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 The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside (cancerresearchuk.org).
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 read a story last week about a lady who smashed a piece of art worth £42,000. Or was it dollars? I think it might have been dollars. Whatever currency you choose, it was a lot of dosh. She didn’t deliberately smash it; she was at a gallery where it was being exhibited and ‘tapped’ it. It must have been quite a tap, because the thing fell off its pedestal. It was a piece by Jeff Koons so, apparently, that made it worth that vast sum. The piece in question? A ceramic ornament which was exactly the same as a dog made out of balloons. Maybe she thought it was a balloon mutt and thought it would bounce. My first question is, why did anyone think that a ceramic ornament which looked exactly like a balloon animal was worth making? My second question is, why does that count as art? The only unusual thing about it was the fact that is was made out of the wrong material. Or am I just a Philistine? Answers on a postcard, please.
That unfortunate matter brings me neatly to this week’s topic. When is art art? Or why does something count as art? My favourite ‘artist’ is known as Banksy. Or, depending on your point of view, my favourite grafitti artist/wall defacer is Banksy. Somebody, somewhere must know his identity. There was a news item last year of Neil Buchanan denying that he was the mysterious Banksy. Hmm... isn’t that just what Banksy would say?
Any road up, this brings me to Banksy's latest work of art. He had found a bit of wall somewhere in Margate which had a freezer dumped next to it. He incorporated the freezer into the work which showed a battered housewife (with black eye and a tooth missing) pushing someone (presumably the, now dead, husband who had given her the injuries) into the freezer.
The piece was revealed to the world on February the 14th and was entitled St. Valentine's Day Mascara, after the famous Chicago gangland killing of seven rival mobsters that took place on St. Val’s day back in 1929 which was immediately dubbed The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Unfortunately, you had to be quick to see and understand Banksy’s joke, because some council jobsworth decided that the said freezer, which had apparently been lying there for some weeks, should (suddenly) be disposed of immediately. Some of the nearby householders protested and tried to stop the man sent by the council from removing an important part of this artwork, but he was having none of it; he'd been told to get of it and get rid of it he did.
Isn't that rubbish? [The freezer was, anyway. - Ed.] As I have said, Banksy is my favourite artist so naturally I'm biased but, to me, that really is an act of vandalism; a deliberate attempt to spoil a worthy piece of art. At least it was something original and not just a representation of something that any children’s entertainer produces from a single balloon where a few deft twists accompanied by a horrible squeaky noise can produce a dog (or a giraffe, depending on the proportions) in seconds.
Art? Give me Banksy’s originality any day of the week... anyone near Margate got a chest freezer they don’t want?
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 18th of February? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Mary I 1516 - The well-known queen. The one with the drink named after her.
Harry Brearley 1871 - Metallurgist. Invented rustless (stainless) steel.
Mervyn Johns 1899 - Actor isn’t it. Bob Cratchit in Scrooge (1951). See, well... listen to, this week's concluding link.
John Barrett 1910 - Actor. Smellie Ibbotson in The Dustbinmen. 160 credits on IMDb.
Phyllis Calvert 1915 - Actress. Christine in Mandy (No doubt pronounced Mendy.)
Wallas Eaton 1917 - Actor. Arthur Crispin in Hugh and I. Ask your granny.
Russell Hunter 1925 - Actor. Lonely in Callan.
Len Deighton 1929 - Orfer.
Ned Sherrin 1931 - Writer and broadcaster.
Mary Ure 1933 - Actress. Mary Ellison in Where Eagles Dare.
Bobby Robson 1933 - Foo’y blurk.
Yoko Ono 1933 - Mrs Lennon.
Geraldine Newman 1934 - Actress. Hilda Hughes in Ever Decreasing Circles.
Susan Travers 1939 - Actress. Arlette in Van der Valk... the 1972 one with the decent theme tune.
Prue Leith 1940 - Cook.
Graeme Garden 1943 - Comedian and writer.
Anthony Jackson 1944 - Actor. Trevor Lewis in Bless This House. Ask your mum.
Henry Newton 1944 - Footy bloke.
Michael Buerk 1946 - Journalist and newsreader.
Brian James 1955 - Musician. Founding member of The Damned. A clip? Why not. Here’s Neat neat neat.
Rob Andrew 1963 - Rugby bloke.
Paul Hanley 1964 - Musician. Drummer with The Fall. A clip? Are you sure? Okay, if you must. Here’s The Man Whose Head Expanded.
Colin Jackson 1967 - Mabolgampwr.
Tommy Scott 1968 - Front man of 90s indie band Space. Have a clip. Here’s Female of the Species.
Jez and Andy Williams 1970 - Musicians. Twin brothers who are both members of the trio known as Doves. Another clip? Of course. Here’s There Goes the Fear.
Gary Neville 1975 - Footy bloke.
Tom Bellamy 1980 - Musician. He was a member of The Cooper Temple Clause. Would you like a clip? Of course you would. Here’s Promises Promises.
Ivan Sproule 1981 - Foody blook.
Steven Hammell 1982 - Fitba guy. Probably had a very unhappy birthday as he lost his job as Motherwell manager a few days before.
Jermaine Jenas 1983 - Footy bloke.
Kal Naismith 1992 - Fitba guy.
Now then, what about the 25th of February?
Jean Armour 1765 - Robert Burns’ good lady... well, one of many, apparently.
Myra Hess 1890 - Pianist. Have a clip. Here’s Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. Wee bit cult'yer fur yeez therr.
Zeppo Marx 1901 - The Marx Brothers’ straight man. Did you know he invented the Fitbit? No? Well, he didn’t really, but he patented a wristwatch that monitored the pulse rate and sounded an alarm if the heartbeat became irregular.
Rita Webb 1904 - Jobbing actress specialising in comedy roles appearing in 29 episodes of The Arthur Haynes Show.
Jim Backus 1913 - Actor and screenwriter. He was the voice of Mr Magoo.
Gert Frobe 1913 - Actor. Goldfinger in Goldfinger.
Anthony Burgess 1917 - Orfer.
Bobby Riggs 1918 - Tennisy bloke.
Larry Gelbart 1928 - Author and screenwriter. Producer of M*A*S*H television series.
Wendy Beckett 1930 - Nun/art critic.
Tony Brooks 1932 - Racey car bloke.
Faron Young 1932 - Singer. A clip? Here’s It's Four in the Morning. [It’s four whats in the morning? - Ed.]
Tom Courteney 1937 - Actor. Colin Smith in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.
Herb Elliott 1938 - Runny bloke.
Farokh Engineer 1938 - Crickety bloke.
David Puttnam 1941 - Film producer.
George Harrison 1943 - Musician. Have a clip. Here’s a Beatles' toon written by George, Taxman.
François Cevert 1943 - Pilote de course.
Don Quarrie 1951 - Runny bloke.
Ed Balls 1967 - Politician.
Dominic Raab 1974 - Politician.
Park Ji-Sung 1981 - 축구 선수
How did our bet with Bradlokes fare? We won. Only kidding. We got 58 pees back from our £2.20 stake. I don’t think we can call that a win. What happened? Read on...
Fulham vs Nottingham Forest - Home win
Result - Fulham 2 Nottingham Forest 0
A magnificent curling finish from former Chelsea and Arsenal winger Willian broke the deadlock in the first half, before Aleksandar Mitrovic, Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Andreas Pereira all went close to doubling the hosts' advantage.
Willian and Pereira were also both denied by the frame of the goal not long after the restart, but Forest - who lost centre-backs Willy Boly and Scott McKenna to early injuries - improved as the second half wore on.
Substitutes Jonjo Shelvey and Emmanuel Dennis almost combined to bring the visitors back on level terms, but the latter sent his header straight at Bernd Leno before Manor Solomon struck late on with a confident finish.
Burnley vs Preston North End - Home win
Result - Burnley 3 Preston North End 0
Nathan Tella's hat-trick saw Burnley crush Lancashire rivals Preston North End.
Tella headed in to reward early home pressure. Tella's next goal followed 10 minutes after the break, the midfielder showing quick feet on the edge of the box to make room and fire in.
His third arrived just three minutes later, with him running onto a long ball forward to blast the ball home and seal the win.
Charlton vs Fleetwood - Home win
Result - Charlton 1 Fleetwood 2
The visitors made light of losing captain Danny Andrew through injury after just 10 minutes to take the lead when his replacement Shaun Rooney struck a fine half-volley just before the half-hour.
