Black Friday – Thinking Out Loud!

Thank feck it’s Friday … Yeee-haaa!

Been a long week .. trains disrupted, getting clamped .. I want a beer .. or 6.

Black Friday seems to be taking hold in the UK . .. but don’t believe the hype.

The shops were jam-packed full of bargain shit that you really don’t want, not the good stuff that you do.

They were also full of people going absolutely mad for the bargains, losing the plot, getting violent and refusing to leave even although all the stock was gone.


How desperate do you need to be, to be waiting outside a shop half the night to be at the front of the queue?

Just to save a few quid .. are you kidding?

Me .. I was interested in one of these 4K Ultra HD tvs, not that I actually need one.

But as you know want and need are 2 different things

I’ve been looking for a while and hanging around John Lewis at weekends .. making up my mind, decided on a Sony as you can’t really go wrong with Sony, it’s a bit more expensive than the Samsung or LG but has the latest HVEC codec to make it future proof.

But none of these 4K tvs were included in today’s deals .. funny that!

I will admit to being kind of glad as my sensible side says don’t be stoopid .. you’ve already got 2 big HD tellies and hardly watch them.

But I want one!

Tonight, going to my ex-works night out in Glasgow .. looking forward to catching up with everyone.

My mate Alex will be there, not seen him for a while .. so could be carnage!

A couple of tunes for today .. love this Tom Odell tune .. as featured in the John Lewis Christmas advert … very melancholic, sad, but positive .. going to teach myself that on piano.

Love this Ed Sheeran song Thinking Out Loud ..  totally agree with the message .. people fall in love in mysterious ways.   The girl in the video is gorgeous.

And how about this poppy rubbish from back in the day by Wang Chung .. always makes me smile.

Train Stories – Clamped!

So there I was on the train home,  minding my own business after a long days slog.

Getting home at 7pm is just too late,   I’m feeling tired,  my sugar levels are dropping since I only had soup for lunch.

Sainsbury’s tomato, lentil and red pepper ..  very tasty and counts as 2 of my 5 a day ..  but not a lot for a growing bhoy!

I’m looking forward to getting some food, putting my feet up and doing absolutely nothing for the evening.

But as I walk back to my car .. I can see this yellow thing on the wheel.

I’m thinking .. what’s that?

Then I realise that I’ve been clamped.


How very dare they clamp me!

I check my road tax and it was up at the end of October .. 3 weeks ago .. okay I hadn’t noticed .. my mistake .. hands up.

But why not put a ticket on the window and I’ll pay the fine and get it up to date?

Clamping is just a rude, invasive,   unnecessary use of force,  it’s not as if I don’t pay my road tax .. and on both my cars .. so why not just bang me with a fine and  I’ll pay up and take the medicine.

But it’s late,  I’m tired,  hungry and the thought of walking 20 minutes up that hill in the cold just isn’t appealing to me.

I’m going quietly mental .. but I’m fairly controlled .. there’s no point shouting and bawling about it  .. because who would be listening .. and what are they going to do anyway?

Besides,  I’m a pragmatic kind of guy.

If you fuck me about,  I’m not going to say anything … I’m going to do something.

That Al Capone Scene from The Untouchables is playing in my head .. “I want them dead,  I want their family dead,  I want their house burned to the ground!”

Unfortunately,  it looks like if I attempt to drive away,  the clamp will do more damage to my car rather than the other way around.

I’ve got a bundle of tools in my garage, crowbars, sledge-hammers,  I could possibly walk up to the house 20 minutes uphill and then walk back,  but again that’s just going to cause more damage .. and if I don’t get the thing off .. more hassle for interfering with the device.

It seems like an acetylene torch is my only option.

I’m quite comfortable with that kind of stuff, welding and cutting although haven’t used them for many moons since my shipyard days.

I’m thinking,  I could jump a taxi up to B&Q and buy one,  cut the thing off,  deny all knowledge .. tell them to prove it.

That would be a hoot and a real fuck-you to these little Hitler bastards .. who are making a buck enforcing a stupid law.

But it’s going to cost me about 400 quid .. more than any fine .. and I’ll still be paying the road-tax anyway.

Fortunately my sensible side is saying .. don’t be stupid .. calm the fuck down and what’s the legal position?

I had believed that you couldn’t be clamped in Scotland,  but that turns out only to be on private land,  not in the public street.

I googled the third-party company who are implementing the clamping,    apparently with changes in the road-tax laws they have recently been contracted to enforce it .. and are clearly taking their work very seriously .. I wonder if they get paid by the clamp .. of it it’s a standard retainer and bonus?

