Monday, March 31, 2008


Monday 31 March

I felt bad enough this morning (back, throat, stomach, mental) without a stand up argument with the driver on the X57 adding to my misery. I’d cross swords with him before. Basically, he’d failed to stop at a stop that other drivers of the same bus had stopped at. What annoyed me even more was that I was arguing that he should stop there only to realise when I got off the bus that it was the other drivers who were wrong and, as a result, that made me wrong. This gets me even more worked up as I stomped back along the Dean Bridge towards work. It really is no wonder people don’t want to use public transport. I’m sick and tired of drivers who don’t know where they’re going; don’t know what ticket to sell you and a local council who pays lip service to any notion of promoting public transport use.

One of the problems I have is that I’m a 45-minute walk, even with my long legs, from the nearest train station. If I wanted to go the train station with the GLW in the morning, I would have to change my working hours so as to get a lift to the train station. Even if I walked to Rosyth or Dunfermline Press train station I would then have to walk from Haymarket Station because there isn’t a direct bus service to Fettes. Which means I would have to go to Waverley and then get a Lothian Buses pass. I shouldn’t have to do that though, should I?

I’ve resisted the temptation to go home at lunchtime, even though I probably should. Thankfully, I’m getting a lift home so I can have a shower before I go to the radio station tonight. Maybe that’ll put some life in me.
As it turned out the Request Show went pretty well and Bob seems happpy enough with my progress in the little time I've been there. There's a big meeting on Wednesday so I'll get to meet some of the other presenters.

Sunday 30 March

Most of the day was spent doing the crosswords and competitions from Thursday’s Dunfermline (De)Press, Friday’s Express, Saturday’s Telegraph and Daily Record and Sunday’s News of the World, Express and Mail on Sundays. You’ve got to be in it to win it.

Also had a good neb at our new neighbours. They may have a dog, they may smoke and they may come from West Lothian (WL van hire company) but at the movement this is purely guesswork. One thing I do know, they have the same lawnmower. The chances of them being into indie pop and board games are probably slim though. I’m just glad the other family has gone. It used to wind me up when they used to park outside our house when they had access to a total of four spaces of their own (two on their drive, one in front of the drive and one in front of the lawn). The kids are ill disciplined with parents who have no concept of common courtesy or childcare. I won’t miss the kids constantly kicking balls into our garden or the youngest one doing the toilet wherever he felt like it; whether it be pissing behind the bins at number 7 or taking a dump in their own back garden. They won’t be missed.

Saturday 29 March

The GLW and the Flickster had a birthday party to go to at lunchtime so I did a couple of CDs for Gaz of Jackie Leven and John Martyn, as well as some general pottering about. My mother-in-law came over to baby-sit as we had tickets for “Black Watch” at the Rothes Hall, Glenrothes.
What can I say about “Black Watch” that hasn’t already been said? Simply stunning, would do for a start. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it was the most amazing piece of theatre I have ever seen. After the standing ovation we left in stunned silence. The GLW and I were nearly in tears. The Glenrothes shows were all sold out but it goes on to the SECC in Glasgow for a week in mid April. Go and see it because you won’t be disappointed.

Friday 28 March

Back to work. Five of us went to Pizza Express for Nikki’s leaving do (technically she’s only gone up the corridor to cover for maternity leave but since when did that stop us having a “do”?) and then to the Police Club for a few drinks, which is handy for the bus station. Unfortunately the way the buses connect in the evening I can either wait 30 minutes for a D7 home from the Ferrytoll, or 5 minutes. Obviously the 5-minute transfer is a bit tight and somewhat risky if there are any delays. I took the safe option, got the 2200 bus from Edinburgh Bus Station and sat with my mp3 player for company at the Ferrytoll for half an hour. I was thoroughly depressed by the time I got home.

Thursday 27 March

Today we all had a day off for the GLW’s cousin’s wedding at Dalhousie Castle. The venue is near where I used to go to school so I know the area very well but even I couldn’t believe some of the changes. If there were any more houses in the Sherwood/Cockpen area, Bonnyrigg and Newtongrange would merge as one.

At least half of the GLW’s cousins were in attendance and I met people whose names I couldn’t remember and who I hadn’t seen for at least a couple of years. The day dragged on a bit as the moaning photographer when through his tick list of group wedding photographs – all the men, all the women, all of the bride’s friends and family, all of the groom’s friends and family, all the kilts, you get the idea…

There was a live band, who were just okay (the guitarist fancied himself as a bit of a Hendrix) but because I wasn’t drinking I wasn’t really in the mood to dance either. I didn’t mind staying sober, to be honest. Most of the time I find drinking rather dull and pointless.

