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…
I am trapped, readers. I am and all. Trapped in my own home. Indeed, trapped in one room. Yep. I have finally succumbed to covid.
Don’t ask me where I copped it. I have no idea. I was in Err, the other week. Could it have been therr? I was at the hospital for an appointment; it might have been there. I visited a pal. Maybe there. I went out for a meal. Perhaps there. Who knows?
Anyway, I tested positive and Mrs G has decreed that I must isolate in the spare room. Not really a problem. I have my laptop and phone to hand should I want to compose this twaddle. There is no TV... so that’s a blessing. [It would have been more of a blessing if you hadn’t got your laptop... For us. - Ed.]
Luckily, I have lots of reading material at my disposal because I am in a bedroom which has a bookcase full of erm... books. So many to choose from. Now, what will I pick to cheer me up a bit?
I could go all high-faluting and read about the history of the Glasgow Royal infirmary. Hmm... it might give a history of pandemics. Perhaps not.
I've got a few other history-related tomes... The Endurance, the story of Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated attempt to reach the South Pole. Maybe not. Auschwitz - The Residence of Death? Definitely not.
I could opt for one of my many books on motoring. As a bit of a petrolhead, I've amassed a good few over the years. The problem there is that I have read them all at least once.
What about a book on industrial design? It's a topic that has always interested me so I've got a few of those.
[What is this? A tour of your personal library? - Ed.]
Ahem. I could always go for something relating to English grammar. I do try and write these articles using proper sentence type things and words and stuff, so I have a few text books to help me out.
Biographies? I've got a few of those too. I've not read Jack Dee's autobiography yet. I could give that a go. [That sounds good. Who wrote it? - Ed.]
What about a classic novel? I could re-read something by Dickens. [Ooh, I like him. Him with the orange face. Dicken's Real Deal. Him. - Ed.] Jeezo! Dickens! Charles Dickens. Mind you, the endings of many of his stories were rubbish.
Here follows a short history as to why the conclusions to most of his books were unsatisfactory. It is generally agreed that the stories were not written as books. Sorry pardon excuse me? They were written as weekly or monthly serials, much the way a soap opera is presented these days. There will never be a conclusion to Coronation Street or Eastenders [More’s the pity. - Ed.] because they were never conceived as complete stories. Ditto much of Dickens’ work. Pickwick Papers, his first published novel was originally a monthly serial which was published in 1836-7. It really is just a collection of short tales involving the eponymous character which were simply gathered together with an additional section to bring his escapades to a satisfactory or unsatisfactory, depending on your viewpoint, completion.
Most of his books suffer from the same problem of having an ending tacked on. My view is that the results are pretty poor. Oliver Twist? Spoiler alert... How fortuitous that an old gentlemen appears at the end who just happens to be his wealthy grandfather. Great Expectations? It wasn’t the old mad woman that was funding Pip’s education as he always suspected, but the escaped convict last seen in chapter one. We never saw that one coming... mainly because it made no sense whatsoever.
The only well-known work of Dickens that stands up as a decent story with a sensible ending is A Christmas Carol. The reason for that is simple. It was written as a one-off, complete novella.
It must sound as if I don’t like his novels, but I really do. Charles Dickens, in my view, was a great story teller who had a flair for describing the austerity and filthy squalour of Victorian city life so vividly. He wrote about the slums and poverty that he saw around him. His stories were fictional and some of the character names were just bonkers, but the settings were very much factual.
Obviously, A Tale of Two Cities doesn’t count. I don’t think Dickens was around for the French Revolution.
Anyway, Back to the plot; what am I going to read? Something classy, something educational, something to challenge the brain cells...
Ooh! What’s this? Viz. I’d forgotten I had them. Perfect. Now, what's it to be, The Dog's Bollocks or The Camel's Toe?
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 23rd of April? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Malcolm IV 1141 - The not-too-well-known king. Reigned from 1153 til his death in 1165. Known as Malcolm the Maiden. I’ve no idea why. Perhaps he was a few centuries ahead of the current fad for gender fluidity.
