Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The 2008 Jock Awards

It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid.
At Christmas time, we let in light and banish shade.
And we also rank the year's best records, bands and movies to determine which will be remembered forever more and which will be consigned to a bargain bin in a high street store other than Woolworths.
Like the Oscars, except Roman Polanski is allowed to attend the ceremony if he wants to.

The Stone Roses award for Album of The Year: (Nominees: Kings of Leon - Only By The NightElbow - The Seldom Seen Kid; AC/DC - Black IceThe Fireman- Electric ArgumentsPortishead - Third; Glasvegas - Glasvegas)
It's been a cracking year for albums, and in any other year we could have expected Oasis, Primal Scream, Coldplay, Supergrass and The Verve to be amongst the leaders for the first award. But once again it was Elbow who proved to be probably the best band in the country, their fourth record standing shoulder to shoulder with its three classic forebears. The Seldom Seen Kid also helped belatedly vault the band to the next level of their careers, scooping the Mercury Music Prize. Opening track Starlings is as good a love song as I've ever heard, and One Day Like This was the soundtrack to the summer's festivals. Simply put, The Seldom Seen Kid stood head and shoulders above every other album released this year.

The Strawberry Fields Forever award for Single of The Year: (Nominees: Oasis - The Shock Of The LightningOasisI'm Outta TimeThe Verve- Love Is NoiseElbowGrounds For DivorceElbowOne Day Like This; Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire; Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah)
"I remember the days when a single was a proper CD - yes a CD - and it had FOUR songs on it - yes FOUR SONGS." I can already foresee a future when I'm telling young, impudent, relatives that things were so much better in "my day". Anyway, in the download era, any track available on iTunes can top the singles chart, as so nearly happened with Jeff Buckley's rendition of Hallelujah, propelled into the chart for the first time by the anti-X Factor masses. But for me, the defining track of the year was The Verve's comeback single Love Is Noise, complete with odd hooting noise looped throughout the whole length of the song. I picked up the album the day I flew to Norway with four colleagues, and drove them to distraction by "singing" the hooting part on repeat. And every time I hear it, I'm back in the Stavanger sun, drinking free beer.

The Rolling Stones award for Live Act of The Year: (Nominees: ElbowOasisGomezGlasvegas; The Dusty Rhodes River Band)
Unusually, I've not been to many gigs this year - holidays in China tend to soak up large swathes of time and disposable income. Nonetheless, Oasis gave a solid performance at the AECC to bring back memories of the first concert I ever saw, the same band at the same venue in 1997. But the best performance I witnessed all year was Elbow's mid-afternoon slot at the Connect festival in Inveraray. Far too short, the band were nonetheless spectacular, opening with Starlings and closing with One Day Like This, with the cracking Leaders Of The Free World in between. A performance that really whetted the appetite for seeing them again in March. Although next year they'll be up against AC/DC at Hampden and Robert Zimmerman at the SECC....

The Goodfellas Award for Movie of the Year: (Nominees: The Dark KnightNo Country For Old Men; Wanted; There Will Be Blood; Charlie Wilson's War; Wall-E; Quantum of Solace)
Absolutely no contest. Daniel Day Lewis may have won an Oscar for There Will Be Blood, and the Cohen brothers for No Country For Old Men, but one movie stood cowl and cape above the rest during 2008. The Dark Knight may end up being most famous for being Heath Ledger's final, frightening swansong, but the movie kicked ass from beginning to end.

The Knight Rider award for TV Programme of The Year: (Nominees: Spooks; Desperate Housewives; Lost; Fringe; Heroes)
For the first time in the three-year history of The Jock Awards, Lost fails to take the top TV programme gong, and for the first time a British show leads the way. Spooks may be a dramatised version of life within MI5, but it's created in such a way, with believable characters, absorbing back stories and gripping action, that it draws the viewer entirely into the world of British and international espionage.