Wednesday 26 March

I really didn’t know what to expect with the Jackie Leven gig. Having only heard one album and read of Jackie’s battles with alcoholism and mental health, I half expected to see some sort of dishevelled drunkard staggering on stage with a bottle of Bourbon in one hand and a well-worn beat-up old guitar in the other. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After an excellent support slot from Doug Johnstone* (of Northern Alliance), Jackie appeared from the crowd, opened up his guitar case, got a couple of drinks sorted (lager and a double vodka if I’m not mistaken) and off he went.

*Doug's set was a mixture of The Ossians' songs, Northern Alliance songs and new songs. The approximate set list was: St. Andrew's Day, My Evil Twin, Question Mark, Patron Saint of Sore Throats/Dry Your Eyes (The Streets), We Hit The Town Drinkin', Tomb of the Eagles, ? and A Song For The End Of The Set.

Jackie kicked off with Elegy For Johnny Cash and this was followed, between stories, by Kings of Infinite Space/Me and Mrs Jones, Classic Northern Diversions, Here Come The Urban Ravens (Homage to Kevin Coyne), Another Man's Rain/Here Comes The Sun, Olivier Blues, Exit Wound, Single Father, Farm Boy (part) and Little Voice in Space/Bobby Shafto. The songs were interspersed with all manner of stories and witticisms with topics mentioned including the Norwegian fjords, armed robbers, weirdos on trains, his favourite episode of Columbo, Johnny Cash, Tony Bennett, Niles Crane, Laurence Olivier and Kevin Coyne. This gig will live with me for a long time and I can't wait to see him again.

I had been more nervous about the drive into Edinburgh and the search for a parking space but those were unfounded. I got easily parked on Chambers Street, although I think I broke the law on at least one occasion because a misleading traffic sign saw me follow two taxis onto Princes Street. I even had the luxury of having a not-very-nice Fish Supper in the comfort of the car before the gig.

Anyway, on the way back to the car after the gig I walked past Wilkie House, where I’d first met the GLW many moons ago, and walked up the steps at Guthrie Street. I heard a lot of noise coming from Chambers Street and when I got to the top of the steps I realised what the brou-ha-ha was all about. A group of young Goths (I use the phrase “Goths” loosely because they weren’t proper Goths, not the Goths I grew up with) were arguing with a man in his 40s/50s and the man then pushed one of the female Goths over on the pavement. She hit the pavement with such force that I decided to call the police. After giving a full description and feeling proud of myself for doing my civic duty, I got in the car and tried to work out how the hell I would get out of Edinburgh.

Not surprisingly, I took a wrong lane on Queen Street (again down to piss poor street markings that were invisible in the rain and dark) and ended up going round Charlotte Square. I knew I couldn’t go down Queensferry Street so I had to do a u-turn and finally found my way back to the road home. It didn’t end there though, oh no it didn’t. Just as I got over the Dean Bridge my phone went off. Instinctively, I answered it, only to hear the police at the other end. I pulled over! They just wanted further descriptions of what had happened on Chambers Street.
There was only one more incident on the way home. As I turned into Carnegie Drive on the outskirts of Dunfermline, from the A823, I saw a red car wrapped around a lamppost on the left hand side of the road. Now I know that there’s an “adverse camber” sign on the kerbside opposite but he/she must have been going at some speed to have such an “accident”. (I say “accident” but I don’t really believe there is such a thing. Accidents are preventable. When I did my Pass Plus course they always referred to “crashes” and not “accidents”).

Saturday, March 29, 2008

BLACK WATCH (Rothes Hall, Glenrothes)

This is the most amazing piece of theatre I have seen in my life. You MUST see it. But don't just take my word for it. See these reviews.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I'm trying out this music on the Blog malarkey!

Here's what the NME would probably call the New Wave of Power Pop.

New Pornographers - The Laws Have Changed

I like Pete Yorn's first couple of albums but I feel his constant tourinng in America is turning him inot a corporate behemoth, with nothing to show for it but some great tunes and a loyal, small but perfectly formed fanbase. I love "Sense".

Pete Yorn - Sense

Okay so they used to be the Sea Urchins but Delta are/were cruelly underrated.

Delta - Low Flying


Tuesday 25 March

It’s back to the 9 to 5, or 8 to 4 in my case. It’s a busy old week with a gig on Wednesday (Jackie Leven), a wedding on Thursday, a leaving “do” on Friday and some cultcha with a trip to Glenrothes to see “Black Watch”. It’s amazing I’ve got time to go to work at all.

