Britain’s got talent

Yes, I know, I should be reading Proust or old speeches by Churchill or the history of the Ming Dynasty or something similar, but this week I’ve watched quite a bit, but not all, of Britain’s Got Talent.

And, you know what, despite some of it being truly awful, it is actually a heartelt and great piece of TV.

This is what ITV is invented for and why it still exists.

Simon Cowall calms it down; Piers Morgan grows even more likeably into his public persona, free of the shackles of editorship, and Amanda Holden is just a genuinely nice person that usuallly reflects the mood of the public.

I like this programme.

A truly adorable young lad, bullied at school, and singing soprano won on Monday night and must be the favourite.

Tonight a 12 year old schoolgirl (also a soprano) won by miles. It has to be said she does not look or act like a 12 year old. 26? OK, I’ll buy that.

My money’s on the boy.

The Power of Dreams

10 minutes ago Honda aired the first ever, modern day, live TV ad on Channel 4.

It was brave. It was creative. It was kinda flawed, but in a good way.

A bunch of skydivers jumped out of two planes and joined up in formation to, letter by letter, spell out H, O, N, D , A.

The cynics will snipe. I thought it was great though.


Because it was all, ALL, about risk. Only risk-taking clients get risk-taking ads. Only risk-taking ads make you famous.

Risk-taking is difficult but as Honda says “Difficult is worth doing.”  It was.

Honda is famous and gets all the great ads, as a client, that it deserves.

That’s why it is the UK’s best client.

I salute you Honda.

The shame is that the ad said check it out at I did. It ain’t there. Or at least it ain’t very easy to find. Doh.

Happy Birthday Dad

Dad would have been 72 tomorrow, Friday.

It’s at times like this that it strikes you how much you miss him. He’d have been in his element at some point over the weekend as we held a BBQ for him.

Him, pretending he didn’t want to be the centre of attention and loving every minute of it.

Me, telling Big Gagy Morrison not to swear too much – they always fell out at his parties – the lovable rogues that they are.

At some point over the night he’d have pulled a face like this

It’s amazing how redolent this photo of him is. His character. His individuality. I’m feeling very sad now. I have to go.


So, we’ve had a lovely wee trip to the Suntrap Open Day in the beautiful May sunshine when on the way back, crossing over the A9 on the RBS Bridge we spot this little beauty.

“Let’s investigate.” I ventured, and so we did.

Having crossed a dried out mud patch, which it transpired is the first cut of the final leg of the tram track, we entered the grounds of a lovely wee churchyard which, it turns out, is the workshop of Chris Holmes a “maker-designer of furniture in native timbers”. And three other woodworkers, who, unfortunately weren’t present. In actual fact Chris is an artist of considerable talent.

As you can see here.

And here. (This is actually a plan chest with sculptings of hills in the Scottish borders which double up as the handles of the chest.)

Greeted by a vociferous but fairly numptyish black lab who’s bark surely was worse than its bite Chris came out of the church to find out what had stirred the old pooch into life. He welcomed us into his workshop and then spent a very pleasant 20 minutes or so talking about Burr Elm, showing us photos of his work and sharing tips on how to start a blog on WordPress.

The bottom line is, if you ever want beautiful crafted Scottish native wood furniture. Chris Holmes is yer men.

Here he is at work

lower case football nomenclature

My mate Kenneth Fowler who writes all of his rather excellent blog in lower case and all his comments on my blog in lower case phoned me at half time last night full of excitement because the Chelsea players’ names on their strips were in lower case as had been both Zenit St Petersburg’s and Rangers’. And, of course Zenit won – in lower case.

“That means Chelsea (sorry chelsea) are going to win” he predicted

Well, chelsea lost kenneth and MAN UTD WON. so that’s the end of that little theory

In future could you please follow the English language code and post in upper and lower case on my blog. You make it untidy!

Sir Bobby, Sir Alex, Sir Ryan, Sir ronaldo

It was a geat, throbbing Champions league final between the British giants. At least there were some British players on the pitch.

Man U destroyed Chelsea in the first half but to their credit Chelsea dominated the second.

But maybe it was a night of destiny? Too many coincidences?

The 50th Anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, which marked Britain’s early dominance in Europe (The Cabbage were right up there though).

Sir Bobby, at trackside, surviving the Munich air disaster and then going on to lift the cup in 1968, only a year after Celtic.

Ryan Giggs, the ultimate professional, beating Sir Bobby’s atttendance record in such a momentous match.

Sir Alex, winning a European trophy in his third decade running and inspiring a great team to greatness.

And Ronaldo, scores a beauty and misses Man U’s only penalty. Can you conceive of how unfair a postscript on his season that would have been?

