Thursday, December 06, 2007


Monday 3 December 2007

WMESB™: Unbelievably, there were three other people on MY bus. One got off half way so today’s count is officially 3 ½. Also, it dawdled and I had to run for the X57.

It was quite a good weekend. The GLW was out for her annual Girls’ Day Out, which her and Elizabeth save all year for. They indulge in shopping, cocktails and then more shopping. So it was just The Flickster and I and we headed off to Waterstone’s in Kirkcaldy so I could collect my £15 voucher that I won from the Fife free Press.

Kirkcaldy is remarkably easy to get into but impossible to get out of, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the roads. Maybe that’s deliberate, maybe no one is allowed to leave. Ever! Cue theme for The Omen…

Anyway it was some quality time between father and daughter and we had a ball.

On Sunday, after dropping the girls off at church I headed through to Edinburgh to meet Dave, my fellow Jocknroll website founder, Moira, his wife and Al. Dave got us all tickets to a reading by Will Hodgkinson at the Burnsong festival at The Queen’s Hall. Will had a mission to learn to play guitar and be able to play a gig within six months. This was the subject of "Guitar Man". A daunting task by any stretch of the imagination. He also talked about the follow-up book "The Song Man", where he talks about learning the art of songwriting. Using his connections (he's a music journalist for The Guardian) he was able to get guitar and songwriting lessons from some of the greats, such as Johnny Marr, Ray Davies and Andy Partridge. I asked him if he'd had any singing lessons (he admits he's not a great vocalist) and he replied, "One"! I went Waterstone's to find the book after the reading but they only had "Song Man" and it didn't feel right to read the second book first. There's a link to Will's website and Blog to the left. His current project involves running his own record label, although it's coming to an end.

Tuesday 4 December 2007

WMESB™: What’s going on. Another veritable avalanche of customers on my bus! 4 ½ by the time it got to the Ferrytoll. It could have been more but for me informing the driver that this D7 doesn’t go to Inverkeithing station until after she’s been to the Ferrytoll, when it changes to a 53. The D7 was even later than yesterday and I only just made the X57 after sprinting across the forecourt between buses.

Last night we watched our usual quiz double bill of Mastermind and University Challenge. My new issue of Mojo magazine arrived so I went upstairs to play the free CD that came with it, a Stax compilation, while the GLW watched “America’s Next Stick Insect”. I’m so glad that JL was voted off last week, not that I watch it you understand!!

Our first Christmas card arrived. It’s always from Dorothy and Sandy, who live not far away. I used to work with Dorothy when I was in the Navy and we’ve kept in touch. We used to phone each other on a Sunday to discuss the Skeleton crossword from the Sunday Express and we’d complete it between us.

Wednesday 5 December 2007

WMESB™: What WMESB? I didn’t bother showing up this morning! Bastards. A strongly worded missive was sent to the Operations Manager (copied to one of my local councillors and my MSP) within 10 minutes of getting into work.

Last night I watched the documentary on Five about the massacre at the Munich Olympics and what came across was the sheer incompetence of the usually “technically efficient” Germans.

Then it was “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” which concentrated on a Welsh couple who seemed to spend more time arguing with each other and the customers than running their business. What I liked about this one was there seemed to be a genuine improvement in them as people and the business at the end and in the update they continued to take on board Gordon’s ideas. I do like a happy ending. Taped “The Secret Millionaire” for watching tomorrow night. The Kleenex is at the ready.

Had a bit of a rant at Forth One’s Grant Stott yesterday. He has a feature called “A Touch of Tartan”, where he plays a Scottish record and I sent him five suggestions, namely: “Kandy Pop” by Bis, “Lloyd I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken” by Camera Obscura, “Could Have Been A Contender” by Ally Kerr, “Nothing To Be Done” by The Pastels and “Reason For Living” by Roddy Frame. Now I knew he would never play Bis or the Pastels but I figured that the others were eminently suitable for daytime airplay.

Grant: “Nice selection but perhaps you could come up with some more "radio friendly" tunes???????”
Me: “2, 3 and 5 are very radio friendly! Have you heard them?”
Grant: “No, no that's not what I so much that there perhaps a tad obscure for daytime radio... Need to try and stick with things that a decent number of folk will be familiar with...”
Me, in rant mode: “Everyone starts off "obscure" until they're heard, like The View or The Killers. How are artists like Camera Obscura, Ally Kerr and the legend that is Roddy Frame going to raise their profile if they're only ever heard on marginal stations? What is achieved by playing the same old records? It just turns commercial radio into "wallpaper". It's too safe and ultimately dull. Where's the risk?