I really must get this Sky+ business sorted out. There are too many programmes on just now that clash and I’m fed up missing out. I’m enjoying “Mad Men” but I keep falling asleep because it’s on late.

I also need to fix the cold tap in the en-suite bathroom but I’m to DIY what Harold Shipman was to geriatric care.

Monday 24 March

Spent the morning going round a couple of wards at the Victoria asking for hospital radio requests. It was an interesting experience and I met some fascinating people. Elizabeth, who was showing me the ropes, and I returned to the studio to dig out the records requested. I said that I would go home and download or copy the tracks that weren’t on the studio system or in the record library. The requests we gathered included Placido Domingo, Mario Lanza, Steely Dan, Air, Carly Simon, Tina Turner, Arthur Conley, Paul and Paula (for a patient called Paula), The Beatles, Glenn Millar, Russell Watson and Buddy Holly.

I returned to the station in the evening only to be met by some of the local feral youths in the car park. One of them made a non-verbal gesture with his hands towards me as I drove past. I think he was “magicking the beans”! (Their parents must be so proud). Anyway the distraction was enough for me to leave the lights on and forget to lock the car. Thankfully someone from the hospital spotted it and phoned the police, who in turn got in touch with the GLW, who then phoned the studio during the show!

That’s right “during the show”. Bob started the request show and I though I’d just be doing more training but he threw me in at the deep end and I ended up doing almost all of the show. Having collected the requests personally it felt good reading them out and playing them for the people I’d spoken to earlier in the day. I always believe that communication with your listeners is important. This is something I picked up from Andrew Collins when he did his BBC6 Music. He always made time to reply to any queries or questions, even when he was on air. Iain Waugh and Grant Stott do that at Forth One as well. It’s the little personal touches that make the difference.

Apart from a couple of minor glitches, I thought it went well and, more importantly, Bob thought so too. I even managed to use the turntables, something I didn’t do at Radio West Fife. I’m supposed to go through a 3-month probation before I get a show but it may be sooner – fingers crossed.

Sunday 23 March

After dropping the girls off at church I popped into Tossco for the Sunday papers and was over the moon to see that I, like the GLW a few weeks ago, had won a £25 runners-up prize in the Sunday Express Skeleton crossword. I phoned my old friend Dorothy to compare prizes as she and her husband had won the Scottish crossword from a Friday edition of the Scottish Daily Express. Her prize was £100 and a bottle of whisky.

After a quick go at the crosswords and comps, we headed off to Elizabeth and David’s for our traditional Easter gathering. It’s all food and drink although the GLW is delighted that this year, for the first time, it’ll be me who’s driving so she can have a drink or three. We introduced a quiz over the last few years with host Dave as quizmaster. I paired up with my father-in-law this year but we lost out after some appalling marking. I made a couple of writing errors (I wrote down Peter Boone instead of Peter Noone, a simple mistake) and they wouldn’t accept them. I couldn’t even blame being drunk of the errors. The GLW said if it had been anyone else she’d have given me the points! I’m going to take them to the Quiz Court of Arbitration. I’ll be back…(evil laugh)…

Saturday 22 March

The GLW and the Flickster went into Edinburgh for haircuts and I amused myself in Dunfermline. I finally found a charger for my Nokia 6111. Argos had a universal one for £4.99, although I was somewhat bemused that it came in a small white box with no instructions or information! It could have come off a market stall for all I knew.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday 21 March 2008

This is the personalised bottle of whisky I won in a competition from The List magazine. It also have a few lines on the back that read "For services to television and radio game/quiz shows"! What the hell, if I can't blow my own trumpet then who can?

Yesterday's Dunfermline (De)Press has brought another funny story. The Council are trying to buy a house that doesn't exist from a man they can't find! You couldn't make this up.

Stagecoach have bought out Rennies to increase their monopoly in Fife. So this is what our fares "reviews" pay for.

The English Broadcasting Corporation has bought the rights to Formula 1 for an estimated price of up to £200m, yet can't find £3m for the rights to broadcast Scotland's football matches. Mind you, if we had a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation it would have just as bad, with a bias towards Glasgow.

Dunfermline Football Club have sold their old Astroturf pitch tiles on eBay. It put the idea in my head to astroturf the whole of our back garden. The grass is very damp, has poor drainage and we could spend a small fortune trying to sort it out.

I'm thinking of putting music on my Blog. Any advice from readers as to how to go about it?

