Saturday 11 June 2022

Post 450 - A jubilee gramble... sort of


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 .

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.

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


Story time...

I've not done an anniversary special for a while, so do you fancy a (g)ramble through the history books? No? Tough, that's what you're getting.

Well, I thought it would be apt since we have recently been celebrating Betty being on the throne for 70 years. Huzzah! Well done your majesty! Well done for staying alive for such a long time. I absolutely went to town by celebrating the big event with absolute and complete indifference. In fact, I did go to town, literally, rather than sit and watch all the piffle that was shown on TV. What was all that nonsense with her talking to an imaginary bear and keeping sandwiches in her handbag? Think she’s lost it.

Or has she? Was it any coincidence that Paddington Bear was voiced by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Ukrainian language version of the Paddington films? I don’t think so. By sharing Paddington’s love of marmalade sandwiches, was Liz telling Mr Putin that the Brits were very much on the side of Ukraine? Hmm? Or is she just plain batty?  Discuss.

I'm not sure why June the 5th was chosen as the date for the big celebration as she became Queen on the 6th of February. Too cold for street parties then, perhaps.

She may be the longest reigning British monarch but she has to keep breathing for another couple of years if she wants to wrest the title as world's longest reigner (I think I have just made that word up.) from Louis XIV of France. He was king for over 72 years. Mind you, he was only four when he assumed the title.

Incidentally, if she hangs around for another few days, she will become the world's second longest reigning monarch when she overtakes Rama IX of Thailand.

Next we have a sad anniversary from 100 years ago. Ernest Shackleton snuffed it in 1922.

As so often happens with British heroes, we celebrated Shackleton not for being a winner, but for being a didn't-quite-make-it-er. He didn't quite make it to the South Pole in the same way that Robert Scott did(n't). The same way that George Mallory didn't quite climb Mount Everest.  Or The Who who never quite got a number one single.

What Shackleton did manage was to get every member of his South Pole expedition home safely.

Unfortunately, the expedition began in 1914 and ended in 1916 when the Great War was at its height. Having endured two years of fighting their way through, and surviving, Antarctica, many of the crew were immediately called up to fight and were sent to the trenches. Most didn't return.

On a cheerier note, 150 years ago, the first F.A. Cup Final took place. It was between Wanderers and Royal Engineers. Wanderers won with the only goal of the match.

Actually, they only got to the final by default. In the semi-final, they drew with Queen's Park who had to withdraw from the competition because they couldn't afford the train fare from Glasgow to London.

Changed days. Now, they could all travel in their chauffeur driven cars.. oh, hang on, they couldn't, Queen's Park are still an amateur club.

1872 also saw the first election of an MP by secret ballot. Wait a mo. Secret? I don't think so. Even now, every ballot paper has a number on it which tallies with the voter's name. What's secret about that?

Did you know that 2022 is the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world? Well the first recorded one, anyway. [Did you care? - Ed.] It was led by Ferdinand Magellan who, a bit like Scott and Shackleton, didn't actually complete the circumnavigation having been killed by Mactan warriors when they didn't want to convert to Christianity. The expedition had made several stops at islands on the journey and had usually managed to persuade locals to convert by giving them a quick demonstration of the fleet's weaponry.

Five ships with 270 men on board left Spain in September 1519. Only 18 men on board one ship (captained by Juan Sebastian Elcano, who really should get the plaudits and not the Magellan bloke) returned to Spain after the three year voyage. Quite the success, then.

It is also 100 years since Howard Carter unearthed the tomb of Tutankhamen and started what became known as the curse of Tutankhamen. Ten suspicious deaths among those that were involved in the find? A curse, obviously. What else could it be. The first casualty occurred on the day of discovery; Carter's pet canary got eaten by a cobra. That’s not a curse; that’s someone feeding a canary to a snake.

It is 60 years ago that Ursula Andress walked out of the sea wearing a bikini. You remember it, don’t you? James Bond could hardly contain himself. So began the longest series of films based on a single character, although, like Doctor Who (or Doctor Oho as those of us of a certain age remember it) he keeps changing his appearance. Clever, that.

Another anniversary from 60 years ago ends our little wander down memory lane. Four Liverpudlian musicians decided that, being a decent enough combo, they could do better than being Tony Sheridan’s* backing band. Who would have thought that it would be the beginning of seven years of them being the dominant force in music throughout the western world? The first song that charted for them back in 1962, while being pleasant enough, certainly didn’t suggest that happening. What was that song? Something about a pigeon fancier... Love me do.

