Friday 9 June 2023

Post 479 Grambling back in style

 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 (

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


Your letters...


I have noticed that there is a striking resemblance Casemiro, the well-known Manchester United midfielder, and a capybara. They both come from Brazil. Are they in any way related?

Ken Furlow.


Story time...

Earworm - (noun) An irritatingly catchy tune.

You know the feeling, don’t you? You are driving along in your car and a catchy song is playing and you start humming or whistling along to it. Later in the same day, you are still humming/whistling the same annoying song because you can’t get the damned thing out of your head. That is an earworm.

But have you ever had a long-term earworm? A tune that you enjoy hearing and you want to find out what it is, but don’t know who to ask. It can take weeks, months or even years before you find out. Let me explain by giving you some examples of when this has happened to me and, in doing so, give my reason for this week’s topic.

Many, many, many years ago when I was but a whippersnapper, I was walking through my local branch of Boots the chemist. Back then, surprisingly, Boots sold records. This particular store often had music from a newly released record playing. Usually, the songs played were instantly recognisable; an album track from Slade, or ELO or Status Quo [You really are old, aren’t you? - Ed.], however, on one occasion, something a little bit different was being played and it was totally unrecognisable. It was an instrumental that seemed to be just played on a synthesiser and there was something about it that was almost hypnotic. After leaving the store, I couldn’t get this beautiful music out of my head. I was hooked. I just had to have it. I went back into the store on the next evening after finishing work and asked the assistant about the weird ethereal music that had been playing the day before. He knew exactly what I was talking about and told me it was by Tomato. Minutes later, I was the proud owner of the album Snowflakes are Dancing, subtitled The newest sound of Debussy, by Isao Tomita... so the shop assistant was close. It was the first time I had actually listened to Claude Debussy’s music and I have loved his work ever since that time. Here is the track that captured my imagination, Arabesque No. 1.

Incidentally, if any of you visited the Blackpool Tower aquarium back in the 1980s and 90s, you will recognise the piece immediately. Much of the album was played on a loop. It suited the environment admirably.

Right, that was an earworm that bugged me for a little more than 24 hours. The next one I refer to happened about the same time, but bugged me for a bit longer.

I had been watching the only serious music programme on the TV in those days, The Old Grey Whistle Test. Would you like to know the source of that title? There are several stories claiming to give the origin, but my favourite goes that the name was derived from the days of Tin Pan Alley, where records were written and recorded. Any new record would be played in the building with the windows open onto a lane that ran by the studios. There would be rough tramp types (old greys) living in the lane and if, after a play or two, they whistled the tune, it was said to have passed the test. Probably a load of old bollokins, but a good story all the same.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, watching TOGWT (as it became known). A brilliant track was being played. I recall a colourful animated film fitting the song perfectly. It was an immediate earworm for me. Again, it was an instrumental piece and, this time, I did know the artist: Pink Floyd. I decided to go to my local record shop (strangely, not Boots on this occasion) and buy the record. Obviously, it would be an album; no serious music afficionado bought singles. Pah! They were for kids. The shelves were stacked with Pink Floyd’s latest album. Oh, I see, the only reason that track had been on Whistle Test was to increase sales. Smart. And so, a couple of pound notes were exchanged for a copy of Dark Side of the Moon. Factoid: Did you know that it is the seventh biggest-selling album of all time? Oh, you did. Never mind, then.

Any road up, I took this album home and placed it on my Dansette record player [You’re even older than I thought. - Ed.] and listened for the brilliant tune I had heard just a few nights earlier. Guess what. It wasn’t there. Wrong album.

It would be years before I found out that the name of the track I was expecting to hear was One of These Days from the album Meddle, which was released two years prior to Dark Side of the Moon.

I had an even longer wait for my next earworm to be given a title. Even before that muddle with Meddle (Do you see what did there?) I had watched a film called The Horse’s Mouth. It starred Alec Guinness as an eccentric artist who lived on a houseboat. That’s all I recall of the film itself, but the music was a big part of the film and I enjoyed a particularly jaunty little piece that often got played. Guess what. I didn’t have a clue what it was.

Over the years, the tune would be played on programmes as a bit of background music for an amusing film item, say. It didn’t help me, though.

Some thirty years after seeing that film, I was talking to a workmate about music. We both had a love of classical stuff. I introduced him to ‘the newest sound of Debussy’; he introduced me to Prokofiev and lent me a cd of the composer’s work. I remember enjoying Romeo and Juliet and realised that I knew most of Peter and The Wolf. What I didn’t know, or at least thought I didn’t know, was Lieutenant Kijé. It was the music which Prokofiev had written to accompany a 1934 film of the same name which covers the ‘life’ of an individual whose very existence was due to a colossal clerical cockup and because no-one would own up to making the error, the mistake was covered up and Kijé’s existence was documented from birth to death, with even a fictitious marriage thrown in for good measure. It sounds like a decent plot, that’ll be why Hollywood hasn’t covered it, then. The music was a five-piece suite; each piece covering a period in Kijé’s life.