Monday, March 17, 2008


Monday 17 March

My first job of the day is to send a complaint to Idea Generation, the PR company dealing with the Mojo competition (about APC), and to APC Overnight themselves for their piss poor service. I suggest to Idea Generation that they ask for some sort of refund because they didn’t get what they paid for. I tried phoning the HQ of APC but they insisted that complaints need to be sent to local depots, despite the fact that their website calls their HQ the Customer Relations Department. This makes me less hopefully that there will be any kind of recourse regards the shoddy service. My experience of franchised delivery depots is not good (yes, Amtrak, I haven’t forgotten) so I’m not hopeful.

Tonight I pop along to Kirkcaldy VRN for an informal chat with a view to joining the hospital radio station.

Sunday 16 March

It’s up early for Flick’ Team Relay Race for Sport Relief. Great fun was had by all as parents and children alike ran the course. In fact, we all did it twice, including special guest Spencer from kids TV programme Balamory. Luckily their were no drug controls at the events as Flick has taken a banned substance prior to the race; namely Tixylix. If push came to shove I’d have taken her urine test for her although I suspect it would’ve contained an abnormally high level of Stella, especially for a three year old.

Saturday 15 March

As I didn’t get home until late on Friday I had to get up early (7am) to phone APC Overnight again. I told a girl called Lorna about the non-delivery and asked her if it could be delivered today, she said it couldn’t. When I pointed out the mistakes were her company’s she insisted it couldn’t be delivered until Monday morning at the earliest. She did apologise but I felt that wasn’t enough. I even asked if they could deliver it to my work address. She took the details and said she would check. She came back on the phone and they couldn’t deliver it as it would need to go to another depot and that there would be an additional charge!! Eventually, I asked her for the address of their depot and I went and got it myself. I had to drive from Dunfermline to a well-hidden muddy pothole-ridden industrial estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, with a three year-old in tow.

The wait has been worth it though because the books are absolutely fantastic. Have a look at the links below about the three books. My copies are the “ordinary” versions, which are anything but ordinary.


Picked up Gary at the Ferrytoll and we spent the afternoon watching the football results come in while Gaz tuned and played the guitar.

The GLW returned from her Guides trip to Dumfries in time to watch the “Funny People” (Flick’s name for “You’ve Been Framed”) and “Harry Hill’s TV Burp”.

Friday 14 March

Andrew was leaving our work to go and live in Germany so I was persuaded by my colleagues to pop along for a couple of drinks. The GLW picked me up and, after a bite to eat; I retired to the comfort of my bed.

Thursday 13 March

Walked from the West End this morning in a vague attempt to get some sort of exercise. It was cold but I had some tunes for company – The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, The Darling Buds, Val McKenna, Icicle Works, The Mighty Wah etc.

Been feeling rather depressed for a couple of days now. After the “high” of the Training Day, I’m back down to earth with the mundanity of my working day. I sometimes wonder how I’ve got time to work with all my extra curricular projects to do.

I did an interview with Martin Ingram at Original 106 FM this morning about the Jock ‘n’ Roll website and my “career” as a quiz/game show contestant. It went out on Sunday between 10 and 2 on his Sunday brunch show. I also recorded a feature for his breakfast show called “Are You Smarter Than…”. In this case, it was “Are You Smarter Than A Quiz Show Contestant?” and he posed me five questions. I scored three out of five. I think it’ll be broadcast this week sometime.

I get home to find yet another card from APC Overnight (an ironic name). This time it has a note attached saying I need to re-arrange delivery or it’ll be returned to sender within 5 days!! So I phone them up again and tell them I’ve already re-arranged it for delivery on Friday. The man I spoke to said he’ll have a word with the driver, who has just come back.

The rest of the evening is spent driving around Dunfermline. I pick up another prize (a personalised bottle of Famous Grouse whisky, won from The List magazine, pictured) from the Sorting Office, then I head off to Asda to collect a prescription, Carnegie College to pay for my course (I find out that there’s a least another 6 people doing the course) and Tesco for the food shopping/Dunfermline (De)Press. I manage to get it all done before 8, without driving like an idiot.

Wednesday 12 March

WMESB™: The D7 was late and the X57 stopped at the wrong stop at the West End of Edinburgh.

Not feeling too great this morning. I’m enduring a “low mood” today due in no small part to my continuing frustration at a number of aspects of my life.

I return to work to find an e-mail telling me that my Dreamweaver course is, as far as Carnegie College are aware, still going ahead in April. The problem is that the course is on a Monday night and that’s when Bob at Kirkcaldy VRN does his training. Hmm, what to do?