It were a roller coaster.

And at the end of the day you have to say: it was style over wallet.

9.43pm. First part of prediction correct.

Bugger. Wish I’d had a bet


As I predicted 2 hours ago Man U would take lead and Chelsea Equalise.  Ok, I got the scorers wrong.  Here’s hoping part two comes true.

Man U win 4 – 1.

Truth is, I think it needs a readjustment, so my betting in running is 2 – 1 Man U with Ronaldo sealing a double.

Suntrap Open Day Sunday 25 May

We’ve all been busy at Suntrap getting ready for the annual open day next Sunday. If you’d like to visit it’s on between 10.30 am and 4.30 pm.

There will be demonstrations on how to plant up hanging baskets and containers. Of course, if you can’t be bothered with the hassle of doing it yourself you could simply buy one. There’s also a demonstration from the Scottish Bonsai Association who house their collection of bonsai’s at Suntrap.

You might simply just fancy a stroll through the grounds looking at the beautiful plants and statues.

Or have a wee seat with a cup of tea and some home baking and watch the world go by.  Whatever, we’d love to see you there. If you would like more information have a look at the blog.

Welsh rare bit

Wouldn’t it be nice if Cardiff City took the FA Cup out of England on Saturday?

Nothing against Portsmouth because if they win it takes it out of the big 4.

Me though?

I’m with my Celtic cousins.

On the eve of battle

“Fingers twitch over keyboard.

Mind wanders off to the wilderness of Arran.

As the prospect of conflict weighs heavy.

On the soul.

Bring it on.

The Auchrannie Quaich.

To the victor. The spoils.”

Yes. I’m off in search of the trophy. Shame I’m so bad at golf.

I will, of course, win best dressed man.

Tommy Burns RIP

I can hardly believe that Tommy Burns has passed away. Tommy was not an old man (only 52) and was First team coach and head of the Celtic Youth Academy until he was taken ill. Tommy was certainly worthy of the title “Celtic legend” and was a thoroughly decent man. Who can forget him going a whole season undefeated (or maybe he lost only one game?) and yet not winning the title as Celtic manager during the reign of King Walter

It was well known that he had been suffering from cancer but I was unaware of how serious the situation was. What a terribly sad piece of news and it renders reports on last night’s Rangers match versus Zenit St Petersburg redundant.

Flower Power at the Gyle

If you’re thoughts are turning to the garden and what to plant this year.

Will I have hanging baskets or containers, or will I just stick to cutting the grass?

Why not come along to the Gyle this Saturday or Sunday between 10 am and 4 pm, all activities free of charge.

Carole Baxter of Beechgrove Garden fame is headling up a Flower Power weekend with garden advice and plant clinics. However, more importantly, Suntrap Garden will be there showing you how to plant your hanging baskets and containers.

There will also be lots of activites for the kids with a stilt-walker, table decorations to be made and lots more.

Olympic challenge

I’m not especially adept at Chinese, either written or spoken, myself; not having any Chinese clients and all that.  And the Chinese aren’t that good at English either, on the whole, so given that the world is about to descend on Bejing maybe these sorts of oversights might be better off fixed.

Things like this….

and this

and this

and this

Melody Gardot

Saw this cracking new Jazz singer at The Voodoo Lounge last night.  She was knocked over by a Jeep a couple of years ago which has affected both her sight and her ability to walk, vbut this just addsan air of mystique to her personality.

She performed a very intimate (short) set with her band consisting of trumpet, drums and bass under two fixed red spots which gave it a really old fashioned Jazzy feel. all it needed was for everyone in the audience to be smoking and we’d have been transported to a New York Basement Bar circa 1956.

Anyway, a superb singer that had the fortune not to have been beaten by the ugly stick.

To be honest I thought the choice of live songs meant she was better live than she is on her album; Worriesome Heart.

But it’s pretty good nonetheless.

So near and yet so far

This was the scene that greeted us on the first at Dundas Parks Golf Course today as we teed up for the Club championship doubles.

Frankly, it was uninviting.

But we didn’t hesitate. Twice we had to come off the course as the lightning pelted the course left right and centre. But the game must go on.

And, sure, it rained a bit.

A lot actually.

Like Gladiators. myself and Dick Whittock, a nice older guy from Kirkliston (known locally as Cheesetown) built up a two hole advantage, ground out over the first ten holes only to play like a couple of fannies on the 11th to go back to one up.

By the 13th it was all square as Trevor Jones sank putt after putt. And his playing partner, Douglas was rock solid throughout.

And level was how it remained until the 17th when they snuck into the lead. The damage was done. A half on the 18th meant dreams of trophy lifting in the Greensomes will have to wait until 2009.


