Saturday, 30 April 2011

Who's the Daddy?

One of the best British films ever made was the brutal borstal drama, Scum, in 1979. It was the breakthrough for a young Ray Winstone who was quite brilliant as Carlin, a delinquent who ruled the roost at the borstal. His violent methods were usually followed by the words 'I'm the Daddy!'

Incidentally, as you will have gathered, I didn't watch some bloke get married on the television yesterday. I did wonder, however, if a close friend of his late mother was watching the best man do his bit...

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Two Cool Dudes...

...on Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat. I blame the parents...

Friday, 22 April 2011

Royal Wedding? Not Here, Mate...

The words below were published the other day on a website called

The royal wedding is almost upon us, and with it another reminder of our status as the subjects of an unaccountable system of privilege and power.

In light of David Cameron's reassurances that people will be allowed to freely mark this “special day”, without regard for “red tape”, we want to embrace such reassurances to express our contempt for the archaic and inherently undemocratic institution of the monarchy.

On this day, we hope to see the Royal Mile transformed into the “Republican Mile”, in a celebration of democracy and people power, and a two-fingered salute to the monarchy, the ruling classes, and all that they represent.

Bring loudhailers, sound systems, royal and political effigies; anything to make enough noise to be heard in the centres of power, whether in London or Edinburgh. If anyone knows how to perform a rain dance, please teach us, and we can endeavour to send some dark clouds to Buckingham Palace. Most importantly, bring a spirit of rebellion!

I'm not so sure anyone will need to perform a rain dance in the UK's capital but I understand the sentiments. I am already heartily sick of hearing about the royal wedding, about how the nation will be celebrating this 'great event'  - an event which is at the tax payer's expense. One week today I may well be in a darkened room, somewhere with a bottle of brandy and a set of ear plugs. Or perhaps I'll listen to the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK on my Ipod. Even my place of work has given us the day off to 'celebrate the royal wedding' As the ironically named Jim Royle might say 'celebrate, my arse!'

 C'mon the republic!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

You Never Stop Worrying...

Being a grandad and hurtling towards my half century are, perhaps, contributory factors in one of my more obvious traits i.e. I do tend to have a moan now and then. Now I realise, dear reader, you may find this hard to believe. You're sitting there thinking, surely not, isn't Mr Smith one of the happiest people in the land, never complaining, just getting on with life and always happy with his lot...? Well, I can understand you thinking this.

I woke up this morning at ten minutes to six. I usually waken at six - but today is Sunday, normally a time for a bacon roll and a lie in and a chance to try and recover from the stresses of the week. However, today I just can't get back to sleep. Pressure at work? Money worries? Younger daughter changing jobs and approaching what is a difficult time of the year for her anyway being the anniversary of the passing of her fiance? These don't help. The price of brandy increasing and Heart of Midlothian Football Club doing their best to throw away a place in next season's Europa League? True, this adds to the increase in my blood pressure. The infamous Mrs Smith giving me grief? Not really, as this has been a constant since 1982...

No, my lack of sleep may well be down to thinking about my baby grand-daughter Ava. Three weeks before her first birthday she has been sick for most of this week and there is the possibility she may have to go into hospital if things don't improve. Hopefully, she'll be fine but being a born worrier I'll be happier when she's back crawling around the floor and sinking her newly cut teeth into my fingers. I'll be heading round to see her later today along with her brother and sister who will undoubtedly set about me with their usual gusto.

Children can give you so much love and joy. But no matter how old they are you never stop worrying about them...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Dear Mr. Cameron

Please find below a suggestion for fixing the U.K's economy.

Instead of giving billions of pounds to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them £1 million each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Ten million job openings - unemployment fixed

2) They MUST buy a new British car. Ten million cars ordered - car industry fixed

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - housing crisis fixed

4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university - crime rate fixed

5) They MUST buy £100 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week .....there's your money back in duty/tax etc

6) Instead of stuffing around with the carbon emissions trading scheme that makes us pay for the major polluters, tell the greedy buggers to reduce their pollution emissions by 75% within 5 years or we shut them down.

It can't get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances...

Saturday, 9 April 2011

OMG! LOL's in the OED. LMAO!

There's an old adage that says if you can beat 'em, join 'em.

The term LOL - for the purists out there whose use of the internet or mobile phone technology is limited this means Laugh Out Loud - has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED says LOL is used as an interjection "used chiefly in electronic communications... to draw attention to a joke or humorous statement, or to express amusement".  The phrase was ushered in alongside OMG (Oh My God), with dictionary guardians pointing to their growing occurrence "in e-mails, texts, social networking... and even in spoken use".

Now I know many people consider me to be an old fogey. They probably have a point. But the term LOL does irritate me no end - and I realise by saying this I'm opening the door to people using it even more to me. It's a symptom of the modern way of communication - but why does it have to be laugh out loud? Why not just laugh? It's a modern phenomenon that people using mobile phones, particularly on public transport, feel they have to SHOUT EVERY WORD whilst on the bloody contraption. I gave up some time ago and immerse myself in my IPod so I don't have to listen to some barely coherent ned bawl down the phone.

I receive text messages and tweets on Twitter ( if you're interested - lol) with lol littered throughout. I do prefer the wee smiley faces that at least indicate a more reserved appreciation of something mildly amusing but quite often these appear as some weird hieroglyphics.

The OMG phrase is even worse but I have covered this in earlier rants so I won't go on again. Text speak is now an accepted mode of communication and I shall just have to accept it. On the odd occasions my two daughters text me it's quite often the case I'm not one hundred per cent sure what they're saying to me. It certainly isn't 'how are you Dad?' (unless a transaction of a financial nature is required)

The internet and mobile phone technology has transformed the world although it's not all good. The world is a much smaller - and more dangerous place - as a result. Occasionally, I wish it would stop and let me off.


Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mothering Sunday

For all the things I didn't say,

About how I felt along the way,

For the love you gave and the work you've done,

Here's appreciation from your admiring son.

You cared for me as a little tot,

When all I did was cry a lot,

And as I grew your work did too,

I ran and fell and got black and blue,

I grew some more and it didn't cease,

Now you had to become the police,

To worry about mistakes I'd make;

You kept me in line for my own sake.

I got older, and the story repeated;

You were always there whenever I needed.

You guided me and wished me the best,

I became wiser and knew I was blessed.

So, for all the times I didn't say,

The love I felt for you each day,

Mum, read this so you can always see

Just how much you mean to me.

To my dear Ma - thanks for everything!