Despite rearranging delivery for Friday APC have left another card saying they tried to deliver a parcel! If we’d wanted it delivered on Wednesday I’d have asked them on Monday to do that, instead of opting for Friday. It’s that kind of incompetence that does my head in. A simple instruction not adhered to.

Spent most of the night doing updates to the Jock ‘n’ Roll website, including a plug for the really rather excellent Chemikal Underground online shop and website. Also managed to find my ILA card so I can pay for my Dreamweaver course at Carnegie College tomorrow night.

Taped the Sport Relief edition of The Apprentice and then tuned into Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.

Tuesday 11 March

I’m out of the office today for a departmental training and development day – “team building” if you’d rather. Got a bit of a lie-in and helped drop off Flick at pre-school before getting the train into Waverley. I only get the train on exceptional occasions because I had an unpleasant run in with two members of their staff and as a result I refuse to give them any money.

The training day was an enjoyable experience, even though I made an arse of myself on a couple of games. We then headed off to Jimmy Chung’s for a Chinese buffet. After two plates of starters and one main course I had to throw in the towel.

I got the bus to the Ferrytoll and just missed my D7 so I had to wait for almost half an hour for the next one. I don’t like the Ferrytoll at the best of times but in the evenings it feel even more soulless and desolate. While I was waiting, someone, who I think was a couple of whiskeys short of a round, started playing some Gerry and the Pacemakers! At least it made a pleasant change from bland R ’n’ B or Happy Hardcore.

Luckily my friend Fiona got off a bus from Edinburgh and we waited together for the D7 and put the world to rights on the journey home.

Monday 10 March

Got home to find that a company called APC had tried to deliver a parcel. Fingers crossed, it might actually be the books from Mojo. Anyway, after three attempts to rearrange delivery someone finally answered the phone. I asked for it to be delivered later in the week, when the GLW doesn’t work, and the lady I spoke to said that wouldn’t be a problem.

Called Bob at Kirkcaldy VRN to arrange a trip to see him next Monday. I’ve applied to work at Kirkcaldy VRN, hopefully doing a show. Like Radio West Fife, VRN isn’t actually based at the hospital it’s affiliated to. I was hoping to do a dry run to see exactly where I should be going but I won’t have an opportunity before Monday. Hopefully my experience will be better than the last time I went to Kirkcaldy, when I didn’t have a Scooby where I was going.

Rather pissed off to find that “Damages” isn’t on. It’s only after I send an e-mail of complaint to the BBC (this is becoming a regular occurrence) that I find out that it’s because of Sport Relief. Whilst I’m looking forward to the Sport Relief version of The Apprentice and Flick’s own Team Relay Race, a lot of the other programmes leave me cold. Sport Portraits, my arse.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Thursday 6 March

WMESB™: The D7 was late and the X57 stopped at the wrong stop at the West End of Edinburgh.

The traffic was horrendous last night and the X54, after nearly being taken out by a dickhead driver just after Craigleith, finally pulled into the Ferrytoll Park and Ride around 1740. When we got there, there was a police car present and a woman was being spoken to by a couple of Fife Constabulary’s finest. My D7 turned up so I was able to find out what was happening but I heard something about the female passenger interfering with the driver – oo-er missus!! She didn’t seem the type but it takes all sorts. (Stop Press: She was a South African woman who thought the bus driver was speeding and started kicking up a fuss!! However, the police worked out that she counted have seen the speedometer from where she was sitting!! What a loony!)

I was more worried about not getting home in time for my big TV appearance. I made it home only for the weather to turn and the ensuing wind and rain interfered with the telly picture. The Flickster was delighted to see her daddy on the box but the poor picture spoiled it somewhat. Thankfully, I’m getting it taped by a couple of people. It’s also available on BBC iPlayer for a week. It’s episode 8 of “Brainbox Challenge”, under “BBC2, Page 2, Brainbox Challenge, Episode 8” if you haven’t seen it. I’m on halfway through.

I then checked my e-mails to find sympathetic comments from John and Archie (he reports on Scottish football for the Sunday Times). Even more surprising was some e-mails in the Jock ‘n’ Roll inbox from a couple of people who watched the show and then checked out the Jock ‘n’ Roll website as a result. It’s amazing how humiliating yourself on national television can get you publicity.

