clothes off simply because you demand it?
You might say I'm just being too prudish by far [You’re being too prudish by far. Now what? - Ed], ahem, but I do feel that all these games, the last one in particular, should not be available to younger audiences. To me, there is a reason for certain material being considered unsuitable for children. In the case of the last mentioned, it is because children are not always capable of working out what is correct behaviour and what is not.
Sadly, some grow up without ever realising there is a difference.
Ooh, that ended on a depressing note, didn’t it? I’ll have to come up with something a bit cheerier to finish on... I know... Parkinsons. [I thought you said it was
going to be something cheerier. - Ed.] Please bear with me on this. I am going to refer to an item from my favourite
comic newspaper, The Daily Fail. [Think you were right with comic. - Ed.]
As you know, the information given in this august journal [Sarky! - Ed.] is not always strictly accurate. I am referring, in this instance, to it’s daily item called ‘On This Day’ which gives us a few little factoids relating to a given date. This week’s nuggets included the facts that the Johnnie Morris kids’ programme Animal Magic was first shown on 13th April 1962 and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, the antidote to panel games, was first broadcast on 11th April 1972.
Another item on the 11th of April’s edition of the rag was the fact that James Parkinson was born on that day in 1755. It was he who first noted the ‘shaking palsy’ which later became known as Parkinson’s disease.
What’s cheery about that, I hear you ask. Nothing, other than whoever wrote the item pointing out that only two photographs of James Parkinson were known to exist, but these were later discovered to be fakes. What the journalist didn’t seem to grasp was that the reason for this isn’t really all that surprising. Parkinson died in 1824, some 15 years before the invention of photography.
As a favourite Daily Fail line goes... You couldn’t make it up!
This is not the James Parkinson you are looking for
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 16th of April? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Charlie Chaplin 1889 - The most famous film star ever. See Post 443 - A sweet-toothed gramble for a short clip of his work.
Martin Boddey 1907 - Jobbing actor. 135 IMDb credits covering 27 years, so he was in demand (for bit parts, generally). He nailed Officer in The Dancing Years. He was spot on as Store Shopwalker in Laughter In Paradise. And who can forget Policeman with dog in The Man Who Finally Died?
Guy Burgess 1911 - I spy with my little eye something beginning with T. [Traitor. - Ed.] Correct.
David Langton 1912 - Actor. Richard Bellamy in Upstairs, Downstairs.
John Halas 1912 - Animator.
Peter Ustinov 1921 - Actor, film maker and writer.
Kingsley Amis 1922 - Orfer.
John Harvey-Jones 1924 - Businessman and TV presenter.
Joan Bakewell 1933 - Tart.
Vince Hill 1934 - Singer. Had a few hits back in the 60s and 70s. Let’s have our first clip of the week. Here he is walking alongside a river pretending he’s got an orchestra with him. Hope that wig is held on with decent glue, it can get windy on a river. Anyway, here’s Take Me To Your Heart Again.
Gordon Wilson 1938 - Politician.
Dusty Springfield 1939 - Mary O’Brien as was, began her chart career with a folk trio called The Springfields. Would you like an early toon? Here they are sailing on a Little Boat. That was ‘Fluff’ Freeman introducing them with the biggest load of twaddle you could imagine. Not arf.
Hilary Pritchard 1942 - Actress. Popular in what Mrs Whitehouse would have called smutty films such as Big Boy Now, Under the Doctor and Adventures of a Private Eye. Ooer missus.
Frank Williams 1942 - Formula One team owner and car constructor.
Ruth Madoc 1943 - Actress. Gladys Pugh in Hi-de-Hi!
Gerry Rafferty 1947 - Singer and songwriter. Only one track we can possibly have. [Stuck In The Middle With You? - Ed.] Close, but it’s no Baker Street.
Lee ‘The Bear’ Kerslake 1947 - Musician. Drummy bloke with Uriah Heep on this track, Wise Man. That was from 1977 when curly perms were unfeasibly popular.
Anita Carey 1948 - Actress. Pat in I Didn’t Know You Cared.
Bob Goody 1951 - Actor. Most recently seen as George in 23 Walks.
John Bentley 1951 - Musician. One-time bassist with Squeeze. A clip? I should say so. Here he looks totally bored on a Top of the Pops version of Labelled With Love.
Chaz Jankel 1952 - Musician. He was a Blockhead, you know. Yep, he was the musical genius behind such classics as Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick and Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll. However, here’s a solo effort, Glad to Know You. Cool dancing, Chaz.
Nick Berry 1963 - Actor. P.C. Nick Rowan in Heartbeat. Here’s a hit he had off the back of it. Guess what it’s called. That's right... Heartbeat.
Rebecca Saire 1963 - Actress. Amelia Sedley in Vanity Fair (1987).
Max Beesley 1971 - Actor and musician. Quite famous these days, but do you know what his first TV performance was? He was a young passer-by in a 1987 episode of Last of The Summer Wine. We’ve all got to start somewhere.
Gary Delaney 1973 - Comedian and Mr Sarah Millican.
Nick Pickard 1975 - Actor. Tony Hutchinson in Hollyoaks and its spinoffs.