Now I’m calmer .. okay my rage is quietly bubbling under .. but I’s in control .. BASTARDS .. No honest .. it’s in control.

So I called them .. some wee girl in a call centre in the south of England-shire.

Hardly her fault I’ve been clamped.   So no point in losing it with her.

But turns out,  that although they have been contracted to enforce the clamping,  they cannot actually take the money to pay the road-tax and then order the release.

She tells me that I currently have a 100 pound fine,  which gives me 24 hours to get the car taxed and call them back.

If not,  the car will be lifted the following day ( 11am this morning) and the fine jumps to 200 pounds and 20 pounds per day storage.

So I jump a taxi up the hill,  wolf my dinner now going dry in the oven,  dig out the documents and pay the road tax,  which obviously is for the full month including the period which has caused this debacle.

I call them back,   pay their 100 quid fine, plus another 160 quid refundable retainer in case I’m fibbing about paying the road tax and ask them when can my car be released

Tomorrow .. the different wee girl says ..   turns out the clampers only work day shift.

Bastards.   :-)

All calm now,   road tax set up on the new direct debit facility and this shouldn’t happen again.

But I wonder,  why should it happen at all?

Okay some scumbags don’t pay any road tax,  insurance,  have an MoT etc.

I totally support  that they should be targeted as having no MoT or insurance has real impact on road safety and affects other people.

But road tax,  don’t you think we pay enough tax .. why not abolish it and take it off our income tax and stop fucking us about.

Wherever I Lay My Hat?

Just listening to Radio 2,  as you do when you’re working!!

Jeremy Vine playing the new single by Boyzone – Wherever I lay My Hat ( That’s My Home )

The song,  originally written and released by Marvin Gaye in 1962 was part of my growing up in 1983 when released by the very handsome Paul Young.

It brought back a few memories,  not least meeting the man in Newcastle back in 1984,  when I spent the year working as a young engineer at Swann Hunter Shipyards building the Ark Royal aircraft carrier.

A couple of hundred Glasgow guys living in Whitley Bay . .. what a hoot!

Working the nightshift,  starting at 7pm,  getting the work done for 12 then if we could  jumping the wall and going dancing.

One night me and my mate John went to the grab-a-granny at The Royal Hotel in Whitley Bay,  few beers, good laugh, especially as were still on the clock.

On the way back walking along the lower prom,  John decides to go skinny-dipping in the North Sea.

He’s like  .. are you coming? ..  Aye right!

So I’m standing there as he runs down on to the beach,  then dives into the water and is rolling round in the surf.

Hmmm .. I’m thinking .. this is too good an opportunity to miss!

So I grabbed his clothes and ran back to the hotel .. which was about half a mile away up South Parade.

When I got there I battered every bedroom door on the way up to the room .. just so the other guys could share his dilemma as he came running up the street naked.

He was going to kill me!!

Happy daze!!

Don’t know about you,  but the Paul Young version is still the best.

The Good Life Project – Looking Up!

Last night, I watched this fantastic interview with Milton Glaser, the designer who, amongst other things, created the iconic I❤️NY logo.

It’s one to watch when you’ve got a spare 45 mins, definitely not a quick flick. And, in my view, well worth the time. Full of great observations on creativity, technology, learning and life.

He’s clearly a very talented, highly intelligent, yet unassuming man.

I like him a lot.

There’s a bit in it when the interviewer talks about technology being both a connector – with those far away, to deep pockets of knowledge – and a disconnecter – from those in our immediate circle, from what’s right there in front of us.

That’s very true. You see it with friends and families all the time, sitting together but all on their iPads or mobiles.

It reminded me of an excellent video poem I saw few months ago, about how we should look up from our phones and take in the world around us. You may have seen it too.

Anyway, here are both links if you’d like to watch:

Milton Glaser, the good life project:

Look up:

Pride Has To Be Earned!

Last night .. Home from work at my usual 7pm, feeling a bit tired and weary.

But to my surprise, my younger daughter Claire had dinner waiting on the table ..

And a hot mug of tea.

Hhhmmmm …,

My brains thinking … What does she want?

To giver her some credit,  I’d forgotten that it was her parent teachers meeting and my meets started at 8.

But her report card was fantastic so I wasn’t too worried about that and I’m sure she had no reason to bother either.

So that wasn’t it.

Turns out it’s her school dance in two weeks time and she wants a new outfit, dress, shoes and her hair cut and coloured.

Going to be expensive!

The PT meeting went well as expected, glowing report, both academically and also that she was growing as a person with increased confidence and leadership qualities.

It’s a private all girls school and some of her classes only have 6 kids so it would be hard not to do well academically.

But what I am most pleased about is the growth in her confidence and her ability to go out and meet the big world soon.

That sixth year really makes a difference from her being a wee girl to a young woman.

I’m very proud of her and told her so.

The thing is,  the private school has been making the best of her abilities,  but you can’t buy pride, it has to be earned.

As we ate dinner,  we were chatting about music as we both play piano and she showed me the following link .. some band doing lots of popular songs in the same chord sequence.

Now I already knew that,  for example Back For Good by Take that uses the same 4 opening chords as Beneath Your Beautiful .. ie D, Em7, G, A

But this is fab.

The Platform Lovers – Chase?

Charles was back home in Milngavie within 15 minutes, kicked of his shoes at the door and padded upstairs to say goodnight to Michelle.

As he reached the top of the stairs he could see that the room was in darkness and quietly opened the bedroom door so as not to wake her.

He whispered in case she was asleep “That’s me home, going to watch tv a while”

He was surprised when she replied “How did the meeting go?”

“It went well, I’ll fill you in on the details in the morning”

That’s should give me enough time to make something up he thought.

They bid each other goodnight.

Charles thinking all was well in his world, that his plans were coming together nicely.

Michelle thinking .. Lying bastard but it’s only a matter of time.  ( See the next blog for that! )

He wandered downstairs,  grabbed a can of Coke from the fridge, turned on the tv in the lounge,  just enough volume to let Michelle think he was watching then quietly closed the door of the study behind him.

He pulled his laptop from its case,  then his secret mobile from underneath.

Continue reading “The Platform Lovers – Chase?”

Hey Handsome?

The Erasure gig on Friday was fab, had a good time, met a couple of friends, went dancing, had fun.

Just what I needed!

Andy Bell was splendid in his sequinned sparkly shorts!

Vince Clarke behind the keyboards was his usual talented but deliberately anonymous self.

The place was absolutely packed, and I mean seriously packed.

I was politely pushing my way through the packed crowd to the downstairs bar, when somebody grabs me on the left shoulder .. as I turn they say …

“Hey Handsome .. how are you doing?”

Unfortunately it was a guy!

There was no sign of a guide-dog .. so I’m back-hand flattered!! 🙂

Got this song from Friday night Stuck in my head .. can’t stop

It’s going down, I’m yelling timber
You better move, you better dance
Let’s make a night you won’t remember
I’ll be the one you won’t forget

What Type Of Person Are You?

Like me,  you probably were aware that the online systems, google, amazon, ad-aware etc are collecting statistics on what kind of people we are.

Of course they do,  they know where we shop,  what we buy etc.   They then use this information so they can target us with ads for products we may be interested in.

Unfortunately, we don’t usually get to see the data that they’ve collected.

However, the following site shows the figures that they have collected and are providing to marketing companies on the demographics of what foods we eat,  what type of music you like if you shop in Tesco instead of Sainsbury’s.

It makes interesting reading.

For example most Celtic supporters are 40-49, are based in Central Scotland,  are politically on the left,  like Rod Stewart and Modern Family.

Compare that with the UKIP who are aged 60+, live on the south coast of England, are politically right wing and enjoy Cliff Richard and Dads Army

Who would have thunk it?!!

Have a play!


Tonight Erasure play The O2 Academy Glasgow,  got tickets but not sure if I’m going.

Although playing this now and remembering the last time I saw them,  why not!!

#nowtv – Bargain Christmas Viewing.

You may be aware that I don’t really watch a lot of tv, life’s far too busy for that.

But late at night, I’ll have a browse, see what’s on, do a bit of catch-up, maybe watch a box-set such as Homeland or Breaking Bad.

I have Netflix which for £6m per month isn’t bad value, particularly if you use a VPN to access US content taking the amount of viewable movies from 4k to 20k. Instructions for this here below.

At the weekend, I came across the following deals for Now TV, which is part of the SKY network.

Personally, I refuse to give SKY the money for their full entertainment package. This is currently £42pm for movies and sports with another £10 to make that HD and a further £10 for each set-top box that you want enabled.

That all adds up and as I’m not particularly interested in sports apart from when Celtic are playing then it’s just not economic.

