Saturday, November 6, 2010


Hello Lums,

I love Saturdays. I love Saturdays mostly because I can lie in bed as long as I like, no alarm clock, no commute and no commuters. So why the hell was I wide awake at 0700 on Saturday 6th November. Staring at the ceiling, definitely awake, but not wanting to believe it. I could have been having the shittiest dream ever after all.
I remember being like that at school. Having to be dragged out of bed with shire horses and not really wakening up until about 11 o'clock, but on Saturdays I was springing out of bed first thing, dont know what for, Noel Edmonds Saturday Swap Shop probably, but I think it was an instinctive manly desire, to make the most of doing F-all.

It did give me time to appreciate the early arrivals at Heathrow airport lumbering over the house. The Qantas super-jumbos with the exploding engines and the cargo planes with the ballistic photo-copiers, timed to go off over big infidel cities, like Hither Green.
London, did you know, is the only major city with an airport that has its approach right over the top of the main centre of population, I'm just saying.

Speaking of which, the press should stop calling them ink-bombs. That sounds like something Oor Wullie would lob at Fat Boab frae the back 'o'the class.

I thought I'd log on and take a quick look at the Internet news feeds, to see whats happened in the world in the four hours I'd been asleep. CNN caught my eye, SEAL caught smuggling arms!! I thought, that's a bit of a career change, I know he's not had any best selling albums or mercury music prizes for a while, but gun running? But no, it was a US Navy Seal who managed to bring back some souvenirs from Afghanistan, 83 guns to be precise. Whats a Navy SEAL doing in Afghanistan anyway, is it not land locked and pretty much waterless?

When I was in Oman we visited a Wadi, an Oasis if you will, and our guide Masoud says there was more fresh water in it than all the other fresh water in Oman altogether. I was expecting something like Loch Leven or maybe at least the Lake of Mentieth, but I reckon there would have been more water in the old Stirling baths. I expect Afghanistan is much the same. Oh Oh, just noticed, I've used the words, Afghanistan, bomb, US, infidel, guns, ballistic, super-jumbos and airport all in the same blog. An alarm will be going off at GCHQ when I post this and I expect I'll be up early tomorrow again, when MI5 burst my bedroom door in.

I nipped into Greggs today for a sausage roll, good but I had a remorseful pang when I realised how much I missed a scotch pie. I also miss square sausage, my kids, my dog, my car, king ribs, my dad and sisters, fresh northern air and my S and everything that goes with her, though not necessarily in that order of course.
Lang may yer lum reek.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Penguins, an Octopus and chocolate shoes

مساء الخير مداخن التدخين,

I have it, the answer to the long sought solution to Middle Eastern strife. Recall Tony Blair, tell the Israelis to relax, all that is required is some decent TV programmes and some pubs, that should do it. Send the Nobel prize to my Kirky address.

Yes, the Lum has been on holiday to the Middle East. I chose to avoid Dubai given that appears to be one big building site and instead plumped for Oman, sandwiched cosily between Yemen and Iran, two destinations not prominent in the Holidays Direct brochure bit if they did, would probably boast excursions to public stonings and terrorist training camps. Oh, and remember the added attraction of Mumbai style terrorists just over the sea in Pakistan and Somalian pirates bobbing in their dinghies just over the horizon. It was brilliant though. Beautiful country, albeit in a parched kind of way that makes you appreciate how many shades of brown there are and genuinely friendly and hospitable people. The menfolk were anyway, my lady folk did get some poorly disguised disapproving looks from their womenfolk for not wearing a headscarf or something. In an old souk we found ourselves walking along in a sizable group of women all wearing the full black abaya, I thought this is what it must be like to be on the penguin parade at Edinburgh Zoo, still, Muscat is well worth a visit and I recommend it before it turns into Dubai.

I've been dropping off occasionally for a pint of very fine Guinness in Dylans, the Oirish bear pit. It was so Oirish, I actually felt a little conscious of my little Union Jack Olympic lapel badge. The barman's a friendlier fellow than he looks, well the friendliest man with bite marks on his ear and a recently broken nose I have ever met. A quick shifty around the bar the other night I spotted a Mad Frankie Fraser look-a-like, one for a hollowed out Hurricaine Higgins, a convincing ruddy faced Oliver Reed and Viz's Biffa Bacons mum, and that was just the women. The barmaids not bad right enough, she would be better if she got her front tooth replaced though. It has a weekly quiz night, I'm no Fred Housego, but I have to fancy my chances in there.

Despite it being on the news every other night, I hadn't seen any gang shootings or corpses on the street but I spotted some intense SE London gang warfare the other night. Picture the scene, nine or ten black schoolboys, shouting and pointing at nine or ten black schoolkids across the road who were shouting and pointing back. A blare of sirens and strobing blue lights, so many police in fact that I thought Bin Laden had been found in a wheely bin next to the kebab shop, and it all kicked off, when I say kicked off, I really mean ran off, because that's what the two "gangs" did with comical, seemingly overweight cops, though I expect their anti-stab vests bulk them up a bit, in hot, puffing pursuit. Just aswell too, it was shaping up to be a bloodbath.

I like shoes, I can appreciate a nice pair as much as any man but I spotted a man the other day wearing brown paton shoes. They were horrible, like he had just dipped them in a Thorntons Chocolate Fountain, it looked like he should have been leaving little skiddy brown footprints wherever he stepped, it was off-putting for the forty or so seconds I thought about it.

I see Paul the psychic Octopus has passed away, seemingly of natural causes. Very convenient, that, what if Paul just knew too much, too big a risk to the establishment, predicting things all over the place. Maybe he had foreseen some impending catastrophe, like Armageddon and while the President and The Queen ready the spaceship we have to be kept calm and ignorant. Tell you what though, I want to be sitting next to Ray Mears on the train when disaster happens, he'd be a good bloke to know.