The Marilyn Monroe award for Babe of The Year: (Nominees: Megan Fox; Hayden Panettiere; Salma Hayek; Nadine Coyle; Cheryle Cole)
Assuming, as always, that Mrs Wife is the genuine winner of this category from now until the end of the Blogosphere, Salma Hayek lifts the crown as the hottest woman on Earth. Why? Here's why.

The Jet Set Willy Award for Computer Game of The Year: (Nominees: Football Manager 2009; FIFA Soccer 2009)
Probably the only two "new" games I've played this year go head-to-head for the title. And, as ever, Sports Interactive's glorified spreadsheet scoops the gong. Now with an added 3D match engine, Football Manager continues to go from strength to strength.

The Godfather III award for Biggest Disappointment of The Year: (Nominees: The Verve - ForthDirty Pretty Things livethe death of Woolworths)
It was a comeback that promised so much. The early glimpses of The Verve's new material, courtesy of the free download Thaw Sessions, suggested a swirling psychedelic thunder of guitars and Richard Ashcroft's booming baritone. Then came first single Love Is Noise, the best track of the year and the soundtrack to my summer. But the album fell flat, lacking direction, attitude and excitement. A big disappointment from a band capable of so much more.

The Screamadelica award for Scottish Album of The Year: (Nominee: Glasvegas - Glasvegas; Primal Scream - Beautiful Future) Slim pickings north of the border once again, with The Fratelli's second record failing to set the pulse racing. Glasvegas stole the show with their tales of heartbreak, social workers, flowers, fitba taps and lost daddies.

Monday, December 22, 2008


It's Christmas time, a time for giving and for sharing. That being the case, I'd like the advice of both my readers on whether I should help Miss Glory Favor from Sudan, who has just this minute sent me a sweetly-worded email begging for salvation. What think you, dear citizens of the blogosphere?  

Hello Dear,
Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into financial transaction with you for our mutual benefits hence i write with do respect, iam Miss Glory Favor from Sudan, I am a lady,with black hair,brown eyes,5fts 1inches tall,weigh 50kgs.

I wish to request for your assistance in a financial transaction, dear i got your contact in a cause of serious search in internet for a transaction partner,i wish to invest in a manufacturing and real estate management industry in your country, i have ( five million,five hundred thousand united state dollars ) to invest in industry and i will require your assistance in receiving the funds into your position in your country.
 I will gladly give you 10% of the total sum for your assistance,please it is important you contact me immediately for more clearifications on the next step hence it is my wish to relocate to your country as soon as this transaction is concluded.
Awaiting your immediate response,contact me,
Miss Favor

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Season 2008/2009: Match 14: Montrose v Albion Rovers

Last week, I suggested that if Montrose's results didn't improve, caretaker manager David Hannah would find his tenure would be very short.
In the seven days that passed between that game against Cowdenbeath and yesterday's match with Albion Rovers, Hannah fell on his sword, having won four and lost four of his eight matches in charge.
Director of football Kenny Black, father of Montrose's best player Stephen Black, took charge of the first team yesterday, and the team looked solid and dangerous.
That was for the first five minutes at least, as it took winger and top goalscorer Kevin Bradley only six minutes to receive a straight red card for kicking out at his marker. It was the second red card a Montrose player has received for that same offence in the space of two weeks.
The curious thing about Bradley's sending off was that it came with Montrose having ben awarded a free kick for a foul by the Albion Rovers left back.
So, once Bradley had completed his trudge of shame across the pitch and down the tunnel, Stephen Black whipped the ball into the box and on-loan striker Calum Smith lashed it into the net on the half volley.
In the space of 30 seconds, Montrose had been reduced to ten men and had taken the lead.
From then on, Montrose actually looked quite assured in possession, forcing Albion to rely on shots from long range to test goalkeeper Greg Kelly.
But in the second half, tired legs and the numerical disadvantage cost Montrose, who succumbed to an equaliser in the 56th minute and a beautifully-taken winner from Bobby Barr four minutes later.
I've always liked watching Albion Rovers, not because they play like Barcelona (they don't) or because I've got an emotional or geographic tie to them (I don't), but because their strips always remind me of Melchester Rovers.
Albion certainly don't have a Roy Race figure leading them towards glory, and I think a full-strength Montrose side would have crushed them yesterday. But Rovers do have what passes for a celebrity fan in the Irn Bru Scottish League Division Three, with stand-up comedian (one of the funniest men in Scotland and a club director) Pat Rollink watching from the stand as Albion moved to within five points of their hosts.
Hopefully, the latest change in leadership will be enough to rejuvenate the Links Park side. There were enough good signs on show yesterday to suggest that a run of good results is just around the corner.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Odd Product, Great Comments