William Shakespeare 1564 (Possibly. His exact date of birth is unknown but is generally accepted to be April 23rd) - The well-known playwright.
J.M.W. Turner 1775 - The well-known painter. Very reasonable rates.
James Hayter 1907 - Actor. He did the voiceover for some exceedingly good adverts.
Ronald Neame 1911 - Film producer, director, cinematographer and screenwriter.
Gerald Campion 1931 - Actor. Billy Bunter in Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School. He was 29 when he began playing the schoolboy and was pushing 40 when the last programme was made.
Jack May 1922 - Actor. Nelson Gabriel in The Archers. He probably knew...
Norman Painting 1924 - Actor. Phil Archer in The Archers.
Brenda Cowling 1925 - Actress. Jane in Potter.
Bill Cotton 1928 - TV producer. Son of bandleader, Billy.
Ed Stewart 1941 - DJ.
Sheila Gish 1942 - Actress. Princess Betsy in Anna Karenina.
David Huish 1944 - Golfy bloke.
Will Knightley 1946 - Actor. Pathologist in Cracker. Keira’s dad.
Glenn Cornick 1947 - Musician. Bass player with Jethro Tull. Have a clip. Here’s Bouree. Nice miming lads.
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey 1947 - Politician.
Derek Lord 1947 - Actor. Davie Sneddon in High Road.
David Cross 1949 - Musician. One-time violinist with King Crimson. Have a clip. Here’s Exiles.
Tessa Wyatt 1948 - Actress. Vicky Tripp nee Nicholls in Robin’s Nest.
John Miles 1949 - Musician. A clip? Why not. Here’s Highfly.
Mike Smith 1955 - DJ.
Rob Dean 1955 - Musician. Guitarist with Japan. A clip? I thought you’d never ask. Here’s Quiet Life.
Steve Clark 1960 - Musician. One-time guitarist with Def Leppard. Have a clip. Here’s Love Bites.
John Hannah 1962 - Actor. Batiatus in Spartacus.
Wil Johnson 1965 - Actor. Old Reg in The Larkins.
Ricky Groves 1968 - Actor. Garry Hobbs in Eastenders.
Verona Joseph 1974 - Jess Griffin/Kilburn in Holby City.
Darren Huckerby 1976 - Footy bloke.
Sally Bretton 1980 - Actress. Lucy in Not Going Out.
Taio Cruz 1981 - Singer/songwriter. Had a few hits. Here’s one that topped the charts, Dynamite.
Gemma Whelan 1981 - Actress. Kate in Upstart Crow.
Andy Webster 1982 - Fitba guy.
Dev Patel 1990 - Actor. David Copperfield in The Personal History of David Copperfield.
Charlie Rowe 1996 - Actor. Ray Williams in Rocketman.
Prince Louis 2018 - The well-known prince. [Is he the one from The Jungle Book? Oo be doo, I wanna be like you oo oo... - Ed.] No.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear (the late) Glenn Gramblick,
We did enjoy that Bouree tune where you played the bass so well. Could you answer a question for us? What was Jethro Tull’s highest charting single?
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last time? Not very well. In fact, it was rubbish. Not a penny back What happened? Read on.
Spurs vs Brighton - Home win
Result - Spurs 0 Brighton 1
Following a game of few clear-cut chances, Leandro Trossard swerved into the Spurs area in the final minute of normal time before producing a fine finish past Hugo Lloris.
Steven Bergwijn then missed a chance to equalise at the start of stoppage time - one of the home side's rare opportunities.
Southampton vs Arsenal - Away win
Result - Southampton 1 Arsenal 0
Jan Bednarek scored the game's only goal late in the first half after the visitors had failed to adequately deal with a Saints corner.
Bukayo Saka was denied from point-blank range by Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster with the score still goalless, but further clear-cut openings proved hard to come by for Arsenal until the closing stages of the second half.