Someone at work e-mailed me this morning to say, “I know the camera adds 10lbs on you but how many cameras were on you. Lucky I was watching in wide screen.” That’s just cruel! Also, if I’ve heard one banana comment this morning, I’ve heard a whole bunch of them. It’s a good job I can laugh at myself. Ha-ha-bloody-ha!
The Daily Record has been giving away a different children’s TV DVD every day this week. I cut out yesterday’s token and took it to RS McColl’s. The guy handed over the “Thomas the Tank Engine” one and then asked if I wanted any more because he “had loads”. He grabbed a handful of each of the ones from the previous days and handed them over. I’ll keep one of each for The Flickster and then give the rest to her nursery/pre-school. What a nice guy I am. I wonder if he’ll do the same tonight. (Stop Press: Tonight it’s “The Wiggles” but he gave me those yesterday). Tomorrow it’s “Fireman Sam” and on Saturday it’s “Bob The Builder”).

Some sad news has just come through. The priest, who married the GLW and I, has passed away in Barcelona, whilst in the city for the match against Celtic. God bless you, Monsignor David Gemmell, you were a gent.
A complaint to the BBC: “Viewers in Scotland will be unable to watch tonight's "Ashes To Ashes" because of live football coverage. When will this episode be shown or will viewers in Scotland be shown the series a week behind the rest of the country? I don't understand why the Rangers game couldn't have been shown on BBC2 Scotland. Not everyone has access to Sky (to watch it an English BBC channel) or a computer (to watch the show on iPlayer). I look forward to your comments.”

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Wednesday 5 March

WMESB™: I noticed on the X57 to work this morning that a Fares Revision (that’s increase to you and me) on Megarider tickets is imminent, from 17 March.

The GLW had a long Guide meeting last night so I had the house to myself. No greater love hath a man for his woman than to agree to tape “America’s Next Top Model” even though it means he can’t change channel (we have Sky but no aerial so have to watch the channel we’re taping) to watch the football.

I found out that because BBC 2 Scotland shows Gaelic programmes on a Thursday the editions of “Brainbox Challenge” shown on a Thursday and Friday in England go out on Friday and Saturday in Scotland. So I’ll be on tonight and my pals will be shown up here on Friday. It was strange watching the show last night as there were a few others I had spent time with in the green room. I only shared a few hours with them but they feel like old friends.

After I found out about the scheduling I e-mailed a few people with my latest “Blatant Self Publicity” bulletin to let them know that my show would DEFINITELY be going out tonight. Andrew Collins suggested there was a book in it – “Memoirs of a Game Show Loser”, anyone? It planted a seed but I don’t think I have the skill to do it. Maybe I do but I always doubt my own abilities and it’ll just end up as another fanciful idea, another “contender”, another woulda-coulda-shoulda.

Watched some of Arsenal’s victory over AC Milan. I’ve never seen Milan look so ordinary. When the GLW came in I checked the tape of her ANTM show and the end of the programme, the last couple of vital minutes when they choose who stays and who goes, was lost because the tape ran out!! (Memo to self: Must get that Sky+ sorted). The GLW and I then settled down with a cup of tea and the video remote as we fast-forwarded our way through the last couple of editions of Mastermind, which we hadn’t watched.

Mastermind is one show I’ve never really considered going for although, when I did “Do They Not Know That”, an ITV Digital football quiz, as part of a Hibernian team, I had to do two solo rounds. I had to swat up on the Hibs career of Franck Sauzee and the Skol Cup winning run of 1991. I did well on the latter. In fact, I only got one question wrong and that was the score in the final, the first question!!! A lot of the information I needed to find out wasn’t available on the information super dual carriageway so I went to the National Library and trawled through the Scotsman and Evening News archives. It paid dividends as I scored 13 in 90 seconds, an impressive haul. The show itself was the Sagrada Familia of quizzes in that it went on forever (12 groups of 9 teams) and remains unfinished as ITV Digital went belly up before it was completed. Last year I managed to get copies of the shows we did (only one of them actually aired). Originally ITV wanted £150 for the DVDs but reneged and sent them for nothing as I’d been on the show. Pity the BBC weren’t so generous. I’m still trying to get copies of a couple of shows I was on and I’d love a decent copy of my “Wheel of Fortune” show, which I have on an old blank tape, but the Beeb charge £100 per show.

I have another Top 5 in today’s Scotsman with “Best Constructed Language” (add LINK). As a Brucie Bonus it’s also won me a meal for two at The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry. Woo-hoo!

Grant Stott played 1981 on today’s Top Ten at Ten Plus Ten and I think it’s the best year ever for chart pop – Adam and the Ants, Depeche Mode, Kim Wilde et al. My favourite year ever is 1967.