Anyway, In the middle of the suite there it was... the clip from that Alec Guinness film. After so many years, I had found my jaunty little piece. [Ooer missus. - Ed.] Have a listen and see if you can spot it.

Imagine that; thirty years 'til I found out the name of a tune. Wait. There’s more. Here is the reason I am writing this piece.

When I was but a nipper, there was an advert on the television for Summer County margarine, I think. I can’t really remember, it was that long ago. What I can remember is the music that accompanied the ad. It wasn’t a classical piece but it certainly wasn’t modern-sounding. At that very early age, I just thought it was a lovely piece of music. Did I know its name? Of course not. How long 'til I would find out its name? Erm... 60 years...ish.

I was at a funeral very recently and, as is the norm these days, a favourite tune of the deceased was played at some point during the service. This guy’s choice? That tune from the marge ad of the early 1960s. Finally, I know its name. I can die a happy man. It is called Elizabethan Serenade.

There you have, a musical lifetime in just a few paragraphs. What have you learned? Probably just that I have a weird taste in music.





Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? We’re covering a few week’s here, so strap in tightly...

Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 20th of May? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

John Stuart Mill 1806 - ‘The most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century.’

Jimmy James 1892 - Comedian.

Peter Copley 1915 - Actor. Dr. Richard Montagu in The Foundation. 203 IMDb credits in a career spanning 70 years.

Betty Driver 1920 - Actress. Betty Turpin/Williams in Coronation Street. She was in 2679 episodes.


Betty Driver in her pre hotpot days

Peter Hughes 1922 - Jobbing actor. One of those faces that cropped up everywhere. Often played unnamed characters such as Man on train, Factory foreman, Porter, Fire officer, Party guest, Ticket collector, Steward, Porter, Postman, Butler and (my favourite) Cheeky man. I recall him as the father in a series of Kellogg’s Cornflake adverts.

Elizabeth Bradley 1922 - Actress. Maud Grimes in Coronation Street.

Neil McCallum 1929 - Actor. Played Angelo James in Vendetta.

Roy Heather 1935 - Actor. Sid in Only Fools and Horses.

Lynn Davies 1942 - Dyn sy'n neidio.

Frew McMillan 1942 - Tennisy blike.

Martin Honeysett 1943 - Cartoonist.

Joe Cocker 1944 - Singer. Have a clip. Here’s the one that got him noticed, With a Little Help from My Friends. [That was a lot better than Ringo’s version. - Ed.]

Keith Fletcher 1944 - Crickety bloke.

Greg Dyke 1947 - TV executive.

Nick Heyward 1961 - Musician. Singer with Haircut One Hundred before embarking on a solo career. Here’s a solo effort from 2017 entitled The Stars.

Owen Teale 1961 - Actor. Conor Devlin in Ballykissangel.

Brian ‘Nasher’ Nash 1963 - Musician. Guitarist with Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Have a clip, here’s War followed by Two Tribes.

Jenny Funnell 1963 - Actress. Sandy in As Time Goes By.

Charles Spencer 1964 - Posh bloke.

Louis Theroux 1970 - Documentary maker.

Tina Hobley 1972 - Actress and DJ. Chrissie Williams in Holby City.

Graham Potter 1975 - Footy bloke.

Jessica Raine 1982 - Actress. Lucy in The Devil’s Hour.

Chris Froome 1985 - Bike racey bloke.

Robert Emms 1986 - Actor. Thomas in His Dark Materials.

Josh O’Connor 1990 - Actor. Lawrence Durrell in The Durrells.

Now, what about the 27th of May?

Arnold Bennett 1867 - Author with a rather nice omelette named in his honour.

Frank Woolley 1887 - Crickety bloke.

John Cockcroft 1897 - Physicist. Factoid: He switched on the Atomic Station Scottish Research Reactor in 1963 here in Polomint City.

Harry Webster 1917 - Automotive engineer.

Bob Godfrey 1921 - Animator. Famous for his jerky style. Roobarb (and Custard) was one of his.

Ivor Slaney 1921 - Composer. Here’s one of his, Carlos' Theme.

Christopher Lee 1922 - Actor. Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man. 287 credits on IMDb in a career lasting over 70 years.

Peter Ling 1926 - TV writer. Co-creator of Crossroads.

Brian Cowgill 1927 - TV executive.

Jeffrey Bernard 1932 - Journalist. Subject of Keith Waterhouse’s play Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell.