Let's end with a joke.  Paul McCartney walking along the road when he hears a faint cry... 

'Oi! Watch it mate!'  

Paul looks down and sees that the source of the cry was a small beetle.  'Wow!  A talking beetle!  That's amazing.  Do you know, I once named a band after you?'

'What?  Eric?'

Boom and indeed tish.

*See birthday honours.




Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Since The Grambler hasn’t posted anything for a few weeks, let’s just concentrate on the musical birthdays. All right with that? [No. - Ed.] As I stated earlier... tough.

Were any famous or not so well-known (musical) individuals born on the 21st of May? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Terry Lightfoot 1935 - Musician who formed his own ‘trad jazz’ band in 1955. Here is a hit from 1961, King Kong.

Tony Sheridan 1940 - Singer/songwriter. He worked with The Beatles before they were famous. Here’s My Bonnie.  I’ll bet they’re glad they got shot of him. Ye gods!

Martin Carthy 1941 - Folkie. Here he is ably assisted by the lovely Dave Swarbrick on The Two Magicians.

Hilton Valentine 1943 - Original guitarist with The Animals. Let’s have a bit of that ol’ house in New Orleans. Not bad; not a guitar lead in sight.

Vincent Crane 1943 - Keyboard player for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. He also co-wrote this, their only hit, Fire.  I think Alice Cooper may have watched that and thought, hang on...

Leo Sayer 1948 - Singer. What hit toon shall we have? How about this one, Moonlighting.

Cheer up Leo

And now, 28th of May...

Lew Stone 1898 - Bandleader. Here is White Jazz.  That title would probably be considered racist nowadays.

Stephen Harrington aka Steve Strange 1959 - Musician. He was the leader of Visage who had one big hit, Fade to Grey.

Roland Gift 1961 - A fine young cannibal if ever there was one. Let’s have a clip. Here’s Johnny Come Home.

Gavin Harrison 1963 - Drummer with Porcupine Tree, a progressive rock band formed in 1987. 1987? Crikey, time flies.

Kylie Minogue 1968 - Actress and rather successful singer. Here’s a song I just can’t get out of my head.

Mark Richardson 1970 - Currently the drummer with Skunk Anansie, but has also been the stick wielder with Feeder and Little Angels. Here’s that band’s best-performing single, Womankind.

Jimi Goodwin 1970 - Main man in Doves. That’s the band, not the bird. Or the soap, for that matter. Any road up, here’s the band’s number 3 hit, There Goes The Fear.

General Levy 1971 - Ragga deejay. Remember M-Beat? No? Had a hit with Incredible. No? Well, here it is.

Let’s move on quickly to those born on the 4th of June...

Roger Ball 1944 - Musician. Founder-member of Average White Band. He penned the big one.  He got the idea when he went to his nearest Greggs to Pick Up The Pieces.  That joke is probably lost outside of Scotland.

Gordon Waller 1945 - Singer. Half of Peter & Gordon. [Which one was he? - Ed.] Ahem... Let’s have a clip. Here’s a 2005 live version of Nobody I Know.

John Perry 1952 - Musician. He was the guitarist with The Only Ones. Here is their biggest hit, Another Girl, Another Planet.  That has a real 1990s feel to it, but was actually recorded in 1978.

Jimmy McCulloch 1953 - Guitarist. Played in various bands in his all-too-short career (He died aged just 26.) including Stone the Crows, Thunderclap Newman and Wings. He was a friend of The Who and played on solo albums by John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey. Here he is playing alongside Peter Frampton on John Entwistle’s Apron Strings.  Fancy him wearing a pinny!

Mikey Dread 1954 - Singer, producer and broadcaster. Here he wants to break down the walls.

Chris Kavanagh 1964 - Drummer, notably with Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Big Audio Dynamite II. Here is Big Audio Dynamite with Rush.

Ralph Salmins 1964 - Another drummer. He is currently the bongo basher with The Waterboys. Here is the band’s latest single, Here We Go Again.

Tony McCarroll 1971 - Yet another drummer. He was the original stick man for Oasis. Another clip? Why, soitenly. Here is Shakermaker. aka I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.