I have a busy little schedule coming up, its 2012 beer night on Thursday where we are enticed out into a London pub to sample some ales in the spirit of team building and networking then, Saturday, the social event of the season, Halloween Party at Casa Mart'in. Fancy dress of course and I've decided to go down the Elton John route, or should that be up? Anyway, at massive expense I have hired an outfit that will be too hot and uncomfortable, too much hassle to go for a pee in and I'll probably stress myself out incase someone spills wine over it and I lose my hefty deposit, still, it'll be a laugh.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hallelujah, for strippers and Muslim owned off licenses

Hello Lums,

So Reeking Lum, what were you doing deep in the dark depths of London's anus looking for Buckfast? Well lums, I'm glad you asked.

I had been invited to my bosses home for a house warming party, which sounds like the opening of the pitch to Hollywood producers for a Terry and June feature film, but actually promised to be a right good night.

She lives in leafy Kew which is very nice, apparently Elle McPherson lives down the road and you never know, she might have turned up to complain about the noise and people pissing in her close, but I digress.
I of course wanted to bring a Scottish gift that would be appreciated by all the guests and my host in particular. Shortbread, too predictable! Square sausage, too impractical! Haggis, come on, who in all of England would appreciate that? So I plumped for Buckfast, Scotland's other, other national drink. Made by millionaire monks in an industrial estate somewhere in Devon and a social pollutant in Britain's council estates that makes BP's efforts on Gulf of Mexico beaches seem a bit half arsed.

In Scotland of course you can purchase a bottle of Bucky in any good newsagents, bookmakers, bakers, dry-cleaners, travel agents, butchers, post office, cobblers, tobacconists, ironmongers or haberdashers. Not good off-licenses funny enough, they steer clear of it like a DJ steers clear of Leader of the Gang at a 10 year olds birthday party.

I thought in a city of 10 million people, at least a million of them drunk homeless Glaswegians, I'd be able to pick up a bottle no problem, but it turned into a quest worthy of Sir Chavelot himself. I tried the local merchants, the first one I asked wanted to know if it was sweet or dry? Red or White?, no muddy plum colour, so he obviously didn't know what I was talking about. Next place asked me to spell it. By this time I was at London Bridge so thought I would try an Odd Bins, you never know I thought, maybe they have an ethnic aisle, no they didn't.

That's when it hit me, like a moment of pure unhindered and unhinged thought, an epiphany if you like. Where are there a lot of drunk Scotsmen in need of a reliable stream of the monks molasses? Kings Cross, that's where.

My arrival in Kings Cross I vaguely remember living down to my expectations, but I didn't have much time to take in the grimy down at heel Sweeney sets. I had to find somewhere to have a pee and the first likely oasis I found was The Flying Scotsman, a bar with a fine name, and surely willing to provide a hospitable welcome to a lost son of Alba.

I went in, the first thing that struck me was the gloom, no windows you see, but that didn't worry me, I just needed to find the toilet. I ordered a quick pint, asked for the necessary directions and went to make some room while the barman poured my Guinness. When I got back it crossed my mind how small the bar was, it looked much bigger from the outside, then the music started and it all began to make more sense.
Through a flimsy partition with windows not quite large enough was a little stage where the strippers took off both their items clothing. Now, when I say strippers, don't think for a moment we're talking Las Vegas table dancers, or even Chloe from X-Factor, this lot looked like they might have played in the big leagues once, but now were playing out a season in The Pub League, before hanging up there bootys.
The business model appeared to be that after each "performance", the girl, or er, lady, would go around the bar-flys shaking a little plastic coffee cup, that we had to put a pound in, this was a classy place.

It takes me about fifteen minutes to drink a pint of Guinness, each little dance last about three, give the girls two minutes to change over and that's still three naked strippers, and three pounds more to the point, during my one pint. One girl, lets call her girl No 2, was unusual in that she was actually relatively fit and attractive. She also had a Scottish accent and recognised mine when I said something like " There you go sweetheart, nice tits" or something just as charming when I dropped my contribution in her cup. I of course asked where she was from and guess what, she came from Stirling, virtually my home town. There is a fair chance I know her Dad, (or her Mum) though I didn't ask who he was. I thought that would be ungentlemanly.

I had had my fill of Guinness in plastic tumblers and naked eastern beggars, whether they are from the Cornton or not, more truthfully I had a party to get too and had to fulfil my quest to find the Ejaculate of Buckfast Abbey.

I tumbled out the Flying Scotsman and into the first offy I found, and success. I couldn't see it on the shelves behind the shopkeeper, but no worries there, my Muslim friend, reached under the counter and in a gesture surely full of religious symbolism, respectfully rested the bottle on the counter. And then spoiled it by saying £8.99. I could have bought a bottle of Chateau Neuf de Pape, from the Popes own vineyards for that. Still, I had travelled this far and I'm sure Sir Percival wouldn't have said "Aye, right ya chancer, I'm no payin that" if he was offered the Holy Grail for a vastly inflated price by some opportunist Arab stall keeper.

So, that was that, quest complete. I was able to present myself at the court of my boss with suitable gifts. Six Peroni, One party pack of Twiglets and a bottle of Chateau Neuf de Ned. It ended up getting drunk out of shot glasses instead of just necking it straight out the bottle, mind you, we were in leafy Kew.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Greggzos and the curse of the Gypsies

Hello lums, after a self imposed exile on the Island of Lost Afflatus, I have kindled up the lum, and have began to reek once more.

"One armed waiters, eh! They can dish it out, but there not so good at taking it!" That was my favourite joke at this years Edinburgh Festival, that and "My mate Dave drowned, we got him a wreath the shape of a lifebelt, well, its what he would have wanted". I like jokes, Bob Monkhouse had a good one "People laughed when I said I wanted a career in comedy, well, there not laughing now". You of course are under no obligation to find them funny, and that's the great thing about jokes, the worst thing about them is they don't translate very well to a Blog, so before I diminish that little glowing GSOH kernel in the midst of your noggin , I'll not reek about them anymore.