Billy Stark 1937 - Fitba guy.

Piers Courage 1942 - Racey car bloke.

Cilla Black 1943 - Singer, it says here. I could give you a lorra lorra clips, but I’ll just you the one. Here’s her first ever single, Love of the Loved.

Lewis Collins 1946 - Actor. Bodie in The Professionals.

John Conteh 1951 - Boxery bloke.

Danny McGrain 1953 - Fitba guy.

Susan Ballion aka Siouxsie Sioux 1957 - Singer with the Banshees. Let’s have another clip. Here’s the group’s first hit, Hong Kong Garden.

Duncan Goodhew 1957 - Swimmy bloke.

Gerard Kelly 1959 - Actor. Willie Melvin in City Lights.

Heston Blumenthal 1966 - He cooks food.

Paul Gascoigne 1967 - Foo’y blurk, laik.

Rebekah Brooks 1968 - Journo.

Joseph Fiennes 1970 - Actor. Will Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love.

Lee Sharpe 1971 - Footy bloke.

Petroc Trelawny 1971 - Broadcaster and not a character out of a Jane Austen novel.

Paul Bettany 1972 - Actor. Ian Campbell in A Very British Scandal.

Denise van Outen 1974 - Actress, model, singer, TV presenter, voiceover artist... in fact, a right old smarty boots. Factoid: She added the ‘van’ in her name to make it sound more interesting claiming that her ancestors were all Dutch.

Jamie Oliver 1975 - He cooks food like that Heston Bloomingtwerp bloke.

Derek Young 1980 - Fitba guy.

And now, let’s hear it for the 3rd of June...

Henry Shrapnel 1761 - Army officer and b****** who devised the horrific shell that bears his name.

Neil Munro 1863 - Writer who gave us the Clyde puffer, Vital Spark and its skipper Para Handy.

George V 1865 - The well-known monarch and philatelist (They can’t touch you for it.).

Zoltan Korda 1895 - Film screenwriter, director and producer. Alexander’s wee bro.

William Douglas Home 1912 - Posh political bloke who also turned his hand to writing plays.

Derek Godfrey 1924 - Actor. One of those faces that turned up in all sorts of British dramas in the 1960s and 70s. Robert Kennedy (No, not that one.) in The Pallisers.

Arnold Peters 1925 - Actor. Played Jack Woolley in The Archers for 43 years.

Thomas Winning 1925 - Churchy bloke.

Ian Hunter 1939 - Singer [Singer!? - Ed.] with Mott the Hoople. A clip? Why not. Here’s Roll Away The Stone.

Anita Harris 1944 - Singer and actress. Have another clip. Here’s Trains and Boats and Planes.

Bill Paterson 1945 - Actor. Dad in Fleabag.

Brian Barnes 1945 - Golfy bloke.

Mickey Finn 1947 - The drummy bloke from T. Rex. Have a clip. Here’s Ride a White Swan.

Clive Shakespeare 1947 - Musician. Guitarist with Sherbet. This one reached number one... in Australia. Here’s Summer Love.

John Moulder-Brown 1953 - Actor. Felix Krull in The Confessions of Felix Krull.

George Burley 1956 - Fitba guy.

Clive Mantle 1957 - Actor. Mike Barratt in Casualty.

Cameron Sharp 1958 - Runny bloke.

Ed Wynne 1961 - Musician. Main man of my absolute favourite band, Ozric Tentacles. Have a clip. Here’s Space for the Earth.

Les Bubb 1969 - Mime artist.

Kelly Jones 1974 - Stereophonics frontman. A clip? Go on then. Here’s the band’s first top ten hit The Bartender and the Thief.

Jodie Whittaker 1982 - Actress. Doctor Who number 13.

Michelle Keegan 1987 - Actress. Kate Thorne in Ten Pound Poms.

Nicky Clark 1991 - Fitba guy.

And finally, let’s have a big welcome for those born on the 10th of June...

James Stuart 1688 - Known as the Old Pretender [Woo oo woo oo. - Ed.]. Claimed to be James III of England (VIII of Scotland).

Harry Wragg 1902 - Horse racey bloke.

Terence Rattigan 1911 - Playwright. The Winslow Boy, that was one of his.

Bill Waddington 1916 - Actor. Percy er... Sugden in er... Coronation Street.

Barry Morse 1918 - Actor. President Johnny Cyclops in Whoops Apocalypse.

Prince Philip 1921 - The well-known duke famous for putting his size ten in it.

Ludvik Hoch aka Robert Maxwell aka the Bouncing Czech 1923 - Newspaper owner and crook (allegedly).

