Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Cat on the award-nominated "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 1 February 2009

Here is tonight's playlist, which celebrates 50 years of Motown:

Martha (Reeves) and the Vandellas - Dancing In the Street (Gordy 1964)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
The Contours - First I Look At The Purse (Gordy 1965)
Diana Ross & The Supremes - Love Child (Motown 1968)
The Isley Brothers - Behind A Painted Smile (Motown 1968)
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Tears of a Clown (Tamla 1967))
Tammi Terrell - Come On and See Me (Motown 1966)
The Velvelettes - Lonely Lonely Girl Am I (VIP 1965)
Gladys Knight & The Pips - Every Beat of My Heart (Vee Jay 1961) (Connect 3)
Hearts of Stone - If I Could Give You The World (VIP 1970) (Connect 3)
The Marvelettes - Locking Up My Heart (Tamla 1963) (Connect 3)
Rare Earth - Get Ready (Rare Earth 1970)
Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers - Does Your Mama Know About Me (Gordy 1968)
Chris Clark - From Head To Toe (Motown 1967) (Birthday: Chris Clark 1/2/46)
Shorty Long - Function At The Junction (Soul 1966)
Kim Weston - Looking For The Right Guy (Tamla 1964)
The Four Tops - Piangono Glo Vomini (I Can't Help Myself) (Foreign Language)
Barbara Randolph - I Got A Feeling (Motown 1967)
Earl Van Dyke & The Motown Brass - 6x6 (Motown 1967) (Half-Time Instrumental)
Stevie Wonder - Uptight (Everything's Alright) (Motown 1965)
Edwin Starr - Twenty Five Miles (Gordy 1969)
The Miracles - Come On Do The Jerk (Tamla 1964)
Jimmy Ruffin - I've Passed This Way Before (Soul 1966)
Kiki Dee - I Second That Emotion (Motown 1970)
The Temptations - Little Miss Sweetness (Gordy 1966)
Big Sound Authority - This House (Is Where Your Love Stands) (Source 1985) (Under The Influence)
Barrett Strong - Money (That's What I Want) (Anna/Tamla 1959)
The Four Tops - Bernadette (Motown 1967)
The Monitors - Number One In Your Heart (Motown 1969)
Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell - California Soul (Tamla 1970) (Connect 3)
Marvin Gaye/Kim Weston - It Takes Two (Tamla 1967) (Connect 3)
Marvin Gaye/Omah Page - Rilleh! (Motown 1965) (Connect 3)
Tommy Good - Baby I Miss You (Gordy 1964)
Mable John - You Made A Fool Out of Me (Tamla 1960)
Brenda Holloway - When I'm Gone (Tamla 1965) (Two of a Kind)
Brenda Holloway - Tell Me Your Story (Tamla 1965) (Two of a Kind)
Eddie Holland - Leaving Here (Motown 1963)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

Next week it's back to the usual mix of mod, soul (Northern and Southern) and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s. Coming soon: an Immediate Records special, a famous people special and a "lurve" special for Valentine's Day!

Good night and good health!

Friday, January 30, 2009


And the winner of the most dismal town in Scotland is ... Glenrothes

(Pictured: A rather large erection in Glenrothes)

While I’m not surprised that Glenrothes might win this award (for its obsession with roundabouts alone), I can think of a few more worthy candidates.

Of all the places I’ve ever been to, I’d list the following as more worthy:

  1. Clydebank – I’ve never seen so many sick, overweight and miserable people in my life, well not since I was last in Dunfermline town centre. I forget why I was there in the first place, possibly football related, but it’s left an indelible print on my brain nonetheless
  2. Airdrie – An inhospitable place. When my football team were playing in the First Division we had to visit such places and it was likely going back to 1975. The everybody-hates-us paranoia of the football team appeared to have spread to the locals. I won’t hurry back, even if my team gets relegated.
  3. Dunfermline – I live here (well on the outskirts) but it’s a town that thinks it’s a city but acts like a village. If you like bakeries, hairdressers and charity shops then this is the place for you. The former capital of Scotland (were there no other candidates?) should change its coat of arms to feature prams, cigarettes, leggings and a Stephen’s Steak Bridie; sometimes you see all four just looking at one person!
  4. Seton Sands Holiday Park – The Lesotho of East Lothian. Not strictly a town (in any sense of the word) but when Glasgow Trades Fortnight is on it turns into a mini Paisley with West Coasters coming for a bit of cultcha, which is usually a Racey tribute band on Hawaiian Night in the Bobby Davro Lounge.
  5. Armadale – The Good Lady and I looked at a house there and after a brief look around the town centre decided the area we lived in in Leith (affectionately known as "Little Beirut") wasn’t so bad after all. A prominent Rangers Supporters Club in the centre didn’t help matters either.

I apologise to anyone who reads this that lives in these places but I have nominated my own town too. I feel your pain. Having said that, I don’t miss Edinburgh as much as I used to. The only thing I really miss now is the Cameo Cinema, where my wife and I were members. The annual membership was very reasonable and the ambience of the cinema was great. I miss it, a lot.

I referred recently to the death of my former music teacher and it seems that they've arrested someone for it. Here's the update: Tribe member arrested after ritual killing of ex-Lothian teacher

Censorship is alive and well at the Depress (aka Dunfermline Press). What is the point in asking for comments under every story if you’re going to censor them? I wrote a comment on a story and it has been removed. I've asked for an explanation and I'm still waiting. Here is the story and here is the “offending” comment: "There is no such thing as an "accident". There is always an error on one or more sides; an error that Mr. Little admitted. What happened to his father was tragic but he doesn't appear to have learned from it. To then go moaning to the Press is rather hypercritical. People need to take personal responsibility. It's no use blaming the junction or, in other cases, the camber of the road, road markings etc. Drive more carefully and these incidents can be avoided."

All I’ve done is say something that needs saying. There’s not enough personal responsibility these days. The man in question admits causing a crash yet moans to the Depress that it was the road’s fault. What next? A tree walked out in front of me, officer? Let’s chop it down. I notice that the speed at which the offending people are driving at in these types of articles is never mentioned.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Inspired by Bright Ambassador's tireless promotion on behalf of Luke Haines, I thought I'd list my 10 favourite rock biogs. Don't expect any deep analytical insight into the books or why I like them (mainly because I have a daughter waiting for her bedtime stories and I've not had my tea yet!)

In no particular order:

1. Julian Cope - Head On/Repossessed
2. Andrew Loog Oldham - Stoned/2Stoned
3. Simon Napier-Bell - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me/Black Vinyl - White Powder/I'm Coming To Take You To Lunch
4. Ed Jones - This Is Pop
5. John Repsch - The Legendary Joe Meek
6. Brian Wilson - Wouldn't It Be Good
7. Ray Davies - X-Ray
8. Fredric Dannen - Hit Men
9. Motley Crue - The Dirt
10. Suzi Quatro - Unzipped (when I've finished it)

I reserve the right to change this list when someone remembers a better book that I've stupidly forgotten.

I’ve had a field day with today’s issue of the Dunfermline Press and I thought I’d share with you my comments on three stories featured this week. The first concerns a driver complaining about a junction, despite admitting causing a crash there. The second is the continuing saga of the monthly bin collection pilot. And lastly, there’s the schools, or lack of schools, problem within my local area. The Good Lady Wife recently tried to phone the Council with the number given to speak to someone about the school issue. Fife Council’s fancy, and very confusing, new telephone system informed her by recorded message that “this number has not been allocated to anyone”! She tried the main switchboard number repeatedly and couldn’t get through on that either. She gave up.

Man cheats death at spot where dad died

“There is no such thing as an "accident". There is always an error on one or more sides; an error that Mr. Little admitted. What happened to his father was tragic but he doesn't appear to have learned from it. To then go moaning to the Press is rather hypercritical.

