Friday 5 April 2024

Post 503 - An AI gramble


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


Story Time

Artificial intelligence is a term that is being bandied about a lot these days. AI (with its ability to make decisions far quicker than us mere mortals) we are told by some nerdy types who work in that field, will make life better for everyone. Others fear that artificial intelligence will take over the world. And... heh heh... judging by some of the current crop of world leaders... heh heh... it already has. [By saying that, you are implying that they actually do have some form of intelligence. I would question that. - Ed. ]

Any road up, it seems that artificial intelligence is not always properly sorted before it is let loose on an unsuspecting public.

For years, car manufacturers have been trying to perfect an autonomous vehicle; one that can drive itself without the need for a driver. Results have been pretty unconvincing so far.

One instance of a... let's call it... glitch was the occasion when a driver, presumably believing that he was perfectly safe, perhaps relied a little too much on his car's driverless capabilities and simply wasn't watching what was happening around him. The system could detect objects ahead of it and behind it; what it could not spot was a dirty great lorry ramming into the side of the car as it headed straight through a junction. I'm guessing that the man didn't sue. His widow may have done, but he most certainly didn't.

I also heard of another vehicle that used AI to drive it. The system was 'taught' to recognise shapes such as a human being walking or a person riding a bike and it dealt admirably with these obstacles. What it could not recognise was a person walking along while pushing a bike. You can imagine the consequences. Sadly, someone else had to die before the problem came to light. It simply couldn't work out the combining of two objects. Thus, a lady and her bike became totally mangled.

My view is that making cars driverless is a step too far. Perhaps, instead, AI could be used to improve a person's driving technique. How so, I hear you ask. I suggest that it be given a voice to give a driver hints about what is happening around him or her.

How about a gentle reminder if the driver is going a little too fast? Or a tut tutting sound if he or she drives too close to the vehicle in front.

When a driver pulls out to pass a cyclist (on a bike, not pushing it) AI could inform him or her that they had, or hadn't, given the cyclist enough space to wobble.  Indeed, it could emit a sharp intake of breath if any dangerous overtaking manoeuvre is so much as considered. Don't ask me how it would know such a thing before the driver makes the move; it just would. It's all witchcraft as far as I'm concerned.

However, it might also be able to teach AI to resolve what I consider to be the most heinous of driving 'crimes' and, for that, a more succinct command would most definitely be necessary. May I suggest that when a car is exiting a roundabout, the artificial intelligence gives the driver a gentle rebuke such as, 'F****** signal, you stupid f****** c***!'*


*[May I point out to our many readers (hope you are both well) that the words with asterisks are 'flaming' and 'clot'. I assure you, I shall have a word with the writer of this blog later.]




Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 30th of March? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Jethro Tull 1674 - Agriculturalist (Try saying that after a couple of pints.). He invented a horse-drawn seed drill which revolutionised farming and led to the Agrarian Revolution. Oh, and he has a band named after him, the famous Jethro Toe.

Anna Sewell 1820 - Author of Black Beauty.

Ted Heath 1902 - Bandleader. Would you like a clip? Yes? Here’s Hawaiian War Chant.

Albert Pierrepoint 1905 - Britain’s last hangman.

Peter Welch 1922 - Jobbing actor. Det. Supt. Clark in Spy Trap.

Felix Bowness 1922 - Actor. Fred Quilley in Hi-de-Hi!

Tom Sharpe 1928 - Author.

R*lf H*rr*s 1930 - *rt*st, s*ng*r, *ll r**nd *nt*rt**n*r *nd c*mpl*t* n*nc*.

Mark Burns 1936 - Actor. Capt. Charles Pike in By the Sword Divided.

Norman Gifford 1940 - Crickety bloke.

Graeme Edge 1941 - Drummer. Co-founder of The Moody Blues. I think a clip is in order. Here is Graeme giving it laldy on a live version of the band’s only U.S. number one single, The Voice.

Sarah Badel 1943 - Actress. Lizzie in The Pallisers. Alan’s lass. Ask your dad.

Gabrielle Drake 1944 - Actress. Jill Hammond/Williams in The Brothers. Nick’s sister. Ask your mum.

Johnnie Walker 1945 - DJ.

Eric Clapton 1945 - Musician. As well as performing as a solo artist, he has worked with... deep breath... The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends and Derek and the Dominoes. Let’s have a clip. Something early, I think. He was on this one, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.  Some dodgy lyrics there.

Sue Cook 1949 - TV and radio presenter.

Dana Gillespie 1949 - Actress, singer and songwriter, it says here.

Robbie Coltrane 1950 - Actor. Hagrid in the Harry Potter films.

David Janson 1950 - Actor. Jimmy Harker in The Newcomers. Ask your gran.

Martina Cole 1959 - Author.

Steven Pinder 1960 - Actor. Max Farnham in Broooookside.

Gary Stevens 1962 - Footy bloke.

Piers Morgan 1965 - The well-known c***. [That’s clot again, readers. - Ed.]

Charlie Christie 1966 - Fitba guy.

Simon Green aka Bonobo 1976 - Musician. Have a clip. Here’s ATK.