Reasons for my extended muteness really boils down to not having a little notebook to jot things in when I see something curious or the least bit funny, I have a new one now. And also, I've been a bit morose, and missing home too much, and its hard to see anything humorous in anything when your in that mood, so instead of reeking for sympathy or depressing both the people that regularly tune in, I have kept schtum until the clouds lifted, which they have, hooray.

Or perhaps it has something to do with a curious episode in Covent Garden a couple of weeks ago.
After tackling the stairs, there are an incredible 192 of them. I know that from a little warning sign at the bottom, certainly not from counting them on the way up. I couldnt have managed that, not with the burning lungs, furiously protesting thigh muscles and the sweat stinging my eyes while trying to climb over the expired that went before, the desperate skeletal remains in their Mind The Gap T-shirts, still clutching faithfully to the handrail.

As I crawled, gasping, out into the throng of tourists, blissfully unaware of the hell going on beneath them, I fell into the clutches of a gypsy woman. She popped a sprig of something in my pocket and started stroking my palm with her long painted finger nail. Telling me how lucky i was about to become, and how I'll live a long and prosperous life without being a burden to anyone. All I had to do was keep these two crystals with me always. I say crystals, they looked more like half sucked spangles, and of course, cross her palm with silver. I did, with 3 pound coins, then she said, in her menacing gypsy rasp, what about some paper? That's when I got the use of my lungs back and told her to be happy with my already generous gift and stomped off. But I'm sure she must have hurled some pykie curse after me because on the two occasions I have worn the jacket with the spangles still in the pocket I have fallen asleep on public transport and endured horrific frightening journeys that Sinbad the Sailor would have baulked at.
First I woke up in a tube train in High Harrow which is as North West to my South East London destination as its likely to get, second time it was a bus as it stopped at Elephant and Castle just as the tube stations were shutting at midnight, of course, also just at precisely the same time the battery on my phone, therefore Google Maps, ran out.

I had to take the night bus lottery, jumping from one to the other hoping that each would get me closer to home. Deptford, Woolwich (scary) and finally Greenwich where I decided I was close enough to try walking, it was half past two by this time. I did walk, and walk and walk some more, finally hailing a cab near Greenwich park that carried me home arsus intactus and with no stab wounds or robberies.

Other developments include my gym membership. Yep, Lewisham Fitness First has a new disciple. It really is like the exercise yard at Shawshank in there. Lots of big hulking black guys, lifting free weights and looking dangerous. I meanwhile try not to bring attention to myself unloading weights off the machines, but the little clink-clink noise it makes when I'm er, pumping iron, kind of stands out against the clunk-clunk noise the machines make when they boys are on them. Still, its a start, I've been going a week and still haven't run more than a £3 taxi ride but I'm aiming to have a body like a Greek God, preferably not Greggzos, God of Pies.

That's enough from me, I have a few more things to tell you about another day. My London wide search for Buckfast, and why, The Flying Scotsman Pub, fly tipping and the most Irish pub in Ireland, in Lewisham.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thats Fab but where are the Zooms?

To the distinguished company of lums, good evening,

Leaving the office the other night and navigating my way around and through the thousand or so bikes that are tied up and shackled together on the pavements I spotted a Raleigh Arena. A bit tired and shabby but it must have been about 25 years old so no shame in that. Still, it was a real blast from my 80s past.

These were popular wheels in my early teens, before the advent of mountain bikes and the BMX, the racing bike was the way to go and a bit of a marker on the road to adulthood, like your first fluffy moustache or choosing your own clothes to buy in Chelsea Boy.

When I finally matured onto a racer, it wasn't a Raleigh Arena that I plumped for, not surprising I'm sure to those familiar with my contrary streak, but something called a Carlton Commander. With a name like that it sounds like you would most likely find it leaning up against the railings of the Admiralty, it did have full size mud guards, which didn't really do much for my street cred but for those that really knew about racing bikes, well, this was like , er, an Opel Monza in a street of Mantas.

It must have been 20 years since I had seen an Arena and it got me thinking of the other bikes that were popular around my early teens. My first decent bike was something called a Laser. It wasn't from Raleigh, but from some Chinese mob I think, I know one thing , they couldn't weld, and if it had been a private jet I would have been killed in a disastrous structural failure.

My pal had a Chopper, in that orangey colour, with the dangerous castrating gear lever just ready to do away with your freshly dropped marbles the first time your chain came off. The little brother to the Chopper was the Tomahawk, there was a couple of these about the scheme too, I quite liked these, they were stable for a start with sensible wheels.

Lessons having been learned from my Laser, my next ride was Raleigh engineering at its best, the Grifter. And what engineering, twist grip gear changes, big knobbly tyres, stubby little mud guards that allowed dirty water to spray right up your back and a big solid frame that meant it weighed about a quarter ton. Foam seats that you picked away over the years and a big foam rubber safety bar on your handlebars, for no apparent use whatsoever, though it might have been for the safety of any pedestrians you ran over.

The Grifter was the highpoint of useless bikes for teens development, after that they became better and more like what we have now. Raleigh brought out something called a Burner, that was an early BMX type thing, in garish blue with yellow foam padding on the bits you might bang your head, knees or nuts on and it had totally rad man, sorry, 5 spoke plastic wheels.

I remember one of the boys in the street getting a Raleigh Bomber, which on reflection may have been a bit of a pre-cursor to the mountain bike, it certainly wasn't a racer, it was bigger and more substantial, not sure about the name though. It had pictures of Lancaster Bombers caught in searchlights on the frame, I'm not sure how that would have gone down with the German export market, maybe it was called the Raleigh Blitzkrieg over there.

