Sunday, August 31, 2008


Seriously, who would buy it? Would you? I wouldn't.
Have you see the remake of Mike Read's Pop Quiz on the Red channel on satellite (apologies if you only have "council telly")? To say that the show has had about five pounds spent on it is being generous. (If I've told you once, I've told you a million times, don't exaggerate!) Try and see it if you can, and see if you can watch it all the way through. I dare you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


We stopped listening to Forth One months ago. Having a playlist is one thing but when you feel like you're hearing the same records day after day, week after week and month after month you have to say enough is enough.

According to their website, Forth One has 33 songs on its playlist, including "About You Now" by the Sugababes, which came out in September last year. (Yes, I know it enjoyed a chart revival but please, enough already). Coldplay's "Violet Hill" from May is still playlisted while current single "Viva La Vida" isn't. Sara Bareilles' May single "Love Song" is still on there too. I'm only surprised that "Chasing Cars" isn't still on the playlist.

It doesn't matter how much you like a song because a couple of months of stations like Forth One and you'll never want to hear that tune again. That's why we're listening to Radio 2 at work now. It's amazing the number of times a day we go "ooh, I haven't heard that in ages".

1. Is Big Brother still on? And who the hell is watching it?
2. Why was the unveiling of the new line up for Strictly Come Dancing considered a big enough story to be on the BBC News?
3. Will Glasgow's domination of the Scottish media world be complete when Bauer's radio stations start networking their evening shows?
4. Simon Cowell, why?
5. Why did the driver of this morning's D7X (yes, since the timetables changed last Monday the World's Most Expensive Shuttle Bus (c) has an "X") not have a clue where he was going? Why did he change the number of the bus a stop early? Why did he confuse every passenger by changing to "53 Edinburgh" instead of "53 Dalgety Bay"? Why did he bother getting out of bed this morning? Why oh why oh spells yo-yo.

Still, I've got my health...

P.S. Still no word from the BBC, Barratt Homes, Orange and/or LPM (Life Property Management aka Licence to Print Money (c)). You would've thought in this era of faster than ever communication that letters would have been replied to quicker. You know what thought did....

Monday, August 25, 2008


I went to a barbershop in Dunfermline on Saturday to get my hair cut. I say barber but it calls itself a “salon”. Anyway, I digress. The establishment concerned advertises Gent’s Cuts from £7. I was charged £4! Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I still haven’t received any feedback from the BBC regarding an interview I had with them on 24 July. They wrote to me on 29 July informing me that I’d been unsuccessful and I could have feedback if I wanted. I said that, “feedback would be gratefully appreciated”. Two days later my request for feedback was acknowledged and I was told that it would be passed to the recruitment Consultant handling the vacancy.

Two week later, on 13 August, I e-mailed the BBC again and said, “Do you have any indication as to when I’ll receive my feedback? I had hoped to get it while the interview was still fresh in my mind. It’s now almost three weeks since the interview.” Unbelievably I got this response, “Unfortunately it does not look like your feedback had been logged when you first sent it, your request will be forwarded to the reqruitment (sic) consultant for this post immediately (sic).”

It has now been over a week since that e-mail and I’ve still heard nothing. The disappointment of not getting a job I believe I was ideally suited for was bad enough without salt being rubbed, nay trampled, into the wounds. I really feel like giving up on any hopes of getting a job in a creative environment. I’ll continue in a role that bores me to tears, fails to fulfil me in any way and sucks the very life from me. It’s only the hospital radio that keeps me going, which I don’t get paid for. I’ve stopped doing competitions and crosswords to save money on stamps, I’ve stopped making contributions to The Scotsman’s Recommends section because I’m so demotivated and the last quiz night I ran was so flat in atmosphere and beset by technical problems that it may well be my last. I’m destined to spend the rest of my life shouting at the television and starting books I’ll never finish.

I am feeling very sorry for myself just now but I don’t know how many more kicks in the teeth I can take. My last three job interviews have, in different ways, been tough on me. How many more times will I have to drag myself back up before it becomes pointless?

I’m still having discussions with Life Property Management (LPM) about their continuing charge-for-whatever-we-can-away-with philosophy. Their latest example of daylight robbery was to charge residents for gritting of roads that was neither requested nor needed. I say have “discussions” because LPM has said they will no longer discuss the issue of road gritting with me! They also threatened me with court action if I didn’t pay my latest invoice, even though I was still contesting the road gritting element of it. LPM stands for Licence to Print Money – how apt. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.

If you are moving to a new home, check who does the factoring. If it’s the local council then fine, if it’s a company like LPM or Greenbelt then find out as much as you can about the exact extent of prospective charges. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and money in the long run.

FRANK SATAN AND HIS HUSBANDS (Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh Friday 22 August)

What can you say about Britain's, nay, Greenock's finest crooner, that hasn't already been written? This man has done more damage to livers, especially his own, and hearts and minds that any entertainer alive or dead. Part dealer (cards, that is), part ranconteur, part showman, part vox humanist, Frank, accompanied by whichever Husbands happened to be available, take us through his life via live performance, audio interview and a taped duet with Edinburgh's legendary Andy Chung.

