Saturday, March 31, 2012

Season 2011/2012: Match 20: Montrose 0 Alloa Athletic 2 (Irn-Bru Division Three)

Over the past few weeks/months/years, Neil Lennon:

has developed quite a reputation for being an ungracious loser, convinced that there's a conspiracy whereby referees are out to deny his club "their" treble.

It's all bollocks of course, and part of the greater Celtic persecution complex whereby the SFA, UEFA, FIFA, the UK government, pro-Israeli governments, Andy Goram, HMRC, the Feudal System, potato blight, diving Portuguese midfielders, Kyle Lafferty, Alex Salmond, the English, the Masons and Ally McCoist are all geared towards denying Celtic their rightful place at the summit of Scottish, European and world football.

If the snaggle-toothed ginger wants to see what it's like living with week upon week of woeful refereeing, he should start following Montrose.

Today, Montrose were 10 minutes from a share of the points with Division Three champions elect Alloa. The visitors had Ryan Harding sent off after 18 minutes, the centre back misjudging the flight of a long ball from Dougie Cameron, getting caught the wrong side of Martin Boyle and deciding that his only option was to take the striker out.

But Mat Northcroft apparently decided to redress the balance in the 80th minute, awarding a penalty to Alloa and dismissing Alan Campbell for a professional foul. Which would have been perfectly fine had Campbell not clearly taken the ball before making contact with Stevie May.

Campbell walked, Ryan McCord stepped up to take the penalty, and Alloa never looked back.

Alloa doubled their lead two minutes later, McCord reacting fastest when Darren Young's 35-yard shot smacked off both posts before dropping in front of goal.

It's easy enough to say that the sending off cost Montrose the match, but the truth is that they played against 10 men for 72 minutes. Instead of keeping possession and passing the ball, they resorted to their tried and tested aimless and useless tactic of launching the ball as far up the park as possible at every opportunity.

It seems that Paul Lunan - a man with four contrasting haircuts competing for attention on his oblong head - and Dougie Cameron just want to get the ball as far away from themselves as possible - every time they're in possession, an aimless punt follows.

In a moment of sun-inspired pre-match jollity I composed a song in Dougie's honour. To the tune of "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands":

He's got a patella for a head
He's got a patella for a head
He's got a patella for a head
He's got a knee where his heid should be

I look forward to a rousing rendition at the next Montrose match.

Aside from the late Alloa flurry, Northcroft's unexplainable mental breakdown and Montrose's desire to play American Football rather than the proper type, there was little to note in today's match.

Except for one thing. It seems that Heath Ledger:

didn't die while filming The Dark Knight - he's alive and well and playing up front for Alloa under the alias Stevie May:

It's all a conspiracy...

Man of the Match: All in all, today was largely forgettable for Montrose. I barely remember them being in the Alloa box, despite having an extra man for three quarters of the match. If push comes to shove, I'd probably go for Paul Lunan, who looked solid at the back when not trying to launch the ball non-stop to Brechin.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Ten: Ten Songs For A Sunny Day

I'm steadfastly ignoring all claims to include Dodgy...

1. Going Out - Supergrass

2. Daytripper - The Beatles

3. Dry The Rain - The Beta Band

4. ABC - The Jackson 5

5. Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks

6. The Circle - Ocean Colour Scene

7. Whatever - Oasis

8. I Get Around - The Beach Boys

9. Time Of The Season - The Zombies

10. One Love - The Stone Roses

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Force Wasn't So Strong

Maybe the Force wasn't as strong in young Anakin Skywalker/Jake Lloyd as we were led to believe...

As seen here

Monday, March 26, 2012


On the way home from visiting friends outside Perth yesterday, Mrs Wife, the Jockling and I stopped in Dundee so that I could pick up some new tenants for the Dungroanin' aquarium.

This weekend's additions were three Otocinclus, or Ottos for short, that I have named Optimus, Rodimus and Bumblebee. The photograph above shows Optimus getting straight down to the business of eating brown algae, which was the reason for acquiring them in the first place.

They join an eclectic group that includes seven harlequin rasbora (Quinzel, Cobblepot, Nigma, Bane, Dent, Fries and Joker), three mollies (Laudrup, Gascoigne and Walters) and a guppy (Firestar), as well as five Malaysian trumpet snails (Davis, Gillespie, Armstrong, Flea and Moore).

Laudrup (bottom middle), Gascoigne (upper right) and Walters (upper left) say hello to the camera, while one of the harlequins pops into the frame in the top right.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

And The Living's Easy

Large McDonald's strawberry milkshake.

Paul Simon's Graceland on the headphones.

Sun in the sky and barely a breeze.

I love summertime...

....Even when it arrives in March...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pokemon and Saved By The Bell

Since posting a photograph of Samuel "Screech" Powers - AKA Montrose "football player" Jonathan Crawford - a few weeks back, it appears that this far-flung outpost of the worldwide interweb has become the primary resource for people seeking photographs of said character.

But today, someone also arrived having searched for "Picachu tackle". Unfortunately I can't help with that - although a quick search of the Groanin' Jock archives will reveal a picture of the Pokemon's vagina...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Between The Lines

I've been reading a fair bit over the past wee while, thanks in part to receiving a Kindle for Xmas from Mither.

Here's what I've devoured over the past few months:

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
The second Hunger Games book. Not as good as the first, which was exciting (if a little predictable). But there were some interesting twists that took the story to new places...

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
...that were concluded in Mockingjay. The story seemed to lose its way a bit in the final chapter, but it was rounded off to a generally satisfactory degree.

Rage - Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
For a short while, Stephen King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, just to see what it was like to be an unknown author again.

The education guide to a career is a great resource to use in jump starting your career as an author.

The first of the Bachman books I read was Rage, a book that has since been withdrawn from sale due to a high school shooter using it as inspiration for his rampage. Cleverly plotted, with well-crafted characters, Rage is well worth a read if you can find a second-hand copy.

The Ultimate Book of Useless Information - Noel Botham
I love useless facts. I've devoted almost my entire life to filling my head with facts that I will never need and should never use, but can't resist in a smart-ass way. I actually noticed some inaccuracies in this book, but read it cover to cover nonetheless.

Are You Dave Gorman? - Dave Gorman
I'm a long-term fan of Gorman (and his sidekick Danny Wallace), but it took me a long time to get round to reading the book that made his name. The devotion to duty, and the mental imbalance required, to spend months seeking out Dave Gormans from around the world is an endeavour that few would try, and fewer still could relay in such amusing fashion.

The Long Walk - Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
My second Bachman book, The Long Walk was harrowing. Cleverly, it doesn't reveal itself fully until the end of the journey, so the plot is gradually revealed as the characters' long walk is taking place. Subtle genius.

Roadwork - Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
Not as strong a story as Rage or The Long Walk, but Roadwork  gave a good study of one man's fight against the system, and his parallel descent into madness.

The Running Man - Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
The movie may regularly recive an unwarranted kicking, but The Running Man gave us a dystopian future where people are hunted for sport on live TV. An obvious touchstone for The Hunger Games trilogy, the book is darker and less cartoonish than the Arnie blockbuster.

The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire - Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone reporter Matt  Taibbi looks at the political divide in the USA, how its citizens are reacting and what it means for the world at large. Some of the character profiles are truly frightening, and it comes as a sobering thought to realise how many people go about the business of electing the most powerful person on Earth.

The Bedroom Secrets of The Master Chefs - Irvine Welsh
Welsh's post-Trainspotting work may have been on an ever-downward spiral, but they've always been a guilty pleasure of mine - there hasn't been one I haven't enjoyed. I love that they're set in the real Edinburgh, with real streets, real pubs and real shops. And his characters are genuinely gruesome. The Bedroom Secrets of The Master Chefs bore comparison with The Portrait of Dorian Gray, and I zipped through its funny and horrifying plot.

Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn - Charlie Brooker
On his day, there are few people funnier than Charlie Brooker. This book collects some of his TV columns, where he dismembers the offal paraded as prime time broadcasting in the UK. Generally hilarious, although as the book is more than 10 years old, some of the references fall flat today.

Under The Dome - Stephen King
The first half of this monster of a novel was as good as anything I've read for a while - a genuine "what the fuck is going on" situation brought to life with a lucid mix of characters. But I was ultimately disappointed with the pay-off - it was almost as if King himself had no real idea where to take the story and ended up with a "ach, that'll do". Frustrating considering how strong the first half was.

Life and Fate - Vasily Grossman
An epic novel set in the final days of World War II, as Russia and Germany fight for supremacy in Stalingrad. Translated from the original Russian novel written 60-odd years ago, it was far from an easy read. Some parts kept the imagination, but others dragged by for what seemed like the duration of the siege of Stalingrad itself. A massive undertaking, and not one to be considered lightly.

The QI Book of General Ignorance - John Lloyd and John Mitchinson
Another collection of trivia and usless facts, this book set about debunking many a myth. Very educational, even if a lot of the science involved went right over my head.

The Second QI Book of General Ignorance - John Lloyd and John Mitchinson
More of the same - the benefits of having a Kindle being that I now carry 500+ books with me wherever I go, and can appease my appetite for education and stimulation whenever I feel like it.

The Internet Is A Playground - David Thorne
David Thorne is a mad, hilarious, evil genius. His website at is one of my favourite things in the whole world. This book collects the first batch of his internet postings, as well as a several exclusive to the book. Laugh-out-loud funny, even those stories I'd read several times before. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Slide Away

It came as a sobering realistion today that many of my favourite records are 15 years old this year.

Albums from 1997 that rank among my favourites or that otherwise had a big effect on me at the time include:

Radiator - Super Furry Animals
OK Computer - Radiohead
Tellin' Stories - The Charlatans
Do It Yourself - The Seahorses
Be Here Now - Oasis
Urban Hymns - The Verve
In It For The Money - Supergrass
Marchin' Already - Ocean Colour Scene
Vanishing Point - Primal Scream
Dig Your Own Hole - The Chemical Brothers
The Fat of The Land - The Prodigy
Heavy Soul - Paul Weller
Flaming Pie - Paul McCartney
When I Was Born For The Seventh Time - Cornershop
The Colour and The Shape - Foo Fighters
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space - Spiritualized
Young Team - Mogwai
Songs From Northern Britain - Teenage Fanclub
Blur - Blur
Stupid Stupid Stupid - Black Grape
Good Feeling - Travis
Portishead - Portishead
Attack of the Grey Lantern - Mansun

And those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head in 10 minutes.

Quite easily the best year of music in my lifetime. We'll never see its like again...

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Reading's 13 Current Events as Understood By Five-Year-Olds this morning reminded me that, as a child, I thought Neil Kinnock was the first man to walk on the moon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Nineteenth Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge

With only one entrant in the last Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge, Neepheid wins by default, having correctly identified Blur's Beetlebum.

Here are the latest tunes to spot, courtesy of the Magic Tune Box set to shuffle. Just identify the song and the artist, no Googling allowed.

1. Pride can hurt you too, apologise to her.

2. I'm looking over the wall and they're looking at me.

3. What a big black mask, what a hunk of love.

4. Watching him dash away, swinging an old bouquet.

5. You were the seven deadly sins, making sense in your "screw me" dress.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Season 2011/2012: Match 19: Montrose 1 Berwick Rangers 1 (Irn-Bru Division Three)

After five years of watching Montrose week in, week out, and almost 12 months of Raymond Farningham's Less Than Incredible Comedy Circus, I've finally worked out where the main problem is.

The assorted nuclear physicists, neurosurgeons and chemical weapon developers that turn out for Montrose during their days off think that football matches last 70 minutes.

That can be the only reason for them giving Berwick a good game for that long then inexplicably switching off for the final 20 minutes.

Neither side created any clear chances in the first half hour or so, but the 10 minutes before the break suggested we were in for a match in the second half.

It took only three minutes of the latter period for Montrose to take the lead, Martin Boyle (maybe just overshadowed this week by Lionel Messi's exploits in the Champions League) applying a low finish to Lloyd Young's knockdown.

And from there they could have had at least another one or two. Scott Johnston was tireless, marauding up and down both wings, while his fellow midfielders were solid and generally reliable.

But with 20 minutes remaining - coinciding with the introduction of Jamie Winter in place of Terry Masson in central midfield - Montrose began to invite their visitors into the final third, a dangerous strategy given the home side's defensive frailty and erratic goalkeeper.

On this instance, it wasn't keeper Michael Andrews who was at fault - he had a good game, with some excellent saves that kept Montrose in the match.

Today those at fault (yet again) were:
Jonathan "Pob" Beckenbauer Smart. Everyone's favourite jug-eared puppet turned centre back remains a critical disaster area, not least because in his head, he's never at fault. If he spent as much time defending as he does barking at his team mates to hide his own mistakes, he'd be on the way to being as good as he clearly thinks he is.

Neither he nor Sean Crighton (the switch on the back of Crighton's head was flicked from "Get rid of the ball at all times" to "Panic and flap about" for the final 20 minutes) managed to beat the much shorter Damon Gray in the air when Berwick equalised from a corner.

The whole Montrose defence is a shambles, with another weak point in today's late collapse -
- Dougie Cameron, a source of continuing frustration. He'd have been a contender for man of the match up until the final 20 minutes, when his tendency to go walkabout reappeared. He needs to realise that he's at his best sticking to his position at left back and using his genuine passing ability from there, rather than wandering aimlessly into midfield and leaving gaps at the back that he doesn't have the pace to refill when necessary.

Also in the "could have been a contender" category was Jonathan Crawford:Screech was doing well in a holding midfield role for the first hour or so, but he also seemed to be destabilised by Winter's introduction - possibly as a result of losing the (unlikely) calming influence of Terry Masson beside him.

I can understand Farningham's introduction of Winter with 20 minutes to go - hope the ball drops to him somewhere in the same postcode as the Berwick net and that he can use his laser-guided rocket foot to power in a goal or two.

But the team's shape went all to buggery after he came on, the midfield stopped defending, the defence started defending like they didn't know how to defend and there was no way Montrose were going to come out with all three points.

It's infuriating watching men who should know better stop playing the way they can and resort to aimless punts and defending like kids.

This season's a write-off, we know that much. We've seen the team match all the other teams in the division at one time or another. They need to remember to play for the full 90 minutes, with maybe some tweaks to personnel. I'd still be in favour of binning the two Jonathans, but I'd keep Kneeheid, as on his day he's a player. Otherwise, I'm still comfortable with the team we put on the park most weeks.

Man of the Match: It feels like I say this every week, but Boyle was tireless up front and deserved his goal. Masson was strong in midfield, as was Lloyd Young alongside him. Crawford and Cameron played well in the first half. But the award is between Michael Andrews and Scott Johnston, and now that I've thought about it, Andrews kept Montrose in the game on a number of occasions.