I'm a sucker for new sweets, I have to try them when I see them. I do wonder why they take so long to come up with them though, especially when its a brand extension like these new Milky Bars with biscuit and raisins. Milky Bars have been around for like ever, without much change, they made a chunky one, and buttons but never adding anything else in, its like its grown up, I'm not sure if I like that, it is tasty though. When are we getting Spangles back and Texan bars and can anyone remember a Nutty? Actually, health and safety regulations probably done for Spangles, given that if you bit one it took on all the characteristics of a thick and weighty broken medicine bottle and tore your tongue to shreds. Its nice to see FABS still in the ice lolly compartments but where are the Zooms?

Sitting in a little traffic jam in Kilsyth at the weekend, I noticed in the window of the house opposite a big bird cage with a budgie in it. Now, I'm not at all sure about caging birds of any kind, but to then sit it in front of the window,watching all the other birds flit about in the wide open world just seems like a little extra torment on top for the poor thing. Its like building a prison, with excellent uninterrupted views of Copacabana beach for the inmates.

One more thing tonight, on the news a few days ago there was a report from Afghanistan, about the efforts to improve the infrastructure in Kabul, building roads and laying pipes and other things that will ultimately turn out to be a waste of time and effort, and I noticed the Afghan workmen all wearing Hi-Viz vests, and I thought, even in Kabul, with all those other things that may have an influence on when you turn your toes up, Health and Safety still have you in Hi-Viz vests, how dangerous a place does it need to be before they say, forget it mate, it doesn't matter.

Sorry, one more, one more thing. I'm no Blair fan, but I think Tony Blair giving his book advance and royalties to charity is the absolutely right thing to do, and in fact no public servant of that statute should profit in that way really, but its mean, I think, to accuse him of doing it unwillingly, or as a sign of guilt or conscience at the deaths and injuries from the war. I expect he does have a heavy conscience in many ways, but he couldn't win in this instance, he really was damned if he did and damned if he didn't so we should take it for what it is, a charitable donation to a very worthy cause and remember that Blair is damned anyway.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And there will be no BEVVEYING

My lum is fair reeking,

I enjoy writing this little blog, it is of course not going to win any Pulitzer prizes but I have a bit of fun doing it and to be honest, it gives me something to think about. But any kicks I get from it are multiplied ten fold when someone leaves a little comment, so thanks to Mr Michael R and any one else that has over the past few months. At the very least it lets me know someone reads it from time to time, but to think it motivates a person to think and then do something with that thought is really quite thrilling.

Its been three months or so with my anti-apple HTC Desire Android phone, so I think a user update will be of public service, and you never know, if someone from HTC or Google reads it, they might leave a comment too, though in this particular instance, free stuff would be better. Lets get one thing out the way first, I love it. Even in the face of that i-phone 4 and its "this changes everything, again" advertising slogan. Well, they got that right, it has changed everything, now we know Apple can make an arse of things too, and perhaps they are not all cloned geniuses.
Anyway, back to the HTC. I love the Apps, though a little too many of those useless novelty apps beginning to sneak into the store, Google apps are generally brilliant and well thought out and easy to use. I'm loving Latitude, though I've only got one pal listed on it, still it will tell me when we're close by, and we can wave across the road at each other and text hello. Speaking of texting, the only little gripe I have is about predictive text. On numerous occasions i have sent away a message, placing perfect trust in the predictive numskulls inside my handset, only to look at it later and think, It must be like receiving a message from the policeman in Allo, Allo. The other little negative stoking my lum is the battery life, it lasts a day, but not with bluetooth, or Wi-Fi on. But all in all, I like it and would recommend it to anyone.

Jimmy Reid passed away today. Most I expect wont really have noticed, or even know who I'm talking about but he was perhaps one of the most admirable Scotsmen of the last 50 years.
Back in the early 70s, when the nationalised shipbuilding yards of the upper Clyde were threatened with closure he led a very unusual, and very successful industrial action that had Scottish socialism and Scottish pragmatism stamped all over it.
Instead of organising a strike, or a sit in, or a go slow, or a work to rule, all those ultimately destructive and confrontational actions that went so far later in the decade to crippling the UK's manufacturing capacity, he led a work in.
He knew that if he led the workers out the yard, they would lock the gates and that would be that, what Jimmy Reid argued was that the yards were viable, and they were mistaken in wanting to close them and he set out to show them that the Scottish working man could do just that in an inspiring and disciplined way.
As shop steward he addressed the thousands of at risk shipbuilders, it was televised and went on to be broadcast around the world. I was too young to remember it at the time, but even years later I was still aware of it, and I think its this more than any other thing that has left a slight socialist mark on me, one that I'm pleased with, even proud of in this day and age. So, he stands up in front of these hard arsed welders and grafters to tell them what the union was going to do.

"We are not going on strike. We are not even having a sit-in strike. Nobody and nothing will come in and nothing will go out without our permission. And there will be no hooliganism, there will be no vandalism and there will be no bevveying, because the world is watching us"

And it worked, the government relented, changed their plans and some say the only reason there are still ships built in Govan and Scotstoun today is because of what Jimmy Reid inspired and the positive action he led the people to take.
In some ways he filled a very Scottish brief, working class, from humble beginnings, rooted in the poverty of pre-war industrial Glasgow, but a man who learns, expresses himself intellectually for the common good of the put upon, going on to become one of our finest journalists, broadcasters and even philosphers, yet never forgetting why.
I've nicked a piece from the BBC website tonight, in an unprecedented step for the Reeking Lum, I'll paste it below, hopefully because I've paid my TV licence I'm entitled too, it paints a little colour of what went on in Govan in 1971. Apologies for the multitude of fonts.
RIP Jimmy Reid, lang may yer lum reek.
Jimmy Reid brought the British Government's attention to the Scottish shipbuilding industry by organising a work-in of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in 1971.