People need to take personal responsibility. It's no use blaming the junction or, in other cases, the camber of the road, road markings etc. Drive more carefully and these incidents can be avoided.”

Fife Council's bins idea stinks says Dunfermline mum

“"This option was brought forward by council officers"

Who exactly are these bird-brained "council officers" who came up with this half-baked scheme? Have they nothing better to do?

"Approximately 20 per cent of everything we throw out is food waste"

Where does Mr Vettraino get these figures from? His furtive imagination?

"We will listen and act on their feedback"

Then completely ignore it and do what we want anyway because we don't give a toss about the electorate.

Fife Council are as much use as a roof rack on a helicopter. They're just 'playing' at being politicians because they have no real grasp on the needs of the electorate. They might as well be Thatcher Tories - it's all me, me, me!”

No place in Dunfermline school for poster boy

Yet another own goal from Faff Council. They were so intent on building all the new houses in the DEX that they forgot about basic infrastructure. Public transport, shops and other amenities, particularly schools, were mere afterthoughts. We should be asking where all the money from these housing developments and the resultant Council Tax has gone?

The person(s) responsible should resign because this has been one almighty cock-up. Despite repeatedly informing Fife Council that our daughter would be going to the local Catholic primary school we've been pestered with correspondence asking us how she would get to school (they gave us a map to draw her route on - I'm only surprised it didn't come with a crayon) and why we didn't attend the open night. The Council is riddled with incompetence. If the Council is so desperate to save money, it should get rid of the deadwood and spend the money on the electorate.

The chickens are now coming home to roost.

Uproar predicted as Fife Council presses ahead with monthly bin collections

Up to 25 comments now!

Monday, January 26, 2009


The title pretty much sums up the last few days.

One of my neighbours went into hospital recently with a very serious illness while another neighbour came out of hospital with a brand new bouncing baby boy.

Last night I heard the tragic news that my old music teacher had died. Bad enough you might think, except his passing wasn't of his own volition. He was brutally murdered at his home in Thailand. What The Times article doesn't say is how he was killed. The Scotsman and some of the other Scottish papers go into rather more gory detail.

You can see by the comments beneath The Times article how well he was thought of, especially by former pupils of my alma mater Lasswade High School. As I said in my comment, his was one of the few lessons that I remember vividly from school*. He usually taught classical stuff but for one lesson he spoke to us about The Beatles "Sgt Pepper's". He went into graphic detail about some of the meanings behind the lyrics, which was an eye-opener for me.

Sure, even then, we all knew he was gay but that didn't bother us. Whatever floats your kayak. RIP Sir.

(* One of my other favourite teachers was Sandy McLeman who looked, and acted, like Jeremy Beadle. He liked to blow up things, even his own pupils. We arrived early one lesson and we caught him putting some black stuff under the chair of one of the children's stools. As soon there was any pressure placed on it the stuff would explode. I may have failed Chemistry (twice) but I've never forgotten him.)

All this talk of Mr Crisp (and, yes, we did call him Quentin behind his back) rather puts into the shade my good news from today. At the start of December I put myself forward for three categories in the HBA (Hospital Broadcasting Association) National Hospital Radio Awards, namely Male Presenter of the Year, Best Specialised Music and Best Newcomer. Well, lo and behold, I found out this morning that I've made the shortlist for the Best Newcomer award. I was so excited when I saw my name on the HBA website that I could have burst! You never think, especially as a 'new kid on the block', that you'll do anything in these things but I'm dead chuffed. I did work really hard on my 5 minute demo over many weeks and it's harder to put together than you'd imagine. I taught myself how to do it on Adobe Audition 3.

One of my colleagues John Murray is up for Male Presenter of the Year and he's an experienced pro at this game. He has won awards and commendations before while I'm the virgin. The Gala Awards Dinner and HBA Conference are over the same weekend in Blackpool, at the end of March, and I only said I would go if I got nominated so the travel plans are already in full swing. Actually, having investigated the trains and buses with a back-of-a-fag-packet calculation I've decided to drive down. It's just short of four hours to get there.

Rumours that the nominees party bags will include a stick of a rock, a Kiss-Me-Quick hat and a Blackpool Tower snow globe are unconfirmed at this time! The Academy Awards it ain't!

Meanwhile, I'm still so crap at Tiger Woods 08 on the Wii that I'm giving great consideration to putting my (imaginary) clubs over my knee and buying something else. My average is about 83, which, as anyone with a passing knowledge of the game knows, is pish.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 25 January 2009

Here was tonight's fine playlist:

Stacey Cane - Funny Face (Jubilee 1963)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
Wishing Thinking - VIP (Decca 1966)
Glenda Collins - Something I Got To Tell You (Pye 1966)
Sister Rachel - Don't Mess Around With Me (Challenge 1967)
The Left Banke - She May Call You Up Tonight (Smash 1967)
Marlena Shaw - Liberation Conversation (Cadet 1969)
Carol Connors - My Baby Looks But He Don't Touch (Mira 1966)
Barbara Ruskin - Euston Station (Parlophone 1967) (Connect 3)
The Liverpool 5 - Piccadilly Line (RCA 1967) (Connect 3)
The Kinks - Victoria (Pye 1969) (Connect 3)
The Galens - Chinese Lanterns (Challenge 1964)
Elvis Presley - (Let's Have A) Party (RCA 1957)
Etta James - Payback (Argo 1963) (Birthday: Etta James 25/1/38)
The Hollies - When I'm Not There (Parlophone 1964)
Tommy Tucker - Hi-Heel Sneakers (Checker 1964)
Fairport Convention - Si Tu Dois Partir (Island 1969) (Foreign Language)
Bernadette Castro - A Girl In Love Forgives (Colpix 1964)
Ramsey Lewis Trio - Wade In The Water (Argo 1966) (Half-Time Instrumental)
The Lovin' Spoonful - She Is Still A Mystery (Kama Sutra 1967)
The Blossoms - Hard To Get (Challenge 1961)
23rd Turnoff - Michaelangelo (Deram 1967)
The Cryan Shames - Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David Smith and Jones (Columbia 1968)
Mike Lendell & The Attack - Please Phil Spector (Phillips 1967)
The Radiants - Voice Your Choice (Chess 1964)
BMX Bandits - I Wanna Fall In Love (Creation 1996) (Under The Influence)
Ella Washington - He Called Me Baby (Sound Stage 7 1968)
Donna Loren - Muscle Bustle (Challenge 1964)
Young Idea - Tar and Cement (Columbia 1967)
The Corsairs & Landy McNeill - On The Spanish Side (Tuff 1965) (Connect 3)
Barbara English - We Need Them (Roulette 1962) (Connect 3)
American Spring - Superstar (United Artists 1972) (Connect 3)
Julie London - June in January (Liberty 1956)
Diane Maxwell - Date Bait (Challenge 1959)
The Ivy League - Running Round In Circles (Piccadilly 1966) (Two of a Kind)
The Ivy League - Tossing and Turning (Piccadilly 1965) (Two of a Kind)
Annette Funicello - First Name Initial (Vista 1959)
Fontella Bass - I Surrender (Chess 1966)
Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Motown 1968)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

Not a bad show, maybe a 7 out of 10, but not a great one. Next week's show will be a Motown special.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Once again Fife Council have shown themselves up for the charlatans they are. Not content with looking to bring in monthly bin collections (see Blog entry 22 Jan), the almighty cock-up that is the school situation, and the overpaid overpopulated local authority but now they want to stop people paying respects to their deceased friends and family.

No doubt this latest piece of nonsense is somehow connected to those bastions (you heard me right) of our best interests, namely Health and Safety, although the article doesn't seem to clarify what exactly these "long-established rules on monuments and memorabilia" are. I note that the chairman of Fife Council's housing and communities committee is one Brian Goodall (pictured, right, at a recent Ward 4: Dunfermline South meeting), another one of my local representatives who makes Lord Lucan look like the ubiquitous Fearne Cotton. Come out, come out, wherever you are Brian? As I explained recently I only ever hear from one of my local councillors. Whenever I send an e-mail to one of them on local issues, which I often have to resolve myself, I copy the others in a matter of common courtesy (something they seem to know nothing about). Yet not once has either of the SNP or Lib Dems made any comment or offered a solution to whatever the problem is. Not once have they thought, "hey, maybe we could assist one of the local community we were elected to serve". "Nah, they'll have forgotten by the time the next election comes. Now show me again how to fill in this expense form". Oh, you think so, do you?

I'm only surprised that the mementos adorning gravestones last as long as they do as cemetery vandalism seems to be the latest mindless trend for the more feral elements of our modern youth. (I don't like to make sweeping generalisations about "young people" but some of them are just evil).

Talking of the debacle that is the piss-poor education infrastructure in our local area, Fife Council keep inundating us with information about the school they think our offspring should be attending. As usual we're way ahead of them and have already made all the necessary arrangements, which, I have to say, has been like planning a military campaign! One of the Council's recent missives actually asked us to complete a map showing them which route our child would take to school! Even though we've already told them that our daughter will be going to the local Catholic school they're still writing to us..."we notice you haven't replied blah blah blah"..."you didn't attend our recent open night blah blah blah". You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

I had given serious thought to trying to get a job with Fife Council as they're one of the biggest local employers but why would I want to work with such a bunch of clueless buffoons? I just wouldn't be able to hold my tongue. The daily grind that is travelling to and from work in Edinburgh suddenly seems rather appealing. Better the devil you know, methinks.

I actually got a response from the one local councillor who knows what the Reply button is for. He agrees with what I said about the proposed monthly waste collections and says that the Opposition will be voting against it and he doesn't think the pilot scheme will go ahead in our area - well, Committee Chair Tony Martin wouldn't want to shit on his own doorstep, would he? No matter where the pilot scheme takes place, I'll continue to protest against it because it's so blatantly WRONG. Some things are worth fighting for.

Rather interestingly he also said that a bus shelter WILL be erected at my morning bus stop, which is something I had given up all hope of. It would have been nice to have been told. Apparently there were some "objections from neighbours" but if they had to wait where I wait in the morning they'd be a bit more sympathetic. Last week I was stood beside three brass monkeys crying their eyes out. He also said there would also be the "imposition of enforceable 20mph speed limits" throughout my local area. I told him, quite frankly, that it wouldn't work because (a) the current speed limits are already ignored so why would the boy/man racers obey the new ones and (b) they're not "enforceable" because there's no-one to enforce them. Yes, you can phone the Police but the call will be given such a low grading as to make it pointless.

Talking of ra polis, I must have phoned them about an incident recently because this morning I received a "Fife Constabulary Quality of Service Survey" in the post. Whilst there may be some statistical use for any information I give them I'm not convinced that completing it will make any difference, certainly not to my local area. If they really wanted me to assess their service they should have issued it a lot sooner because I simply can't remember why I phoned them. What makes me laugh is that they've actually given me a deadline to get it back to them!

When I was struggling really badly with depression (it's still not resolved) I would phone them up about things that I know now I should have ignored or turned a blind eye to, although these things were against the law. (The Black Dog does tend to make you more over-sensitive to some things). Someone was sent round to 'tell me off' and as a result I simply stopped phoning them. Anything less than a murder or rape and I just forget about it. It shouldn't be like that but I was left with no alternative.

Maybe I should report my local councillors for impersonating elected officials...then again, why bother?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Fife Council have once again taken bumbling ineptitude to new levels. It was bad enough when the normal/grey bin collections went from weekly to fortnightly, now it seems some birdbrain at the Council wants to change them to monthly collections!

There's an article about it in the Depress and I've added my comments (see The Cat). I've also written to Mike Rumney who is one of four local councillors who are supposed to represent my area and copied the other three into it* (* They're as much use as a roof rack on a helicopter but I feel they should all know the level of feeling about this latest piece of stupidity. Mike's the only one who at least looks as if he's trying get stuff done. The problem is that Labour is now in the minority and he faces an uphill battle.) I also copied it to the Dunfermline Press (even though they hate me - I once took them to the Press Complaints Commission) and Kevin Keane at the BBC, who's a good spud.

Here's what I said to Mike:

"I've already expressed my disgust at the plans for a monthly bin collection on the Dunfermline Press website but I thought I would let you know personally my thoughts on what is an emotive issue.

As well as the three bins we already have, my family and I, at our own expense, have bins for plastic bottles, tins/cans, glass bottles and compost. With the obvious exception of the latter, we then empty these receptacles ourselves at the local facilities. It was bad enough when we went from a weekly to a fortnightly collection but this is a step too far. If Fife Council isn't meeting its targets in terms of waste management/recycling then they need to be targeting those people who aren't doing their bit, rather than those who do take the time and effort. Someone more cynical than me might suggest that this is actually nothing more than a cost-cutting exercise. People are fed up with performing tasks that the Council should be doing. What do we pay our Council Tax for? And will we get a reduction for doing the Council's work for them?

Despite all the recycling we already do our grey bin is still full every fortnight. If we move to a monthly collection many people's bins will be too full and, because the lids won't close, won't be emptied and the knock-on effect of streets full of rubbish (not to mention cats, birds and rats) doesn't bear thinking about. People are happy to do their bit to a certain extent but if Fife Council continues to delegate their responsibilities to their constituents then people will eventually say "enough is enough" and take matters into their own hands. Don't be surprised if people decide to dump their rubbish at Fife Council HQ in protest.

In more ways than one, this pilot plan is a complete mess and mustn't be allowed to succeed."

I feel a campaign coming on...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


On the one hand, I find the new rule that only artists who have had a Top 40 hit can be considered for nomination for a Brit Award to be rather stupid and very narrow-minded. Not every band is obsessed with the charts; charts which lost any significance a long time ago, except to pony-tailed Charlie-snorting record company execs.

Isn’t the Brits supposed to some sort of celebration of the previous music year? Instead we have an even narrower playing field for smaller acts to compete on as the record industry backslapping love-in becomes evermore inclusive to those who have ‘shifted units’. Apparently, it used to be that your humble offering to the chart gods could have spent a solitary week at number 75 and still you had a chance to win an award. No more.

Perhaps the Brits Academy are scared that some minor band who haven’t performed outside the confines of their own MySpace page will be able to mobilise enough fans to gatecrash the party. Remember when Belle and Sebastian “stole” the Best Newcomer award from Steps. (Does anyone recall Kelly Brook on The Big Breakfast trying to goad 5ive into saying how terrible it was that Steps lost out to Belle and Sebastian? Fair play to 5ive, they didn’t bite. I even sent a complaint to The Big Breakfast about it. If I can find it I reproduce it here.)

The other way to guarantee at least a nomination seems to involve being a pupil at the BRAT School for the Precocious Jazz Hands or whatever it’s called. Kate Nash, Leona Lewis, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Katie Melua, Luke Pritchard (The Kicks) and two of the blandest band in the world, The Feeling, are some of the most well known names to emerge from the sausage factory of pop. Apparently this facility is actually a charity, with some of the money coming from the BRIT awards. So it’s YOUR fault that we have Leona Lewis. You should be ashamed of yourself.

On the other hand, I don’t give a fuck.

