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…
We have had singing postmen and a singing nun. Have any other professions been so badly paid that the workers have had to augment their wages by taking on a career in show business in this way?
[The only one I can think of is the policeman who embarked on a second career of laughing, which doesn’t strike me as being much of a money spinner. - Ed.]
Now, you good people out there in gramblerland know that this insightful, hard-hitting blog often attempts to right wrongs... or is that wrong rights? No, I was right the first time. It tackles controversial subjects head on. [Are you talking about this blog? The blog you call the world's greatest ill-informed blog? - Ed.] Well, another 'trend' has caught my ire. And that trend is... toilet blocks. Sorry pardon excuse me what? No... not toilet blockages; toilet blocks - those things that hang inside a toilet bowl and provide a bit of a clean when you flush the loo.
Toilet blocks used to be very simple objects; a disc-like thing with a hole in it that hung on a wire inside the rim. I recall they had a strong but not unpleasant smell. (The same thing is still used in many gents urinals. They smell the same but look like pineapple chunks... I wouldn't recommend eating them, though. ) They worked the same way as all the current ones on the market by slowly dissolving to leave that fresh smell in the loo.
They also lasted a long time; sometimes months.
I think toilet block makers have realised that, much like the bars of soap I spoke of in a previous blog (See Post 481 - A shrinking gramble), large blocks take a long time to dissolve. They have come up with a brilliant wheeze to reduce that time from months to, not weeks, but what seems like days. What have they done? They have reduced the size to a quarter(ish) of the previous block, but to make you think you are not losing out, there are four blocks in a plastic holder that hangs over the rim. However, because of the size difference, they dissolve a lot quicker than the old type. Not only that, but the manufacturer can charge a heck of a lot more for the new ones. Ker-ching!
I can deal with all that. Not too happy to be paying the higher price, more often as well but, as I said, I can, and do, deal with it. What really annoys me though is that when you buy these toilet cleaners they come in a not insubstantial plastic holder. Each time the blocks dissolve, eye ee, frequently, this gets discarded. Why? We are constantly being reminded that plastics are bad for the environment, because they don't biodegrade, and yet here is an object that is quite solid and could easily be used over and over but instead, it is being thrown away.
Daft, Oi calls it.
I have a solution. [You bloody would have. - Ed.] It sounds pretty radical, but it is this... A disc-like toilet block with a hole through it that hangs over the rim on a piece of wire.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 19th of August? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
James Nasmyth 1808 - Engineer and inventor.
Fyfe Robertson 1902 - TV journalist.
Maurice Wilks 1904 - Automotive engineer. He is credited with designing the Land-Rover.
Patience Collier 1910 - Jobbing actress. Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield (the 1974 TV adaptation).
Rose Heilbron 1914 - High court judge. The first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey.
David Lodge 1921 - Jobbing actor. Sam in Alexander the Greatest. 192 credits on IMDb.
Ivan Owen 1927 - Voice actor. Provided the voice of Basil Brush.
Bernard Levin 1928 - Journalist, author, broadcaster and intellectual.
‘Ah’m an interlectional so ah’m ur.’
Ron Jones 1934 - Athleticky bloke look you.
Richard Ingrams 1937 - Journalist. Co-founder of Private Eye magazine and founding editor of The Oldie.
Peter ‘Ginger’ Baker 1939 - Musician. Known as rock’s first superstar drummer. Have a clip. Here Cream mime to Strange Brew. Nice perm, Eric.
Roger Cook 1940 - Songwriter who had a few hits in his own right; mainly as co-vocalist in Blue Mink. Here’s a political-ish song which features some very non-politically correct terms, Melting Pot.
Tony Roper 1941 - Actor, comedian, playwright and writer. In fact, a right old smarty boots. He wrote what might well be the most popular Scottish play ever, The Steamie.
Billy J. Kramer 1943 - Singer. What does the J stand for in his name? Nothing, because his real name is William Howard Ashton. I suppose Billy H. Ashton doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Anyway, here is a track from Billy without his Dakotas, 1941.