Mark McClelland 1976 - Musician. He was Snow Patrol’s original bass player. A clip? Why, soitenly. Here’s Spitting Games.

Simon Webbe 1978 - Singer. A quarter of Blue. Here’s a clip for you, I Can.  That was the UK’s entry for 2011’s Eurovision Song Contest. It came 11th, so I'm guessing they couldn't.

Calum Elliot 1987 - Fitba guy. Played a few games for Motherwell.

Steven Saunders 1991 - Fitba guy. Ex-Motherwell, you know.

Steven Meechan 1991 - Fitba guy. Another ex-Motherwell guy.

Stuart Armstrong 1992 - Fitba guy. Has never played for Motherwell.

And now, what about any famous or infamous people born on the 6th of April?

J. G. Parry-Thomas 1884 - Racing driver. Set a world land-speed record on Pendine Sands of 170 mph in 1926. Came to grief on the same Pendine Sands while attempting another world land-speed record the following year.

Richard Murdoch 1907 - Actor. He was Arthur Askey’s side-kick in the early BBC radio comedy series Band Waggon before achieving greater fame in another radio series called Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh a show he conceived and wrote with Kenneth Horne.

Richard ‘Stinker’ Murdoch. Where’s Lewis the goat?

Ian Paisley 1926 - Politician and church minister famous for shiting lidely in a Northern Irish accent.

Willis Hall 1929 - Playwright and screenwriter. Billy Liar, that was one of his.

Corbet Woodall 1929 - TV newsreader who moved to acting... usually playing newsreaders.

Dave Sexton 1930 - Footy bloke.

Dudley Sutton 1933 - Jobbing actor. Tinker Dill in Lovejoy. 159 credits on IMDb.

Brian Cosgrove 1934 - Animator. Produced Count Duckula and Danger Mouse.

Terence Hardiman 1937 - Actor. The Demon Headmaster in... The Demon Headmaster.

Paul Daniels 1938 - Cocky little illusionist. [I’m guessing you weren’t his greatest fan. - Ed.]

M*x Cl*ff*rd 1943 - Sex offender.

Julie Rogers 1943 - Singer. Had a top ten UK hit in 1964 with The Wedding. Her next-best performing single reached only number 31. Would you like to hear it? Of course you would. Here’s Hawaiian Wedding Song.  She seemed to like weddings. [As long as it didn't develop into a war chant. - Ed.]

John Stax 1941 - Musician. He was the original bassist with The Pretty Things. A clip? Here’s Don't Bring Me Down.

Gordon Giltrap 1948 - Musician. Let’s have a bit of poppy prog; here’s his biggest hit, Heart Song.

Peter Van Hooke 1950 - Musician. He was the drummer in Mike + The Mechanics. Have a clip. Here’s Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground). 

Ian Redford 1951 - Actor. Ted Nancarrow in Strike.

Patrick Doyle 1953 - Composer. Here’s a toon by him that any Harry Potter film fans will know, Hogwarts' Hymn.

Judi Bowker 1954 - Actress. Vicki Gordon in The Adventures of Black Beauty.

Glen Murphy 1957 - Actor. George Green in London’s Burning.

Mark Strickson 1959 - Actor known for playing Turlough in various Doctor Who episodes.

Rory Bremner 1961 - Comedian and impressionist.

Andy Walker 1965 - Fitba guy.

Jonathan Firth 1967 - Actor. Prince Albert in Victoria & Albert. Colin’s wee bro.

Louie Spence 1969 - Dancer and TV personality, it says here.

Danny Lennon 1969 - Fitba guy.

James Fox 1976 - Singer and Cardiff City fan. Have a clip. Here’s Bluebirds Flying High.

Myleene Klass 1978 - Singer and pianist. Let’s have another clip. Here’s Toccata and Fugue. [One of Britain’s best-loved comedy duos. - Ed.]

Robert Earnshaw 1981 - Pêl-droediwr.

Mike Bailey 1988 - Actor. Sid Jenkins in Skins.

Fabrice Muamba 1988 - Footy bloke.

Kate Forbes 1990 - Politician.





I’ve received a letter...

Dear Eric Clapgramble,

I was hoping that the clip of yours might have come from the album you made with John Mayer as a tribute to J. J. Cale. I recall a track which, I believe, was released as a single and even found its way into the lower reaches of the chart. However, I have forgotten which track it was; can you help?

Yours wholeheartedly,

Don Twaite.




Gramble time...

How did our last bet with Rokdables fare? We won... in a fashion [You mean you lost. - Ed.] Yes. 64 pees back from a £2.20 stake. Not too good. What happened? Read on.


Carlisle vs Stevenage - Away win

Result - Carlisle 2 Stevenage 2

Ooh! So close!

Terence Vancooten's 96th-minute leveller saw Stevenage bravely battle back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw with Carlisle.

Striker Daniel Butterworth's fine brace put Carlisle on course for a much-needed win, but Alex MacDonald's 82nd-minute penalty - having been fouled by Dylan McGeouch - and Vancooten's injury-time equaliser stunned the hosts at Brunton Park.

Butterworth scored in either half as the Cumbrians, who had lost 12 of their previous 13 league games, looked favourites for only their sixth win all season.

He gave Carlisle a welcome start when he fired them into a 13th-minute lead with a sweet strike.

A triple substitution at the break spiced things up - and it nearly paid dividends as Nathan Thompson's goalbound volley was charged down just in the nick of time.

Butterworth bagged his second goal of the afternoon shortly after the hour mark, his clinical left-footed strike seemingly having secured the Blues the win.

However, in an incredible twist, MacDonald's penalty and Vancooten's close-range effort turned this gripping contest on its head.


Northampton vs Derby - Away win

Result - Northampton 1 Derby 0


The Cobblers' win came thanks to Sam Hoskins' first-half strike.

Derby dominated possession early on and they should have taken a 20th-minute lead but Martyn Waghorn side-footed the ball over with the goal at his mercy.

Northampton struck against the run of play midway through the first half when Louis Appere chased down a long ball and showed brilliant vision to pick out Hoskins, who volleyed first time into the bottom corner.

The visitors responded well but they could not find a leveller before half-time despite Ebou Adams twice going close, first denied by Sam Sherring's goal-line clearance and then heading over when well placed.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing almost converted Kane Wilson's cross after the restart before Manny Monthe hit the post at the other end.

Derby applied plenty of late pressure but could find no way through Northampton's resilient rearguard and their misery was compounded by a straight red card for Sonny Bradley in stoppage time.


Grimsby vs Wrexham - Away win

Result - Grimsby 1 Wrexham 3


Andy Cannon scored twice to help Wrexham to a 3-1 victory at Grimsby Town.

Wrexham's work was done during a first half in which Cannon's brace and Paul Mullin's volley put them firmly in control.

Grimsby pulled a goal back nine minutes from time, Arthur Gnahoua scoring.

Cannon's opening goal came five minutes into the game, an effort from 20 yards which gave keeper Harvey Cartwright no chance.

The midfielder unleashed an unstoppable drive to double his side's lead after good work from Mullin and the returning Tom O'Connor.

Mullin's volley from close range completed an emphatic and ruthless first-half display from the visitors.

Gnahoua scored a consolation late on for Grimsby, who finished strongly, but Wrexham held on for a valuable three points.


Harrogate vs Bradford - Away win

Result - Harrogate 3 Bradford 0


Harrogate Town eased to victory over Yorkshire rivals Bradford City in front of a record home league crowd.

Josh March set the hosts on their way when he headed in Warren Burrell's cross.

George Thomson then doubled Town's lead from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute after Brad Halliday was penalised for handball.

A Daniel Oyegoke own goal sealed victory, the defender turning Jack Muldoon's shot into his own net.


Cove vs Hamilton - Away win

Result - Cove 1 Hamilton 3


No report available... Scottish League One doesn’t seem to matter.


Okeydokey, let’s see what The Grambler has come up with this week...

Game - Result - Odds

Aston Villa vs Brentford - Home win - 4/6

Luton vs Bournemouth - Away win - 10/11

Coventry vs Leeds - Away win - 19/20

Middlesbrough vs Swansea - Home win - 5/6

Sutton vs Stockport - Away 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


A bit more whopping than some weeks.




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 The Hague in 1995. I play as centre-back or left-back and began my senior career at Chelsea. During my time with them I was loaned out to three clubs: Reading, Watford and Bournemouth. I was transferred to Bournemouth for a fee of £20 million. I was transferred to my current club, Manchester City, for a fee of £41 million. I have been capped for my country 42 times (and counting)

Answer - Nathan Aké (Now on 44 caps)

2. Who took over from Harry Maguire as Manchester United’s captain?

Answer - Bruno Fernandes

3. I’ve asked in the past which has the lowest capity ground (AFC Bournemouth - 11,307), but which Premier League team’s ground has the second lowest capacity?

Answer - Luton Town

4. Which English League One side has drawn the most matches this season?

Answer - Charlton Athletic (17)

5. Which club plays its home games at the Toughsheet Community Stadium?

Answer - Bolton Wanderers

Shall we have five for this week? I think we shall.

1. Who am I?

I was born in 2003 in Copenhagen. A forward, I began my senior career with Copenhagen, before moves to Sturm Graz and Atalanta. I joined my present club, Manchester United in 2023 for a fee of over £64 million. I have been capped for Denmark 12 times.

2. Who is Nottingham Forest’s first team captain?

3. Which team has won the most league games in the Scottish Premiership this season?

4. Which player from Iceland has made the most English Premier League appearances?

5. Which club plays its home games at Meadow Lane?

There you have it. Have fun trying to work that lot out. 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 quoted is miles out of date. The total raised for the Bobby Moore Fund now stands at...





And Finally...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. R. Bremner for this week’s finishing item. Rory Bremner is a talented comedian, satirist and impressionist. He had a minor hit single many moons ago which was a parody of Paul Hardcastle’s 19. Rory Bremner's version featured him taking a swipe at various cricket commentators and the England cricket team of the day. So, here, for your entertainment, is (the now very dated) N-N-Nineteen Not Out.  You need to know your cricket commentators to make head or tail of that.



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.