Charlton’s Jes Rak-Sakyi kept his balance superbly to curl home the equaliser.
Harrison Holgate headed in from close range to restore Fleetwood's lead, after which Charlton's finishing was woeful.
Their task was not helped in the 79th minute when Ryan Inniss was sent off for deciding to hack down Cian Hayes as the Fleetwood substitute raced clear.
The 10-man hosts could not find an equaliser despite 12 minutes of stoppage time added on for a succession of injuries.
Cheltenham vs Accrington - Home win
Result - Cheltenham 0 Accrington 0
Ooh! ’It the bar!
A superb save in each half from Lukas Jensen earned Accrington a 0-0 draw at Cheltenham.
He denied Taylor Perry with a save low to his right after a slick attacking move in the 11th minute as the home side made the stronger start.
Jensen made an even better stop to keep out Liam Sercombe's effort in the 57th minute.
Cheltenham's Alfie May wasted a clear opportunity to break the deadlock early in the second half as he miscued wide with the goal gaping after Aidan Keena's pull-back.
Accrington's only chance of note fell to Sean McConville, who saw his volley blocked by Luke Southwood after Rosaire Longelo's low delivery from the right just before half-time.
May forced Jensen into evasive action again 10 minutes before the end but once again the goalkeeper was equal to it and Sercombe volleyed wide late on.
Wycombe vs Derby County - Away win
Result - Wycombe 3 Derby County 2
Lewis Wing scored a second-half brace as Wycombe secured a thrilling 3-2 win.
A 10th-minute Sam Vokes volley opened the scoring, before a close-range James Collins reply drew the visitors level.
Wing's second-half double saw Wycombe move two goals ahead and - although a late Lewis Dobbin goal threatened a further twist - the Chairboys held on.
A counterattack ended at the feet of Brandon Hanlan, whose deflected shot looped into the air, with Vokes side-footing the ball home.
The second half saw the Rams equalise through Collins, who converted David McGoldrick's cross into the roof of the net before a late flurry of goals.
Only level for 10 minutes, a corner routine saw Wing's goalbound shot deflect into the net before substitute Tjay De Barr set up the midfielder for his second, four minutes from time.
That was last time, what about this week? What has The Grambler randomly selected for us?
Game - Result - Odds
West Ham vs Nottingham Forest - Home win - 8/11
Norwich vs Cardiff - Home win - 8/11
Sheffield Utd vs Watford - Home win - 19/20
Fleetwood vs Morecambe - Home win - 4/5
Portsmouth vs Cheltenham - Home 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
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 Stirling in 1942. I was known as a tenacious and hard-tackling midfielder despite being only 5’ 5” tall. My senior career began at Leeds United in 1960 and I stayed with them until 1976, making 587 appearances. I was captain from 1965 onwards. I was capped for Scotland 54 times.
Answer - Billy Bremner
2. Which Premier League manager was sacked last week?
Answer - Jesse Marsch (Leeds United)
3. And which former Premier League manager returned?
Answer - Sean Dyche (Everton)
4. The answer to question one did not play the most games while he was at Leeds United; who holds the record for the most appearances?
Answer - Jack Charlton (629)
5. Alan Shearer holds the record of the most Premier League goals scored, but who has scored the most P.L. goals for a single club?
Answer - Harry Kane (200 and counting)
Righty ho, let’s have five for this week.
1. Who am I?
I was born in Spain in 1989. A defender, I began my senior career at Osasuna before moving to Marseille. I moved to my current club, Chelsea, in 2012. I have been capped for my country 44 times.
2. Who was the last English manager of a UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League winning side?
3. Who was the only German to play Premier League football with Manchester United?
4. Who has coached Coventry City, Southampton, Celtic, Middlesbrough and Scotland?
5. Which club has the nickname The Honest Men?
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 (the already mentioned) Never Too Young | Bowel Cancer UK
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; it is now sitting at...
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to various comedians who, in 2003, took part in this week's closing link, a Christmas edition of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. Why did I choose this? Because it features birthday celebrant, Graham Garden, that’s why. Hopefully, you will enjoy it, even if you aren’t an avid ISIHAC fan. Okay, I’m a couple of months... and 19 years... late, but who cares. We all need a good laugh now and again, so ladeez and genullum I give you I'm Sorry I Haven't a Christmas Carol.
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.