Don Fardon 1943 - Singer. Here’s his big hit, Indian Reservation.
Ian Gillan 1945 - Singer and songwriter. Here’s the song with every budding guitarists’ favourite riff (complete with a little interview to explain it), Smoke on the Water.
Christopher Malcolm 1946 - Actor. Justin in Absolutely Fabulous.
Tony Williams 1947 - Musician. One-time bassist with Jethro Tull. I bet you think I’m going to give you a link to a Jethro Tull song, but I’m not going to, because Williams never played on any albums; he only played on tours. However, he was the bassist in a band which had a huge hit with this. All together now... Well, I don't know why I came here tonight...
Jim Carter 1948 - Actor. Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey.
Ian McElhinney 1948 - Actor. Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones.
Jennie Bond 1950 - Journalist and TV presenter.
John Deacon 1951 - Ex-Queen bassist. Here’s a toon he’s credited with, Another One Bites the Dust.
Jonathan Coe 1961 - Novelist.
Hugh Schofield 1961 - Journalist. Paris correspondent for the Beeb.
Lucy Briers 1967 - Actress. Mrs. Stansfield Rawson in Gentleman Jack.
Paul McGrillen 1971 - Fitba guy. Ex-Motherwell, you know.
Scott Harrison 1977 - Boxy guy.
Darius Campbell Danesh 1980 - Singer and actor. Have a clip. Here’s Kinda Love.
Simon Bird 1984 - Actor, director and producer. Adam Goodman in Friday Night Dinner.
Josh Law 1989 - Footy bloke. Ex-Motherwell, you know.
And now, what about the 26th of August?
Robert Walpole 1676 - The well-known Prime Minister.
Joseph-Michel Montgolfier 1740 - Hot-air balloonist.
Prince Albert 1819 - The well-known consort of Queen Vic.
John Buchan 1875 - Novelist, historian and politician.
Hugh Dalton 1887 - Politician.
Christopher Isherwood 1904 - Novelist.
Gilly Flower 1908 - Actress. Miss Agatha Tibbs in Fawlty Towers.
Willie Ormond 1926 - Fitba guy.
Tony Brent 1927 - Singer. Have a clip. Here’s his best performing toon, Walkin' to Missouri.
Brian Duffy aka Jet Black 1938 - Musician. Drummer with ‘Punk’ band The Stranglers. A clip? Indeed. Here’s the band’s first single, Grip.
Michael Cockerell 1940 - Broadcaster and journalist.
Nik Turner 1940 - Musician. Best known as woodwind player with Hawkwind. He did other stuff, though. Here’s Space Ritual with Otherworld.
Chris Curtis 1941 - Musician. Drummer with The Searchers. I think another clip is in order. Most Searchers’ singles were their take on songs performed by other artists. This, however, was a song written for them by Tony Hatch: Sugar and Spice.
Jane Merrow 1941 - Actress. Anne Hepton in Hadleigh.
Stephen Greif 1944 - Actor. Harry Fenning in Citizen Smith.
Alan Parker 1944 - Musician. As well as composing many themes for TV programmes including Angels, Minder, News at Ten and Coast, he was a session guitarist for - among others - Blue Mink (see above), CCS, The Congregation and Serge Gainsbourg. He also played guitar on this song from Donovan, Hurdy Gurdy Man.
Alison Steadman 1946 - Actress. Sue Jessop in Here We Go.
Don Masson 1946 - Fitba guy.
Dan Cruickshank 1949 - Architectural historian and TV presenter.
Annette Badland 1950 - Actress. Fleur Perkins in Midsomer Murders. 176 credits on IMDb.
Steve Wright 1954 - The British deejay, not the U.S. comedian.
Howard Clark 1954 - Golfy bloke.
Tony Morley 1954 - Footy bloke.
