Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I am soon going to be able to attend far more gigs than in recent years, given that I will be working in Aberdeen, home to several great venues.
In the coming months, tours by The View, The Killers, The Australian Pink Floyd, Bloc Party and Idlewild all call into the Granite City.
And one of my favourite bands in the world, and the greatest rock'n'roll band on the planet today, The Cooper Temple Clause, play there at the end of March.
All of which is terribly exciting to someone who has spent the past two years living almost three hours from Glasgow, the nearest port of call for major tours.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
This story, emailed to me recently, made me thankful that I'm not often tempted to swim naked on public beaches.
It really is one of those situations that makes you thankful that it isn't you.
There can be no unembarrasing way to make a phonecall to the emergency services to ask them to free your swollen testicles from the wooden slats of a deckchair.
But hey, at least it's not as embarrasing as 'I was Hoovering naked when I slipped and ended up with the hoover pipe up my ass.'
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Groanin' Towers is currently under offer, so we're casting our eyes at available replacements on the east coast.
And already, dealing with estate agents, solicitors and banks is stressing me out.
I just hope that it all resolves itself quickly and without too much hassle.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Normally, such an occasion would lead to my reaching an advanced stage of drunkeness - in fact, the last time I attended the Oban Burns Supper, I was so spectacularly drunk by the end of the meal that I had to return home before the speeches.
However, last night's enjoyment was curtailed by the fact that I have to work in Campbeltown today - 80-odd miles from Oban. As a result, I stayed disappointingly sober last night.
Still, these days are coming to an end - very soon, working weekends will be a thing of the past.
Roll on February 16th!
Friday, January 26, 2007
I've just been sub-editing a few reports on meetings of local SWRIs, and it seems that they really are an unusual bunch.
For example, what sort of group of people makes such a thing as Red Onion Marmalade?
And then runs a competition to judge how good each batch of this vile-sounding product is?
This very same organistion simultaneously ran competitions for a crocheted blanket and for each member's favourite jug.
That's right, these women have favourite jugs.
I can't imagine ever reaching a stage where I care enough about jugs to have a favourite. Nor can I seriously ever see myself thinking: 'Hmmmm, I wonder if my friends also have favourite jugs? Perhaps we should run a favourite jug competition.'
I wonder upon what criteria the judging will be based? Are extra points awarded for intricate patterns, or is it design, craftmanship and functionality that wins the day in a jug-judging contest?
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Today, I finally decided to answer a little question that has been niggling me for a while:
Is the wrestler Bonesaw McGraw in the film Spiderman played by Macho Man Randy Savage?
So, a quick search on Wikipedia revealed a plethora of information about the former WWE star.
And with each new morsel of information came a link to another hero of my childhood years. Memories of Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Hart and The Big Boss Man came flooding back.
And I found out there is a word 'kayfabe' and what it means.
But the best fact of all that I found in my afternoon trawling Wikipedia?
That Macho Man Randy Savage's real name is Randall Mario Poffo.
Which means that he is probably the only person for whom a name change to Randy Savage would be a notable improvement.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
It seems that the fact that Big Eck is currently unemployed has as much bearing on his appointment as his coaching expertise.
But, having said that, McLeish was probably the best-placed of all the shortlisted candidates. Gary McAllister has no experience of top level management, whilst Jim Jeffries has done well at Kilmarnock, but hasn't seriously contested major trophies since his Hearts days.
Tommy Burns' hissy fit put him out of the running, but he would never have been the SFA's first choice anyway.
McLeish, on the other hand, has very recent experience of managing at the top end of the SPL and in the Champions League. He pulled in a decent haul of trophies during his time at Ibrox, and has the benefit of having been a top player in the squad when at his prime.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the job was the number of potential candidates who weren't interested in the post - a veritable 'who's who' of success in the British game.
Sir Alex Ferguson, George Graham, Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish were all quick to distance themselves from the post. In the case of Ferguson, this is understandable - he's top of the Premiership with the biggest club in the world.
But none of the other three, all of them very experienced and successful managers and all unemployed, showed any real interest. Has the Scotland national side become so little regarded that these men aren't willing to contemplate leading their country?
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
It's hard enough work putting together a paper on your own, without having to do it in a strange town.
But it's almost finished - and the company must be fairly happy with my work, as they've agreed to extend my leaving date by a fortnight so that it ties in with my start date at my new job in Aberdeen.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Although I accepted the chance to join a newspaper in Fife just a few weeks ago, I've now been offered the opportunity to work as a reporter in the oil industry in Aberdeen.