The mind boggles

Friday Ten: My Ten Favourite Christmas Songs

It's the last Friday before Christmas, so the time is right to give a festive spin to the Friday Ten. This week - my ten favourite Christmas tunes, both traditional and modern.
1. Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
2. Happy Christmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
3. Silent Night
4. Fairytale Of New York - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
5. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
6. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day - Wizzard
7. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
8. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
9. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
10. Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin' Stevens
I'd have put Stay Another Day by East 17 in, but it's not reaaaaaaalllly a Christmas song, is it?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

If You Don't Ask, You'll Never Know

Time is of the essence and I'm short on both inspiration and energy, so, in lieu of a "proper" post, here's a meme I spotted at Parkway Rest Stop.

Do you remember your first favorite song? If so, what was it?
I think it was probably "Flash Gordon" by Queen. Mither played Queen's Greatest Hits all the time when I was a wee lad, and this song about an intergalactic superhero battling Ming The Merciless stood out to a four-year-old's ears. I was also convinced that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was four different songs. I went off Queen a loooooong time ago.

What do you refuse to eat?
I'm not a big seafood fan, but I don't know if I'd refuse to eat it at a dinenr party if there were no alternatives. But given a choice, I'd pass. I can happily leave most green vegetables as well.

Have you ever injected any kind of drug before? 
Nope. I've had vaccinations given to me by doctors and nurses, but I've never injected myself and hope to avoid doing so if at all possible.

Do amusement park rides make you sick? 
The waltzers have left me queasy a few times, but I've never felt sick on any others.

Who is your favorite Star Wars character? 
Darth Vader. The best fictional bad guy ever, and the most stylish.

What kind of cheese do you put on your sandwiches? 
Scottish mature cheddar.

What was the first thing you ever learned how to cook?
I'm not sure. I'd imagine we learnt to make rock cakes, scones or something similar at primary school. Otherwise, probably a boiled egg.

Did you ever collect beanie babies?
No. But I do collect loads of other stuff (stuff generally referred to by Mrs Wife as "useless shite").

When was the last time you got a haircut? 
About a month ago I think. Baby Brother's girlfriend did it as a homer.

Have you ever been to a bachelor/bachelorette party? 
Several, in locations as diverse as Newcastle, Skye, Inverness, Aberdeen and Amsterdam.

Where are you most ticklish on your body?
I'm not sure. Ask Mrs Wife.

Have you ever bailed anyone out of jail? 
No. I might do if asked, depending on the person and the offence which they were suspected of.

What’s the last board game you played?
I'm not sure. Possibly Monopoly or Scrabble. It's been a while.

Do you still own any VHS tapes?
Yeah, an atomic fuckload of them. We don't have a video player set up anywhere in Dungroanin' at the moment, but we've still got one somewhere. And a lot of tapes that we haven't replaced or digitally backed up yet.

Do you shop at JC Penney’s ever? 
Never even heard of it. I suppose it doesn't exist in Britain. 

If there was a real Jurassic Park, would you visit it?

Damn right! A chance to see real-live dinosaurs close up - try and stop me!

Do you ever read the newspaper? 
When I get the chance. I do like reading the Sunday papers, lounging around Dungroanin' with the football on, a cold drink and Football Manager running quietly in the background. I don't really get a chance to read the papers during the week, but I read The Guardian and the BBC news pages online.