The communist shop-steward helped to reverse the decision of the British Government to close the ship yards. Edward Heath took a U-turn and announced a £35 million injection of cash into the yards at Govan, Scotstoun and Linthouse.
Within three years, shipbuilding on the Upper Clyde had received around £101 million of public grants and credits, with £20 million going to the UCS.
In a revealing interview to the BBC programme UK Confidential, Reid explains how he gained support for his cause from celebrities such as John Lennon and how he went about organising the campaign.
Why did you go for the work-in in 1971?

Workers at the Clyde ship yard
8,500 jobs in the yard were at stake with the closure of UCS
Because it was the only logical effective form of opposition to closure. Strike action was unthinkable, we would have left the factory, the yards and that would have delighted the government because they would have put padlocks on the gates. So that was out.
We did consider a second strike but I reckon it was far too negative that, and we had an enormous order book, plenty of work and the logical thing was, why don't we work-in, refuse to accept redundancy and work.

It seems to me talking to former government ministers from that time, you really surprised the government with what you did. Did you really expect to surprise them as much as you did?
Yes I've no doubt that the form of the struggle that we had adopted took everything, everyone aback, and not only that but the way we elucidated, we explained our case. For example when asked; "what if the police came in, what are you going to do?" We won't resist, we are not violent, they will need to come and drag us out. We would only resist in that respect.
You're talking about eight thousand workers, overwhelmingly family men with kids.
This was an image that I think the chief constables told the government that they couldn't guarantee that their members, that is the policemen, would carry that out, because it would alienate the whole community.

Why did you not buy the government's argument that - and I'm just putting their argument, they said, this is not commercially viable?
Their case was untrue. The facts didn't tally.
We had agreements we had reached about the interchangeability of certain work grades and all the rest of it that were quite significantly ahead of anything else in British shipbuilding, and so we had these things going.
Now the truth of the matter is, as the Ridley report clearly shows, this was Nicholas Ridley in the opposition. He had produced this report, secret, confidential, and it suggested a number in the shadow Cabinet including Heath and Margaret Thatcher who was a minister at the time, saying, we should butcher the Upper Clyde and sell its assets cheaply to those in the Lower Clyde.
The significant difference was that the Upper Clyde was publicly owned, and the Lower Clyde was privately owned.
And Ridley as we all now know, and everyone knows but we knew it at the time, was a Thatcherite before the term was coined. And that's why when you look back to these times, we had been sacrificed at the altar of a political ideology. It was a political ideology of Thatcherism before Margaret Thatcher embraced it.
Now you received support from across the world and I believe that one of the people you received support from was somebody you thought was a revolutionary. Can you tell me that story?
Yes we had a press conference. So you get this crowded press room and they're answering the questions and some of the stewards that were guarding the gate as it were, I don't mean guarding in any sense except making sure what was going on and what was going out was acceptable.

John Lennon supported the workers
John Lennon supported the workers
So they come in and they said: "Hey Jimmy you've got a big wagon wheel out there of roses for you". I'd never received flowers from anybody, not the done thing in Clydeside for a man to get flowers and so I said: "Who's it from?" He says: "I don't know but there's a cheque here," and he looked and all he could see was Lennon, L-e-n-n-o-n. He said: "Lennon, some guy called Lennon".
One of the old communist shop stewards from Dumbarton, he says, "it cannae be Lenin, he's dead".

That's amazing, having pop stars supporting your campaign.
Well not only pop stars. It was people in the entertainment industry in general.
I think Jack Bruce came out of retirement to give a concert for us in London and Eric Clapton.
So stars together, put on a show for us in Glasgow, it was like a royal command performance, all coming and queuing.
But that's less important than the weekly contributions and children having little jumble sales at street corners and churches.
Believe it or not we actually got regular contributions from a Conservative party constituency association that thought we were right and the government was wrong and the money poured in, and then from abroad, all over Europe.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Twats, Toy Story and Mojitos

Lums of the World, listen up.

The City of London. A living, breathing monument to Great Britain. When you see that enormous Union flag flying above the Palace of Westminster, you cant help but be impressed and even proud to be a part of this nation. In the City, and in Canary Wharf, the towering glass and steel monoliths to capitalist endeavour are also stand testament to our "greatness".
The shadows they cast probably have more rental value than anything I can even imagine.
In these lofty halls, deals are made, mountains of money are willed into existence just by the power of a compelling presentation and a colourful chart or graph, and the fate of everyone of us is held under the enter button of a leveraged hedge fund managers laptop.

Its a shame then that those glinting gables and heaven brushing ivory spires are populated by such a singular collection of twats and nobs. I can perhaps understand why they have to be wankers at work, after all, if they spend all day stealing pensions or making 50,000 people jobless, it must be hard to come over as a right decent bloke, but for the general betterment of mankind, and especially the mankind that is me, leave it in the office.

I had the dubious fortune to be placed on a table next to a knot of these toads earlier today.
I thought I would spend the early afternoon in the very agreeable Greenwich. I bought a book, ironically, its called How They Blew It its about the CEOs and entrepreneurs behind the worlds most catastrophic business failures.

I found a nice little beer garden, The Gypsy Moth, right beside the sooty, charred remains of The Cutty Sark, where I could enjoy a couple of pints of the black stuff and leisurely flick through the pages, chortling at the comedy that I would derive from former multi-billionaires losing all their money.

A busy little place on a sunny summer afternoon, I had no choice but to be placed next to a table of guffawing hoorays that were, at 2pm, already plastered and playing drinking games. Two of them looked like boss types, in that they were much fatter and louder than the rest and one of them kept mentioning that he was "the head of UK". Theses two had the stock weekend uniform on, jeans slung low under their hogshead sized belly's and the Ralph Lauren shirt on, tucked in, and sleeves rolled up. That's important, because it gives the rest of us a chance to admire their wrist watches.

I take a special interest in these things, some might say a consuming obsession fuelled by galloping jealousy, and of the eight crowing cider quaffing tools I noticed, one Rolex Daytona, a Bell & Ross, an Audemars Piguet and a U-Boat and what could have been a Rolex Submariner, or Omega Seamaster. That's about twenty-five grand there.