It's funny how things work out - I wasn't relishing the prospect of a daily commute between Angus and Fife, and just when I thought that my finances were going to take a serious hit as a result, a golden opportunity lands right in my lap.
So all is good in the world of Groanin' Jock! (In fact, I may have to change the name of this website accordingly - Happy Jock doesn't really sound right though, does it?!)
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Someone popped up here after searching on Google for "Bebo Campbeltown sex".
I don't know which is more worrying: that someone was searching for it, or that they were directed to this site.....
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Children Writing About The Sea:
1) This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles. (Kelly age 6)
2) Oysters' balls are called pearls. (James age 6)
3) If you are surrounded by sea you are an Island. If you don't have sea all round you, you are in continent. (Wayne age 7)
4) Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson. She's not my friend no more. (Kylie age 6)
5) A dolphin breathes through an asshole on the top of its head. (Billy age 8)
6) My uncle goes out in his boat with pots, and comes back with crabs. (Millie age 6)
7) When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean. Sometimes, when the wind didn't blow, the sailors would whistle to make the wind come. My brother said they would be better off eating beans. (William age 7)
8) I like mermaids. They are beautiful, and I like their shiny tails. How do mermaids get pregnant? (Helen age 6)
9) I'm not going to write about the sea. My baby brother is always screaming and being sick, my Dad keeps shouting at my Mom, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can't think what to write. (Amy age 6)
10) Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can give you a shock. They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves into chargers. (Christopher age 7)
11) When you go swimming in the sea, it is very cold, and it makes my willy small. (Kevin age 6)
12) Divers have to be safe when they go under the water. Two divers can't go down alone, so they have to go down on each other. (Becky age 8)
13) On holiday my Mom went water skiing. She fell off when she was going very fast. She says she won't do it again because water shot up her fanny. (Julie age 7)
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Today's post has a conscience. The text underneath the photograph to the left makes for harrowing reading.
I was sent the photograph by email yesterday. I'd heard the story of Kevin Carter in the past, firstly through the Manic Street Preachers song of the same name.
But until yesterday, I'd never seen, nor especially wanted to see, the photograph.
However, when I saw it, it was hammered home just WHY Carter ended up taking his own life - how could anyone live with themselves having recorded that image, knowing they could have done something to save the child?
In an archive interview shortly after the image was published, Carter said: "My first instinct was to make the picture. After the child moved on, I felt completely devastated."
Such was the outpouring of interest in the child that after the photo ran, the New York Times was forced to run an editor's note to say that though Carter saw the emaciated girl resume her journey to the feeding center "it is not known whether she reached the center."
Carter said he chased away the vulture. Afterwards, he told an interviewer, he sat under a tree for a long time, "smoking cigarettes and crying". His father said: "Kevin always carried around the horror of the work he did."
As a journalist, this issue intrigues me; at what point should one's duty as an employee be superceded by one's duty as a human being?
Carter's photograph brought him the highest recognition in his field, but it also brought him unimaginable misery and in the end cost him his life.
So where do we draw the line? Was the New York Times right to publish the photograph? Or did it cross a line that should never have been crossed?
The old rhetoric of 'publish and be damned' still seems to hold fast. But should it?
Personally, I don't think I would have been able to take the photograph that Carter did, nor leave the girl to crawl onwards towards her potential saviours. But in different circumstances, such as the hanging of Saddam Hussain, I would probably have been primed and ready to capture the image.
Which I suppose means that in all situations, the person involved must weigh up their own thoughts on the issue and make the decision that sits best with them. Kevin Carter made that choice.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
So I decided to test whether I was actually suited to being a journalist, or whether I am just taking the company's money without having a clue about the language I am writing.
|Your Vocabulary Score: A|
Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.
And it seems that all is well - I'm a veritable vocabulary swot! It's just as well for me that it wasn't a maths test....
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
In a previous post, when it looked as though he might stay at Real Madrid, I did admit that I think that, despite being the most over-rated professional footballer ever, Golden Balls has made the most of his limited but highly-honed attributes, and that he is very professional in everything he does.
I think that Beckham's decision to move to LA Galaxy in August is probably for the best. His powers are clearly on the wane, and none of the English Premier League's big hitters would be interested (at least on simply footballing terms). For a 'superstar' of Beckham's magnitude to slum it (relatively speaking) with one of the Premier League's second-string sides such as Newcastle or Spurs would be unimaginable, probably tainting the Beckham brand.