John O’Neill 1957 - Musician. Guitarist and principal songwriter for The Undertones. I think another clip is called for. Here’s one he penned, Jimmy Jimmy.
Annie Holland 1965 - Musician. Bassist and co-founder of Elastica. Another clip? Why not. Here’s Stutter.
Michael Gove 1967 - Politician.
Chris Boardman 1968 - Bike racey bloke.
Gaynor Faye 1971 - Actress. Cheryl in The Syndicate.
Nicky Summerbee 1971 - Footy bloke. Mike’s lad.
Patrick Kennedy 1977 - Actor. Allston Wheatley in The Queen’s Gambit.
Nish Kumar 1985 - Comedian.
Lee Gregory 1988 - Footy bloke.
Kyle Magennis 1998 - Fitba guy.
Scott Tiffoney 1998 - Fitba guy.
I’ve received a letter; which is nice.
Dear (the late) Grambler Cook,
It was wonderful to hear a track from your group Blue Mink. I know that Melting Pot reached number three in the UK; were any other singles as successful?
How did our last bet with Kradboles fare? We won. Only kidding. We lost. Not a penny back. What happened? Read on...
Newcastle vs Aston Villa - Home win
Result - Newcastle 5 Aston Villa 1
Alexander Isak's clinical finishing helped Newcastle United to an emphatic victory against Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the new Premier League campaign.
Newcastle tore into the visitors from the early stages and Sandro Tonali made their dominance count when he converted Anthony Gordon's inviting sixth-minute cross.
Moussa Diaby cancelled out his goal within five minutes, though, beautifully controlling a half volley with his weaker foot after Ollie Watkins' flick on.
But at the culmination of a frantic opening period Isak regained the lead for the Magpies as he slid home Sven Botman's cut-back across the box.
Isak delicately chipped Emiliano Martinez for his second to give the home side a two-goal cushion after Ezri Konsa inexplicably left the ball in his own penalty box.
Callum Wilson added a fourth following a slick passing move and Harvey Barnes raced clear to score, ensuring the Magpies followed up their superb 2022-23 campaign with an ideal start.
Defender Tyrone Mings being carried off on a stretcher during the first half added to Villa's miserable day.
Cardiff vs QPR - Home win
Result - Cardiff 1 QPR 2
Sinclair Armstrong's close-range finish put the Rs in front in the first half.
Aaron Ramsey hit the bar as Cardiff pushed for an equaliser but they were picked off on the break as Armstrong teed up Kenneth Paal to score.
Ike Ugbo tapped in to give the hosts hope, while Mark McGuinness hit the bar in the 89th minute, but those efforts were too little too late for Cardiff.
Millwall vs Bristol City - Home win
Result - Millwall 0 Bristol City 1
After a fairly quiet first hour the Robins had looked most likely to break the deadlock but it was not until four minutes into added time that Harry Cornick's long-throw broke to skipper Matty James to lash home the only goal.
After a low-key opening 20 minutes, Millwall's Duncan Watmore saw a low shot blocked on the edge of the box by Zak Vyner while Dan McNamara lashed a volley well over Max O'Leary's crossbar after a long throw from Zian Flemming on the half-hour.
At the other end, Joe Williams had an effort charged down and Nahki Wells' shot deflected wide after a corner from James, while Sam Bell then had appeals for a penalty for a challenge by McNamara waved away.
The visitors continued to press after the break and Cam Pring almost slid in a far-post cross from Jason Knight, before George Tanner nodded a corner back into the area only for Bell's header to slip past Matija Sarkic's post.
Bristol City sub Anis Mehmeti cut inside and curled inches past the upright soon after while fellow substitute Cornick had an effort blocked.
O'Leary kept out a free-kick from Millwall replacement George Saville as the Lions almost snatched the win in the 90th minute, with Cornick blocking McNamara's follow-up, and it was Cornick who set-up the winner four minutes later as his long throw eventually dropped for skipper James to lash home a flying volley.
Southampton vs Norwich - Home win
Result - Southampton 4 Norwich 4
Ooh! ’It the post!