I shouldn't be jealous and bitter, I expect they have all worked hard for their shiny baubles, and I would certainly rather they wore a watch than went about with their nuts hanging out which is what they would have to do if we all were part of the Dibate tribe of Western Ethiopia. The rest of the party was made up by hangers on and ambitious younger types, in rugger shirts and laughing at all the bosses jokes, already condemned to a life of relentless corporate toadying and the politics of the brown nose.

On reflection perhaps I could have avoided sitting next to them. I could have picked up a chair and smashed it over the head of UKs head, then recovered the splintered legs and drove them into the breasts of the rest of them, aiming for their heart of course, but realise hitting something so tiny and flinty would probably be optimistic.

Mind you I was back in Glasgow last week. Arriving at Central station I always get a little thrill from knowing your entering a city that isn't pretentious, it is what it is, take it or leave it, love it or loathe it. The shiny buildings put up on Broomielaw do remind me of the new dental veneers that a toothy old tramp might buy with his lottery winnings, but behind that the buildings and streets stand testament to the wealth and ingenuity that made it the second richest city in the world at one time. It was probably full of steam age twats back then too.

Right, now that's my rant out of the way I can get on with telling you about the rest of my week.

Where I live, its very multi cultural. As lots of Britain is now, there are lots of Africans just arrived and lots of them haven't gotten into the way of dressing like the rest of us, in drab blues and greys. The women often look fantastic in rainbow coloured robes with gold braiding and impossible hats, but the men, that's another story. There was a man in the High Street the other day wearing a suit that looked like it was made from discarded sweety wrappers from a tin of Quality Street. Toffee pennies, chocolate toffee fingers and orange cremes to be particular. Gold and orange hoops, not only the jacket, the trousers too, fantastic. Sundays are especially noteworthy, as the numerous African churches around the place like to empty out into the street then go on a chanting, drum bashing, dancing parade through the town centre. It was like Rorke's Drift down there today.

I was desperate to see Toy Story 3, but down here I am in the premature predicament of not having any kids that I can legitimately take to the pictures as cover. Going alone seemed the slightly less awkward option, the other involved, duck tape, an unattended child and an abduction and there was noway I'd get duck tape in Canary Wharf. Toy Story 3 is perfection laid down on celluloid. It is quite simply the most entertaining, emotional and dazzling piece of cinema I have ever, ever seen.
Over the three films we as an audience have grown to love these characters, but not as much you feel as the people making the movie. The quality of the writing is another thing that sets it apart. Pixar in general have this down to a tee. They write to get a laugh or whatever, but know that the audience will be kids and grown-ups, but the jokes they give us are written in a way that we all get them and find them funny together.
You look at the other animated films that are meant to appeal to both kids and adults. They will be stuffed full of child friendly characters that the kids will love, but telling jokes that only adults will really get, they have segregated the audience. Shark Tale is the best example with all the Goodfellas and Godfather references. How is an eight year old meant to make sense of that.

I saw Wolfman this week too. The new one with Anthony Hopkins and Benicio del Torro. I liked it, it was an old fashioned werewolf movie like Hammer House of Horror used to make, not like these new ones full of anaemic looking teenagers all getting their shirts off in the woods and trying to look menacing with their moody glares.

Other events this week include meeting up with an old colleague and taking full advantage of Mojito happy hour in some bar. I cant of course say, type or even think Mojito without thinking of Brian in Family Guy....Mojiiiiitoooo!

Next night, off too a comedy club in Leicester Sq with workmates. Another good night out, though its strange how you can never remember the jokes. I do remember the compere being funny and two out of three comics being quite good, and a heckler who thought he was humour embodied in man, he even stood up and did a little bow when he delivered a couple of "killer" ripostes. Oh dear, another planet sized tool. I suppose that's the thing with living in a capital city the size of this, you are never more than a few feet from a trumpeting total twat, with a capital T.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yasser Arafat, Rod Stewart and The Chinese

Iv'e had a hectic week lummers,

Lets start last weekend.
I have had it in my head for a while to buy a camera. As is my wont, I've read all the magazines and researched all the best buy guides and plumped for a Canon G11. A digital compact, but not one of those fiddly ones that get lost in your hands when your trying to take a snap and you press three buttons at once and end up with a picture that is actually more of a concept and could get hung on the wall at Tate modern, when all you wanted to do was get a pic of Anton Du Boak tripping and falling under a bicyle rickshaw.

Its a proper camera looking thing that makes proper click-clack camera shutter noises, though the camera on my phone does that with no moving parts. Anyway, its expensive, and I know I can get it on the Internet for £60 less than the high street, so I'm determined to seek out the best buy I can. My search took me into central London and specifically, Edgeware Road.

If you have never been to Edgeware Rd, and lets face it, unless your Yasser Arafat looking for a cheroot shop its unlikely, let me try and tell you what its like. Before I do, one more thing on Yasser Arafat, a girl down the bottom of my road in Dunblane, a pal of my big sister, used to go out with his nephew. Well, that's what he told her and why would you lie about that. If you wanted to impress a young Scots bird with your Arabic family connections, I think Omar Sharif or someone would be a better bet, not the beardy old leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Walking into Edgeware Rd is like stepping out of the costume shop in Mr Benn, one minute your in Oxford St, the shitty end right enough, but the retailing gem in the heart of capitalist darkness nonetheless, turn a corner and the next minute your in little Lebanon, Beirut without the bombed out buildings. Fruits stands, halal butchers and Arabic cafes, spilling out onto the street with big plush sofas and generous hanging canopies that Gaddafi would feel at home in.
They all had hosts of men in them, drinking there tiny china cups of tea and sooking on their enormous ornate hookahs that gave off this gorgeous liquorice aroma and jibber jabbing a thousand conversations in that attractive arabic tongue that sounds like they need to clear there throats of phlegmy tar every two minutes. One True God knows what they were talking about, bomb plots probably.