Part of his allure is that he has always plied his trade at the very top - in a Champions League winning Man Utd side and Real Madrid's infamous Galacticos team.
At least living in Hollywood will allow the Beckhams to continue their push for global celebrity, with David given the chance to curl free kicks into the net twice a week in return for 250 million dollars over five years.
For further musings on the future of Brand Beckham, check out the Guardian's sports blogs.
Monday, January 15, 2007
This paper emporium of delights purported to be 'everything you need to be safe around the house and garden'.
Idly flicking through the catalogue, I happened upon perhaps the most ludicrous invention of all the strange gizmos on offer - the adult bib.
Yep, an adult bib. A bib for adults.
This 'durable, wipe clean clothes protector' was three foot in length. Tied around the neck, it claimed that it would keep all ties and shirts stain-free.
I cannot imagine any adult in full charge of all their faculties wishing to purchase a bib for their own use.
Mrs Wife might disagree, as she is forever pointing out my food-based mishaps. Anything involving gravy, ketchup (or indeed sauce of any kind), ice cream, chocolate or custard tends to find itself, at some point between plate and mouth, down my front.
This very lunchtime, I struggled manfully with two soft-boiled eggs and toast soldiers (OK, I battled - there is no manful way to struggle with boiled eggs). Incredibly, my shirt and tie were blemish-free at the conclusion of my meal.
So, is there any market for the adult bib? Or should we march gleefully onwards, taking whatever stains eating too fast throws in our way? I know which gets my vote.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
And the Rocky films are predictable, cliche-ridden ego trips for the diminutive star.
So, it was with no surprise that I heard recently that Stallone has reprised his most famous role 'one last time'.
It seems I'm not alone in wondering how anyone would believe that a short 60-year-old would be able to go ten rounds with the world heavyweight champion of the world.
Writing in this week's Guide magazine in The Guardian, Joe Queenan says: "Concerned about his legacy, not sure he is getting the respect from the boxing press that he is due, Rocky decides to come out of retirement for one last fight.
"This time, he will duke it out with Mason "The Line" Dixon, an undeafeted black man who, though prodigiously gifted, has never really been tested. That's because up until now he has only battled tough black men in their 20s, but has never had to face the ultimate test: a 10-round bout with a decrepit Caucasian restaurateur pushing 60."
I think I will be giving Rocky Balboa a wide body swerve when it is released in the UK next week.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
And that I also named Arctic Monkeys as the winner of the Album of the Year at the inaugural Jock Awards.
Now, combining these two passions, here is my favourite cover version of the past year or so. Strangely, the Girls' pristine pop sounds natural when given the jingly-jangly Sheffield treatment by the Monkeys.
Friday, January 12, 2007
The weather forecast isn't promising, which leads me to the conclusion that any activity I do undertake will be indoors.
Although Mrs Wife and I bought bikes last summer, and I have enough waterproof equipment to ensure I survive a day of physical cycle-based activity, the bikes are at the back of the shed, behind a mountain of possessions moved from indoors to help make Groanin' Towers appear less cluttered when potential purchasers visit.
Therefore, I am not inclined to delve into this gardening tools graveyard in an attempt to rescue the bike.
So I guess it's a weekend of computer games, music, football on the TV and DVDs for me.
It's a hard life....
Thursday, January 11, 2007
One thing that I believe will set me apart from most of the readers of this esteemed electronic catalogue of moans is that I have been (mildly) threatened by royal security guards.
In the course of my work, I have on two occasions been sent to cover royal visits, once to snap the bumbling heir to the throne and once to secure some pictures of his sister.
On the latter occasion, I was the only member of the press there. Princess Ann arrived in a convoy of black vehicles and with a police escort - this despite the fact that the engagement was not an official public occasion.
I was primed and ready to fill a 96MB digital memory card with as many photographs as my fingers could take.
As I took the image to the left, standing barely two metres from the horse-faced horse rider, a member of the mysterious Special Branch stepped in front of me and stated that: 'You do not take a photograph of a lady when she is removing her jacket.'
Princess Ann is probably amongst the most photographed women in the history of publishing. The paparazzi have taken photographs of her on countless occasions. So why should a photograph of her removing her jacket (which was never going to see the light of day in any medium until now) be so taboo?
Granted, she is no stunner - but the camera doesn't lie.
Anyway, to avoid being drugged and dumped in a nearby loch by MI6, I agreed to take no more photographs until the Princess had removed her jacket. It just seemed a strange demand that I have never quite been able to fathom, although I think it may just have been a bored security guard exerting a little bit of misplaced authority.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
So, hold on folks, here goes.
1: Projects by Ash (from the album Nu-Clear Sounds): Nirvana-influenced rock from the Belfast boys. I've been a big fan of Ash since I was a teenager, and none of their albums has ever disappointed me. Nu-Clear Sounds moved their sound to a harder, grungier feel, and Projects is a throaty yell backed by Grohl-like drums.
2: Baby Get It On by Ike & Tina Turner (from the Nutbush City Limits box set): Soul-rock stomp featuring a full-bodied duet from the most turbulent couple in pop. Whilst most of Tina's solo career is middle of the road crap, her early work marked her out as one of the greatest singers of her time, infusing Aretha Franklin's soul with a shot of rock spirit.
3: Dolphin '99 by Shed Seven (from the greatest hits album Going For Gold): Shed Seven were amongst Britpop's finest magpies - able to knock out facsimile copies of Oasis, The Stone Roses or The Charlatans depending on the prevailing indie wind of the time. Dolphin '99 attempts to copy the Roses' loping drum beat, combining it with Rick Witter's enthusiastic vocals.
4: Conspicuously Leaving (Without Saying Goodbye) by AC Acoustics (from the album AC Acoustics): Fairly bland, warbling indie tune ideally suited to background music. Never likely to get the pulse racing.
5: Queen Of The Hours by Electric Light Orchestra (from the album First Light Series): ELO have been unfairly maligned in rock's history. Although claims that they were going to be the 1970s' answer to The Beatles may have been wide of the mark, they did at least attempt to inject a bit of creative energy into their songs. As with most of their output, this track incorporates an elaborate string backing, giving an eerie feeling.
6: New Pin by Oceansize (from the album Everyone Into Position): Earnest rock song that simultaneously evokes Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead and Metallica. By no means the highlight of a strong album, but a stirring listen nonetheless.
7: Squealer by AC/DC (from the album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap): Boasting a false start before typical Angus lead guitar work, this is the sound of the young AC/DC beginning to find their own distinctive sound. Includes a minute-long song section where only Bon Scott and drums are audible, bar the occasional guitar chord. Then, two minutes in, the band begins to rawk. Bon Scott is Scotland's greatest ever frontman - born just down the road from Groanin' Jock in Kirriemuir.
8: People Take Pictures Of Each Other by The Kinks (from the album The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society): Ray Davies is undoutedly one of Britain's greatest songwriters. Having single-handedly invented the punk rock sound on You Really Got Me, he deserted his rock roots for explorations of life in a fast-fading traditional England. People Take Pictures Of Each Other is a typical Davies song of the period, combing 'la-la-la' backing vocals with intricate acoustic guitar work.
9: Oh My God by Kaiser Chiefs (from the album Employment): Whilst I think the Kaiser Chiefs are a great live act and that their debut album contains some great songs, they do occasionally have the feel of a novelty act unexpectedly turned massive. Oh My God is a definite highlight of the album, and as great a festival anthem as has been recorded in the past few years. Deserves kudos for the line: 'But you work in a shirt with your name tag on it, Drifting apart like a plate tectonic'.
10: Switching Off by Elbow (from the album Cast of Thousands): One of the greatest crimes in music today is that Elbow aren't as massive as Radiohead and Muse. As a creatively inventive band, they are matched today only by those bands and by Super Furry Animals. As with most of their output, Switching Off has an almost hymnal quality, led beautifully by Guy Garvey's voice.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I was three years old when Return of the Jedi was released, and spent my formative years with thoughts of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Han Solo taking up more space in my head than was probably healthy or useful.
And, to be honest, that love of the films has never really gone away.
Which is why I am delighted to present to you, dear readers, one of the most faithful recreations of the original motion picture I've ever seen.
To view, go to your Start menu on your computer, click on Run and copy this text into the box: telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl.
Hit Enter then sit back and enjoy the show!
Monday, January 08, 2007
Don't get me wrong, I abhor an untidy living space, but I am also chronically lazy. After the working day is done, I like nothing more than to stretch out on the sofa with my laptop on my lap, the TV and surround sound system cranked up, and a bottle of Coke and a bar of chocolate at my side.
And when I am in this state of repose, all thoughts of cleaning and tidying Groanin' Towers evaporates from my mind.
Now that Mrs Wife has departed for pastures new (or Angus at least), I am to be left to my own devices for the best part of a month. Under normal circumstances, the sitting room would quickly be enveloped by a blanket of magazines, books, CDs, DVDs, PlayStation games and the like.
But as we are attempting to sell the property, and could be visited by a potential purchaser at any point, I have to struggle to maintain some semblance of tidiness throughout the house.
I didn't realise just how untidy I am until yesterday, when we finally had it looking spotless. Just living in a house for one afternoon and evening served up ample opportunity for me to make a mess. Cooking dinner, having a shower, getting dressed - all of these activities offered up fresh debris which would normally be left where it landed.
But, one day into the challenge, I am persevering - Groanin' Towers retains that sheen of spit and polish (not literally, I am not prone to spitting whilst indoors).
But can I maintain this false state of affairs for the next few weeks?
Sunday, January 07, 2007
To concede three goals is shameful, but to do so against the SPL's worst side, who hadn't scored in five weeks, is utterly abominable.
We can only hope that the expected arrival of Walter Smith and Ally McCoist, and the integration of Andy Webster into the backline, will shore things up quickly.
If not, the UEFA Cup will become an embarrasment.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Can't stop for long today folks - Mrs Wife leaves for Angus tomorrow, and we are attempting to load the contents of a two bedroom semi-detached house into a Renault Clio.
I have a feeling that this will be a fruitless endeavour.....
Friday, January 05, 2007
Which means pissing about on the web, where I stopped by my old friend Eric's site at Straight White Guy, where I was encouraged to find out how sinful I am.
It seems I'm greedy, lazy and have an eye for the ladies. Hey, tell me something I don't know...
|Your Deadly Sins|
|Chance You'll Go to Hell: 46%|
|You will die love and feared by many. And you'll be buried in a tomb.|
The past 72 hours has probably been amongst the most exciting in the history of the famous Glasgow Rangers.
First Paul Le Guen stripped Barry Ferguson of the club captaincy and banished him from the first team, before presiding over a 1-0 win against Motherwell.
Then, the club announces that Le Guen is to leave 'by mutual consent' - yeah, right. Le Guen is a goner because Sir David Murray is fed up with unacceptable performances on the pitch, a team full of mis-firing foreigners and the fact that Le Guen had obviously lost the confidence of his players.
I'm surprised that Walter Smith is apparently the favourite to replace the Frenchman, as I always thought he'd have more sense than to risk damaging his Rangers reputation by attempting to repeat his former glories.
As soon as I heard that Le Guen was gone, Ally McCoist's name was the first I thought of, and he'd obviously be a popular choice amongst the supporters. However, there is perhaps the an element of risk involved, as Super Ally has no previous managerial experience.
But, with close friend Ian Durrant already heavily involved in the club as reserve team coach, I think that bringing back the club's record scorer could be the best choice.
Other names in the frame include Billy Davies, who again is Rangers through-and-through, and former captain Terry Butcher. Although both would be popular with the fans, none has the same appeal as McCoist.
So can Rangers' golden boy restore a bit of sparkle to the ailing Ibrox side? I certainly hope so.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
But it seems that selling our abode and finding a new place could be just as traumatic. Dealing with solicitors, estate agents, banks and removal firms does not fill me with great joy, and I have a feeling that my rapidly greying hair will be white by the time we move into New Groanin' Towers, whenever that will be.
But hey, at least property prices are substantially cheaper on Scotland's east coast - cheap enough that we should be able to afford a larger residence with ample room for a troop of kids and dogs.
My gosh - didn't that post just sound VERY middle aged!
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
As of the end of this month, Mrs Wife and I will be leaving rain-soaked Argyll behind and returning to the Arctic shores of Scotland's east, where there are cinemas, good roads and Pizza Hut.
In fact, Mrs Wife heads off to a new life in Angus next week, to be followed by me at the start of February. The letters of resignation are in, and pastures new await.
Which will mean changes to this website. The little paragraph in the top left, which currently reads: 'Displaced from Scotland's east coast and settled in the west, where it rains too much, the roads are crap and there are no cinemas.' will need to be amended to take stock of the new situation.
Does anyone want to buy a two-bedroom house in Argyll?