As well as covers of tracks by Hank Williams and Sugababes, he and his menfolk perform original cuts such as "Grandad's Going Down the Warehouse", "Full Blown Alcoholic" (autobiographical I believe) and my favourite "Who's Gonna Bury The Undertaker?"

Expect to see Frank on the soup-in-a-basket circuit any day now, if the Vegas doesn't get him first. Rumours that Frank is to open up a franchise of the Chicken Ranch in the Inverclyde area are unconfirmed at this time. Frank Satan will be performing in an area near you very soon - just lock up your daughters, your pets and your drinks cabinet. God bless you Frank.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Sat 7 Jun – Saw “Eurobeat” at The King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Sun 8 Jun – (1700-1900) VRN Radio Show
Mon 9 Jun – Fri 13 Jun – Stayed at Tummel Valley Caravan Park, Perthshire
Sun 15 Jun – (afternoon) Kirkcaldy VRN AGM
Sun 15 Jun – (evening) Teenage Fanclub, Oran Mor, Glasgow
Mon 16 Jun – Recorded one-hour interview with Michaela Tabb, world’s leading female pool and snooker referee for VRN.
Fri 20 Jun – Enjoyed Scotsman Recommends prize meal at The Wee Restaurant, North Queensferry
Sat 21 Jun – Edinburgh Zoo with family and friends
Sun 22 Jun – (1700-1900) VRN Radio Show (1900-2100) Record Nevis Radio Show
Fri 27 Jun – OFCOM confirmed they have no issue with me recording my Nevis show at VRN
Fri 27 Jun - (2300-0100) My first show is broadcast is on Nevis Radio.
Sun 29 Jun – (1700-1900) VRN Radio Show (1900-2100) Record Nevis Radio Show
Wed 2 Jul – (1930) First, and last, VRN Committee meeting. Subsequently resigned from committee after they decide against finding out whether Fife NHS have any objections to me recording my Nevis shows at VRN – very sad.
Fri 4 Jul – (2300-0100) My second, and last, show on Nevis Radio.
Sun 6 Jul – (1700-1900) VRN Radio Show
Mon 7 Jul – (1400) My daughter’s Sports Day
Tue 8 Jul – (1900) The Proclaimers supported by Roddy Hart at The Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline. Actually preferred Roddy Hart's set - spoke to him between sets.
Sun 13 Jul – (1700-1900) VRN Radio Show
Thu 24 Jul – (1245/1315) Written Exercise and Interview for Radio Scotland job at BBC HQ, Pacific Quay, Glasgow
Sat 26 Jul- Sun 27 Jul – Spent the weekend at Dave and Moira’s
Sun 27 Jul – (1700-1900) VRN Radio Show
Tue 29 Jul – Unsuccessful application for BBC job. Requested feedback.
Thu 31 Jul – Whilst trying to get some background information on a local issue, one of my four local councillors (Lib Dem Tony Martin) made this comment about me: “This constituent is a serial complainer that writes to all and sundry on anything and everything. However I would like you to investigate his assumption in point 2 of his latest epistle”. Rather stupidly he put this in an e-mail to a colleague and it was forwarded to me when he finally sent me a reply. I demanded an apology and got it. He cited a “stressful day”.
Thu 31 Jul – (1645-1745) Ivan Brackenbury’s Hospital Radio Christmas Show (Pleasance)
Fri 1 Aug – Sun 3 Aug: Finally used the free Travelodge weekend that we won in the Sunday Express's Sportsword Crossword. We plumped for Dundee and visited Groucho Records (just me), Verdant Works, Sensation and RSS Discovery.
Fri 8 Aug – (1900-2200) Jackie Leven, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh - superb, went with Dave, who also enjoyed it.
Sat 9 Aug – (1245-1445) Felicity’s birthday party - I was DJ for Pass the Parcel and Musical Statutes!
Sun 10 Aug - (1700-1900) VRN Radio Show
Mon 11 Aug – Sick
Wed 13 Aug – Chased up BBC feedback. Informed that my feedback request hadn’t been logged - unbelievable!
Thu 14 Aug – (1900-2230) Bike the Baltic Quiz Night for Marie Curie Cancer Care - atmosphere was a bit flat to begin with and was beset by technical problems.
Fri 15 Aug – (1400-1600) Audition for “In It To Win It”, Thistle Street, Edinburgh
Sat 16 Aug – Haircut and new glasses, very Elvis Costello!
Sun 17 Aug – (1700-1900) VRN Radio Show
Mon 18 Aug – Changes to Stagecoach services between Fife and Edinburgh
Tue 19 Aug - Finally get around to reporting my Councillor to Fife Council

That's what I've been up to - never a dull moment!

Current listening pleasure:
Simon Dupree and the Big Sound - Part of my Past CD
Jackie Leven - The Wanderer CD
Vicki Carr - Tunesmith
Simon and Garfunkel - Keep The Customer Satisfied
Caroline Munro - Tar and Cement
Glen Campbell - Good Riddance (Time of your Life)
The Langley Schools Music Project - Innocence and Despair CD
The Merseys - The Cat
Etta James - Tell Mama
Ronnie Spector - You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory