Monday, September 28, 2009

It's A Full Life

Friday 18 September 2009

One of my colleagues is retiring after 30 years service and we have a lunch for her. A small affair, we’re sad to see her go. Who’s going to send us our Friday quiz now? Actually, I’ve taken on that mantle.

Saturday 19 September 2009

The girls are out at ballet and then to Edinburgh for toy shopping and a surprise meeting with one of her Grannies. I have the house to myself so I put together the next two radio shows. It’ll be back to the usual mix of mod, soul, Motown and 60s alternative pop after tomorrow’s Northern Soul special.

I start to watch “Dial M for Murder”, which had been on the Sky+ box for a few weeks. I’m only halfway through it when the girls return and I abandon any hopes of concentrating on it. It’s the return of “Strictly Come Dancing”, which means I head off to the study with a bowl of Maltesers/M & Ms for some quality “pottering”.

Sunday 20 September 2009

One of these days I’ll do a whole radio show without a mistake, unfortunately it won’t be tonight. I turned up the speakers in the studio and enjoyed some quality Northern Soul tunes. Anyone got any lino and some talc?

Monday 21 September 2009

I get home from work early and watch the rest of “Dial M for Murder”. I knew he’d get found out. When I’m reincarnated I’m going to come back as a bounder/cad in the early 20th century. People believe anything they say, except clever detectives.

It’s our daughter’s first day with her new childminder. When I pick her up after school I see she has a massive bruise and scrape around her eye. In her excitement at showing her new childminder where she lines up on the playground, she tripped and fell. You can tell them until your blue in the face not to run but they just can’t resist it. They have so much energy and it’s hard for them to resist the natural urge to sprint everywhere. I wish I had it.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Before starting work, I write a letter to the Dunfermline Press about the number of school children who I witness on a daily basis playing “Chicken” in the local roads. I’ve encountered two such children directly in the last fortnight.

Today’s Twitter #baddriver award went to not one but two individuals. I say individuals, I mean cocks. Following on from the lane-swapping, non-indicating, speeding knobhead in the crap-looking BMW (a 1-series I believe – yes, I had to look it up), I go to collect my daughter from her after-school club. Having sent off the letter to the Dunfermline Press this morning, yet another child decides to step out into the road without looking. It’s a good job that I was driving at 15 mph and paying attention because she certainly wasn’t. I pointed out to the child that she could’ve been killed and that even my daughter knows to look both ways and she’s only five. The girl just shrugged her shoulders and wandered off!

Shortly afterwards I pulled up in the right hand lane at a roundabout. A local taxi was in the left hand lane. When the opportunity came to go I pulled away, keeping to the right. However the taxi driver (West Fife Taxi Driver Number 62) decided he wanted both lanes and cut straight across me. I swear that drivers in Fife are the worst I’ve ever had the misfortune to share a road with. I resisted the temptation to phone Ace Central cabs and make a complaint because it would’ve made no difference. I wouldn’t have got an apology; such is their arrogance. Taxi drivers think the world owes them a living and are always bleating in the papers about a lack of ranks and are quick to criticise any new service they think might threaten their livelihood, such as the Yellow Taxibus. When it came to the Taxibus they certainly weren’t above scare mongering and lying to the Dunfermline Press. I really miss the service because if I want a night out in Edinburgh I have to take the car and not drink. Sure there’s a night bus (aka “The Vomit Comet”) but one unpleasant trip on that particular mode of transport was enough for me. Early on in our move to Fife, even before I learned to drive, I had stopped using West Fife taxis. Most of the cars stank of cigarettes, were driven by shabbily dressed slobs and had scant regard for the rules of the road and other road users. My wife asks me if it’s just me that “attracts” these idiots. Is it?

My anger at the non-caring schoolgirl and the stupid taxi driver soon turned to joy when I got home as my daughter had brought home her first Learning Log from school. Now I don’t know if in this new ‘non-failure/deferred success’ society we live in these days whether these comments are in every child’s Learning Log but I was still quite emotional reading “wonderful work – as usual”, “what a clever girl” and my favourite “she’s going to be a fantastic writer”. Of course, she wasn’t really aware of how pleased I was with her. I mean, I told her of course how proud I was but she was more concerned with colouring-in and her Playmobil.

Mummy too was dead chuffed when she read the Learning Log. After tea, at Flick’s suggestion, we got out a quiz book; one designed for 5 to 7 years old, and asked her loads of questions. She loved getting the questions right, of which the vast majority were. I can’t think where she gets her love of quizzes from.

I listen in to “Pirate Radio” on Radio 6 International. John Cavanagh has a great radio voice and one I’d kill for. “Pirate Radio” is a show broadcast live from The Arches in Glasgow during which John takes us on a journey of musical memories. I wish I could’ve seen it in the flesh, rather than just the audio-only version, but I couldn’t justify another midweek jaunt along the M8.

Is it just me or does Mark Knopfler’s “Border Reivers” single sound like Jackie Leven?

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Having heard most of Collins and Herring's Podcast #82 yesterday, I downloaded the latest one last night and tuned in to the first 25 minutes on the way to work. It was bizarre sitting in a car listening to a podcast that had been recorded in a car. Where will they think of next?

Unless you’re a professional, writing a book is by no means easy. Apart from the fact I have so little time to dedicate to my own attempt, I’m not happy with what I’ve written so far. The lack of time and quality of the work are frustrating me. Maybe I’m just being hard on myself, I’m my own worst critic. I’m hoping a forthcoming weekend, when I’ll have the house to myself, I’ll be able to ‘get my muse back’ and plough on with it. I know that someone like Andrew Collins or Stuart Maconie would write it so much better than me but I don’t want to get hung up on that. I need to find my own voice and I’ll probably have to work even harder than a pro to get it knocked into shape. So far I’ve written about 25,000 words but I consider them to be no more than extended notes. I need to get on a roll with it, just like my daily exercise routine. Initially I struggled to fit in the cardiovascular and resistance routines but now they’re part of my day. I need to do the same with the book.

I’ve e-mailed Western Division of Fife Constabulary with my concerns about road safety with regard to the behaviour of some local school children – the ones with the death wish – and the speeding in my own street, which supposedly has a limit of 20mph.

Thursday 24 September 2009

Today’s in-car entertainment is an Inspiral Carpets compilation. My god they made some great singles. Add in my current gym soundtrack of The Charlatans’ “Melting Pot” and it might as well be 1990.

I had stopped buying the Dunfermline Press (aka the DePress due to its parochial and lifeless content) but I’ve starting getting it while doing the weekly “big shop”. My letter about death wish pedestrian school children is in. Also in is an interesting piece about a local resident – one of the boy/man racers – who has been done for an offence involving a motorcycle. I laugh my head off because he drives like an idiot all over the local area. Sadly he doesn’t seem to have learned from it. He was the one who parked across the pavement last week. I hope he loses his licence.

After collecting Felicity we head off to Tesco. She’s my little helper as we work our way through the shopping list. Her reward is a Kinder egg, which she reminds about on every aisle.

K and I catch up on last week’s “House” and an episode of “Pointless”, our new favourite quiz show. Some of the contestants on this edition were thicker than a thick thing from thickland. “Name a country whose name is spelt with six letters”. The first contestant said “Africa” and another said “Chile”!! God give me strength.

Friday 25 September 2009

I switch the alarm off and head to the shower. After my ablutions I check in my myopic state the time on my wife’s clock. Is that a 4? Shit, I’ve got up too early and it’s not even 5am. I check my own clock and I hadn’t switched it off after all, I’d dreamt it! I figure that I’m awake now so I head off to work early and hit the gym. I even get the very first car parking space. It’s not even 6am and life is good.

I have the gym to myself and get a good sweat on. A ten-minute cycle is followed by three circuits of leg press, pull-downs, chest presses, shoulder presses, some free weights and “the plank”. When I finish I see that the rashes have returned. Now the ones on my forearms aren’t so bad but the insides of my legs are really blotchy. I’m either picking up something from the gym – maybe it needs a good clean – or I’m developing heat spots. I keep ruling out the latter because I’ve only been getting them in the last couple of weeks and I’ve been gym-bound for the last few months. Bizarre. Dr Gregory House would know what it was.

I finish Paolo Hewitt/Paul McGuigan’s book about Robin Friday, “The Greatest Footballer You’ve Never Seen”, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. He was like a cross between Stan Bowles, George Best and Frank Worthington but only played in the lower leagues. I wonder if there’s any footage of him on YouTube.

Friday night is always one for short half hour/one hour programmes. We attempt a two-hour Miss Marple but have to give up after an hour and 20 minutes as we’re both nodding off. I can tell I’m tired when I can’t settle on the sofa. As soon as the nodding dog takes over we give up and go to bed. By the way, I do think that Julia McKenzie makes a much better Miss Marple than Geraldine McEwan. Julia plays it less like a nosy old woman.

Saturday 26 September 2009

The girls are out at ballet and, after a brief return for lunch, the hairdressers. I’ve prepared a big To Do list and the new energised me works his way through it. Upload phone photos to PC? Check. Prepare another radio show plus Beatles special? Check (not so much Beatles as covers and Beatles tribute/novelty records). Copy a couple of CDs for Gaz? Check. Prepare two audio rounds for forthcoming quiz night? Done. Order a couple of CDs from Amazon (because I NEED more CDs)? Check, two more girl-related compilations duly paid for. Purchase some more blank CDs? Done. Update Amazon Wish List for Christmas (I know, it’s almost upon us again)? Done. Order more printer cartridges? Wait until pay day.

I’m also starting to put some thought into my Hospital Radio Awards entry for this year. I’m only going to try for the Specialist Music category. The Best Male Presenter category requires a “hospital” element and I always feel awkward going round the wards, harassing nurses going about their duty. The Specialist Music category doesn’t require that so I can fill my five-minute entry with juicy vignettes about mod and soul. Andrew Collins was telling me that when he was judging the Talk section of the Sony Radio awards entrants were given up to an hour for their entry! He suggested that filling five minutes was a lot harder than a whole hour and he’s not wrong.

I test the two audio rounds out on the girls and neither gets 100%, which is exactly what I’m after. I’ve done harder audio rounds but these will get the contestants thinking.

I’m pleased to receive an e-mail from Simon Goddard, author “Mozipedia” and “Songs To Save Your Life”. Simon and I corresponded many years ago when he was on the Isle of Skye and I was still living at home in Bonnyrigg. Simon put together a rather excellent fanzine called Jingles The Creep and we exchanged missives on all manner of music and culture-related topics. We lost touch, as you do, and it’s only in the last few months we’ve reconnected. The circumstances of the reunion, which is only via the information super dual-carriageway, were rather unusual and maybe I’ll relate the tale another day.

Simon reminded me that Saturday was the 24th anniversary of me meeting Morrissey outside the Caird Hall in Dundee. What I remember most about the day, apart from meeting the band and getting all my singles signed, was that I couldn’t do a thing with my hair. I don’t recall what “product” I was using but I had run out and my hair was a mess! I woke up in a Dundee B & B resembling Worzel Gummidge. At the gig I remember concocting a story for a girl who I think had broken her borrowed camera. She commented that she could never go out with me because I was such a good liar!

While I accept that people just don’t write letters anymore, Simon’s email is a hark back to the days when people still did such things and took pleasure in doing so. There was no delete button with pen to paper. A long, thorough email full of interesting stuff, with much to enjoy and comment on, that’s how my pen pal letters were “back in the day”. In those days the mood for each day was set by what the postman/woman would deliver, especially when I wasn’t working. Now, bar subscriptions to Mojo and Web User and an occasional delivery from Amazon, I have no expectations of my appointed postal worker. Anything out of the ordinary is a welcome and unexpected surprise but they tend to be few and far between. One interesting email is worth (at least) a thousand dull ones.

My friend Jayne from Motherwell, who I’ve also reunited with online recently, reminded me that 26 September 1985 was also the day we first met. Those really were the best of times. If only I knew then what I know now (about life, that is, not Jayne!). I never “went out” with Jayne but she did come around to my house and I liked her even more when I realised that my mother didn’t like her!

Sunday 27 September 2009

I love cycling, the sport that is, and the World Championships are on. The men’s road race is on today and I dip in and out of it. It’s on for the best part of six hours. I start watching it at home and catch the end in the radio station studio. Well done, Cadel Evans.

I started work on finding the carpet in the study! I know it’s there somewhere but with all the piles of “stuff” on it it’s hard to know where. I started off by moving round the CDs so I would have better access to the ones I use on my show. The CDs are split into three distinct categories; radio show ones (usually 1960s), Jocknroll (Scottish acts) and general A to Z for the rest. By the time the job was finished I was sweating like Stan Collymore in a car park.

The radio show went reasonably well. Being a perfectionist I’m never satisfied with it but there were no major errors. I console myself with the fact that even the likes of Terry Wogan and Ken Bruce still make mistakes. Graham Scott, who used to be on before me, is back at the station and I’m glad, if only because I’ll no longer have to run between studios to swap over during the news. We have a good bit of pre-show banter.

On the way home, another group of kids decide to play “chicken” with me on the road near my house. I just don’t understand their mentality. They’re lucky that it was me and not some speeding boyracer, of which there are plenty in the vicinity.

Monday 28 September 2009

This morning’s in-car entertainment is provided by The Wonder Stuff.

One of my local community police officers has emailed me about my recent problems with ‘death wish’ children and local boyracers. He’s going to do a “speed survey” in my street and find out what the local schools are doing to promote road safety. Knowing my luck the boy/man racers will be on holiday and I’ll be told there isn’t a problem.

My “quiet” time at the gym (11-12) is now busier than Piccadilly Circus. But I was first in so, whether they liked it or not, it was The Charlatans again. I should add the compilation of a “Gym CD” to my ever-expanding “To Do” list.

It’s a full life.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 27 September 2009

Here's the playlist for tonight's edition of "Where The Action Is".

The Knickerbockers - One Track Mind (Challenge 1966)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
Tracy Rogers - Back With You Baby (Polydor 1967)
The Supremes - Run Run Run (Motown 1964)
Jessica James & The Outlaws - Give Her Up (Baby) (Dynovoice 1965)
The Move - Walk Upon The Water (Regal Zonophone 1968)
Bimbi Worrick - Long Time Comin' (Polydor 1969)
The Who - Substitute (Reaction 1966)
Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood - Summer Wine (Reprise 1967) (Connect 3)
The Hollies - Honey and Wine (Parlophone 1965) (Connect 3)
Toni Wine - A Boy Like You (Colpix 1964) (Connect 3)
Claire Francis - But I Don't Care (Polydor 1967)
The Marvelettes - Locking Up My Heart (Motown 1963)
The Guess Who - American Woman (RCA 1970) (Birthday: 27/9/43 Randy Bachman, Drummer)
The Emeralds - Did You Ever Love a Guy (Jubilee 1964)
Karol Keyes - Can't You Hear The Music (Fontana 1967)
Christine Delaroche - Des Tigres et Des Minets (Label/Year Unknown) (Foreign Language)
The Turtles - So Goes Love (White Whale 1967)
Jr Walker & The All Stars - Tune Up (Motown 1965) (Half-Time Instrumental)
Lori Burton - Yeh Yeh (That Boy of Mine) (Roulette 1965)
Diana Dors - So Little Time (Fontana 1964)
The Beach Boys - Cottonfields (The Cotton Song) (Capitol 1970) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - C)
The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (Capitol 1966) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - C)
Danielle - I'm Gonna Marry That Boy (Philips 1966)
The Jet Set - The Jet Set (Blaine 1965)
Dropkick - Don't Dream of California (Sound Asleep 2009) (Under The Influence)
The Carolines - Love's Made A Fool of Me (Polydor 1965)
Eddie Holland - Leaving Here (Motown 1963)
The Chic-Lets - I Want You To Be My Boyfriend (Josie 1964)
The Vernons - I Surrender (Pye, Year Unknown) (Connect 3)
The Carrolls - Surrender Your Love (Polydor 1966) (Connect 3)
Fontella Bass - I Surrender (Chess 1966) (Connect 3)
Angela Deen - Gotta Hand It The Boy (Fontana 1964)
Humble Pie - Growing Closer (Immediate 1969)
Jackie Lee - When The Boys Talk About The Girls (Columbia 1966) (Two of a Kind)
Jackie Lee - You Too (Can Have Heartaches) (Columbia 1966) (Two of a Kind)
The Caravelles - You Are Here (Fontana 1964)
The Barry Sisters - I Must Be Dreaming (Colpix 1964)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

If you'd like to suggest a topic for one or both of the Connect 3 features or an artist for the Two of a Kind, Foreign Language, Half-Time Instrumental or Under the Influence features then feel free.

Remember, if you're ever involved in a non-fatal accident in the Kirkcaldy area, do tune in on 1287AM or Channel 3 on the hospital headsets to "Where The Action Is", a blend of mod, soul, Motown, girl groups/singers and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s.

Feel free to leave a comment or indeed a request or two. I can't promise to play it immediately - the shows are usually done live but prepared two or three weeks in advance - but I'll endeavour to play them within a month.

The Cat

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 20 Sep 09 Northern Soul special

Here's the playlist for tonight's Northern Soul edition of "Where The Action Is".

Dobie Gray - Out On The Floor (Charger 1966)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
Billy Butler - The Right Track (Okeh 1966)
Chairmen of the Board - Give Me Just A Little More Time (Invictus 1969)
Shirley Ellis - Soul Time (Columbia 1967)
Judy Street - What (Strider 1966)
Major Lance - Ain't No Soul (Left In These Old Shoes) (Okeh 1967)
Tyrone Davis - Turn Back The Hands of Time (Dakar 1970)
Johnny Jones & The King Casuals - Purple Haze (Brunswick 1968) (Connect 3)
Freda Payne - Band of Gold (Invictus 1970) (Connect 3)
Billy Thompson - Black-Eyed Girl (1965) (Connect 3)
Barbara Acklin - Am I The Same Girl (Brunswick 1969)
Bob Brady and The Con Chords - Everybody's Going To The Love-In (Chariot 1968)
Sophia Loren - Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo (Parlophone 1961) (Birthday: 20/9/34 Actress)
Reparata & The Delrons - Panic (Mala 1968)
James & Bobby Purify - Shake A Tail Feather (Bell 1967)
Jimmy Radcliffe - Long After Tonight Is All Over (Italian) (Musicor 1965) (Foreign Language)
Shirley & The Shirelles - Look What You've Done To My Heart (Bell 1969)
Just Brothers - Sliced Tomatoes (Lupine 1965) (Half-Time Instrumental)
The Metros - Since I Found My Baby (RCA Victor 1967)
The Vibrations - Cause You're Mine (Epic 1968)
The Beach Boys - Break Away (Capitol 1969) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - B)
Brian Wilson - Your Imagination (Giant 1998) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - B)
Little Richard - A Little Bit of Something (Beats A Whole Lot of Nothing) (Okeh 1967)
Willie Kendrick - Change Your Ways (RCA Victor 1967)
Soft Cell - Tainted Love (Some Bizarre 1981) (Under The Influence)
The Cooperettes - Shing-A-Ling (Brunswick 1967)
Herb Ward- Honest To Goodness (RCA 1968)
Johnny Moore - Walk Like A Man (Date 1967)
Billy Joe Royal - Hearts Desire (1966) (Connect 3)
Artistics - Nothing But Heartaches (Keep Haunting Me) (Brunswick 1967) (Connect 3)
Bandwagon - Breakin' Down The Walls of Heartache (Direction 1968) (Connect 3)
Beverly Ann - You've Got Your Mind on Other Things (RCA Victor 1968)
Kenny Carter - What's That On Your Finger? (1966)
Jackie Wilson - The Who Who Song (Brunswick 1968) (Two of a Kind)
Jackie Wilson - I Get The Sweetest Feeling (Brunswick 1968) (Two of a Kind)
The Ivories - Please Stay (Despenza/Ward 1967)
The Insiders - I'm Just A Man (RCA 1967)
Jimmy Radcliffe - Long After Tonight Is All Over (Musicor 1965)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

If you'd like to suggest a topic for one or both of the Connect 3 features or an artist for the Two of a Kind, Foreign Language, Half-Time Instrumental or Under the Influence features then feel free.

Remember, if you're ever involved in a non-fatal accident in the Kirkcaldy area, do tune in on 1287AM or Channel 3 on the hospital headsets to "Where The Action Is", a blend of mod, soul, Motown, girl groups/singers and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s.

Feel free to leave a comment or indeed a request or two. I can't promise to play it immediately - the shows are usually done live but prepared two or three weeks in advance - but I'll endeavour to play them within a month.

The Cat

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sunday, Sunday , Here Again

Sunday 13 September 2009

Another welcome lie-in, after a night of drunken debauchery. Okay, a slight exaggeration. I was sober but Dave and Al, released into the wild for a few hours by their respective FPOs*, had a few pints. We meet in Bannerman’s and head off to Sneaky Pete’s for the Dropkick gig. Dave and Pete hadn’t heard them before but I persuaded them to come and see them. They weren’t disappointed as the band turned in a cracking set, liberally sprinkled with tracks from their new album. The £5 entrance to the gig included a free copy of the album "Abelay Hotel", which I’ve been enjoying ever since. (“Don’t Dream of California” will do very nicely for my Under The Influence feature on my radio show). On leaving the venue Dave and Al have a slug of a mysterious brew supplied in a skull by support band Tucker and The Shattered Family. I decline their kind offer. The other band on, The Young Spooks, were the worst I’d seen for a long time.Dave and/or Al said they sounded like Joy Division. Ian Curtis isn't just turning in his grave, he's doing cartwheels. (I meant to review the gig but I lost the set list, which the band kindly gave me, and then the stresses of the next few days took over. In short, it was excellent and the band deserve all your support).

Sunday was also a rather stressful day for the whole family as we continue to struggle to find another childminder. I compose an e-mail of complaint to the Scottish Care Commission about the comment to the childminder that “A weekend is more than enough time to organise alternative childcare”. Arseholes.

I’ve done better radio shows but I’m my own worst critic. You can only blame the equipment up to a point. Reported a suspicious looking car to security as I left the radio station. It was loitering in the shadows of the car park and when the driver saw me paying attention to it, he/she drove off, but only round the corner.

Monday 14 September 2009

I nominated a tailgating, lane-swapping idiot as my first dickhead driver (R906MSN) on Twitter (#baddriver). That’s only the start of a terrible day. During my gym routine I come out in a rash on my arms and legs. I figure it must be stress-related rather than heat spots because I’ve been coming to the gym for so long now.

Then, shortly after leaving home, I’m almost taken off the road on Craigleith Road, near the entrance to the Royal Victoria Hospital, by three women in a Silver Vauxhall Corsa, who decide they can’t be bothered looking in their mirrors or for other road users. Only my quick reactions prevent an accident. At two points between there and Blackhall we pass each other and on each occasion the female driver gives me the middle finger. What a cheek. She almost kills me and yet she tries to paint me as the villain! My nerves are shot to pieces and I almost have two further collisions on the way home such is the state I am in. As soon as I get home I report the matter to Lothian and Borders Police but it seems that without a witness they’re powerless to do anything. They won’t even speak to the driver! This upsets me even more.

I call a colleague and ask if she saw it. She was a few hundred yards back from me on the road when it happened but she didn’t see anything. I’m devastated that such stupid and reckless driving is going to go unpunished and I guess that’s what really gets to me. There’s no sense of closure and I can’t rest.

I get an early doctor’s appointment and talk to her about the accumulation of stress, including near-collision and childcare problems, as well as my persistent throat problems, which still dog me. My condition isn’t helped by being tailgated both to and from the doctor’s surgery. I try and keep myself busy around the house for the rest of the day to take my mind off things. Scottish Gas call and ask if they can come today for an annual check instead of a fortnight’s time. Luckily I’m home so I say why not. Why, when you know someone is coming round between 12 and 6, do you HAVE to go out? One of my ink cartridges ran out and I made a quick dash for Tesco. Got away with it this time. Spent the rest of the day putting together Sunday’s Northern soul show.

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Back to work. Another rash at the gym, which fades by the early afternoon.

What’s fascinating about my daughter’s after-school club is that it is also frequented by the children of two of the local boy-racers. I say “boy” racers but they’re actually grown men who just happen to still drive like youthful knob heads. Where we live is a 20mph zone, which is as it should be considering the number of young families and children in the area. These two, despite having kids of their own, don’t seem to appreciate that. This afternoon I drove to the after-school club and one of them was behind me. I then turned off one way and he went another. There were a few parking spaces and I had loads of choice. When I got out of the car I notice that Knob head#1 as I shall now christen him, had decided to park straddling a paved area opposite the club! It almost looked liked he crashed! Why, when there are so many spaces available, would you choose to park on a pavement? I guess he’s so used to acting like a knob head that it’s now second nature to him. I don’t understand that mentality.

Thursday 17 September 2009

For the second time this week I nominated R906MSN as #baddriver of the day on Twitter – Nigel Baillie likes this new use of Twitter. It wasn't just me he was tailgating across the Forth Road Bridge at 6am.

Did some exam marking for another department, which I always enjoy. I never cease to be amazed by some of the wrong answers I come across. What goes through these people’s heads?

Got a new CD for using at the gym. Having overdosed on Ash and The Chemical Brothers over recent weeks I realised while listening to it in the car on the way to work that The Charlatans “Melting Pot” would do a turn. Unfortunately I don’t get much of an opportunity as the guy in the gym ahead of me wanted to listen to Forth One. At least he put my CD on for me before he left, albeit for only two songs.

Picked up the Flickster from the after-school club and took her to see the new childminder. She’d already had a preview that morning. We met the Good Lady Wife off the train and walked to the childminder’s. We were happy with what we heard and saw and a weight is lifted off our shoulders.

Two new CDs have arrived (Jackie Lee's "The Town I Live In - The EMI Years 1965-1967" and a beat girl compilation called "The Girls Are At It Again"). Listened to The Vaselines doing a session on Marc Riley’s show while doing the dishes and tidying the kitchen. Watched some of England’s latest cricketing capitulation against Australia (6-0 in a best of 7 series), three episodes of our new favourite quiz show Pointless and Mock The Week before hitting the sack.

Friday 18 September 2009

One of my bosses is leaving today, which is sad. I have to say in the department I currently work in I've been very lucky with bosses I’ve had. They’ve all been good eggs and make work more bearable.

After watching a couple more editions of Pointless, which is becoming our favourite quiz show of the moment, K watches “Strictly Come Dancing” while I listen to my two new CDs, as well as The Rise and Fall of the BMX Bandits, Dropkick’s “Aberlay Hotel” and some mp3s I was sent. I also start to put a couple more radio shows together, for 27 September and 4 October. Prior preparation and all that.

Current favourite tracks:

1. Dropkick - Don't Dream of California (Sound Asleep 2009)
2. BMX Bandits - Come Clean (Vinyl Japan 1991)
3. Jackie Lee - The Town I Live In (Columbia 1966)
4. Karol Keyes - Can't You Hear The Music (Fontana 1967)
5. Strangetouch - Stuck In The Motion (2009)
5. Elvis Presley - (Marie's the name of) His Latest Flame (RCA 1961)
6. Susan Fassbender - Twilight Cafe (CBS 1981)
7. Big Star - Daisy Glaze (Ardent 1974)
8. Fun and Games - The Grooviest Girl in The World (UNI 1968)
9. Superstar - Superstar (Camp Fabulous 1998)
10. Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood - Summer Wine (LHI 1967)

Over and out...

*FPO stands for Fun Prevention Officer!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 13 Sep 2009

Here's the playlist for tonight's "Where The Action Is".

Wishful Thinking - VIP (Decca 1966)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
Fun and Games - The Grooviest Girl In the World (Uni 1969)
John Mayall - Crawling Up A Hill (Decca 1964)
Samantha Jones - As Long As You're Happy (1964)
The Beatstalkers - You'd Better Get A Hold On Me (Decca 1966)
Pat Harris and the Blackjacks - Hippy Hippy Shake (Pye 1963)
Tony Rivers & The Castaways - Summer Dreaming (Unreleased 1966)
The Cryan Shames - Mr Unreliable (Columbia 1967) (Connect 3)
Madeline Bell - Mr Dream Merchant (Philips 1967) (Connect 3)
Spencer Davis Group - Mr Second Class (United Artists 1968) (Connect 3)
The Kingpins - That's The Way It Should be (Unknown)
Glenda Collins - If You Gotta Pick A Baby (HMV 1963)
Booker T & The MGs - Soul Clap 69 (Stax 1969) (Birthday: 13/9/33 Lewie Steinberg, bass)
Jackie Trent - Make It Easy On Yourself (Pye 1967)
Shadows of Knight - I'm Gonna Make You Mine (1966)
Sandie Shaw - Mais Tu L'Aimes (Girl Don't Come) (Pye 1964) (Foreign Language)
The New Breed - Friends and Lovers Forever (Decca 1965)
Les Reed & Orchestra - Theme from "Girl On A Motorcycle" (1968) (Half-Time Instrumental)
Lulu & The Luvvers - I'll Come Running Over (Decca 1965)
Force West - Talkin' About Our Love (Columbia 1966)
American Spring - Good Time (United Artists 1972) (A to Z of The Beach Boys)
The Beach Boys - California (Brother 1973) (A to Z of The Beach Boys)
The Rockin' Vickers - Dandy (CBS/Columbia 1966)
The Groove - Play That Song (Parlophone 1969)
Dexy's Midnight Runners - There, There, My Dear (EMI 1980) (Under The Influence)
Dave Sampson - Sweet Dreams (demo) (Colulmbia 1960)
Lyons and Malone - She's Alright (Jay Boy 1969)
The Chasers - Hey Little Girl (Decca 1965)
Herman's Hermits - Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter (MGM 1965) (Connect 3)
The Walker Brothers - Mrs Murphy (Philips 1966) (Connect 3)
Harmony Grass - Mrs Ritchie (RCA 1970) (Connect 3)
The Liverpool Five - Piccadilly Line (RCA 1967)
Kim D - The Real Thing (Pye 1965)
Heinz - Movin' In (Columbia 1966) (Two of a Kind)
Heinz - End of the World (Columbia 1965) (Two of a Kind)
Simon Dupree & The Big Sound - 60 Minutes (Of your Love)/A Lot of Love (Parlophone 1967)
The Wackers - The Girl Who Wanted Fame (Piccadilly 1965)
The Shadows - Scotch on The Socks (Columbia 1966)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

Next week's show will be dedicated to Northern Soul.

If you'd like to suggest a topic for one or both of the Connect 3 features or an artist for the Two of a Kind, Foreign Language, Half-Time Instrumental or Under the Influence features then feel free.

Remember, if you're ever involved in a non-fatal accident in the Kirkcaldy area, do tune in on 1287AM or Channel 3 on the hospital headsets to "Where The Action Is", a blend of mod, soul, Motown, girl groups/singers and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s.

Feel free to leave a comment or indeed a request or two. I can't promise to play it immediately - the shows are usually done live but prepared two or three weeks in advance - but I'll endeavour to play them within a month.

The Cat

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Edit This Crap

Saturday 12 September 2009

This morning I dropped the girls off at ballet and drove to Comet in Dunfermline to get a new 4GB flash drive. During last week's radio show I'd put the flash drive in the PC under the desk, only to kick it at some point during the show. When I saved my show and pulled out the drive, the plastic casing had been smashed to pieces by my clumsy feet. It does still work but rather than risk it I got a new one. Having seen a SanDisk product on the Gadget Show do so well against more well-known opposition, including Apple, I plumped for their inexpensive 4GB drive. The Integral one I had before would've been £21 to replace and this one was only £8.99.

After the amazing night on Thursday, I enjoyed a long lie-in on Friday, although it was somewhat enforced on me by a sore back ("the pleasure with the pain"). I had prepared a long To-Do list and raced through it. I popped into Dunfermline to get my haircut. The girl cutting my hair (4 on the top, 2 round the back and sides) enquired, as they are want to do, what I was up to that day. I told her I was recovering from last night's wondrous gig. Naturally, she hadn't heard of Edwyn Collins until I "sang" the chorus of "A Girl Like You". She tried to convince me that it couldn't have been a better gig than an "amazing" Red Hot Chilli Peppers gig she been to. She's young, she knows not what she says. Haircut, £5, £1 tip, check.

Next stop was the Alhambra, Dunfermline's newest venue, which is gradually beginning to attract some bigger names to Fife. My mate Martin had sent me a text saying that The Charlatans would be playing on Saturday 19th December. Now I like The Charlatans but I don't know if would even travel to Edinburgh to see them but I suggested to the good lady wife that as they would be on our doorstep we could use the gig to have our Christmas night out. Fine, she says. I had e-mailed the venue on Thursday to find out when tickets went on sale and how much they would be. No reply.

I walked the 100 yards from the barber's to the venue. Unusually the Box Office, which according to their website is open from 9 until 4 between Monday and Friday, appears to be up a stair at the side of the venue. I'm only surmising this because I had to press a buzzer first to get in. I also noticed a sign saying "Cash Only". Surely not, in this day and age. Anyway, I pressed the buzzer and enquired how much the tickets were and when they'd be on sale. I was told they would be £22.50 but the venue wouldn't get their allocation until Monday because Ticketmaster would be selling them first. I couldn't believe it. Another venue had soul its soul to Ticketbastard. I don't like Ticketmaster, as regular readers will know, with their spurious fees for anything and everything. I decided there and then we wouldn't be going to see The Charlatans after all. You can say what you like about the Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline but at least they don't charge you for nothing. I went to see Davie Scott and Norman Blake, supported by The Vaselines. The advertised cost was £10 each. How much did we pay in total? £10 each. That's the way it should be. We're going to spend the money at Kushis instead.

After the disappointment of the Alhambra I headed off to Tesco to get the week's "big" shop. K had prepared a list. I'm usually quite strict and never veer "off list" but a 5CD box set of "100 Hits - Northern Soul" just happened to fall into the trolley. It was only £6 and while I had many of the tracks already there were enough new ones to make the £6 purchase a worthwhile one. Today I uploaded the tracks onto Windows Media Player and while I doing so I noticed a strange message in to the "Album Artist" column. It says, beside every track, "edit this crap"!! I checked the other CDs and it's the same for each of them. Maybe I'll e-mail Demon and see what they have to say for themselves.

Is it just me or are there times when you're at the checkout in a supermarket you feel the checkout girl (it's always a girl) tries to make you look slow at packing, just because you're a man. Sometimes I think females checkout assistants scan your purchases as fast as they can so that they pile up and you don't have enough time to put them in your bag. This is a veiled attempt to make the male shopper look really stupid. This annoys me because I'm no slouch when it comes to packing a shopping bag. I'm certainly more organised than most. Would they do it to an older person or another woman? I doubt it.

As I unpacked the hastily-packing shopping when I got home I put on the radio, which lives in the kitchen. It's a DAB I won in a competition on Forth One. It was still on BBC 6Music from when I tuned into Andrew Collins on Wednesday who was subbing for a Mercury Music-ligging Steve Lamacq. Anyway, as I unpacked the messages (Scottish word for shopping) I heard this dreadful whining noise coming out of the DAB. It was George Lamb. Come the Judgement Day award ceremony the nominees for Bastardisation of the English Language will be Paul Merson, Jamie Redknapp and George Lamb. Thankfully he was finishing in 10 minutes. File under "Loves the Sound of His Own Voice and Isn't As Funny As He Thinks". See also Jonathan Ross.

During a spot of lunch, I watched a couple of programmes from Sky+. Monday's The Gadget Show and Derren Brown's lottery prediction show. I really like the Gadget Show and not just because Suzi Perry was wearing high boots and a short skirt! Their weekly competition prizes are amazing and this week's includes a car that they'd "pimped" to include a PSP 3 and a projector screen under the bonnet! Ooh, ooh, pick me, pick me. It's the only text competition I do.

There's no rest for the wicked and I took advantage of the weather to cut the grass on the front and back lawns. The back lawn had been left uncut for so long that there were Japanese soldiers in there thinking the war was still on. Both jobs were completed just in time to collect Flick from the After School Club. I hadn't even had time for a shower. K had caught an earlier bus home so she did some weeding, I tried pathetically to repair some scratches in the car (check me Mr Pleasant Valley Sunday) and Felicity cycled up and down. At one point she told everyone what our car was but that her favourite cars were Kias and BMWs. She informed the other kids that she was saving for the latter!

Also picked some bad news late yesterday afternoon that our childminders had ceased trading! The Scottish Care Commission had initially informed them that the number of children they were looking after wouldn't include their own kids (there are two childminders) but now the Commission has changed their mind. With K and I having changed our working hours and fitted in around Flick's school times, we're now left without a childminder. Apparently the Scottish Care Commission informed the childminders that a weekend was more than enough time for the parents to organise alternative child care!! Unbelievable! As soon as I finish this blog entry I shall be giving them a piece of my mind. Just when you think everything's sorted...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Jimmy's Gone

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Good news. A particularly objectionable individual is leaving the organisation I work for. This person has a God complex, like many in his department, and I won’t be sad to see the back of him. He was thoroughly rude and ill mannered towards me on a couple of occasions while simply doing my job and I’ve never liked him since. He’s a dinosaur and the sort of person that gives my employer a bad name.

Two weeks after my contraction of some chesty, cold-related ailment on the school run, I’m still trying to shift the last remnants. I’m also still wheezing like an asthmatic donkey. There used to be this great linctus you could get from the Co-op and I’ve never been able to find it for years. That would’ve shifted it by now. I pop into Boots and they don’t even try to sell my anything. They recommend a trip to my GP for antibiotics. Maybe that’s the Friday off I’m looking for.

Flick starts Rainbows tonight and my normal Wednesday night peace and quiet will be shattered as Daddy Cabs goes into overtime. Rainbows are on from 6 until 7 and Guides from 7 until 9. As K is now running both I’ll have to drop them both off at 6 and then return for Flick at 7 with K making her own way home at 9. K suggested that she take the car and I head along on the bike for 7 and then we swap so I bring Flick home at 7 in the car and she comes home on the bike. When you have kids everything is a military operation!

Having finished the audio book of Andrew Collins’ very enjoyable “Where Did It All Go Right?”- the first in his autobiographical triumvirate - I ponder what to listen to next to relieve the boredom of the drive to and from work. In the twilight of the living room this morning I choose Nick Lowe’s “Jesus Of Cool”. I only really know the “hits” so I’m happy to learn more about a favourite of K’s during the daily commute.

According to the front page of today’s Daily Record, Glasvegas frontman James Allan has gone ‘missing’ on the eve of a US tour. Who does he think he is, Joe Strummer?

Talking of the Record, guess who the “one fan” was:, I’m not even a fan; I was being sarcastic! This comment was made on Twitter in response to Glasvegas’ guerrilla gig, when some fans couldn’t get in because some of the limited places had been taken up by the band’s guest list!

How easy is it to be a journalist nowadays? You just rake through Twitter, Facebook and website forums for quotes and “stories”. Or, in the case of my employer, make countless spurious Freedom of Information claims. The latest one? How many pieces of a particular piece of clothing has our employer issued to female members of staff. They’re the first to complain about not enough officers on the street. That’s because they’re too busy working out how much we’ve spent on tea, coffee and biscuits! Woodward and Bernstein would be turning in their graves, if they were dead.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Thursday 3 September 2009

Why do people seem to drive even faster in the rain? I take a cautious drive into work during which the first Andrew Collins CD finishes. I’ve really enjoyed the first one, which brought back some memories of my own. I look forward to the other CDs over the next couple of weeks.

Our gym has two treadmills. I did 10 minutes on the bike and as I began on the rowing machine someone else came in. He went to the right treadmill and started jogging. After my 1500m row and a rest, I stepped on to the other treadmill and began my ten-minute walk (10 minutes at Speed 6 on an incline of 5, if you must know). I wondered how the other guy must have felt because we were side-by-side but he was jogging and I was walking and yet we were still side-by-side. Maybe it didn’t occur to him because he was “in the zone”. My mind tends to wonder and come up with such random thoughts.

I pick up Flick at 4, as usual, and she bemoans the “early” collection because she “hasn’t had a chance to play”! I’ve changed my working hours, getting up in the dead of night at an ungodly 5.30am, so I can collect her from After School Club and she wants to stay there later! Kids today.

Friday 4 September 2009

I’m relieved of school collection duties as mum and granny are collecting the Flickster from school after attending a Buddy Mass.

I enjoy a leisurely drive home, still in the company of Andrew Collins’ excellent “Where Did It All Go Right”.

I’m home just before the girls. I get a call from Tim at the Scotland on Sunday asking for my comment on the line-up for the forthcoming Homecoming Live event. The story is embargoed until Sunday so I’m not to put anything up on the Jocknroll website. Fair enough.

Saturday 5 September 2009

There’s a busy day in prospect as the girls head off to ballet. Later they attend a centenary celebration for the Guides in Dunfermline. Road works near the school venue only add to the traffic chaos. I drop off the girls and head off home. Trying to avoid the nearby chaos and the busy town centre, I take a long shortcut home, a nifty wee route I’ve logged in my mental SatNav for future use.

I settle down to watch the Scotland-Macedonia game. It’s a dour first half with Scotland being outplayed and lucky not to be behind. It kicks off in first half stoppage time when Scott Brown, never the most mature individual on god’s earth, decides to contest a drop ball instead of giving the ball back to the Macedonians. The visitors had kicked the ball out following an injury to one of their players and the accepted action is for the ball to be given back to them. Brown decided instead to contest the drop ball and the ball came off the Macedonian (who made no attempt to play the ball) and resulted in a corner for Scotland. The Macedonians were furious and surrounded Brown. After the subsequent corner the referee blew his whistle for half time and the protests continued with Macedonian management and substitutes joining in the hunt for Brown’s head.

I watched 10 minutes of the second half and went to collect the girls. The road works had mysteriously been removed and we took a different “shortcut” home. Except we weren’t going home. Flick had been great at getting up during her first week of full-time school that we decided to treat her and took her to Frankie and Benny’s, which is a favourite of hers.

While Frankie and Benny’s is really a fast food outlet dressed up as a restaurant I generally enjoy its ambience, especially as it plays some decent 50s and 60s music. Flick has a good singalong to Manfred Mann’s “5-4-3-2-1”, which opens her own personal compilation that I’ve put together over the last year. I plumped for the New York Chicken and an East Coast Sundae for dessert. They were tasty enough at the time but on four occasions that evening and during the early hours of the next morning I cursed the very name of Frankie and Benny’s. I was ill, very ill and such was the extent of my upset stomach that my body was actually aching the next morning. I say morning because it was almost lunchtime before I finally surfaced such was my discomfort. The girls had been fine but we all had different meals. I don’t know if it was the coleslaw that came with the meal, or the sauce on the chicken, the chicken itself or the sundae but something I ate there disagreed with me. Following on from the New Taste of China, Frankie and Benny is the second of my usual fast food eateries to make me ill. I haven’t been back to the former and it’ll be a while before I return to the latter.

On Twitter I have a moan about my BT Broadband once again “dropping out”. It’s been doing it regularly, in the evening, and is beginning to resemble the pedestrian dial-up service of the past. Before BT (BT Care) start “following” me on Twitter and asking me what’s wrong! I’ll investigate how genuine this service is before I pass on my account details. Remind me never to slag off the CIA.

Sunday 6 September 2009

The girls returned from church with rolls and the Scotland on Sunday. My quote was in the paper ( Not feeling too good I enjoyed the luxury of wading through the Sunday papers or in this case paper. We used to buy three Sunday newspapers (for contrast, crosswords and competitions) but now we don’t bother. We realised we’d never read them all and we went from ensuring that all the comps and crosswords were completed and posted before the Sunday pick-up to not even bothering to start the prize puzzles. In the end we stopped getting any papers at all. Sitting browsing the Scotland on Sunday and its supplements and magazines was very relaxing and I almost yearned for the lazy Sundays again. With a young family, this is now an impossibility.

Flick has been “playing up” this morning and she’s blaming her dark blue Ben Sherman jeans! She says they’re “making her naughty”!! I resist the temptation to laugh and tell her to not be so silly. There’s nothing wrong with the jeans, a birthday present from her godfather, and a change into her High School Musical outfit doesn’t suddenly change her behaviour. As a result her promised 4.30pm pick up, to allow her to some play time, has been put back to the original 4pm.

I head off for my radio show and encounter the usual idiots on the roads between Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy. Luckily I have ‘Andrew’ to calm me down. Today’s show is an Ellie Greenwich special, celebrating the legendary songwriter’s extensive catalogue of songs. Notwithstanding the Myriad system crashing as I start to tape my show (I tape them all), I really enjoy the show and there are no major technical hitches. She wrote some brilliant songs, some known (River Deep Mountain High, Da Doo Ron Ron, Baby I Love You) and some less well known (The Kind of Boy You Can’t Forget, You Don’t Know, I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You) but all gems.

A stress-free drive home and it’s a yummy tea of chicken, Yorkshire Puddings, peas and chips, albeit heated up in the microwave. K does the bedtime stories, I do the dishes and after preparing the family’s lunches for the next day we settle down for the first of a new two-part “Waking The Dead”. Trevor Eve’s character Boyd annoys me a lot because he seems to permanently scowl and grumble and is downright rude. I’m looking forward to part 2 already.

Monday 7 September 2009

The quiz night I’m writing and hosting for K’s employer – an annual paying gig I really enjoy - has been put back three weeks thanks to a double booking by The Pleasance. I’m quite glad because while I’ve written the vast majority of it and already put together the two picture rounds, I need to write a few more questions and put together the audio rounds. I still put the audio rounds together using tapes but when I’ve completed one I digitise the whole round as one track on my PC and put it on to CD. I always take a CD and tape version of the audio rounds because you never know when the technical gremlins can strike. They’ve certainly struck me in the past and can be embarrassing for all concerned, especially the quizmaster. I have a portable speaker with microphone, which also has a built-in cassette deck.

Luckily The Pleasance has its own sound system and I usually get the CDs played through that. I take my speaker as a stand-by. I try to cover myself for all eventualities. Anyone who has written a decent pub quiz - I’ve been to some shockers in my time - will know how much effort goes into writing and putting one together. It’s not all about Quizelda, my glamorous assistance (aka my good lady wife), because the audience play their part too. I can’t recall how many years I’ve been doing this quiz but every year the room is busy and buzzing so I must be doing something right. It always makes a pleasant change to have an attentive audience who are there solely for the quiz. Okay there is a disco too but most people drift off when it starts. I guess mental and then physical exertion is just too much for some! I feel sorry for the DJ but he gets paid nonetheless so I guess he’s not bothered.

K asks me on behalf of the social committee if I have any specific requirements. My request for “ten vestal virgins fanning me while I “perform”” and “a backstage masseuse and a bowl of peanut M&Ms (no brown ones)” and a private helicopter are being considered.

K has a Guides meeting so we don’t watch University Challenge, Pointless, The Gadget Show or part 2 of Waking The Dead. There’s now only 16% left on the Sky+ box. I’ve already purged a whole page of Peppa Pig and Charlie and Lola so something I’ve been saving for a “quiet hour or two” might have to go. Decisions, decisions. Will I get around to watching Pierrepoint or Control or those two More4 documentaries on Enron and Naomi Klien? I’ll need to make time. Having checked my diary, 3 am is looking good.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

There really is no rest for the wicked. I headed straight for Tesco after work. I volunteered (why?) to collect 8 different exotic fruits from the supermarket for K’s Guides. They would be tasting the fruits and also locating the country of origin on a map. I picked by some physalis (Colombia), figs (Turkey), a papaya (Brazil), pomegranate (Israel), bananitos (Costa Rica), a passion fruit (Colombia), a baby pineapple (Ivory Coast) and some Kiwi fruit (Chile).

Edwyn Collins is playing a not-so-secret gig with Teenage Fanclub in Glasgow on Thursday and I’m sorely tempted to make the trip through. My friend Giselle in Long Beach is giving me pelters for even thinking about not going. I’d love to go but have to be realistic. It starts at 10.30pm, when I’m usually getting into bed! I could take Friday off, I suppose. Oh, what to do. There was a time when I wouldn’t have twice about it. I remember popping off to Leeds (or was it Manchester?) to see One Thousand Violins having only heard about the gig that morning. I was living in Edinburgh at the time and still very much at the mercy of National Express. Should I stay or should I go?

Taking of which, have you heard Sharleen Spiteri’s abomination of a cover of The Clash’s classic? Ripping off The Shangri-las and now butchering one of the pioneering punks’ classics is not the way to get credibility or, hopefully, sales.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287 AM - Sunday 6 Sep 2009 - Ellie Greenwich special

This is the playlist for tonight's Ellie Greenwich special:

The Beach Boys - I Can Hear Music (Capitol 1969)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)
The Exciters - Do-Wah-Diddy (United Artists 1963)
Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep - Mountain High (Philles 1966)
The Drifters - I'll Take You Where The Music's Playing (Atlantic 1965)
The Searchers - Be My Baby (Pye 1965)
Ellie Greenwich - Come Take My Hand (Unreleased Demo/Coke advert)
Bevereley Jones - Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home (HMV 1963)
Karen Verros - Little Boy (Dot 1965) (Connect 3)
Billie Davis - That Boy John (Columbia 1964) (Connect 3)
The Orchids - That Boy Is Messin' Up My Mind (Columbia 1963) (Connect 3)
The Raindrops - The Kind of Boy Can't Forget (Jubilee 1963)
The Summits - Hanky Panky (Harmon/Rust 1963)
Ellie Greenwich - You Don't Know (Red Bird 1965)
Ellie Greenwich - Baby (Red Bird 1965)
The Dixie Cups - You Should Have Seen The Way He Looked At Me (Red Bird 1964)
The Four Pennies - When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too) (Rust 1963)
Leslie Gore - Maybe I Know (Mercury 1964)
The Rockin' Berries - I Didn't Mean To Hurt You (Piccadilly 1964)
The Jelly Beans - Baby Be Mine (Red Bird 1964)
Meantime - Friday Kind of Monday (Atco 1967)
The Ad Libs - He Ain't No Angel (Blue Cat 1965)
Reparata & The Delrons - Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts (Unreleased)
The Chiffons - I Have A Boyfriend (Laurie 1963)
Bobbie Miller - What A Guy (Decca 1965)
Ellie Greenwich - Nothing Went Right (Unreleased Demo)
Connie Francis - Don't Ever Leave Me (MGM 1964)
Moody & The Deltas - Everybody Clap Your Hands (Daisy 1964)
Bob B Soxx & The Blue Jeans - Not Too Young To Be Married (Philles 1963)
Andy Kim - I Hear You Say (I Love You) (Red Bird 1965) (Connect 3)
The Ronettes - Baby I Love You (Philles 1963) (Connect 3)
Emmaline Jones - What Good Is I Love You (Dawn 1974) (Connect 3)
Darlene Love - (Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry (Philles 1963)
The Darlettes - Here She Comes (Dunes 1963)
The Crystals - Heartbreaker (Unreleased 1963) (Two of a Kind)
The Crystals - Then He Kissed Me (Philles 1963) (Two of a Kind)
Sam Hawkins - Hold On Baby (Blue Cat 1965)
Veronica - Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love (Phil Spector 1963)
Tony Pass - True True Love (Atco 1966)
Neil Diamond - Cherry Cherry (Bang 1966)
The Butterflys - Good Night Baby (Red Bird 1964)
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (Decca 1967) (show theme)

Next week's show sees the start of a new weekly feature, the A to Z of The Beach Boys.

Remember, if you're ever involved in a non-fatal accident in the Kirkcaldy area, do tune in on 1287AM or Channel 3 on the hospital headsets to "Where The Action Is", a blend of mod, coul, Motown, girl groups/singers and alternative pop from the late 50s through to the early 70s.

Feel free to leave a comment or indeed a request or two. I can't promise to play it immediately - the shows are usually done live but prepared two or three weeks in advance - but I'll endeavour to play them within a month.

The Cat

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Proudest Day of My Life

Tuesday 1 September 2009

A busier but less stressful run home and I collect Flick at 4. There’s no sign of the scrunchie that disappeared on Tuesday. That just leaves the school or the childminder. I know it’s only a scrunchie but I want her to get into the habit of making sure she has everything with her that she’s supposed to. Kids will lose things, they always do, but I want her to activate the part of her brain that says, “Have I got everything?” so that K and I don’t have to. I have enough problems remembering my own stuff!

Flick has peaches and pears with custard for her After School Club snack. But without the peaches. Or pears, come to that. She says she doesn’t like them but she’s eaten them before, albeit in yoghurts. She doesn’t like oranges, which is fair enough because they’re hard work, even for adults. She loves bananas and apples. Her opinions on guavas and ugly fruits are unknown at this time.

I don’t know how much custard she had or whether it was simply tiredness but she struggles with her sausage stew. I try and make allowances for her first week of full-time school but I can’t stop myself getting wound up by her half-heartedly pushing the potatoes and sausages round the plate. My personal re-evaluation, which saw me lose the anti-depressants and gain a highly beneficial exercise routine, has also seen me look at eradicating all the things that stress me out. If I have to leave the dinner table to calm down, I will. I don’t want the dinner table turning into a war zone.

There’s nothing I want to watch on telly tonight so we watch last Sunday’s “House”, which featured Meat Loaf, although I was bemused to see him listed on the credits as “Meat Loaf Aday”. I wonder why he isn’t simply “Meat Loaf” or “Marvin Lee Aday” instead of a crossbreed of both. I’ll try not to lose too much sleep over it.

After some pottering about on the PC, which seems to mostly involve Twittering about the possible venue of a secret Glasvegas gig, I retire for the night. Seconds after I start to “follow” Glasvegas they reveal the venue to be a clothes shop in the West End of Glasgow. I neither love nor hate Glasvegas’ music but I think it’s cool that they decide on such a non-music venue for an impromptu show. What isn’t so cool is that with a “venue” that probably holds about 50 people, the band decide to have a Guest List? Now please tell me just what is the point of that? Isn’t this gig meant to be “for the kids”? What sort of spontaneous rock ’n’ roll happening has a guest list? My Glasvegas barometer swings from take-them-or-leave-them to singularly unimpressed, which is similar to how I felt about them after seeing lead singer James wearing dark glasses throughout an episode of “Never Mind The Buzzcocks”. He didn’t look cool, he looked like a cock. Who does he think he is, Magenta De Vine?

Wednesday 2 September 2009

I’m woken up by a knee in the bollocks! It’s not my wife taking action after another ever-increasing volume of snoring but my daughter. She’s sneaked into our bed and taken her life in her hands by sandwiching herself between us. Having received a kick in the back I make the mistake of turning round and receive the aforementioned patella in the “stones”. As I lead her back to her own room she tells me that she couldn’t sleep. How squeezing herself in-between two not insubstantial adults will help her sleep is a mystery to me. I settle back into bed and slowly drift off, just as the alarm goes off!! Bugger.

Realising I’m never going to get time at home to listen to the audio book of “Where Did It All Go Right” that Andrew Collins kindly gifted me I resolve to listen to it in the car while driving to and from work. To be honest, I’m getting a bit fed up of Radio 3 going on about the New Generation Artists (i.e. new composers that most of us have never heard of).

There’s no After School Club pick up today because Mummy is going to the school for a curriculum meeting. She’s better at this kind of thing than me because she’ll not only remember all the salient points but she’ll ask the right questions too. And I’ve no doubt that she’ll regale all the facts to me while I’m watching something interesting on TV so that I’ll hear neither the programme nor the information about the curriculum! She’s also going to a mass at the school on Friday for the new Primary 1s and, being a heathen, I’m exempt. I only got to church once a year, religiously, at Christmas.

It’s back to the resistance workout this week (today to be exact) and although I still have a hacking cough I’ll struggle on manfully. What a trooper! A big decision has to be made though, Ash or The Chemical Brothers. The unwritten rule of the gym is that whoever is first in gets control of the boogie box; whether it’s his or her own CDs or the radio. The Chemical Brothers it is as I add the leg press to my repertoire. I’m more Mr Puniverse than Mr Universe but I’m getting there. I can’t emphasise enough the amazing health benefits that regular exercise can bring, especially for people like me who have struggled with mental health problems. Go on, go for it.

Yesterday I did something that I hadn’t done for a long time and that was put a stamp on an envelope. In this digital age we’re writing proper letters less and less and I really feel sorry for posties. Apart from a letter to author Simon Goddard via his publishing company (that’s a story for another day), I can’t remember the last time I used a stamp for anything other than a bill or an eBay sale parcel. We used to spend a small fortune in our house on stamps for competitions and prize draws.

I can’t even call yesterday’s missive a letter. I’d made a 60s Girl singers compilation CD for an old pen pal I had become reacquainted with via Facebook and I attached a short note, hoping that she enjoyed it as much as I had. It was one of those compilations I was loath to part with. With Windows Media Player it’s now easy enough for me to make my own copy. Back in the day, when I originally wrote to my friend Jayne, I would have had to copy tape-to-tape to get my own copy. Usually I didn’t bother because the one-off compilation was such a special, unique thing. It was a never-to-be-repeated one-off. Sometimes I long for those days of hand-made paper sleeves and lovingly prepared track lists. A good compilation wasn’t something to be rushed. It would take several hours and when completed you would feel a great sense of achievement. You can make your own covers for CDs and compile them on computer but it just isn’t the same. Not least because you could get 90 minutes on a cassette (sometimes allowing for 2 differently themed 45 minute halves) and only up to 80 minutes on a CD. Making a compilation on a memory stick is just pointless and not a concept I would entertain. I’d swap albums using one but a compilation? Are you mad? A cassette was a permanent record; a musical time capsule to be dug out of dusty garage boxes in years to come by men (and occasionally women) of a certain age. K still has most of the ones I made for her.

There’s nothing much on TV tonight so I make use of a quiet house to get with some writing. This book won’t write itself.

Thursday 3 September 2009

Why do people seem to drive even faster in the rain? I take a cautious drive into work during which the first Andrew Collins CD finishes. I’ve really enjoyed the first one, which brought back some memories of my own. I look forward to the other CDs over the next couple of weeks.

Our gym has two treadmills. I did 10 minutes on the bike and as I began on the rowing machine someone else came in. He went to the right treadmill and started jogging. After my 1500m row and a rest, I stepped on to the other treadmill and began my ten-minute walk (10 minutes at Speed 6 on an incline of 5, if you must know). I wondered how the other guy must have felt because we were side-by-side but he was jogging and I was walking and yet we were still side-by-side!! Maybe it didn’t occur to him because he was “in the zone”. My mind tends to wonder and I often come up with such random thoughts.

The highlight of the day came after I picked up my daughter from the After School Club. Totally unprompted and of her own free will, Flick decided she wanted to write a quiz. I was shocked and delighted in equal measure. These are the questions she wrote, of which I got only got three correct:

1. What sheep begins with S?
2. What dog begins with D? (That's a toughie)
3. What car begins with K?
4. What girl begins with C? (that's a sneaky one, which I like)
5. What car begins with VA?

I’m so proud I want to put an announcement in the paper. I’ll reveal the answers tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Andrew Collins and life on the School Run

Saturday 22 August 2009

Drop K and F off at ballet and head off to do battle with the Edinburgh traffic. I’m pretty sure I’ll park at New Street car park, which backs on to Waverley Station. I survive Queen Street and Picardy Place before heading down Calton Road and then into New Street. Never having been in this particular car park before I’m not sure of the layout so I pick the first space I can find. Unfortunately it’s between two cars that are both parked diagonally in their respective rectangles. I ponder leaving a note on the window of the worst offender but I see what appears to be a Turkish flag in the car and I decide against it, figuring they might not understand the sarcastic tone of my missive. Being distracted by the parking prats, and just to make matters worse, I bump the front of the car. Yet more scratches.

I figure, having consulting the car park company’s website, that I have 4 hours so I synchronise my watch and head off in the direction of East Market Street. I’ve got loads of time so I wander along Jeffrey Street, snapping the Tempting Tattie (the scene of today’s flashmob), and then up the Royal Mile, taking in the Festival air. I’ve never been to the Underbelly before and I only know that it’s in the Cowgate somewhere. The Cowgate never fails to bring back memories. It always pains me to see Siglo, a horrible identikit pub, which replaced my beloved spit-and-sawdust Green Tree of my early 20s. I had so many great nights in there and in the club across the road, where I met my wife.

It turns out that the Underbelly is a multi-levelled nook-and-cranny venue between the Cowgate and Victoria Street. It’s reminiscent of The Mission, which is a few doors down on Victoria Street. I don’t know if “The Mish” still operates but I saw some great bands there “back in the day” and for only a few quid. There wasn’t a week went by when you couldn’t see The Fizzbombs, One Thousand Violins or the psychedelic pre-dance Shamen.

I wander around the Underbelly exploring every little cove. At first I’m rather self-conscious then I realise I’m surrounded by many others in the same drifting boat, so I don’t feel so bad. I did what I usually do in these circumstances; I pretended I was looking for someone. This wasn’t so far from the truth in that I was looking for the person who was front of the queue. I find where I’m supposed to wait and wander about for a bit before planting myself on a windowsill. The area is hot and the cool breeze from the open window is a godsend. My window seat happens to be where the queue starts but as there’s only one other person around I don’t feel bad for jumping the queue.

More and more people arrive and I marvel at how well organised the queuing system is. The queuing areas are marked out on the floor. It never ceases to amaze me the reaction of some people. They turn up five minutes before the doors are due to open and seem astonished that so many others are there before them – “Oh, there’s a queue!” I HATE queue-jumpers. It’s bad manners, pure and simple. And cheating! Someone who has been waiting for 20 minutes should get in before somewhere who’s been waiting for 5 minutes. Thankfully the most stressful part of my work day – the queue for the bus home and the “jostling” for position – is, thanks to a change in work hours and use of the family car, long gone.

Being so tall I don’t usually sit at the front – I’m considerate like that – but on this occasion I want to see and hear everything. I apologise to the people behind me for being so tall, although I don’t have to. It’s a pre-emptive strike against any moans of “I can’t see” or “why doesn’t he wear a top hat too and be done with it?”

The podcast, apparently not one of their best, is very enjoyable and has me in tears of laughter. Richard Herring has organised a daily event whereby all the podcast audience are invited along to the Tempting Tattie to try and eat all the baked potatoes in the shop. Richard even has his own topping, cheese and mango chutney, which wouldn’t be my first choice. Or 41st come to think of it.

The Tattie “army” assembles in the entrance of the Underbelly (Cowgate end) and begins the short yomp to Jeffrey Street for Operation Baked Potato Sell-Out. I’d already bumped into Andrew before the show. He’s smaller than I imagined but everyone, except John Leslie, appears shorter than me so that’s hardly a surprise. We discussed the format for the day. He needs to get back to Edinburgh for a show at 1830 but he isn’t staying for a baked potato at the Tempting Tattie. Fine by me, I say. You have a chat at the Tattie with friends and fans and I’ll get the car. Deal!

We walk to Jeffrey Street via the Cowgate and St. Mary’s Street and I regale Andrew with tales of my past in the area. The queue at The Tattie is long and I’m quite glad we’ve decided against lunch there. I go off to get the car and Andrew chats with fans while selling audio books out of his carrier bag.

After a false start, I finally exit the car park. It turns out that it’s £4 to park all day on Saturday or Sunday so I needn’t have worried – why don’t they say this on the website? A toot of the horn, some goodbyes from Andrew and we’re off. Due to the tramworks, I have to take a somewhat elongated route out of Edinburgh. I give Andrew a guided tour of Abbeyhill, London Road, the Cathedral at Picardy Place (where I got married) and Queen Street. I relax when we get to Queenferry Road, a road I’ve driven along a lot and know very well, mainly because it’s my route home from work. Our sharp exit from Edinburgh means we don’t have to rush so much. Andrew takes the opportunity while in the car to upload the podcast. It’s fully uploaded just as we get to the hospital radio station in Kirkcaldy. Perfect timing.

I have to admit to being rather nervous. ‘Hero’ probably isn’t the right word but Andrew is someone I admire very much and I don’t want to make an arse of myself. I’ve prepared for the interview and written (and re-written) some questions. I try to keep them short because it isn’t about me; it’s about Andrew and the audio book. After a quick test of the microphones we get started. My voice is sounding a bit weak and wimpy, if I’m being honest, and Andrew sounds like, well, a professional. He’s loud and clear and never anything less than interesting. To be honest I don’t hear everything he says because I’m thinking of the next question or the record I’m getting ready. It’s only when I listen back to the interview later that night that I hear just how good an orator he is. Maybe he’s well rehearsed in talking about the book/audio book and why wouldn’t he be, he’s a pro.

After some one-line trailers and the usual photos – he takes one of me using his Macbook, Elaine from VRN takes two of us in front of the VRN sign (for the station Memories album) – we’re heading back to Edinburgh. Never one for wasting a minute, he writes his blog on the M92 as I drive south; I try to drive a steady 60mph. I admire his dedication and focus and this is something I aspire to. A 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, job and a 5-year old daughter are not entirely inducive to getting some quality writing time. I’m writing a book but it’s a slow process, trying to grab an hour here, 45 minutes there. But Andrew has encouraged me to keep plugging away at it and that I shall.

We’ve made such good time that I’m able to drop off Andrew near the flat he’s staying at in the capital. After a farewell ‘toot’, I’m off on my fourth journey of the day over the Forth Road Bridge – thank god they scrapped the tolls. When I get home I wind down with a coffee and relate the days adventures to the Good Lady Wife. After Flick’s bedtime stories, I listen to the interview in its entirety. Although I’m not happy with my own voice Andrew comes across brilliantly and I’m just relieved that the microphones were working. I take out about 20 seconds worth of me going “er” and “um” and there’s 31 minutes left, which’ll be slotted into tomorrow’s show. I’m happy and relax for the rest of the evening.

Sunday 23 August 2009

The interview with Andrew slots nicely into my show and you would never know that he wasn’t live on the show. Well, you do now!

Monday 24 August 2009

I’m off this week. My daughter started school last Wednesday and this is her second week and her last week of half-days. Daddy’s on the school run and I’ve planned it with military precision. I needn’t have bothered as we had so much time in the morning that I’m able to reward Flick with a quick “Peppa Pig” before we leave. The breakfast-wash-dressing routine fulfilled we head off. The school has a car park a short walk from the main buildings but it’s small and, as government ministers are want to say, “unfit for purpose”. It caters for not one but two primary schools and even with the staggered start for the new Primary 1s it’s a nightmare to get in and out of.

Luckily the mother of one of Flick’s pre-school pals has told of us of a better place to park. Our “sneaky parking”, as we have come to know it, is on the other side of the school but doesn’t involve any further of a walk. I can’t believe more people don’t know of it. We leave the house at 0830, get parked at 0845 (just beating the rush, such as it is) and we saunter down to the school hand-in-hand.

I mingle with the yummy mummies and other dads as the children run about daft until the school bell goes. A couple of the parents have even worn their best tracksuits! I’m immensely proud of Flick. She looks smart and is enjoying her school experience. No doubt that’ll change in a few years.

I have two hours back at home before I have to return to the school. I do some work on my book but I don’t seem to get much done as I have to head off.

As any parent will know getting information out of your child, especially when you’ve asked for it, is, as they say, like getting bloody out of a stone. “How was your day?” “Fine”. “What did you do today?” “Nuffin’” “No-TH-ing!” “NoTHing”. You do find out some of what’s occurred between the classroom walls but it’s usually drip-fed over a number of days.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

School Run – Day 2. Today some of the parents were invited to have lunch with their offspring and their new classmates and being off this week I was the nominated parent. I plumped for a baked potato, with cheese and pickle and Flick, taking an instant dislike to the thought of Spaghetti Bolognese, plumped for the packed lunch.

Flick was determined to get out on her bike when we go home and as the weather had been good I decided we could kill two birds with one stone. The constant wet weather had meant the front lawn had gone uncut for sometime and if it had been left any longer I’m sure I’d find Japanese soldiers in there thinking the war was still on.

With strict instructions to only cycle between the nearest two lampposts, Flick began peddling away as I started on the overgrown lawn. No sooner had I started than I had to stop again – bloody cat shit! It’s the bane of my gardening life. I’ve tried various things to get rid of it. We had an ultrasonic alarm, which worked well until it was stolen. I’ve tried pepper and an assortment of sprays but nothing seems to deter the little blighters.

Eventually the lawn was done and so was I. I felt awful. I wasn’t sure if I was coming down with something but now I was convinced I was because I was totally wiped out. Flick, of course, had loads of energy and got some good exercise and some fresh air. When I was ready to go back in, so was she.

I had tickets to see Richard Herring do his “Hitler Moustache” show at the Underbelly and my mate Gary had agreed to come with me. My colleague Tricia dropped out with a cold. I wasn’t feeling too good myself but I didn’t want to waste the tickets and I was really keen to see the show, especially after all the nonsense in The Guardian. In the end I was glad I went because I thought it was great and I can’t believe it wasn’t nominated for a Fringe award.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

School Run – Day 2.5: I say 2.5 because while I was dropping Flick off in the morning she was going to be picked up by one of her childminders at lunchtime. She’d only been to the home of one of the girls and this was a chance to get used to the other house. I picked her up later on.

Having had a taste for freedom she wanted to get her bike out again. I took the opportunity to hose down the front of the house, the flowers and the car as she cycled back and forward and back and forward and back and forward. She never got bored.

Thursday 27 August 2009

My last day on the school run and I’ll actually miss it. Flick was up sharp again and I promised her we’d go swimming after school. We had a ball and popped into McDonalds for something to eat on the way home. We don’t go there a lot but she likes it as an occasional treat. By the time we got home we were both exhausted. I put CBeebies on for her and I relax on the settee. I say, “relax”, I mean fall asleep. Apparently I was snoring so loud during “Peppa Pig” that Flick had to put her hands over her ears!

Friday 28 August 2009

The Good Lady Wife is off today and boy am I glad. My fluey cold-like symptoms have taken their toll and my much-needed lie-in means I don’t get out of bed until 11am! It’s a lazy day today.

Saturday 29 August 2009

I drop the girls at ballet and head off to Halfords for some lint-free clothes. I’ve got to do something about the scratches on the car, which has been on my To-Do List for a while now. I take a quick wander around Waterstones (music and sport books) and Debenhams (Ben Sherman stuff) before heading back to pick up the girls.

Sunday 30 August 2009

I do a “Friday-Big-Shop” at Asda, Kirkcaldy before I head off to the radio station. I got a bit frustrated when I couldn’t locate the Flaked Almonds and Bacon Lardons but I collared a manager and he lead me straight to them.

It wasn’t the best show I’d ever done, probably a 7 out of 10. A track by 60s Edinburgh band The Buzz wouldn’t play until I’d given the CD a good clean. Still suffering with a sore throat didn’t help. Next week’s show is going to be an Ellie Greenwich special.

I return home in time to do Flick’s second story, which turned out to be a long chapter from a book and I struggled through it manfully. After a lovely Steak Pie and vegetables I settle down to watch an old Top Gear and last week’s “House”. The lunches were made, bags packed and e-mails checked one last time. Time for bed.

Monday 31 August 2009

I haven’t slept a wink all night. The Good Lady Wife was snoring and this is the first day of my new working hours. A 7am start means a 6am departure, hence the 5.30am wake-up alarm. I do the right thing in trying to get to bed early (I’m in bed for 10.20pm) but I can’t settle. I try reading for a while (Paul Kimmage’s “Rough Ride”) but it’s no use. Hopefully, getting back to the gym, which I’ve missed, will help. I hope so.

Today is my gym assessment, which should be interesting because last week was the first week I haven’t been to the gym in many weeks.

I’m in the office by myself and after a week off it takes me about 30 minutes to catch up with what’s been happening. My gym assessment, which will be my last, is just a brief 10-minute ride on the bike and a run through of my techniques on the machines I’m already using plus an introduction to the leg press machine. The first few minutes on the bike are a struggle but I’m soon back into my stride. Maybe taking it easy isn’t such a bad idea and I don’t feel so bad about the week off. In many ways it’ll help to re-motivate me, almost like starting again.

The drive home wasn’t as quiet as I thought it would be. I imagined I’d miss the school run and rush hour; where have all these people come from? I’m now so immune to the idiots on the road that I’m actually disappointed when I don’t encounter at least one. I cope by (a) assuming that everyone driving is an idiot and can do something stupid at any minute and (b) listening to Radio 3 to keep calm. The latter helps a little although I feel I’m in an episode of “Morse”.

I pick up Flick from a very busy after-school Kids’ Club. I also see one of my bĂȘte noires collecting his kid. I know it’s him because he drives a distinctive van, a van that often speeds up and down our road. He rarely wears his seatbelt and is a stranger to an indicator. A man with a young family driving so recklessly in an area awash with many other young families really raises my hackles. We live in a 20mph area and there’s no excuse. It’s safe to say, I don’t like him.

The new hours and travel arrangements for all of us means a new home routine too. Staggered meals are out as we now sit down together, as a family, for tea. Previously this would only happen at weekends. After food, play, shower and stories, Flick’s asleep and we can settle down for an evening of intellectual stimulation. Monday night is University Challenge (BBC2) followed by Only Connect on (BBC4) and thanks to Sky+, The Gadget Show on Five. We do well to get half a dozen questions right on each quiz show but that’s part of the challenge, so to speak. Unfortunately, the team we didn’t want to win Only Connect won. We didn’t want either UC team to succeed because they were both equally annoying. Neither will win the overall title, of that there is no doubt.

Tuesday 1 September 2009

This morning I assisted in marking entrance exams. It never ceases to amaze me the poor standard of English and Maths on display from some would-be candidates. Today’s crop weren’t too bad.

My first proper gym workout in ten days isn’t too deadly: 10 minutes on the bike, 1500m/7 minutes on the rowing machine and 10 minutes walking on the treadmill. Normally I do the treadmill before the rowing machine but I thought I’d ‘mix it up’ again. Today’s gym music of choice was The Chemical Brothers “hits” album.

To be continued...