However .. the current deal with Now TV is that for £20, you get one tiny box plus 2 months access to the all live SKY movies plus lots and I mean lots of other current and classic films on demand. The choice is more current and better quality than Netflix it has to be said.

But even better than that, for this 20 quid, you get to register 4 devices and watch on 2 at any given time.

That means my son can use it on his PlayStation or I can watch on my apple tv in the living room or the girls in the tv room etc .. obviously 2 of us viewing movies simultaneously.

With Christmas coming and with more time to sit down and watch a movie, I think that’s a pretty fantastic deal.

To make it even better, there is an alternative option to buy a box with a 4 month movies pass for 35 quid which is fantastic.

However, why not buy 2 boxes, with 2 month passes for £40 and as the passes are not concurrent, register only one pass at a time, then you’ll have 2 sets of boxes plus your other devices, iPad etc. viewing full SKY movies for 4 months.



Loving this new song by The Script

Band Aid 30 – Why The Criticism?

What do you make of this fuss about a few pop singers trying to raise funds to fight Ebola in West Africa?

I work with headphones on,  usually listening to Radio 2 for the music of my lifetime,  topically debate or chat with whatever latest artist is plugging their new album,  movie or show.

The song featured on Saturdays X-Factor and was release on Monday this week.

I was browsing the repeat of XF late on Sunday night,  flicking through the ads and usual condescending crap,   but then Sir Bob Geldof appeared, touting the new song.

My first impression,  what the hell are you doing on this place of over-commercialism?

But Bob as always was sincere and direct,  I like that about him.

To paraphrase his message “There is a crisis,  people need help,  so get your money out and donate”

Good for you Bob,  succinct and straight to the point.

On release the song sailed to the top of the charts and I’d imagine it will be there right through the Christmas period.

But now,  the media is full of complaints and cynicism.

Adele,  on being asked why she didn’t take part in the single,  responded saying that she doesn’t need to be told how to spend her money or what causes to donate to by a bunch of celebrities including a few who don’t pay their expected taxes.

I take her point.

I don’t need to be told how to spend my hard earned cash,  neither do you

In the media,  many people are questioning the tax schemes operated by celebrities including Bono saying if they are so rich,  then why aren’t they paying their proper taxes and how dare they ask us to donate?

I take their point too.

But does it matter what tax regimes these people operate?   Is that a valid reason not to donate?   If there is an issue with Bono’s tax schemes,  then there are authorities to deal with this and this is currently being actively pursued,  refer to Jimmy Carr and Take That for examples.

On yesterday’s show,   the author of a separate charity single for fighting Ebola in Africa was complaining that there was no need to have a UK single as people could buy his song,  which is more about spreading a practical message of dealing with Ebola rather than a more whimsical charity Christmas song.

I honestly don’t understand his point at all?    Yes his song may be more informative and practical,  but having listened to it,  who’s going to buy it?    Apart from people making a donation for the right reasons,  it’s just not commercial enough to be of interest to the average UK ear.

More so, what I don’t understand is why would anyone so directly involved with raising funds to fight the disease criticise other attempts at assistance rather than welcome it?

People will buy the Geldof song because its commercial,  a feel-good sing-a-long with a message of hope.

People like to think that they are doing something, even if it’s small,  what would you expect them to do?   Jump the next flight to Nigeria with a crate full of Dettol?

People do what they can,  if its choosing to spend their pocket-money on a stupid song,  then that’s totally fine by me.

Personally, I find the song naïve, sickly,  condescending “Buy the song, stop,  the virus” .. yeah that’s how it works?

But that doesn’t matter.

All the criticism, justified or not,  doesn’t matter.

Feel free to take all the easy cheap shots you like,  but you’re missing the central issue,  Just get your money out and put it with your big mouth is.

What does matters is people are dying out there.  Dying in abject misery.  Kids whose parents can’t hold them in their final moments for fear of catching the virus.

Can you imagine that if it was you?   Would you hold your child,  knowing you’d be next or would you save yourself?

Personally,  I’d hold my child,  life would be meaningless without them.    I think most of us would be the same.

So,  despite all the fuss,  all the reasons to criticise,  I hope that the song goes global and raises more than the original song did 30 years ago.

As a side note,  let me remind you of a wee story about Sir Bob.  He was married and had a couple of kids to Paula Yates,  she then had an affair with and left him for Michael Hutchence from INXS.  After Michael and Paula died,   their kid was left without parents,  Bob was the first person to step up to the mark taking in the child because it didn’t have a parent,  no jealousy or bitterness.   Says so much about the man.