Rant of the season

This is brilliant.  Click on the interview panel on the BBC sports page at this link.

Craig Levien, Dundee Utd’s manager, letting off steam after losing a crucial game to Rangers today. Now, when I say letting off steam I mean totally losing it. I like and respect Craig Levien – even if he is a Jambo – and I know exactly how he must feel

And oh what joy to find this old school photo of him on google…

And this one…

Yes, that’s right. It is yours truly on the left. A vision in black. And not overly gaylordish.

Now, we all know that referees favour Celtic and Rangers, but according to Levien, Mike McCurry’s performance today was nothing short of a scandal. He calls him a cheat – which will get him in big trouble with the numpties that run our game – but he is almost certainly right. I haven’t seen the incidents in question, but judging from this outburst I think he probably has a point.

Listening to discussion about it on Five Live’s 606-phone in a Rangers fan brushed it off by saying…

“They’re getting all excited about this one game. Maybe if they’d tried this hard all season against lesser teams this would be less of an issue.”

A neat body swerve I have to say, but, you know what? Totally true!

And that applies to every other team in this shitty league.

And Hibs are no exception.

They turn up for the old firm and Hearts matches and don’t bother their arses against the likes of Aberdeen, Motherwell, St Mirren…

That’s why I don’t go along any more.

Interesting but flawed

I rather like this ad to encourage kids to cycle to school.  It made me laugh out loud when I saw it.

The target audience, of course, will hate it because they won’t empathise with the geek in the shot.

I think the research was a bit misplaced too because we all know that green and yellow are Catholic School colours (indeed this was my school uniform at Holy Cross) and the ginger hair of the wee lad also has massive catholic symbolism.

Not smart.

The Apprentice – Week 7

So, The Apprentice would-bes get sent on a shopping trip to a Souk.

The perfect recipe for lies and ‘espionage’.

For me the episode revolved around Jen and Michael’s total disregard for honesty and decency – a pair of lying twats quite frankly. We’ve oft discussed Jen’s bootishness in the past on this site, but her decision to engulf herself in a pink headscarve only made her look like Miss Piggy on her dabs.

Now she looks like an ex-Apprentice.

Quite right.

(We can put the mirrors back up in the living room again.)

Her decision to try to boycott Team Alpha’s progress by stage whispering a pathetic bribe to a local tennis stringing ace was pathetic and for that reason alone she had to go.

Michael Sophocles survived somehow, despite being a wee wank. He makes Raef (amazingly no twit ups AT ALL this week) look like a normal member of society – in fact I’m beginning to think Raef might even be a contender!

The teams were great. It really was the battle of the boots and assholes versus the normals (and Raef).

Increasingly my money is piling onto Lucinda who put in another good performance. She even let slip a wee “Och” when she slipped running across a shopping centre forecourt in a subconscious attempt to prove that she is indeed a true blue Scot.

Lee’s leadership was mainly based on different ways of exclaiming ‘Fuck!” very loudly and encouraging his team mates to join in. They did. With gusto.

The highlight of the week followed the unravelling of Michael’s pathetic attempt to ingratiate himself with Sir Alan by describing himself in his CV as a “good Jewish boy” when in reality he was only “Half Jewish” – which explained why he didn’t know what Kosher was. On hearing this Sir Alan suggesting Michael drop his pants to show if he’d circumcised his plonker.

I think he was just pulling it myself.

Oh and Jennifer got fired too. Fair enough. She was shite.


Breaking news.

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s iconic poem the new Irn Bru commercial has landed. Set in various locations across Scotland and somewhere abroad it features some lovely vignettes. Some work brilliantly, like the Loony Dooking pensioners (at 33 seconds) which struck a real chord with me, also the kissing Celtic and Rangers fans, the despondent Scotland fan with his wee lassie and the way folk choose the wrong descriptor for their meal times are all great.

Others are  less succesful and I’d question Martin Compston’s voiceover.

But three cheers for the choice of South Queensferry for two of the settings!

I feel the whole campaign suffers from being shackled by a weak strapline. Phenomenal does nothing for me. It’s unphenomenal frankly.

Overall it’s a nice, rather touching return to form.

But judge for yourselves.


Musical mathematics

made by sftekbear

Originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

Kenneth Fowler pointed me in this direction via his blog. It’s a really funny set of Flickr ‘artworks’ on boyshapedbox’s Flickr sirte and turns well known songs, like this one, into graphs, Pie charts and the likes. Hugely clever and rather amusing. Well done Boyshapedbox. Check it out by clicking on the image. It’ll take you straight through to his Flickr site.

There are over 100 of them.