mccAin v Obama

I dislike McCain’s latest cheap shot commercial very much.

See for yourself.

Popularity doesn’t necessarily mean lack of quality.

Methinks McCain doth protest too much.

Saying Obama is not fit for office because he has achieved celebrity status does not mean he is not fit for office.

Were the Beatles not good at pop music because they were popular?

Vanity Fair

Jeana and I went to a brilliant exhibition at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery last week. It’s a celebration of the great photography commissioned by Vanity Fair in its two manifestations from 1913 until the War and then again when it was resurrected in 1983

The list of photographic contributors to the magazine is quite staggering…Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Man Ray in the first iteration, and Annie Liebovitz, Helmut Newton (who’s portrait of Margaret Thatcher was for me, the most ironic and best shot in the show – and no she didn’t have her kit off) and Mario Testino (our Diana) amongst others in the later manifestation.

I thought the curation of the show was great too (interesting and readable notes on every shot; by subject and by photographer)

Some of the images, like these, are classics…

Does my bum look big in this?

Does my bum look big in this?

Do our bums look big in this?

Do our bums look big in this?

Does my bum look big in this?

Does my bum look big in this?

does my face look big in this?

does my face look big in this?

Definitely worth the trip.

We bought tickets for Tracey Emin’s show which starts on Saturday and Foto at The Dean Gallery too.  Great stuff.  Can’t wait.

Are we related to Kate Adie?

It would seem that almost everywhere we go on holiday we leave a trail of devastation behind us. Can it just be a coincidence? Just like wherever Katie Adie goes a war seems to break out.

Two years ago, the day after we’d been in Cellardyke, Bird Flu was found in a dead swan in Cellardyke harbour. Last year as we left Praia de Luz Madeliene McCann was abducted, and only ten days ago we were on the Grand Pier in Weston Super Mare. That won’t be happening again in a hurry as it burned down this morning!

Poor old Weston Super Mare.  You won't be re-enacting this scene for a while.

Poor old Weston Super Mare. You won't be re-enacting this scene for a while.

It seems this story has gone down well because it appeared on The Guardian blog at 10.45 this morning.


Burglar blast



I saw a great old commercial on one of those Jimmy Carr shows last night.

It was from the 50’s or 60’s, and featured some robbing bastard breaking into some unsuspecting poor sod’s house… but the door or window lock has some scary pyrotechnics attached.

The net result?


Burglar shits its pants and justice is done.

You know what?

I approve.

Wish they made them now.

Mixed emotions

A golf weekend like few others.

Not only did Tom and I beat our nemeses, The Reids, 3 and 1 on Saturday but I had the distinction of scoring the greatest number of pars in a single round in my life (10) and a net 6 under par score – although I have scored better at Ratho.

Sunday’s medal at Dundas Park was also good.  My second best medal score ever, net 70, level par.

(How crap is that though?)

However, this hides the real story which was the fact that I shot 5 under for 16 holes and 5 over for the sixth (which, being a nine hole course I have to play, and can’t, twice).

Thanks for this Pat

I like this story that my pal, Pat Rodger, forwarded.

A judge has attacked a bizarre trend in New Zealand for giving children strange names as he made a nine-year-old called Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii a ward of court.

Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt listed a series of unfortunate names that he said were embarrassing or made children seem foolish among their peers.

Some names, including Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Stallion, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit, were blocked by registration officials, he said.

But others were allowed, including Number 16 Bus Shelter, Midnight Chardonnay, “and tragically, Violence,” the judge said.

The names were mentioned in Murfitt’s decision on a custody battle over the nine-year-old girl from the North Island town of Hawera, who was so embarrassed at the name her parents had given her – Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii – that she never told her closest friends what it was.

She told people her name was “K” because she feared being “mocked and teased,” the girl’s lawyer, Colleen MacLeod, told the court.

This is not the first time that New Zealand authorities have had to intervene over a bizarre baby name. In August 2007, Pat and Sheena Wheaton were told by government officials that they couldn’t name their baby 4Real as it contained a digit. The couple simply reconsidered and re-named their child Superman.

The trend for crazy baby monikers has also extended to Europe. In June 2008, Swedish tax authorities informed a Stockholm couple they must change the name of their 5-month-old baby girl Elvis. Another Swedish family recently won a protracted battle to ensure their daughter was allowed to keep the name Metallica.

My own personal favourite was a girl in Greenock called Aquavita McGlumpha.

Jeana tells me of a couple, Mr and Mrs House, who named their kids Wendy and Maxwell.

Martha Wainwright – I know you’re married but I’ve got feelings too.

Martha proves she is no stranger to the Fosbury Flop.

Martha proves she is no stranger to the Fosbury Flop.

Martha Wainwright.  Daughter of Loudon, sister of Rufus and daughter of Kate McGarrigle is entitled to be a good singer and she is.  Her eponymous first album was one of my favourites of 2005 but her second (irritatingly every music critic in the world now call second albums ‘Sophomore” albums) has not sophomore slumped.

She recently married her bass player and producer, Brad Albetta and the resultant output is a little less hysterical than the standout track from her first album; Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole which was penned as an ode to her father, but it is by no means diluted as she sings about marital infidelity in You Cheated Me which is maybe just a marker for her man.