Scott Hammond 1973 - Would you Adam and Eve it, another drummer. June the 4th is obviously the day for drummers. Hammond has worked with Ian Anderson since 2010 and that gives me an excuse to give you a Jethro Tull track. Yay! Here’s The Zealot Gene.

Julian Marley 1975 - Musician. Son of Bob. Here is Lion In The Morning.

And finally, the 11th of June...

Alexander Faris 1921 - Composer. Here’s a toon you might recognise. That was Sandy doing the conducting.

Lynsey de Paul 1948 - Singer/songwriter. Here’s her first hit which sounds a bit messy, Sugar Me. That kid in the multi-coloured shirt has got absolutely no rhythm.

Graham Russell 1950 - Musician. A bit of that band of balladeers, Air Supply. Here’s an early (1976) toon called Love and Other Bruises.

Costadinos Contostavlos 1987 - Who? Better known as Dappy, singer with N-Dubz. Famous for his unusual headwear, known as dappy hats. [What came first, the Dappy or the hat? - Ed.] Don’t know. Don’t care. Have a clip. Here’s I Need You.

Jorja Smith 1997 - Singer. Here is her Teenage Fantasy.














I’ve received a letter...

Dear Gramblie Minogue,

We have been fans of yours ever since we first saw you wield a spanner in Neighbours. Even before you got married to Jason Donovan. Talking of Jason, didn’t you two have a number one record together? What was it called?

Yours searchingly,

S. Pesha, Lee Fore-Yew.





Gramble time...

How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last time? Well, we didn’t win. Period. What happened? Read on...

Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace - Home win

Result - Aston Villa 1 Crystal Palace 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Leeds vs Brighton - Away win

Result - Leeds 1 Brighton 1

Ooh! ’It the bar! Again!

Watford vs Leicester - Away win

Result - Watford 1 Leicester 5


West Ham vs Manchester City - Away win

Result - West Ham 2 Man City 2

Ooh! ’It the bar! Once again!

Wolves vs Norwich - Home win

Result - Wolves 1 Norwich 1

I don’t believe it!

Who’d have thunk it? Four out of five were draws. Rubbish or what!

Any road up, this being a weekend of international matches in the UEFA Nations League, shall we have a bet on some of those? Yes, Let’s. All matches take place on Saturday the 11th of June at 7.45pm. So, let’s have a look at The Grambler’s random predictions.

Game - Result - Odds

England vs Italy - England to win - 17/20

Luxembourg vs Turkey - Turkey to win - 9/20

Netherlands vs Poland - Netherlands to win - 4/11

Romania vs Finland - Romania to win - 6/5

Wales vs Belgium - Belgium to win - 4/5

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


Whopping? Don’t think so.





Teaser time...

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 La Louviere, Belgium in 1991. I made my senior debut with Lille in 2007. In 2012 I moved to Chelsea. I played 245 times and was named as Chelsea’s player of the year on four occasions. I was signed by Real Madrid in 2019. I have been capped 116 times.

Answer - Eden Hazard

2. Which Belgian has scored the most international goals (It’s not the guy in question one.)

Answer - Romelu Lukaku

3. Who is currently the longest-serving manager in the Premier League?

Answer - Jurgen Klopp

4. Liverpool won the League and FA Cups this year; which other teams have achieved the cup ‘double’?

Answer - Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea

5. Which club plays at Brunton Park?

Answer - Carlisle United

Let’s have five for this week...

1. Who am I?
I was born in Tocopilla, Chile in 1988. I am a forward with Inter Milan but have had spells at Udinese, Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United. I have been capped for Chile 148 times and am the highest goalscorer for the Chilean national side having scored 48 times.

2. Which Polish player has scored the most international goals?

3. Which club is managed by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink?

4. Which club plays at Gresty Road?

5. A daft one to finish. Name the nine clubs in the English and Scottish senior leagues with parts of the body in their names. Arsenal doesn’t count, nor do either of the Bristols and definitely not the team which is about to be relegated to the National League.

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




Please, take a few minutes to watch an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

Click on this link: 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...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. N. Evans who was born on the 11th June 1901. Who, I hear you ask. Norman Evans was the inspiration for Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough’s Cissie and Ada sketches. To finish this week, take a look at one of Evans' most famous creations, Fanny Fairbottom in 'Over the Garden Wall'.





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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