No, wait there, I knew there was something else I needed to get off my not insubstantial chest. Have a look at the nominees for Best Single and, like me, ask yourself how the hell is “Hero” by The X-Factors Failures worthy of a place on that list. Putting on my Reasonable Head I can see why some of them are in there. Duffy, Estelle, Coldplay and Adele were, notwithstanding my own musical preferences, reasonable guesses to be on the list but I can’t believe that two songs from The X-Factor are in there. Maybe the goalposts have been shifted for Simon Cowell’s little devil spawn but wasn’t the qualifying period October to October? I fully expect next year’s Best Single list to include The X-Factor First Round Fuck-Ups butchering “Sugar Sugar”.

I’m on a roll now…have you seen the British Male Solo nominees? Has there been a more piss-poor assembly? Sure Paul Weller and Will Young were omnipresent throughout 2008 with albums to promote but The Streets and Ian Brown, what did they do last year? Ian Brown’s only contribution to 2008 was to fall offstage and Mike Skinner seems to have done hee-haw except to inform everyone his new album will be a couple of years away. As for James Morrison, he’s only in there to get the Commercial Radio Listener Vote. (See also Scouting for Girls). Why wasn’t Morrissey nominated? Love him or loathe him, at least he had two singles out in 2008, albeit new tracks from a Greatest Hits compilation. Mind you, last year they gave it to a record producer so what do I know. Maybe I’ll write and ask them just how they come to this short list. Yes, I will and I’ll share their response with you all. I’m good like that.

Go Fleet Foxes!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"Permission to feel smug?" "Permission granted".

This week I received a bronze badge for making my 10th blood donation. It may not be as many as some people I know but I feel self-satisfied that I've done my bit. I would never preach to anyone else about how important it is...but it is.

I'm lucky because the Bloodmobile comes to my work regularly but even if it didn't I would make the effort. Go on, you know you want to.


Before Christmas I purchased a box of Oatso Simple so I could have breakfast at work and not use up valuable sleeping time with trivialities like eating.

A couple of weeks ago I pulled out one of the packets of oats from my desk drawer, only to find that there was barely a third of the amount that should have been in it. As is my want, I e-mailed off a missive and awaited a response. After some e-mail piff paff wherein I confirmed that "no, I don't still have the box with the funny codes on it", I finally got a response today. Quaker sent me 2 £2 vouchers, which was very kind of them and more than I what I actually asked for - all I wanted was to exchange packets. Well done Quaker. It's a pity the same can't be said for the BBC

Talking of complaint/correction e-mails, of which I send a lot, I finally got a reply from the BBC about an observation (more half observation, half complaint) I made about one of their news items on Reporting Scotland in December. During the programme, which I endure more than enjoy, there was an item on the tramworks in Edinburgh. I couldn't believe my eyes when a graphic showing the centre of Edinburgh had "Princess Street" annotated on it, instead of "Princes Street". I couldn't believe it. I went into a rant (to no-one in particular) about how they wouldn't make that mistake with Glasgow and immediately got on the phone to BBC Scotland. It was engaged. For ages. In the end I sent off a "strongly-worded missive" (a phrase I use and a lot and enjoy using) and awaited their response. And waited, and waited. Today, some 33 days later I get a "blah blah blah" bog-standard type response.

Firstly, am I the only one who noticed the error? Secondly, am I the only person who made a complaint about it and thirdly, why did I have to wait so long for a response? (Check these other recent BBC complaints for the speed that they are dealt with compared with mine). I'd make another complaint but I probably wouldn't get a reply until June, although which year is debatable. (You'll recall from a blog entry last August that I had a similar problem when it took me about 6 weeks to get feedback from an interview I'd had).

I put the interview I did with Duglas and Rachel at Celtic Connections on to You Tube and then the Jocknroll blog and there has been a lot of positive response about it. Someone even asked about using a bit of for a film on the BMX Bandits but I haven't decided if I will. I've also just finished uploading Attic Lights doing "Five Weeks Behind" at the same gig to You Tube and it'll be on Jocknroll in a few minutes.

Monday, January 19, 2009

So You Wanna Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star?

In November 2007, I won a white Stagg L400 LP guitar in a competition run by the Scottish Association for Mental Health. It had been signed by loads of bands (Mogwai, Pop Up, Jerry Dammers) who had done benefits for the cause and it looked pretty cool. For one dull reason or another I never got around to arranging proper lessons. However, an opportunity availed itself on Sunday as I wondered around, of all places, Asda in Kirkcaldy. As I hunted for batteries and Ryvita (Original, of course) I spotted some acoustic guitars for sale. I had recalled seeing some before Christmas for £25 and now the price had changed.

Apples...beep...bananas...beep...Original Ryvita...beep...acoustic guitar for £12.24...beep...!!! (It came out on the receipt as "Child's Toy") How could I not get one? At that price? The idea of learning had resurrected itself in my newly-energised mind as I made my resolutions for the year. I assumed, rightly or wrongly, that an acoustic would be better for learning. (I have no evidence to back that up and I await comments from more learned individuals who can put me straight!).

The guitar is a 39" Burswood guitar. I've never heard of Burswood and I'm no doubt guitar snobs around the globe are weeping as I speak but, hey, it'll do a job for me and when/if I give up in a fit of pique I can hand it down, like a prized family heirloom, to my daughter. Then there will be no excuse for her not to be in a girl garage band by the time she's 15!

At the moment my biggest challenge is learning how to put the strap on (I said "strap on"!!) but I think I have it figured now. There's one strap button (check me using the technical lingo) and I believe the other end is attached by what looks like a shoelace (supplied), which is tied under the Nut between the Tuning Keys and the Frets.

It also comes with a pick (now where did I put that Johnny Marr one I caught at a gig once?), six spare strings, a pitch pipe and a carrying case. I can't tune it to save my life so I'll ask Dave to do it the first time and I'll get a tuner (probably cost more then the "axe"). I'll keep you informed of my progress, or lack of it!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Cat on Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 18 January 2009

The Searchers - Popcorn Double Feature
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (show theme)
Dee Dee Young - You Haven't Seen Nothing
Annette with the Afterbeats - Tall Paul
Diane Renay - The Company You Keep
Wall of Sound - Hang On
The Settlers - Major To Minor
Mike Berry & The Outlaws - Tribute to Buddy Holly (Connect 3)
Dorothy Berry - You're So Fine (Connect 3)
Dave Berry - Picture Me Gone (Connect 3)
Alder Ray - A Little Love (Will Go A Long Way)
The Byrds - Lady Friend
David Ruffin - Walk Away From Love (Birthday 18/1/41)
Dee King - Sally Go Round The Roses
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Mickey's Monkey
Barbara Ruskin - Gentlemen Please (German version) (Foreign Language)
The Delicates - Stop Shovin' Me Around
Jimmy Nicol & The Shubdubs - Night Train (Instrumental)
Madeline Bell - You Don't Love Me No More
Lori Burton - Yeh Yeh Yeh (That Boy of Mine)
Sugar Pie DeSanto - Soulful Dress
The Four Pennies - When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too)
James Brown - Out of Sight
Platform Six - Girl Down Town
Attic Lights - Wendy (Under The Influence)
The Bystanders - Make Up Your Mind
The Chic-Lets - I Want You To Be My Girlfriend
Amen Corner - Expressway To Your Heart
Donna Loren - Dream World (Connect 3)
The Small Faces - Eddie's Dreaming (Connect 3)
The Barry Sisters - I Must Be Dreaming (Connect 3)
Renee Medina - He's A Big Deal
Timebox - Soul Sauce
The Walker Brothers - Love Her (Two of a Kind)
The Walker Brothers - My Ship Is Coming In (Two of a Kind)
Chris Farlowe - She's Alright
Attic Lights - Wendy (Paul Remix)

This week's show was so much better than last week's, with only one minor faux pas. I even managed to squeeze in two Paul records!

Friday, January 16, 2009


What sick bastard puts the packaging on lettuces? I can't put lettuce on a sandwich without first having to fight my way into it. I don't mean the lettuce that comes in an open-top bag; I mean the ones that look like they've been cellophaned to within an inch of their lives.

Why are people so inherently stupid?

Why do people in power bring in more and more petty rules yet don't think about how to enforce them? If you're not allowed to use your mobile while driving, enforce it. If you can't park in a disabled bay without a blue badge, enforce it. If you can't go the wrong way up a one-way street enforce it. How about this radical idea to reduce the dole queues, employ people to enforce all these new laws/rules/whatever. People would soon get the idea as to what is ans isn't acceptable behaviour and we'd get back to more of a caring society, one where people didn't just look after number 1. People in authority are naive if they think that people are automatically going to obey a new regulation just because it's become law. I'm a great believer in zero tolerance policing. Sadly there aren't enough cops on the street to enforce these rules and too many of them are happy to stay in office jobs, avoiding "the street".

Why are people so inherently stupid?

Why are Fife Council bringing in yet more waste management measures? My reaction to the article in the Depress is the first comment. I do my bit, when are others going to get off their arses and do something too? I await the day when we have a pink bin, an orange bin and a yellow bin to go along with the current triumvirate of grey, brown and blue bins. I love the word 'triumvirate'.

Why are people so inherently stupid?

For information, the roadworks between Blackhall and Barnton are scheduled to take 8 weeks. That's 8 weeks of traffic hell (On Tuesday it took me two hours to get home and I had to stand most of the way). What infuriates me is that the cause of this chaos is the need for an Emergency Gas Main. If it's so urgent then why aren't they working all hours to get the work done, to minimise the stress for everyone else? Instead we're told that work starts at 9.30am every day and 'finishes when it finishes', which, especially on a Friday, will be a lot earlier than most of us finish. The workies are in the boozer/bookies/take-away starting their weekend and I'm stuck on a 55 with a bad back, a man who smells of sour milk and a growing desire to recreate scenes from "Speed" and/or "Falling Down".

Why are people so inherently stupid?

When I finally got to the Ferrytoll tonight I had to wait 15 minutes for my lift. In that time I witnessed some shocking parking (the piss poor marking of the poorly-advertised Drop Off/Pick Up bays behind the main building doesn't help) and a member of Stagecoach staff having a fag while sitting in his car, which he had moved into a more conveniently placed parking bay; a disabled one. Most bizarrely was the woman who, having just berated a driver (quite rightly) for trying to exit the Ferrytoll the wrong way and then almost knocking her down as he reversed back to where he should have gone, decided to move one of the cones that is used to gently remind drivers that YOU CAN'T GO THAT WAY so that her husband/boyfriend/family twat could drive the wrong way up a one-way area so that he didn't have to drive a mere 200 yard circular route to collect her. You can see from the map of the Ferrytoll that there are three arrows going one way, which lead you rather sensibly towards the single arrow going the other way, towards the exit. Incredible. Don't these morons realise that, rightly or wrongly, these arrows, road markings and signs are there for a reason and, for the sake of everyone else, are best adhered to. People are stupid - I rest my case.

If anyone saw my wife in Edinburgh last night, half cut, dressed as a policewoman trying to cordon off Rose Street and Rose Street Lane, then I apologise but just think yourself lucky because I had to endure her when she got home -what a state! It was her Christmas night out. They have a theme every year. Past themes have included pirates and this year it was cops and robbers. My job was to make the goody bag compilation CD, which, funnily enough, was on a cops and robbers theme. Here's the tracklisting:

1. Intro (0.18)
2. Bobby Fuller Four – I Fought the Law (2.18)
3. The Hoosiers – Cops and Robbers (4.01)
4. The Clash – Bankrobber (4.35)
5. The Thompson Twins – We Are Detective (3.03)
6. The Thanes – She’s A Robber (2.57)
7. Sandra Barry – Stop! Thief (2.57)
8. The Alan Bown Set – Emergency 999 (2.30)
9. Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock (2.37)
10. Chris Farlowe – Buzz With the Fuzz (2.32)
11. Thursday’s Children – Help Murder Police (2.03)
12. The Temptations – Law of the Land (4.52)
13. Benny Profane – Rob A Bank (3.24)
14. The Clash – Police and Thieves (6.03)
15. Johnny Keating – The Theme from Z-Cars (2.11)
16. Police Car Radio Sound Effect (1.27)
17. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Watching the Detectives (3.48)
18. Judas Priest – Breaking the Law (2.34)
19. The Sonics – Dirty Robber (1.59)
20. Charles Penrose – The Laughing Policeman (2.34)
21. Billy Childish and Holly Golightly – I’m The Robber (3.07)
22. Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing (3.33)

Apparently, the CD went down a storm so my job was done. I dread to think what they'll come up with next year.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Tonight's show was a nightmare. It started off terribly due to a fault with the computer in the other studio and it gradually got worse! Perhaps bumbling ineptitude is part of my charm but tonight was shambolic. There's always next week...

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich - The Legend of Xanadu
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (show theme)
The Action - Baby You Got It
Marie Applebee - Toom Toom (Is A Little Boy)
Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames - Yeh Yeh
The Marvelettes - Locking Up My Heart
The Ivy League - My World Fell Down
Merry Go Round - Live
The Searchers - Love Potion Number Nine (Connect 3)
The 2 of Clubs - Heart (Connect 3)
Bella and Me - Whatever Happened To The 7 Day Week (Connect 3)
John Leyton - Sweet and Tender Romance
The Cookies - Don't Say Nothin' Bad (Aboy My Baby)
Muriel Day - Nine Times Out of Ten (Birthday 11/1/42)
The Jewels - Opportunity
The Animals - I'm Crying
Francoise Hardy - Tous Les Garcons Et Les Filles (Foreign Language)
Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers - Oo La La (Instrumental)
Elaine - I Never Wonder Where My Baby Goes
Jimmy Reed - Shame Shame Shame
Christine Holmes - Doesn't He Know
Marvin Gaye - At Last (I Found Love)
Tracey Dey - Teenage Cleopatra
Mick and Malcolm - Big Black Smoke
Mike Flowers Pop - Wonderwall (Under The Influence)
Jackson 5 - I Found That Girl
Little Eva - The Trouble With Boys
The Daughters of Eve - Help Me Boy
Junior Walker & The All Stars - Tune Up (Connect 3)
Billie Davis - Just Walk In My Shoes (Connect 3)
Helen SHapiro - Walking In My Dreams (Connect 3)
Simon Dupree & The Big Sound - Is It Finished?
Timebox - Beggin'
The McKinleys - When He Comes Along (Two of a Kind)
The McKinleys - Give Him My Love (Two of a Kind)
Tony Jackson Group - Fortune Teller
The Breakaways - I Can Hear Music
The Stooges - 1969
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (show theme)

I know I've been critical of "In It To Win It" before but it's unforgivable when they make mistakes with questions.

Last night a contestant was asked, "In Greek mythology, who killed Medus the Gorgon?" She was given the choice of Hercules, Perseus or Theseus. The problem is that "Hercules" is actually the Roman name for the Greek hero Heracles, therefore the choices given should have included Heracles and not Hercules. In the end she picked Hercules instead of Perseus and left with hee-haw. As is my want, I've e-mailed 12 Yard, who make the show, and the BBC, who broadcast it, for their comments.

I got a response back from STV as to why they didn't show the FA Cup highlights programme last weekend. On Tuesday, they said, "stv has chosen not to purchase the rights to English FA Cup football. Although we are part of the UK-wide ITV Network, we are an independent commercial company funded entirely by advertising and sponsorship. The decision not to acquire the FA Cup rights is a commercial one. We will instead invest in programming which is more relevant to Scotland, which we will roll out in our 2009 schedule." Okay, I'll watch them on another channel then. I find it hard to believe that they would turn their noses up at some football, which, whether you like it or not, pulls in the viewers. It's not as if ITV/STV has many other sports to show. A wasted opportunity.

Most bizarre sight of this morning was seeing Richard Thompson closing The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 with a rendition of "Oops!...I Did It Again"! He originally recorded it for his album "1000 Years of Popular Music", which he'll be reproducing in full during Celtic Connections. Bizarrely, the album came out of a request from Playboy magazine for his favourite songs from the millennium. He took them at their word and produced a list of tracks going back as far as the 11th Century! They didn't print the list but it gave him the idea for the album.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Here's an extra wee bit of blatant self-publicity to let you know that the Jocknroll website, which I'm sure you'll all familiar with, has a new blog HERE.

As an extra incentive, we're giving away some CDs. Have a look at the blog for more details.

Tam Cowan in today's Daily Record (I bought it for the £500 Crossword, honest) claims that Motherwell should get a bye into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup because Inverurie Locos' pitch is unplayable*. The short arse has a short memory because it wasn't so long ago that his club Motherwell had to cancel an SPL game against Hearts because their undersoil heating wasn't working. And it wasn't even the first time his club had committed such an offence.

Or maybe Tam is scared that the great leveller of a tricky away tie to non-league opposition in the Scottish Cup will see his team, who aren't exactly setting the SPL on fire, become victims of a great giant-killing act. I certainly hope so.

* Maybe Forfar and Brechin, who both had games postponed because of the weather, should be similarly punished.

I have no gripe with Tam per se - after all he is funnier than the entire output of BBC Scotland's Comedy Unit - but I find his complaint rather hypercritical.

As a collector of Girl Group CDs I was chuffed to see Volume 4 of "Here Come The Girls" finally pop up on eBay. (I already have Volumes 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10). After opening the bidding, I was rather annoyed that I forget when the auction was closing and saw that I had been outbid. Only, that is, until I saw that it finally went for £16!! If someone wants to pay that much for it then fair play to them but not for me, thank you.

Note: I also have Girls in the Garage (Vols 1-9, need 11/12 and one of the two singles), Where The Girls Are (1-5), RPM's excellent Dreambabes series, (1-8), Early Girls (1-5), Femmes de Paris (1-2, need 3), Canadian semi-bootlegs Ultra Chicks (1-6) and a load of other one-off girl and ye-ye collections.

Talking of eBay, I had a run in with an individual who thought it was okay (and he even admitted it) to bump up the low price of the CD he was selling with excessive postage and packing costs. I'm sorry but to me that is just greedy profiteering. I told him so and gave him a chance to refund some of the excessive postage. He declined so I gave him negative feedback. I didn't want to but his arrogance left me with no choice. He seemed to think that P&P costs should include the cost (petrol? shoe leather? Happy Meal on the way?) of taking something to the Post Office!! A lesson learned methinks and that lesson is, don't deal with money-grabbing dickheads.

Regular readers will know that along with my mate Dave, we run the Jocknroll website. Well, we've decided to change the Pop Pourri blog page on the website to a Blogger blog and incorporate it into the site that way. It also means that Dave can post his thoughts too - both of them! Dave and I are also regular contributors to The Scotsman's Recommends section so you may see our Top 5 musings from time to time. Last week, I had Best Scottish Band for 2009 and others are imminent.

What a day I've had! I got up at the crack of dawn (okay it was about 8.30 but for a Saturday morning In January that's pretty good) and headed out with my list of "things to do". First stop was the David Gray salon to get a "four on the top and two everywhere else". The girl who cut my hair wasn't too chatty, which I prefer, and she was tipped accordingly. Even though the salon advertises Gents Cut "from £7" mine is always £4 because I don't have much hair to cut (I'm not going bald, it just takes me longer to wash my face - I'm here all week!). The dan diver is handed over and it's off for task 2. A trip to the sorting office followed. I had to collect a parcel and I was pretty sure I knew what it would be. I was right - it was our first competition win of the year.

I thought it was going to be a webcam from the Community Channel but it turned out to be a pair of them, with headsets. A prize is a prize is a prize as they possibly say in Competitionland. (The next step is usually to find out how much they're worth and pop the information onto our spreadsheet - yes, we're that sad but then again we do win a lot of stuff so it's nice to keep track of how much we've won!).

Next stop is the Pitreavie Business Park to visit a plumbing supplier and post some comps into the DePress (that's what I call the Dunfermline Press because it's so parochial, small-minded and dull). From my pre-Christmas of trying to find a particular type of ceramic tap head (I didn't find it) I now know where almost every plumbing supplier is in West Fife. At the Business Park, there are three right next to each other. There was a customer car park space at Graham's so I felt obliged to go there first. I got a new shower head (an Alterna Single Mode Rub-Clean Shower head, no less) and accompanying PVC Hi-flow Shower Hose for the measly sum of £13. (I'm sure when I looked at the prices on the shelf they totalled about £20 but I wasn't going to argue, would you?) Actually Graham's almost lost the sale because I waited five minutes to get served and I was at the point of visiting one of their neighbours/competitors when someone appeared to serve me.

With the competitions posted it was a brief trip up one junction of the motorway (the quickest way) to "the big Asda" (or Azdaz, if you're a local) for some 'normal' shopping, which included The Sun (we're collecting the holiday tokens). the aforementioned Daily Record and some Chupa Chupa lollies (I don't ask why). I also checked out the price of storage boxes and there was a 65 litre one for £7.83, which worked out at about 12p per litre, the same as Tesco's. I make a mental note and crack on.

I return home rather satisfied with myself and have a celebratory brunch of boiled eggs on toast. But no rest for the wicked as I bag up all the recycling (plastic, tins and bottles) and put them into the boot of the car. With the go-ahead from she-who-must-be-obeyed to buy the storage boxes I head back to Halbeath. I deposit the recycling first and get the storage boxes before heading home for a well-earned coffee.

I get home to witness a site that would bring a tear to a glass eye. That's right, may four-year old daughter is playing her first game of Trivial Pursuit, albeit the kids version of the Disney one. I'm so proud I could put an announcement in the paper. I haven't been so chuffed since she named the balls you pot in snooker - in order! Not only that but Mrs Cat is soundly thrashed as The Flickster gets the necessary six cheeses in no time at all. Sure there may have been a lot of leniency/selective questioning by The Good Lady Wife but a win is a win and one I shall remind her of at regular intervals.

I squeeze in a couple of games of Tiger Woods 08 (Wii) into my hectic schedule. I'm shit at it - it's official. I just can't seem to pick it up. I've scored -9 on the Wii Sports Golf but this is a whole new ball game, so to speak. After two rounds of 90+ I return to the old faithful, Tennis on Wii Sports and a quick three sets to love victory cheers me up and pushes my ranking over the 2050 mark.

Another pop star death and another change to my running order for tomorrow's show. Having already binned show-starter Annette Funicello's "Tall Paul" for The Stooges "1969", I've now had to move "1969" to the second half so I can fit in something by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. After much deliberation I plump for their only UK number one, "The Legend of Xanadu". The Good Lady Wife asked me if I'd rather they died on a Monday! I'm saying nothing.

A man's work is never done. I've still got to write a couple of Top 5 for Recommends, start putting together radio shows for 18th and 25th January, have a coffee, finish the big Daily Record £500 crossword, do some competitions (you've got to be in it to win), have a coffee, finish the Mojo crossword, burn some CDs and then, only then, I might have time for a cuppa. It's a full life and a wonder I have time to go to work!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I started last year like a whirling dervish, especially in terms of writing. I had a quite a few Top 5s in the Recommends section of The Scotsman before illness, particularly the "black dog" took hold. 2009 has started in similar fashion and hopefully I won't "tail off". My first Top 5 of the year is HERE. One more has already been sent off and today I had umpteen decent ideas for further pieces. Usually I have good ideas and either forget to act on them or forget to write them down. My motto for 2009 is a cross between "Go For It" and/or "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained". This year has already paid dividends by getting paid for some writing. If you don't ask...

I was intrigued to hear that Attic Lights have reworked Dennis Waterman's "I Could Be So Good For You". It's being used as the theme for Channel 5's remake of 80s favourite "Minder". The show airs in February and Attic Lights' version is being released on 16 February, although it'll be available digitally from 12 January. The new six-part "Minder" stars Shane Richie as Arthur Daley's nephew Archie. See the video HERE.

Having slaved over the NME Christmas Quiz for weeks I'll be intrigued to see the answers in the next issue. I thought I'd done pretty well and I'd like to thank people on the forums of Kings of Leon, The Verve, Mojo and Teenage Fanclub for their invaluable help, not forgetting Ross. Cheers. Usually when you ask for help on some band forums there's usually a handful of people whose attitude is "why should we help you?" or "what's in it for me?" so I was pleasantly surprised.

Having filled up my mp3 player (part of a prize won on Radio Forth) I was more than a little perturbed to realise that my headphones were broadcasting in mono - yup, they were knackered. A new pair was purchased at lunchtime and now I'm back in stereo.

Well, Sunday's radio show won't sort itself out...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Got my ticket for the Attic Lights gig next Saturday. They're playing as part of the Shoeshine Showcase at the ABC in Glasgow, along with Norman Blake/Euro Childs (ex-Gorky's) and the BMX Bandits, who I've seen nine times in various line-ups. John, who I got to know through our mutual love of Superstar is going too so he's taking on the driving duties. I think my driving home from The Orchids/Recovery Club/Ally Kerr traumatised him!

Time to update my mp3 player and tonight I loaded up exactly 100 songs featuring The Wedding Present's "El Rey" album, Fleet Foxes eponymous debut (I figured as it was most music paper's Record of the Year I should see what all the fuss was about), a mixture of New Pornographers tracks and The Big Dipper 3 CD "greatest hits" compilation "Supercluster". I'm already looking forward to the journey to and from work and my lunchtime walk so I can get 'lost in music'. I always find that the less familiar music is the more enjoyable it is because you tend to concentrate more on what you're hearing instead of letting the familiar wash over you.

Today we won our first competition of the year. It's from the Community Channel website and I've to confirm my details with them tomorrow. I've done so many competitions since the turn of the year that the prize could be anything. A win is a win is a win.

I've made my first game show application of the year. I won't reveal the title because I don't want production companies to think that I'm sort of quiz 'face'. Yes, I've made close to twenty TV and radio quiz appearances but I'm no Egghead. I do them because I enjoy them and any win is a bonus. One of these days, maybe when I retire from this business we call show, I'll list what I've been on and what I've won. The most I've won in cash is £2000, which hardly makes me a Pat Gibson or a Kevin Ashman.

One show I was disappointed not to get on was the current lottery show "In It To Win It", hosted by Dale Tangoman Winton. I made a point at the audition of getting at least 3 of the 25 general knowledge questions wrong (my mate Mark "threw" a lot more) and yet despite playing the run through of the game with gusto and being very "up" and amusing during the 'piece-to-camera' I didn't make the cut. Neither did Mark. Like most regulars game show contestants we can be a bit selective with information about what we've been on on the application form but that doesn't make me a "pro". People lie on their forms because they know that honesty doesn't pay with television productions, which is ironic consider they wrote the book on the subject.

"In It To Win It", in my humble opinion, is a perfect example of the dumbing down on TV quizzes. They don't want people who are going to win a lot of money yet there are contestants who are clearly "hustling" the programme makers. You can see them a mile off on the show as they hum and haw over the most basic of questions. What annoys me the most however is when Tangoman asks them how much they'd like to win and what would they do with the money. If one more bingo-winged 45 years+ plus woman says they want £20,000 for liposuction I'll put my foot straight through the telly. WHY DON'T YOU GET OFF YOUR FAT LARDY ARSES AND DO SOME EXERCISE YOU FUCKIN' MORONS? Still...mustn't grumble.

I've had a productive couple of days as far as writing is concerned. As well as the Quo piece, I've written a couple of Top 5s for The Scotsman's Recommends section, one of which will be in tomorrow's paper. I won't spoil the surprise just now but I'll link to them when they're published.

Here's a random personal Top 5 just for you all in the Blogosphere:

My Top 5 Magazines

1. Mojo - I love MOJO. It takes it music seriously without being snobby about it and there's a free CD every month. Also, the crossword is a good challenge and has great prizes (I've won at least twice).
2. Web User - This is where I go to find out what's happening in the computer world. There's always a few tips in each issue worth following and their website Forums are a great place to get advice on your PC problems.
3. Vanity Fair - It's actually my wife's subscription but I tend to snaffle it first. Plenty of reading in it.
4. Men's Health - Sure, every issue appears to be the same but it's a great mag for a long journey or while lazing on holiday.
5. Record Collector - A mag I bought regularly in my youth, which I still buy from time to time.

RIP Ron Asheton of The Stooges, who passed away over the new year. That truly is No Fun.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Cat on Kirkcaldy VRN 1287AM - Sun 4 Jan 09

The first show of the new year was a rather ramshackle affair but I got through it unscathed. Here's what the captive audience got:

Simon Dupree and the Big Sound - Kites
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (show theme)
Keith & Billie - You Don't Know Like I Know
The Creation - Biff Bang Pow
Delaney & Bonnie - Groupie (Superstar)
Boyce and Hart - I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite
The Cinderellas - Baby Baby (I Still Love You)
The Poets - That's The Way It's Got To Be
The Supremes - Run Run Run (Connect 3)
Feminine Complex - I Won't Run (Connect 3)
The Toys - See How They Run (Connect 3)
Brenda Holloway - How Many Times Did You Mean It
Lulu - Day Tripper
Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music (Birthday - Arthur Conley 4 Jan 1946)
She - Outta Reach
Pamela Blue - My Friend Bobby
The Searchers - Liebe ("Money") (Foreign Language)
Michael Leslie - Make Up Or Break Up
The Moontrekkers - Hatashiai (Japanese Sword Fight) (Instrumental*)
Shelley Fabares - Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
The Aerovons - Words From A Song
Bobby Fuller Four - Let Her Dance
The Velvelettes - Lonely Lonely Girl Am I
The Contours - Do You Love Me
Denise and Company - Boy What'll You Do Then
Dropkick - Patchwork (Under The Influence)
The Essex - What Did I Do?
Nancy Priddy - You've Come This Way Before
The Four Shells - Hot Dog (My Baby's Comin' Home)
The Avons - Be Good To Your Baby (Connect 3)
John Leyton - Down The River Nile (Connect 3)
Gemini - Sunshine River (Connect 3)
The Goodnight Kisses - If He Kissed Me
The Uniques - Send Him To Me
Goldie and the Gingerbreads - Walking In Different Circles (Two of a Kind)
Goldie and the Gingerbreads - Chew Chew Fee Fi Fun (Two of a Kind)
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas - Come and Get These Memories
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (show theme)

* New untitled feature, whereby I start the second half of the show with an instrumental. Next week it'll be something I can pronounce!

Onwards and upwards to next week...(oh, and back to work tomorrow, deep joy!!)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Roll Over Lay Down? Not The Quo

I'm a believer in fate and there was another spooky example of it yesterday. While the girls visited The Outlaws I stayed at home in the Kingdom and prepared my next two hospital radio shows*. While taking a well-earned break and attempting for the umpteenth time to gain Two Stars on some of the Super Mario Karts courses on the Wii I get a phone call from Claire Smith at The Scotsman. The PRS have issued a statement about Status Quo being the hardest work band in the UK in 2008 and would I like to pen a 300-word piece on their enduring appeal? "When do you want it?", I enquire. "Oh, about an hour!!"

Needless to say I knocked off 300 words fairly quickly although I was somewhat held up by trying to verify just who had had the most appearances on Top of the Pops. I knew The Quo had had a lot but I'd also heard that Sir Cliff of Richard has done quite a few too. Depending on which source you use The Quo have had either 106 or 87. As the former seemed more likely I went with that. Memo to self: "Find out just who has had the most Top of the Pops appearances"

Not having written for a wee I went "over budget" and did an extra 50 words and not surprisingly, it was edited down. The published piece is HERE and my original piece is below:

"When you think of Status Quo there are several images that immediately spring to mind; pub rockers head banging to the same few chords, denim and ponytails (a fashion faux pas in any era) and a band that seems to have been around since time immemorial.

It’s easy to knock Status Quo but, like Kerry Katona at a buffet, they keep coming back for more. And so do their fans, in droves. But why? Not for them is the constant reinvention of a U2 or a Prince, for them it’s a course steady and true of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” variety. And yet they weren’t always twelve-bar boogie metronomes. Those with long memories will recall that it wasn’t always thus as they started out as Freakbeaters The Spectres, who then morphed into the acid-laden psychedelic rockers Traffic Jam. So how is it that these rock behemoths are still with us and still packing out auditoriums worldwide?

The answer is simple. They love what they do and their fans, who worship the ground they rock on, love what they do. (In 2005 the band were voted Best Festival Feel Good Act by the UK Festival Awards). Sure, they’re not bothering the scorers on the Top 40 anymore but why should they care when they’ve had over 60 hit singles in the UK and numerous more around the globe? (Does anyone care about the charts anymore?) They’ve lived the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle to excess and back we love them because they’re survivors who have lived to tell the tale. Maybe the cool people wouldn’t be seen dead at one of their gigs or buying any of the records but don’t we all have at least one favourite Status Quo track. (For the record, mine is “Down Down”.)

Last December they even released their first ever Christmas single and yes, even if you didn’t know the artist, it was easy to work out, through the ubiquitous sleigh bells, that it was Status Quo. Never has a band been more aptly named. Long live The Quo.


75 – “It’s Christmas Time”, which reached number 40, is their 75th UK single.
106 – Status Quo holds the record for the most appearances by a group on Top of the Pops
34 – The number of years Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt have been together in Status Quo
50 – Top 40 hits in the UK singles chart
22 – Top 10 hits in the UK singles chart
1 – Number 1 hits in the UK singles chart (Down Down)"

As Claire Smith, the author of the main piece, so succinctly put it, "Welcome to the humiliating world of the professional writer". Professional? At least she gets paid! I enjoy the buzzing of seeing something I've written in print but it would be nice to get some money for it once in a while. Not that I consider myself any great shakes in that department (that's for others to judge) but the time and effort has been put in. It's so much more enjoyable than what I do just now, even if it doesn't pay the mortgage. You'll see on The Scotsman I've added a comment (number 4) at the bottom of the story, just to clarify how "big" a Quo fan I am.

I can't sit here blowing my own French Horn, there's Things To Do lists to be gone through. I've also done some minor housekeeping on my Blog as Apprentice of the Universe seems to have disappeared so I've replaced him with "I'm Not Always So Stupid", which I read for the first time recently.

I tried to do some housekeeping on my Outlook last night/this morning but it all seem to go wrong so I gave up. Windows Mail seems to be the upgraded version of Outlook but I'll wait until a passing geek wanders into my street.

Peace out...

The Cat

* If you're ever involved in a non-fatal accident in the Kirkcaldy you can tune into my show on 1287 AM within the Victoria Hospital. I'm on every Sunday night between 5 and 7pm playing mod soul (northern/southern/Motown) and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s. Apparently the sound "leaks" out beyond the hospital grounds and can be heard in other parts of Fife but I don't know if that's true (and I didn't tell you that ;)).

Thursday, January 01, 2009


I surprised myself by staying up for the bells. Mrs Cat and I played some games on the Wii (Tennis and Super Mario Karts) and then called it a day.

I've been spending the last few hours tidying out my study. I've been making lists of things to I have to do, things I need to do, things I should do and things I'll probably never get round to (which is made up of the first three lists). There's also the "From" and "To" list of who I'm due to get mail from and who I need to contact. I've already e-mailed Lego about a missing piece on the Flickster's Lego set she got for Christmas. The piece's absence doesn't make much difference but it's the principle. It's so important to maintain standards, don't you think?

I'm actually sitting with three different "Things To Do" lists in front of me and I'm trying to amalgamate them! A man's work is never done.

All this is being done to the soundtrack of John Leyton. Santa brought me his 60-track 2 CD Anthology. He's a very underrated crooner and a one-time collaborator with Joe Meek. I also got a Joe Meek Instrumentals CD too and books on Suzi Quatro and Alex "Hurricane" Higgins. I also got a USB Turntable so I can digitise some of my vinyl (i.e. the stuff I can't download for nothing!)

Most of the last couple has been spent trying to do the NME Christmas Quiz. I'm down to the last six:

April 15: LA's mayor officially declares April 15 to be what? (I've even e-mailed the Mayor's office!)

April 25: Dave Sitek heads up the NME Future 50. Where in Canada did he later refuse to be interviewed by NME? (Someone has suggested Toronto but I can't verify it anywhere)

July 12: What country did Richard Ashcroft give a shout-out to during The Verve's set at T in the Park? (Someone suggested Sweden but I can't back that up)

November 15: Razorlight play Brixton Academy. What's Johnny Borrell's pet name for his penis? (Simba?)

December 26: Christmas sales start. What’s the second-highest selling album of all time?**

December 27: And the third highest?**

(**I've asked NME for clarification as to whether they mean UK or World sales but they haven't replied yet. The answer is straightforward if it's the UK but if it's World then there are a number of varying answers, depending on which site you look at). The quiz closes on January 5. The prize is an Xbox and some games.

I'm hoping my first gig of the year will be Attic Lights at the ABC in Glasgow on Saturday 17th January playing the Showshine Showcase with Norman Blake (accompanied by Ex-Gorky's Euro Childs) and the BMX Bandits. I'm gutted because Jackie Leven is also playing Glasgow the same night, this time at Oran Mor. Both gigs are part of the Celtic Connections festival.

In 2008 I never went to the cinema once but there are four films I'm looking forward to seeing this year, whether it be "Live" or on DVD:

(1) The Boat That Rocked - Here's a link to the trailer. Yeah, it may be a "British" film but I'm more interested in the subject matter.

(2) Salute - Yeah I know it came out in 2008 but I haven't seen it yet. I actually cried when I read about Peter Norman on the BBC website.

(3) Telstar - Again, for the subject matter because Joe Meek was a brilliant, if a little unstable (not unlike myself, he says modestly).

(4) Milk - Having read "The Mayor of Castro Street" many years ago, I'm keen to see the film. Benny Profane referred to Dan White, as well as the San Ysidro McDonalds murders, in "Beam Me Up" - now there's a band I miss!

My TV highlights over the festive season were The Royle Family, the Shooting Stars documentary and Top Gear's Vietnam Special. The most annoying programme, rather ironically, was BBC3's Most Annoying People of 2008 (there was nothing else on, honest). Now I know it's all rather subjective but for Agyness Deyn to be number 1 is a piece of nonsense. No, it's a piece of nonsense, wrapped in a turd, dropped in a cow pat. Ask your average Joe/Josephine Bloggs in the street who she is and they wouldn't have a clue (or they would think you were talking about Angus Deyton). Now, Jodie Marsh, there's a nippy, ugly, fake, sad fuck of a human being. (Sorry, I apologise for the use of the word "Human" in relation to her). Heather Mills should have walked it, or hopped it.

Ma tea's oot...