Do you eat your mac & cheese with a fork or a spoon? 
I rarely eat macaroni and cheese, but on the occasions I do, I use a fork. A spoon for pasta? What am I, three?

Is there any medicine/pill you take every day? 
None. Hopefully that will remain the case for a long time.

How many 20 dollar bills do you have on you right now? 
None. I do have a ten pound note though, which until recently was worth about 20 dollars. Now it's worth about 15.

Would you do meth if it was legalized? 
I might try it once, just to see what it's like. But probably not, in all honesty.

Do you think Obama will be assassinated? 
I certainly hope not, but I think that there's a huge risk of it happening.

Have you ever made out with someone and then never saw them again?
Yes. Obviously before Mrs Wife (or her previous incarnation Miss Girlfriend) came along.

Do you drink egg nog?
I've never had it. Not sure it would appeal.

What are you wearing? 
Black trousers, black shirt with white checks, black socks, black shoes. I'm rocking the Johnny Cash look at work today.

Monday, December 15, 2008


The "benefits" of a second floor city centre office - best seats in the house when bus meets lorry and comes off second best.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Season 2008/2009: Match 13: Montrose v Cowdenbeath

Yesterday, it felt like it had been ages since I had been to the fitba, a feeling that was due to missing the Angus derby with Forfar due to unforeseen circumstances, and the fact that Montrose's schedule seems to have worked out in a two weeks home, two weeks away system.
Montrose and Cowdenbeath lined up yesterday level on points, although the Fife side had a game in hand. Both teams are, on the face of it, promotion contenders, but Montrose have been haemoraghing goals and points at an alarming rate recently, and any hopes they have of even making the play-offs are evaporating fast.
In fairness, the home side dominated yesterday, but could do everything except put the ball into the Blue Brazil net. By contrast, Cowden had one genuine goalscoring chance and took it.
Montrose played some nice football at times, with the guts of the side more than capable of keeping the ball on the ground and playing fast passing football. But none of the players yesterday looked like a genuine striker, which will be of particular discomfort to striker Roddy Hunter. He was dismissed ten minutes from the end for aiming a kick at visiting goalkeeper David Hay, a red card that Montrose could well do without as they attempt to get their season back on track.
Unless things improve soon, David Hannah may find that his caretaker role as Montrose manager will be over all too soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With

I'm sure that those of you who have visited Amsterdam won't need me to tell you that it's a crazy place.

But amid the city's relaxed attitude to sex, drugs and other nefarious activities, the strangest sight I spotted was the record sleeve below in a second hand vinyl emporium.

No further words can do it justice.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Damn Dam

Once again, I have returned from foreign climes thoroughly exhausted, and on this occasion the exhaustion is both physical and financial.
Seriously, seven Euros a drink? That puts Amsterdam ahead of Dublin in the "most expensive places I've ever been drunk" list.
Nonetheless, a great time was had by all, especially spending eight hours in a sports cafe on Saturday afternoon, where we were able to watch eight matches simultaneously from 4pm until 6pm before enjoying watching Sunderland frustrate Manchester United for 91 minutes, not to mention a whole dose of Dutch, Spanish and Italian football on top.
But now my eyes are heavy, my muscles are sore and my throat is burning. And I'm as financially robust as Woolies.

Friday, December 05, 2008

He's gone, He's gone, He's go-oh-one

ROY Keane resigned as manager of Sunderland yesterday to spend more time with the 26 voices that echo around the inside of his head.

Keane says his nuclear programme will be used for peaceful purposes
Keane quit his post after advice from Sir Gerald Basketball, an invisible scientist who Keane has been having conversations with for over a year.

He said last night: "It was a difficult decision so I consulted everyone - Sir Gerald, Billy the Mouse, Arthur the African Astronaut, Edwin and Trevor the 20ft twins, and, of course, the floating ghost of Ernie Wise.

"Sir Gerald kept saying 'It's your duty Master Roy' while Billy the Mouse said I should hang on in case all the other teams exploded.

"Ernie was great. He was the one who told me to grow a beard so I would look like President Ahmadinejad of Iran."

Keane said this season's poor performances were not entirely his fault as for the last six weeks the team has been picked by a bottle-nose dolphin that pops up in his bath every Friday night.

He added: "You know it's time to go when you're taking selection advice from a dolphin with absolutely no Premier League experience."

The former Manchester United captain said he would now be taking some time out from football to concentrate on a demanding programme of electro-shock therapy.
Blatantly stolen from The Daily Mash

Friday Ten: My Ten Favourite Bass Players

1. Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
2. Mani (The Stone Roses & Primal Scream)
3. Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones - for Sympathy For The Devil alone)
4. Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
5. Didz Hammond (The Cooper Temple Clause & Dirty Pretty Things)
6. Bruce Foxton (The Jam)
7. Noel Redding (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
8. Jack Bruce (Cream)
9. John Entwistle (The Who)
10. Krist Novoselic (Nirvana)

Thursday, December 04, 2008


In just over 24 hours, I'll be en route to Aberdeen airport to catch a flight to Amsterdam for a stag party.
Which makes the fact that I'm currently sitting at my desk staring out the window to pishing rain-soaked Aberdeen bus station all the harder to take....

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wake Up, There's A New Day Dawning

Thanks to The Tomahawk Kid for creating this "word cloud" for this far-flung outpost of the worldwide interweb. I'm presuming that it has collated the words based primarily on the front page, hence the sizeable contribution made by "insomnia", but it's interesting to see which words I use most frequently during my semi-literate and occasionally coherent ramblings.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Twelfth Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge

It's been quite a while since we delved into the darkest recesses of Magic Tune Box, and I think today might even mark the debut of Magic Tune Box III on the Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge. The premise of the game is simple - five tunes picked at random from MTB3, with a portion of the lyrics revealed. Identify the tracks, leaving your answers in the comments - no Googling!
1. What I feel, I can't say, But my love is there for you anytime of day, But if it's not love that you need, Then I'll try my best to make everything succeed.
2. Gasping - but somehow still alive, This is the fierce last stand of all I am.
3. The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense, Take what you have gathered from coincidence.
4. I'm a rolling thunder, pouring rain, I'm comin' on like a hurricane
5. So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind, Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time

Monday, December 01, 2008


It's been a while since anyone on the worldwide interweb decided I was worthy of tagging, so thanks to Billy The Kid for this one, for which he was tagged by Rantz.

And this one's simple - five things about me.

1. I have no middle name. Mither never liked the fact that hers was her mother's maiden name, which isn't a standard girly-type name, and so decided that Baby Brother and I wouldn't have middle names. Which means that my real name has, in total, seven letters.

2. I've visited 21 of the world's countries (24 if you count England, Scotland, Norn Iron and Eire as separate nations). My first foreign trip was an exchange trip to Germany with the school in 1994, which also took me to Belgium and the Netherlands, sailing into Zeebrugge and out of Rotterdam.

3. The most recent new addition to the list above is Norway, which I visited with work in August. Stavanger reminded me of the town from The Goonies, albeit with more drunk Norwegians and £9 pints.

4. My first football match was Brechin City v Rangers for Dougie Scott's testimonial match in 1991. If memory serves correctly (and it probably doesn't) Brechin won 6-4. Ian Durrant scored a penalty for Rangers as he made his slow comeback from his horrific injury.

5. If I could only watch one DVD on repeat for eternity, I'd probably pick the first disc from the Fawlty Towers box set. Familiarity should really breed contempt, but not in this case. Communication Problems is actually funnier with every subsequent viewing.

Now, who to tag? Like Billy, I'll pick three of my favourite Scottish bloggers - The Tomahawk Kid, Big Rab and Mike Smith from Auld Reekie Rants.