The reason I was there was for the electronics shops that you find in these places. Tiny shop fronts, windows full of last decades tech with brand names like Satsumi and Minceoni, but there was always a hope they kept the good stuff out the back, a stupid misplaced hope as it turns out, it was all a complete waste of time.
Burqa wearing ladies have been in the press a lot lately, and I did have the opportunity to see a lot of them during this saunter into the Middle East of West London. They are quite unusual and even a bit sinister when you see them, but I think its all to do with the colour.
They should bring them out in some new summery themes, maybe Laura Ashley could do a line of floral prints. Reds out of the question obviously, they would look like mobile post boxes, pensioners would be forever trying to post their TV licence renewals into there faces.
I was thinking soft pastel shades of lilac, or eggshell blue, that would lighten the mood when they walked in a room and instead of hearing Darth Vaders signature tune, it would be all birdsong and nice non threatening winsome tunes.
I think I'll take this to my local Imam, and see what he says.

We had a office party this week, in the O2 arena, well, a little nightclub in the O2 arena and it coincided with a Rod Stewart concert which was on the main concert hall. He attracts a funny crowd, all ages, shapes and sizes. A good number had Celtic strips on with Stewart and the Number 1 on the back. How could Rod Stewart ever have played in goal with those legs, ridiculous. Englishmen also should not wear a kilt unless they have been on a six week course and passed a test on how to actually wear a kilt. They have a habit of wearing it on their hips, like a pair of jeans, which of course makes it far too long and I saw loads of them with kilts half way down their calfs looking more like washed up Vivien Westwood models wearing her old ballgowns thay had managed to blag twenty years ago.

Standing on the tube station platform on the way home, as the train came in it slowed and passed me by before stopping, I saw all these people inside whizzing past and I thought of one of those wheel of fortune games at Las Vegas, you dont know what your going to get until it stops and the doors open. It could be a Lithuanian netball team, a carriage full of pumped up adolescent gangsta rappers or swivel eyed raving mouth breathers wanting to alternately be your best friend and kill, rape and eat you. Its the Lottery Tube of Life.

I couldn't resist nipping into Yummy on the way home, you will remember that is the name of my local Chinese take away. Yummy, not The Golden Yummy, or The Yummy Lantern, or even just The Yummy Yummy. It could be called The Reeking Yum, that would be good. But anyway, I digress, I wanted chips and curry sauce, a staple of the Scots diet, but when I got home I found it didn't come all ready combined in a silver tray with a fork, it came in a paper bag with an accompanying tub of curry sauce. That could have been disastrous if I had wanted to eat them on the way home. How would I have managed that? They gave us gunpowder, toiletpaper and the hydraulic powered armillary sphere, but these Chinese couldn't even give me a takeaway to eat on the way home.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Evening Reekers,

There is a house across the road with a great big home made banner hanging out the window that says, "Happy 1st Birthday Ruby". Who is that for, I cant imagine Ruby being all that impressed at 1 year old.

Thats one imponderable but please take a minute to ponder on these imponderables: Well, it stopped me sinking deeper into my own personal pit of despair for a wee while.

1. If you take an Oriental person and spin them around several times, does he become disoriented?

2. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from
Holland called Holes?

3. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

4. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

5. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

6. Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

7. When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?

8. Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a racing car not called a racist?

9. Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

10. Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?

11. Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?

12. 'I am' is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language.
Could it be that 'I do' is the longest sentence?

13. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow
That electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged,
Models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

14. What hair colour do they put on the driver's licences of bald men?

15. I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use? Toothpicks?

16. Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What
Are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the postmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?

17. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

18. No one ever says, 'It's only a game' when their team is winning.

19. Ever wonder about those people who spend £2.00 a piece on those
Little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards: NAIVE

20. Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing
Section in a swimming pool?

22. OK, so if the Jacksonville Jaguars are known as the 'Jags' and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are known as the 'Bucs,' what does that make the Tennessee Titans?

23. If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhoea, does that mean that one
Enjoys it?

24. Why if you send something by road it is called a shipment, but when you send it by sea it is called cargo?

25. If a convenience store is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365
Days a year, why are there locks on the door?

Lang may yer lum reek

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thrill seeking donkeys and Lord Poshos top hat

Hello Reeking Lums of the World.

I have to reek something about the outreekgeous outrage shown this week at the Russian para-sailing donkey.

First confusion, I thought for a moment that it was a live action version of Shrek, "You might have seen a housefly, maybe even a superfly, but I bet you ain't never seen a donkey fly. Ha, ha".
Then I thought it was maybe the Kazakhstani Rapid Reaction Force on manoeuvres, but, no, it wasn't.

I read the story, and have to say, it could have been written by someone that witnessed my one and only para-sailing episode.

Anyone that was there that day in Limassol in April, 2006, would have heard some disconcerting noises drifting down from the heavens, some may even say baying, and I also landed atrociously and was dragged out the sea apparently half dead. At least the donkey didn't crap all over the sunbathers on the beach. No, I didn't either, but the thought of it made me chuckle, oh, and I paid for the experience.

Normally a donkey has to get stuck in quick sand or wander down some impossible gully before the RAF come and sling it under a Chinook before it gets a once in a life time experience like that for free.

In truth of course, it was a bit of a liberty by a couple of Russian wide boys, but lets all keep our hair on here. There not chucking concrete slabs off motorway bridges or getting together in gangs and battering charity walkers, two more stories I read in the paper today.

Most of the idle outraged will turn a deefy, as we say in Glasgow, to rabbits getting shampoo sprayed in their eyes or dogs being made to drink brandy, smoke cigarettes and play poker in dingy basements. Oh, how i despair, in two years time we'll be eating donkeys probably.