Claire Foy 1984 - Actress. Margaret Campbell in A Very British Scandal.
Aaron Lennon 1987 - Footy bloke.
Hayley Squires 1988 - Actress. Laurie Stone in Collateral.
Lily Loveless 1990 - Actress. Naomi in Skins.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Gerry Gramberty,
It was wonderful to hear your most famous song Baker Street. Who would have thought Bob Holness could play the saxophone so well? Did you have any other top ten hits?
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last time? Not very well. We did win. Technically, I suppose. From our £2.20 stake we won... fanfare please... 56 pees. Not worthing fanning your fare, was it. What happened? Read on.
Blackburn vs Blackpool - Home win
Result - Blackburn 1 Blackpool 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Marvin Ekpiteta's second-half goal for Blackpool denied Blackburn Rovers victory.
Ekpiteta's side-foot finish just after half-time cancelled out Sam Gallagher's early opener for the home side.
Rovers were almost denied even a point in stoppage time as Joshua Bowler's shot was deflected against the outside of the post.
Blackpool largely held their hosts well in the second half as frustrations grew at Ewood Park.
Their equaliser came three minutes after the break as a corner from the left was not dealt with by Blackburn and fell for Ekpiteta to turn in.
The hosts had a warning moments before as they failed to clear a free-kick and Shayne Lavery's shot was deflected wide.
Blackpool almost took an early lead after Scott Wharton slipped and allowed CJ Hamilton to sprint 30 yards in on goal but he was denied by Rovers goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski.
Minutes later Kaminski floated a long ball over the visitors' defence and found Gallagher, who took two touches into the area and clipped over Chris Maxwell.
Bristol City vs Peterborough - Home win
Result - Bristol City 1 Peterborough 1
Ooh! ’It the bar again!
Six minutes after Joe Ward was red carded for bringing Andreas Weimann down when through on goal, Jonson Clarke-Harris converted from close range to cancel out Rob Atkinson's first-half header.
The visitors played well in the first half, hitting the post through Ward and twice going close when midfielder Sammie Szmodics tested goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
But Atkinson's header from Jay Dasilva's cross put City in front before the break and they looked set for a win when Ward was sent off on 59 minutes.
Clarke-Harris then bundled in after Pearson's men failed to deal with a set-piece and they held on for a point despite Tim Klose heading over when he should have scored.
Millwall vs Barnsley - Home win
Result - Millwall 4 Barnsley 1
Wing-back Danny McNamara scored a brace which began with a first-half tap-in, before he headed home after the break.
Barnsley stayed in the game when Romal Palmer smashed the ball in, but clinical finishes from Oliver Burke and Benik Afobe sealed the three points.
Barnsley started with intent and created a great early chance when Palmer played a through ball for Callum Brittain, but the right-back's shot was palmed away by Lions keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, who was again alert when Callum Styles sneaked in behind defenders to squeeze in a strike at the near post.
Millwall worked their way into the game and Daniel Ballard might have done better with a half-volley that went straight into the gloves of Brad Collins, who had to go off moments later after going down holding his arm.
Moments later, substitute stopper Jack Walton was unable to handle his first big test as Jed Wallace's cross was turned home by McNamara.
Millwall continued where they left off after the break with McNamara sealing his brace with a 47th-minute close-range header, only for Barnsley to reply instantly when Palmer rifled a left-foot shot into the top corner.
Burke then finished off a goalmouth scramble following Ballard's header, before Afobe used his skill to add his name to the scoresheet with a neat finish from a tight angle.
Nottingham Forest vs Birmingham - Home win
Result - Nottingham Forest 2 Birmingham 0
Keinan Davis opened the scoring after five minutes, slotting the ball past Blues goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who was later stretchered off, from a tight angle.
Forest missed a string of chances to double their advantage, with Brennan Johnson and Joe Worrall off-target.
Forest wrapped the game up 11 minutes from time when Scott McKenna headed in a corner.
It was the perfect start for the hosts as Philip Zinckernagel won the ball to start a quick counter attack, finding Johnson, who fed Davis to allow the striker to power into the area and finish well.
The hosts kept the pressure on and Johnson sent a header over the bar from James Garner's corner after 20 minutes, before Worrall also fired over when following-up a Garner corner.
Birmingham finally tested Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba with two efforts in five minutes just after the half-hour mark with Kristian Pedersen and Taylor Richards both forcing him into smart saves.
Garner sent a curling shot narrowly wide of Etheridge's post shortly before half-time as Forest went into the break a goal up.
Forest came out in the second half with intent to put the game to bed early and Etheridge was forced into three saves, twice denying Davis his second and palming away Ryan Yates' long-distance effort.
There was a lengthy break in play shortly after the hour mark when Etheridge collided with Djed Spence and was carried off after lengthy treatment on the pitch.
Birmingham had struggled to deal with corners all afternoon and in the 79th minute McKenna held off his marker to head in a corner and seal the three points.
West Brom vs Stoke - Home win
Result - West Brom 1 Stoke 3
Boo! Totally wrong!