We've been discussing this situation in the office and we're thinking of changing stations because we're fed up of hearing the same old songs and we have a variety of age groups and tastes here.”

The feature started off really well and he played some cracking tunes that hadn’t been heard for ages but now it’s just fallen back into the same old, same old. Hell, what do I know? I’m only a listener.

Congratulations to my mate Mark who got on to the game show “Goldenballs”. It’ll be broadcast in the spring so I won’t spoil the outcome. Mark and I went on “Sudo-Q” together and although we were second (story of my life) we had a great time. He’s the only guy I’ve seen spend £10 in a chip shop on himself!!

Stop Press: I’ve had an e-mail from Grant Stott this morning:

“Hoi Daftie heid!!! Go and retrieve that rattle you threw out of your pram yesterday!!!

In case it has escaped your notice, whether you like it or not, Forth One is a Hit Music Station. Which definition...we are a radio station!!!! I would have thought that was blatantly obvious!

We don't play tunes that don't have wide appeal because that isn't what our audience expect or want, so as a commercial business that wouldn't make sense!

If you do decide to change stations in a quest to find one that plays Camera Obscura, Ally Kerr and indeed the marvellous Roddy Frame (of whom, as you well know, I too am a fan), then please let me know if and when you find one!!!

We all have guidelines in our work. I certainly did when I worked at L&B!!! And sometimes you have to stick to them!



I replied, “I'm well aware of Forth One's status and the type of station it is".

You've played minor/non-hits on "A Touch of Tartan" before. I wouldn't expect to hear the likes of Camera Obscura or Aberfeldy every day. But just once, as a wee change from the jumped-up karaoke singers from X-Factor, would be good. There's more to life than Deacon Blue.“

I guess that any chances of getting a job at Forth One in the immediate or distant future are now pretty much non-existent. They wouldn’t want someone like me working for them anyway because I care too much about music. Yet they could do with someone like me to sort out the continuity errors, the quizzes and the out of date website. Some of the stuff on the website is just very poorly laid out and looks unprofessional. For a business, it’s just shoddy.

I’ve been rather depressed this afternoon, well since about 1030. I’m tired, listless and I feel I could sleep for a week. Which reminds me, next week at this time I’ll be preparing for my trip to Manchester. I’m a bit concerned that I haven’t received any tickets yet or further details from the production company about the show itself. They know who’s hosting it but they’re not saying yet.

I received an e-mail from Stagecoach about this morning’s missing bus. It seems that it developed not one but two problems. Firstly, the brand new ticket machine was playing up and then the brand new bus itself activated an alarm and then died at the side of the road. I asked Stagecoach if they’d kept the receipt!

Thursday 6 December 2007

WMESB™: 2 passengers in total on my bus and no major problems otherwise.

I also picked up an airport timetable for my imminent trip to Manchester for the quiz show appearance. The details and e-tickets finally came through last night. I won’t go into the details of the show itself (too complex to explain anyway) but it would take a monumental effort to walk off with the top prize of £13,000. I think I’d settle for winning one show and walking away with about £1500. Still no idea who the host of the show will be. I suspect my bag will be packed on Sunday, even though I’m not travelling until Wednesday!! Looking forward to a few spare hours in Manchester and time to wander around the shops and hop on and off trams.

I volunteered to do a Mystery Shop on Saturday morning but it turns out that the cost of the purchase I have to make wouldn’t be refunded so I doubt it’ll be going ahead – certainly not with me doing it. I get £10 for doing a Mystery Shop but have to spend at least a fiver – hardly worth the effort. The last time I was able to return a shirt I’d bought but you can’t return a meal!!

Another episode of “The Secret Millionaire” last night and another box of Kleenex bit the dust. There wasn’t even a small child in sight, which usually triggers the floodgates. And I’ve still got last week’s on tape to watch. I also watched “Watchdog” and “My Big Fat Moonie Wedding”, which was reasonably interesting but could’ve gone into more depth and profiled more of the people who featured in the 1982 mass wedding at Madison Square Gardens - too much padding out with pointless reconstructions.

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