I see Lord Snooty has been over kissing Americas arse and all that bending and puckering is, I dare say, why he left his top hat and monocle at home. A wise move, and also to avoid mentioning the shares his family are still probably holding in the Royal African Company, look it up, it has a noble and distinguished history. Is it just me, or does Cameron leap just a little too readily, and indeed higher than is dignified, when America says jump.

He looks the part, I'll give him that, and he's easier on the eye than Gordon Brown, who I hear is even having trouble getting a commemorative Toby jug made that doesn't turn beer sour. But Cameron's all fur coat and no knickers, I suspect hes a moral husk of a man, there is just nothing there of substance, but whatever strings and levers are making him work, they are well hidden for now.

Still, maybe that's better than a man of evil, dark substance. I guess we'll all find out soon enough. Do you think he will visit the soup kitchens like George VI visited the bombed out east end, or will he just venture on to the doorstep of No10, express his gratitude at the sacrifices made by Britain's working classes, to help redistribute the nations wealth into the hands of those that it rightfully belongs too, Lord Posho and all his other pals who's great great grandpapas made a fortune out of tobacco, ivory and shafting every lesser born creature encountered.

Lang may yer lum reek

Monday, July 19, 2010

A one armed dishwasher and a man in Crocs, theres only one way to settle this....FIGHT

Awright me chinas,

I was convinced the other evening that Richard O'Sullivan, in an attempt to recapture his fame and sitcom popularity of the late 70s had spent the last 24 years since his last acting job, closeted away behind the boarded up windows of his failed bistro, the crockery broken by Albert Riddle, scrunching underfoot, obsessively building a time machine out of old catering equipment and tarnished cutlery, and that it had worked, creating a tear in space and time, allowing the 70s to seep and spew into the 21st Century.

What could have convinced me of, well on the face of it, this quite unlikely occurrence. Well, 1) an encounter, not once but twice with a gentleman wearing an impressive Ron Burgundy moustache, longish, nape length hair in a side parting swept behind the ears like he's just nipped out for an hour from being in Spinal Tap and a safari suit, Lewisham can get a bit wild, but its not the heart of darkness , 2) a George and Mildred motorbike and sidecar, a right old one, with a fabric fairing, spluttering and popping noisily through the town centre, and lastly 3) when I went to get a new bottle of Irn Bru from my local Dick Turpins, sorry Tescos, its shelf space had been annexed by Barracloughs Old Cream Soda and Irn Bru, in some kind of carbonated beverage ethnic cleansing, had been "removed". Well, it was obvious to me anyway, though, it turned out to be a series of not at all related coincidences and seems to merely have been the meanderings of an idle mind barely ticking over.

I read last week, for the story must have slipped past the Tory bad news bears that are charged with painting a very grim picture of 2010s Great Britain, that it seems in the past 10 years, crime has fallen 43%.
Now I know that maybe their is room for error or a bit of inaccurate representation with the way figures are collected, but 43%? I don't think the fudge and spin champions of New Labour could even get away with that.
That was heartening but it went on to claim, and all this was in the BBC by the way, not the Socialist Worker or The Mirror, that Britain's elderly enjoy, along with Australian old folk, the best standards of care in the world, better than Americans, the Scandanivians and even the Cubans. That's quite good isn't it? I expect in 5 years time, crime will have risen 50% and there may well be no elderly given that all the ones that haven't froze to death will be back at work.

I saw a man in Crocs as well the other day, now that is a fashion faux pas if ever I saw one, shoes should be made out of recycled cows, not reclaimed baldy tyres and broken crayons.
Now, a man bag, that is certainly not a fashion faux pas, though man bag does make it sound like one. I prefer, like Alan in The Hangover, satchel. Satchel is much more masculine. Miners wear satchels, they carry their big sticks of dynamite in them, crack shot black ops snipers I dare say have them, to keep their bullets in, firemen, Alaskan crab fishermen even postmen have satchels, that's why I have been considering one, but before i go and buy a nice leathery one, I thought I'd try out a cheaper though I must say, ironically trendy model,, so for the next few weeks I shall be commuting with a stylish Eastpack Messenger , er, satchel, today I particularly enjoyed strolling about with both my hands in my pockets, and safe in the knowledge that my stuff is following, slung behind .

When was the last time you were stung by a nettle? Its been probably 20 years for me and I had totally forgotten how bloody sore it was, much sorer than nasty malevolent wasps, or standing barefoot on some Lego. Its the lions mane jellyfish of horticulture, and I'm sure I seen this one leaning into me and with not a doc leaf in site, I now know how Steve Irwin must have felt.

Travelling back to London at the weekend, I managed to grab a little bit of The Open on the TV at Prestwick Airport. Its great they have TV, because in every other way, it resembles one of those airports I've seen in Africa, that were built in 1970, with foreign money hoping to give whatever country paid for it, first bagsies on all the gold and diamonds.
That's a simple observation, and here is another one. What they do is turn the telly volume off, and rely on the supplied subtitles to provide the commentary, but there is something odd about that.

I used to think that it was someone back at BBC centre, listening to everything the commentators said, then busily typing it into an old teletext machine.
But now I think that may not be the case and they have given the job to a piece of software, written by a non-English speaking first year apprentice just off the coach from Poland. Here is an example of the commentary I got to enjoy, Paul Casey's second shot to the 1st, beautifully flighted over the burn and landing two feet from the pin, that's what I saw, what I heard, though really saw, through my sub-titled commentary was " Denise spend a little at the knees end - safely over the water". WTF was that???

Finally, fed up being to heavy and lazy, I have decided to join a gym, of course, the cheapest gym I could find which means it kind of resembles the exercise block on some brutal American prison drama. I feel even more intimidated in gyms than i do in bookies shops, its the fear of being noticed taking all the weights off the machines and not knowing how they work and not having DEFINITION, and we haven't even got into the showers yet??

Lang may yer lum reek.