Jake Livermore's own goal put Stoke in front before Jacob Brown's thumping header doubled the lead on the hour.
Substitute Callum Robinson tapped in to give Albion hope and although Andy Carroll went close to levelling with a header, Lewis Baker sealed the points with a breakaway third in injury time.
Albion were off the pace for much of the match and Stoke fully deserved to take the lead from a Tommy Smith free-kick.
The ball was worked down the right and Livermore got the final touch as Baker fizzed a cross into the box.
Steven Fletcher saw his drive well saved by Sam Johnstone before Josh Tymon missed after a nice one-two with Mario Vrancic.
Albion's best moment of the half came when Jayson Molumby capitalised on some sloppy Stoke defensive play to put Carroll through and although his lob beat Jack Bonham, it also went over the bar.
The second half was delayed after an Albion fan in the stand behind the home dug-out needed medical treatment for a head injury and when play resumed, the pattern of the match continued as Stoke went further in front.
Another Smith free-kick caused problems as the Baggies defence was caught cold and Brown rose in between his markers to head home. That triggered an exodus from fans - who had booed the team off again at half-time - with nearly half an hour still to go.
The West Brom manager made a double change to try to inject some energy into his side and the move paid off when Robinson finished off a route-one move via Johnstone's goal-kick and Carroll's flick.
Carroll then saw a trademark header touched on to the bar by Bonham as the home side threatened a comeback but all hope was snuffed out in the seven minutes of injury time when Baker tucked home from a counter-attack after Albion were caught upfield.
Okay, not the best of weeks. Perhaps The Grambler can make amends this week. [I wouldn’t bet on it. Hang on, that’s the whole point, isn’t it. - Ed.] Let’s see what he/she/it has come up with...
There aren’t many games on today (Saturday) and they are all on at odd times, so I’ve added the times to our list of five games to keep you right. Actually, it’s more about keeping me right.
Game - Time - Result - Odds
Spurs vs Brighton - 12.30 - Home win - 11/20
Southampton vs Arsenal - 15.00 - Away win - 10/11
Rotherham vs Ipswich - 12.30 - Home win - 11/8
Wigan vs Cambridge - 17.15 - Home win - 4/11
MK Dons vs Sheffield Wed - 19.45 - Home win - 7/4
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
Too whopping for me, that is. Apologies to anyone who likes a wee flutter based on The Grambler's predictions.
Yay! How did you get on with the five teasers set last time? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in Stoke Newington in 1958 but moved to Ireland at te age of four. A defender, I began my senior career at Arsenal in 1975 and remained with the club for 18 years making 722 appearances, a club record. I ended my playing days at Leeds United who I later managed. I was capped 68 times for Republic of Ireland.
Answer - David O’Leary
2. Who is the only Swiss player have won more than one Champions League Medal?
Answer - Xherdan Shaqiri
3. Which Scottish team has the nickname ‘The Maroon Machine’?
Answer - Kelty Hearts
4. Which club plays at Gander Green Lane?
Answer - Sutton United
5. How many clubs with ‘port’ in their name have played in the English and Scottish Leagues?
Answer - Five (Portsmouth, Port Vale, Newport County, Southport and Port Glasgow Athletic)
What about five for this week?
1. Who am I?
I was born in Arguineguin, Spain in 1986. A midfielder, I began my senior career with Valencia in 2003, making 119 appearances before moving to Manchester City. Between 2010 and 2020, I made 309 appearances for the club, scoring 60 goals. In 2020, I moved to my current club, Real Sociedad. I was capped 125 times for Spain.
2. What winning statistic have Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Nottingham Forest and Leeds got in common?
3. Which English manager has steered the most clubs to promotion during his coaching career?
4. Which goalkeeper was sent off in a Champions League final?
5. Which two clubs are known by the nickname ‘The Valiants’?
There you have it; five teasers to test 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 János Halász who, as John Halas, together with his wife, Joy Batchelor, was a creator of animated films from 1940 until the early 1970s. It is one of their films which end this week’s edition of your favourite ill-informed blog.
Many of their films were government information shorts. Here’s a factoid for you. Did you know that Halas and Batchelor made the first film to have an X Certificate slapped on it by the British Board of Film Censors? Quite apt considering this week’s Story Time. What was this heinous film that was so dangerous and shocking that it was deemed unsuitable for youngsters to watch? A cartoon version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Seriously. Obviously, its political overtones were such that it was considered to be a bit too raw for certain individuals, especially those in the USSR and that, presumably was the reason for its restricted access; although I doubt if many kids would understand the hidden meaning. If you don’t know the story, it is an allegory (That’s a good word. Wonder what it means.) of 1917’s Russian Revolution and it painted those involved in an unfavourable light. It was made in 1954, within living memory of the revolution and only a year after Joseph Stalin (who is potrayed as Napoleon the pig, very much the bullying dictator) died. It is available on Ya Tyoob and is worth a watch.
That is not this week’s link, however. The one I have chosen is a short government sponsored film (i.e. propaganda) from 1949 explaining to the British public why fuel costs were rising... Sound familiar? Ladeez and genullum, here is Charley's Black Magic.
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.