Lionel Jeffries 1926 - Actor. Granpa Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Ian Campbell 1933 - Folk singer. Had a hit with the Dylan song, The Times They Are A Changing.  Factoid: Did you know Ian was UB40's Ally and Robin Campbell's dad?  Neither did I till I wrote this.  Today has not been wasted.

Joe McBride 1938 - Fitba guy. Played for Motherwell, you know.

Gordon Burns 1942 - Journalist and broadcaster. He also presented The Krypton Factor.

Terence Higgins 1945 - AIDS victim after whom the charity is named.

Benny Gallagher 1945 - Musician. Here he is with Graham Lyle performing Breakaway.

Beryl Marsden 1947 - Singer. Have a clip. Here’s I Only Care About You.

Phil Redmond 1949 - TV producer and screenwriter. He created Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks

Duncan McKenzie 1950 - Footy bloke. Factoid: He could jump over a mini being driven at him. It was a dangerous stunt and one his manager banned him from ever doing again once he found out about it.

Lindsay Hoyle 1957 - Politician. Speaker in the House of Commons.

Max Elliott aka Maxi Priest 1961 - Singer and songwriter. Here’s his biggest hit, Wild World.

Stuart McCall 1964 - Footy bloke. He managed Motherwell, you know.

Ben Daniels 1964 - Actor. Lord Snowdon in The Crown.

Elizabeth Hurley 1965 - Actress, it says here. Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

Andy Millen 1965 - Fitba guy.

David Platt 1966 - Footy bloke.

Chris Coleman 1970 - Dyn pêl-droed

Kwasi Dankwah aka Tinchy Stryder 1986 - Singer (well... rapper) and songwriter. Here’s Stryderman.

Aaron Hickey 2002 - Fitba guy.






I’ve received a letter...

Dear Grambli Priest,

It was lovely to hear the old Cat Stevens song, Wild World, given the reggae treatment. Did you have any more top ten records?

Yours devotedly,

Chloe Stirr-Yew.




Gramble time...

How did our last bet with Drablokes fare? How should I know? It was weeks ago. Hang on a mo; I’ll have a look... Oh. I wish I hadn’t bothered. We lost. Not a penny back. Oh well.

Listen, since it all happened so long ago, let’s not bother with match reports and all that. Let’s just try and conjure up something to back this week, now that UK football has packed its bags and gone on holiday. I know, let’s head to Argentina Primera and Primera B divisions. [Do you think that’s wise? - Ed.] Yeah. Let’s go for it.

All games take place between the 10th and 12th of June.


Game - Result - Odds

Newell’s Old Boys vs Union de Santa Fe - Home win - 20/21

San Lorenzo de Almagro vs Central Cordoba - Home win - 4/5

Banfield vs River Plate - Away win - 8/11

San Martin de San Juan vs Alvarado - Home win - 4/6

Agropecuario Argentino vs Atletico Guemes - 7/10

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


Totally unwhopping. An insult to the word.




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 São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro in 2000, I began my senior career at Flamengo in 2017, moving to my present club, Real Madrid in 2018 for the sum of £38 million, the highest amount paid for any player under the age n n n n nineteen. I scored the winning goal in the 2022 Champions League Cup Final. I have been capped for Brazil 21 times.

Answer - Vinícius Júnior

2. Who has managed... deep breath... Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic (twice), Crystal Palace, Birmingham City, Sunderland, Hull City, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion?

Answer - Steve Bruce

3. Who was the youngest player to have played for Chelsea in the Premier League?

Answer - Jody Morris (17 years 44 days)

4. Who is Leeds United’s all-time highest goalscorer?

Answer - Peter Lorimer (238)

5. Which club plays its home games at Recreation Park?

Answer - Alloa Athletic

Shall we have five for this week? Yes, why not...

1. Who am I?

I was born in Northampton in 1996. A striker, I began my senior career at Northampton Town before moving to Newcastle United. During three years at St. James’ Park, I only played twice for Newcastle but was loaned out to Barnsley, Shrewsbury Town, Scunthorpe United and Wigan Athletic. I then moved to Peterborough United before transferring to my present club, Brentford. Unfortunately, due to some breaches of gambling laws, I am currently serving an eight month suspension.

2. Talking of bad boys, which team is managed by Duncan Ferguson?

3. Who, at 15 years 181 days, was the youngest ever player in the top flight of English football?

4. Which club plays its home games at Bescot Stadium?

5. What was the original name of Dundee United?

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: The amount raised is a little out of date; it is now sitting at...





And Finally...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. L. Bubb, a mime artist who provides us with this week’s finisher. A mime artist? I hear you ask in your best Lady Bracknell voice. I know, I know, mime is not my favourite type of act either, but this guy is different. He really is. In fact, I would go as far as saying he is bloody brilliant. Ladeez and genullum, I give you Les Bubb!






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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