My reaction to my TV appearance tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Tuesday 4 March

WMESB™: A reasonable straightforward journey into work, although the X57 driver told a passenger that he doesn’t stop at the Holiday Inn Garden Court, even though the bus stop says it should. And I KNOW it should because I am BUS MAN!!

Last night I attended the New Driver Evening at Fife Police HQ as part of the Pass Plus scheme. Fife Police, in conjunction with Fife Council, offer the scheme at a reduced rate so instead of paying £150 for 6 Pass Plus lessons, they offer a 75% discount giving a price of £35, which, i'm sure you'll agree, is very reasonable.

It was an hour and a half presentation, including an attempt to sell Advanced Driver Training lessons too. I might consider it if I had “spare” cash but I haven’t so I’ll await that Lotto win. I also couldn’t believe that two people turned up half an hour late for the presentation. I found the venue easily enough but the trip home wasn’t so straightforward as I took just one wrong turning at one of the many roundabouts and before I knew it I was back at Police HQ! Driving round roads I don’t know, in the dark, was rather scary and I suspect I may have committed several driving offences. Thankfully the roads were quiet. Perhaps my next TV appearance will be on "Police Camera Action 7". I pulled in at Police HQ, checked my map, saw where I had gone wrong (I blame the poor signage) and drove off.

The GLW had kindly bought me the Duffy album “Rockferry” to listen to while I drove to Glenrothes and back. After a couple of listens, albeit under the steady hum of an engine, I liked the album and I know that it’ll grow on me even more. What I like about the album is that it isn’t perfect. It’s good and an excellent debut but it’s not perfect. I see that the backlash has already started and some reviews were going down the very lazy new-Amy-Winehouse route. Duffy actually dropped her first name, Aimee, for fear of such comparisons. “Rockferry” augurs well for the future and good luck to her.

I tiptoed into the house at 9pm because the GLW was watching the final episode of “The Palace”. I busied myself doing, well, anything else I could think of. The GLW had taped the final of "University Challenge" so we watched it between “The Palace” and “Damages”. It was a good contest with Christ Church Oxford (captained by a lad who could easily have been in the Lovin' Spoonful or some other West Coast band in the 60s) triumphing over a one-man Sheffield effort. I didn’t get much right but the three-part question about the 1950 World Cup was meat and drink to me (The answers were Uruguay, India and England). As usual, the GLW got what I call the “snobby” questions while I got the “scum” questions.


Monday 3 March

WMESB™: Froze my nads off at my shelterless bus stop this morning (* More on this later). Got the X57 into town and had the pleasure of my pal Fiona’s company. Hadn’t seen her for ages on the bus as she now gets different buses to work. She was one of the campaigners to save the Yellow Taxibus.

I had most of the weekend to myself so I got on with a number of little projects. I’m making a box set for Jock ‘n’ Roll Dave’s birthday. He was in a band called Paintbomb! and I have most of their gigs on tape. For years I’ve been saying I’ll copy them for him but haven’t got round to it. I have an empty CD box that can fit six discs in it so I’m putting the Paintbomb! gigs and demos on to three of them and making some compilations for the other three.

One of the compilations is going to be called “I Was Looking For A Job…” and will feature tracks/bands with occupations in the title e.g. “The Composer” (The Supremes) or “If I Were A Carpenter” (Four Tops). Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon sorting out a long shortlist, which I’ll whittle down this week. Any other suggestions would be welcome.

I was also thinking of doing a compilation of instrumentals and maybe a CD full of quiz audio rounds (Dave’s a quiz nut too).

I haven’t written much over the last few days as I’ve been busy with little bits and pieces and, to be honest, rather depressed, so here’s a brief summary:

Friday: I found out today that the edition of “Brainbox Challenge”, which I feature in briefly, will be broadcast on Wednesday 5 March at 6.30pm on BBC2.

Tickets have been purchased for Edwyn Collins’ gig at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh on April 21st and I Am Kloot’s gig at the ABC2 in Glasgow on April 27th (anyone with advice on parking in Glasgow on a Sunday night would be appreciated). I was in the queue behind a couple of woman buying tickets for Girls Aloud and The Proclaimers at the Castle. £77 for two tickets Girls Aloud tickets (that doesn’t include the £3.50 per ticket for using a credit card – they went to a bank to get cash instead). At least Dick Turpin wore a mask!

Thursday: Usually it’s me that is so wound up by the Dunfermline (De) Press that I feel the need to wax lyrical but it’s the GLW who is annoyed. The Press asks a number of people a question of a current subject and these answers are spread out through the paper. This week’s topic is real nappies and the GLW is appalled by the responses of the people spoken to. Some of these women need shooting for the pathetic excuses these give for not using real nappies. EXPAND.