Emile Smith Rowe forced another fine save out of Forster after latching on to Yan Valery's attempted clearance, before Martin Odegaard dragged a left-footed shot wide of the near post after cutting in from the right.
Forster produced yet another impressive stop to deny Granit Xhaka late on as Arsenal desperately piled forward in search of an equaliser.
Rotherham vs Ipswich - Home win
Result - Rotherham 1 Ipswich 0
The home side nearly went ahead when Rarmani Edmonds-Green's ball was almost touched in by Jamie Lindsay.
Ipswich responded and defender Luke Woolfenden led a counter-attack himself and almost carved out the opener when his cross fell to Wes Burns whose effort was tipped over by Viktor Johansson.
Michael Smith was then denied by Christian Walton after rising highest from Dan Barlaser's corner as both sides continue to push for the breakthrough.
It eventually arrived in the 78th minute when a long ball eventually fell kindly to Smith who curled it in to secure three points.
Wigan vs Cambridge - Home win
Result - Wigan 1 Cambridge 2
Cambridge dominated early on, with Lloyd Jones heading into the side netting from a corner, before Joe Ironside's header across goal caused panic in the penalty area.
Cambridge eventually found the breakthrough when Ironside was unselfish in laying off Harvey Knibbs, who took the ball down, ignored the presence of battling defenders and slotted into the net.
Adam May's shot from distance was smartly kept out by Wigan goalkeeper Ben Amos, but the warning signs were ignored as Sam Smith raced into the penalty area to head in James Brophy's dinked cross.
Just as in the first half, the hosts struggled to create clear chances after the break until Tom Naylor gave his side a lift by powering in a header.
With the game stretched in a frantic final few minutes, Cambridge defender George Williams missed the opportunity to seal the three points when getting his head to a cross at the near post.
That nearly cost his team, as Wigan substitute Tom Pearce sliced an effort over the bar, before Will Keane was expertly denied by a close-range save from keeper Dimitar Mitov in added time, with the Bulgarian pushing away the rebound just as Josh Magennis closed in.
MK Dons vs Sheffield Wed - Home win
Result - MK Dons 2 Sheffield 3
The Owls scored three goals in the first half hour from Saido Berahino, Lee Gregory and an outrageous 45-yard lob from Barry Bannan.
Troy Parrott pulled one back before Scott Twine curled in a beauty six minutes into added time.
But, although there were still six minutes more of stoppage time, Dons could not find an equaliser.
Because this week’s edition is a bit late, The Grambler is having a week off predicting. He/she/it will be back next time after his/her/its well earned rest.
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 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.
Answer - David Silva
2. What winning statistic have Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Nottingham Forest and Leeds got in common?
Answer - They all won League titles in their first year of being promoted.
3. Which English manager has steered the most clubs to promotion during his coaching career?
Answer - Neil Warnock with 8 clubs. Scarborough, Notts County (twice), Huddersfield, Plymouth, Sheffield Utd. and Cardiff.
4. Which goalkeeper was sent off in a Champions League final?
Answer - Jens Lehmann
5. Which two clubs are known by the nickname ‘The Valiants’?
Answer - Charlton Athletic and Port Vale
What about five for this week? Here goes...
1. Who am I?
I was born in Llandudno in 1958. A goalkeeper, I began my senior career at Llandudno Town, but the bulk of my playing career was at Everton; I was there from 1981 to 1998 and hold the record of having the most first-team appearances for the club. I was capped for Wales 92 times.
2. Harry Rednapp is the uncle of which football manager?
3. Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Jermain Defoe, Dimitar Berbatov and Sergio Aguero share what Premier League record?
4. Which player has made the most Champions League appearances?
5. Which club has the motto Arte et labore (which means by art and by labour) on its crest?
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 M. Baynton who (in a mean impression of Morrissey) gives us a brief outline of the life of this week’s Story
Time guest, Charles Dickens. It’s another clip from Horrible Histories, I’m afraid, but it’s too good to be wasted on kids. You’ll enjoy this. You will. Take it away
Heaven knows I’m Charles Dickens now.
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.