Adam Armstrong scored a 97th-minute penalty as Southampton hit back to salvage a draw against Norwich City in an astonishing game at St Mary's.
A frantic 16-minute spell before the break began when Josh Sargent headed in Jack Stacey's inviting cross, but Jan Bednarek smashed Saints level from close range and Armstrong's first spot-kick of the afternoon made it 2-1 to the hosts.
The Canaries equalised within two minutes through a breathtaking strike from the outstanding Brazilian Gabriel Sara, who then teed up Jonathan Rowe to nod the visitors ahead before the break.
Substitute Che Adams struck as Saints levelled again, only for fellow substitute Christian Fassnacht to capitalise on some sloppy late defending to fire in what looked like being the winner.
But Armstrong's dramatic intervention ensured neither side was able to maintain their 100% start to the season in a match that ended with 46 attempts on goal.
Watford vs Plymouth - Home win
Result - Watford 0 Plymouth 0
Ooh! ’It the bar!
The Hornets started the stronger, Vakoun Bayo volleying just wide and Imran Louza hitting the outside of the post from range as the hosts looked to dominate.
However, Plymouth proved to be plucky opponents and also threatened as Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann looked nervy on the ball and twice presented openings to Ryan Hardie, but the ball would not quite fall for the Scot.
The hosts were denied an opener either side of half-time by brilliant last-ditch defending from Dan Scarr, who blocked to thwart both Ryan Andrews and Bayo as the Pilgrims came away with a deserved point.
Let’s just call it a bad day, eh? What has The Grambler come up with this week?
Game - Result - Odds
Burton vs Bolton - Away win - Evens
Oxford vs Charlton - Home win - 10/11
Port Vale vs Carlisle - Home win - 4/5
Wimbledon vs Forest Green - Home win - 20/23
Newport vs Sutton - Home win - 20/21
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
Well, that’s more whoppinger than last time... Perhaps too 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 Maasmechelen, Belgium in 1994. I am a versatile player and have been used as a left winger, an attacking midfielder and also a forward. I began my senior career at Genk and was loaned out to several clubs before moving to Brighton & Hove Albion in 2019. In January 2023, I moved to Arsenal. I have been capped for Belgium 26 times.
Answer - Leandro Trossard
2. Who currently wears the number 9 shirt for Rangers?
Answer - Cyriel Dessers
3. Which Scottish player scored the most Premier League goals last season?
Answer - Che Adams (Southampton)
4. In which country would you find the football stadium with the greatest capacity (150,000 approx.)?
Answer - North Korea. I have been questioned about that, because it is not used solely as a football stadium but has been used for political rallies. I can only counter that many footy stadiums are used for other purposes... Where else would Rod Stewart, Take that and their ilk hold their concerts?
5. Here’s another mix up. Can you name the football team? (The letters are arranged in alphabetical order)
Answer - Morecambe.
Let’s have some for this week. Are you ready? Let’s go...
1. Who am I?
I was born in Torquay, England in 1995. A forward, I began my senior career at Exeter City (having progressed through the youth ranks). In 2017 I was transferred to Championship club Brentford before moving to my current club, Aston Villa, in 2020 for a fee of £28 million. I have been capped for England seven times.
2. Which Brazilian player scored the most Premier League goals last season?
3. Who scored over 100 goals for both Crystal Palace and Arsenal in the 1980s and 90s?
4. Which English club plays home games at the Bet365 Stadium?
5. Here’s another name jumble. This time, it’s a footballer who was a prolific Premier League goalscorer in his day.
NICE HOME LAW
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 Mr. A. Roper for this week’s finishing link. You may remember Tony Roper from Naked Video or as Jamesie Cotter in Rab C. Nesbitt, but this is his Shakespeare moment; a play he wrote which was set very much in the 1950s and very much in Glasgow and is very much what he’ll be remembered for... Ladeez and genullum, I give you The Steamie.
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.