Wednesday: I have another Top 5 in the Recommends section of The Scotsman. The topic was “Musical Mothers” for Mother’s Day. I’ve also noticed over the last couple of weeks that someone else is trying to muscle in on my musical Recommends. McCabe, I’m the Daddy – remember that!!

There wasn’t much on telly so I adjourned to my study and listened to Andrew Collins and Richard Herring’s very enjoyable first Podcast . (I’ve downloaded their second and third ones too, for later consumption). It took me up to “Shameless”, which was a less than cheery episode. I’m actually getting to the point with it whereby I wouldn’t be bothered if I missed it. It used to be essential viewing.

*I received a reply from Fife Council again with regards to my request for a bus shelter, which goes as follows:

“I refer to your email dated 26th February 2008 to Cllrs Goodall, Martin, Rumney and Walker and also to our previous email correspondence regarding the above matter.

As you know, a recent assessment of the bus stop in question has shown there is currently an insufficient passenger usage to meet Fife Council's criteria for bus shelter provision.

However, the forthcoming bus service changes (7th April) may have a positive impact on the usage of this stop. Therefore, once these service changes have bedded in, I will arrange for another passenger survey to be carried out in May. Should the usage of the stop then meet the criteria for shelter provision, I will look towards the most suitable available Capital funding source to procure shelter facilities at this stop. I would point out at this stage that any proposed bus shelter site is subject to consultation with adjacent households and any objections duly considered.

With regard to the existing bus shelters on Linburn Road, I will monitor the usage of the two stops near Masterton roundabout following the service changes. When the NHS submitted their planning application to build the new Health Centre on Linburn Road near Trondheim Parkway, Transportation Services requested the provision of two bus shelters at this development as this type of facility is likely to generate a significant public transport demand. I understand these shelter facilities are currently being installed.

I trust this clarifies the current situation and will write to you again once the May survey is complete.”

This translates as “you’ve got two hopes and one’s Bob”. I actually thought my ears were going to snap off this morning it was so cold. I can’t help wondering what we in the Eastern Expansion are getting for our council tax. Oh silly me, I forgot about our three recycling bins and…er…that’s it! We’ve got no direct bus service to Edinburgh (three services have been removed), the police can’t find us and only now, four years after moving in, are we finally getting local amenities; a library, a school and a health centre. Rumours of a pub and Post Office are unconfirmed at this time.

I get a call from Orange about the reverse-charged texts I’ve been receiving (remember the one asking me to text STAR to 60999 to audition for the next Harry Potter film!). It seems that, under normal circumstances, Orange don’t provide itemised phone bills for Pay As You Go customers but, because I was misinformed, they’ll send me a list of calls for the last three months. The guy who called me also gave me the contact details for the company concerned, MX Telecom. He gave me their 0870-19994741 number but there’s no way I’m going to give them any more money. Orange have said that, once again, they’ll give me 100 free texts but they said that last time and then sent me a text that they couldn’t do it after all.

I’ve now e-mailed the company ( and asked that all of these messages stop and that they refund me for charges already accrued. It may be only pennies but there’s a principle at stake here. How can I be charged for something I didn’t ask for in the first place and why show I pay again to ask them to stop? Don’t make me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. (Stop Press: my e-mail has returned as “YOUR EMAIL TO SUPPORT@TXTNATION.COM HAS NOT BEEN PROCESSED” so I’ve resent it to

Me and “the lads” have three topics of discussion in our usual e-mail chats (usually entitled "Working Group" or "Evaluation Report" to disguise the fact we're not really working); top 5 own goals, top 5 girl singers and top 5 songs that “get you in such a way that you find yourself having to listen to them on repeat endlessly” (© Joe)

My Top 5 girl singers, off the top of my head, were/are:

1. Helen Shapiro
2. Madeline Bell
3. Dusty Springfield
4. Ella Washington
5. Duffy

My Top 5 songs to play on endless repeat are:

1. Chin Chin - Stop! Your Crying
2. Babybird - Goodnight
3. Ride - Twisterella
4. Field Mice - Sensitive
5. The Icicle Works - Hollow Horse

Competition Update: The GLW and I have won a personalised bottle of Famous Grouse whisky from The List. We don’t drink it so we’ll get it personalised with a message for someone who does like the stuff. How about “how can you drink this shit?” We’d give it to the postie but he still hasn’t delivered our prizes from Mojo or the football website.

Memo to self: Write shorter daily blogs instead of saving them up and why don't you use pictures anymore?