Her cover of See Emily Play will not be to everyone’s taste but I think it’s great.  All the rest are self penned.

Anyway, it’s another belter from Martha and does add another great brick in the Wainwright dynasty’s tower of musical greatness.

Try this for size.


El Bore? No more!

Amy and I saw Elbow support Snow Patrol at Meadowbank a couple of years ago and quickly christened them El Bore.  For obvious reasons.  So, I was not the most likely convert to this band.

However their stupendous performance of One Day Like this at Glastonbury opened my mind to the possibilities that they are not merely grumpy old Mancs with a one track pedigree.

I also heard their performance of The Fix with Richard Hawley as co-writer and co-vocalist which I liked.  So, I took the plunge last week and bought this.

Totally, like, not boring, eh!

Totally, like, not boring, eh!

The Seldom Seen Kid is a magnificent album.  Beautiful, poignant, lush and full of great melodies and outstanding arrangements.  It is SO not what I expected and is immediately in the running for my Album of the Year, although it will have to go some to beat Dig Lazarus Dig by Nick Cave.

I cannot praise this record highly enough. Even Jeana likes it.


Punting in Oxford is a centuries old tradition where foppish young lads and pretty maidens gently slide across the lazy currents of the River Isis.

But no, not us.  Not The Gormans.

When we go punting on the Isis it’s world war fucking three.  Pearl Harbour all over.

First off.  Who punts?  Well Tom won that battle fairly quickly.

Then there’s the endless stream of supportive punting technique tips from beloved siblings…

“It’s not like that you idiot!”

“Shut it ya rat!”

In fairness, Tom had a reasonable technique, most of the time but seemed to be more succesful when guiding the boat backwards.

Ria, well, this picture disproves the adage tha the camera never lies because she looks in total control.  When that was a long long way from the truth.

In fact, to say she was totally crap would be to greatly gild the lily.

Punting joins the list of activities involving hand and eye co-ordination that will not be filling up swathes of her future CV.

Crap punting.

Crap punting.

I was peerless.

Like everything in life I do not approach punting in half measures.  Gentle drifting downstream does not enter my vernacular.  Thrashing the living daylights out of a human speedboat whilst acreering dangerously from bank to bank whilst taking out doting lovebirds drifting in the opposite direction does though.

Oh yes.

“Mark you’re going to hit that tree you idiot.” was oft shouted.

The trip ended with the inevitable.

Ria accidentally splashed Tom by inadvertantly skimmming the oar too shallowly.  Which triggered Vesuvius’ eruption, a flurry of retaliatory splashing and viscious snarling, returned with equal violence by Ria and that was that.

Sulk time.

It was oh so blissful for Jeana.

meet your doom

Jeez. One thing we did on holiday was visit Alton Towers. Nemesis is a twenty odd year old rollercoaster but it packs a punch as you can see from Tom and my expressions. (Click on the image for a close up.) Tom’s is most telling because he claims to have no fear at all on these horrorfests.

One of the world's most effective bowel evacuators.

One of the world's most effective bowel evacuators.

But I do detect closed eyes and pursed lips.

Needless to say Tom and Ria did the lot. I did them all too, Nemesis, Air, Rita Need for Speed – all great but I’m afraid I drew the line at Oblivion.

One step too far.

Even Jeana joined in…

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god...

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god...

Hibs 0 – 6 Barcelona

Messi.  Very, very Messi.

Messi; very, very Messi.

Not a particularly good European campaign for the Hibees this summer. Three defeats, no goals scored, a veritable humping from a merely warming up Barcelona under the inspired leadership of Messi. Yes, it was, very Messi indeed.

Mixu was at least honest enough to admit that Hibs were given a real lesson. I wonder if we are about to see the start of the implications of selling 11 or so internationals over the last three years.

Anyway at least the Jambos were happy. Gives them five minutes free from contemplation about how their team can survive until the end of the season.

I pity them, I really do.


Earthquake in Scotland

Gor blimey. What's gonna go wrang next?

Gor blimey. What's gonna go wrang next?

So, as predicted, Alex Salmond has delivered a further body blow to what is appearing to be an increasingly inept Brown government. But it’s hardly a surprise is it. After all Alex was crawling all over Glasgow East on a regular basis wooing the electorate whilst Brown just shuffled about apologetically in an unapologetic way.

OK, it’s a protest vote and not likely to be repeated in a general election, but you cannot argue with Salmond and his very able deputies (Swinney in a role he is far better suited to than leading the party) and Nicola Sturgeon, an articulate and likeable deputy to Salmond.

At this rate he could actually convince the country to vote for independence.

The seed

I’ll write more about the Eden Project later, but suffice to say that at the heart of it lies a quite wonderful sculpture of a seed, carved in granite.

It made for a great Carravagio-esque backdrop with a wonderful sultry model.

Kate Moss, eat your heart out.

Holiday Golf Competition

As usual, Tom and I played out the Holiday Golf Competition for the Algarve Cup; as we fondly call it. Tom, who has smugly been proclaiming his superiority to me of late, got his ass well and truly whipped.

Me 3; Tom 1.

He had his ass tanned at The Braids, Whiteleaf near Princes Risburgh and Thurlestone in Devon. He squeaked his modest victory at Whiteleaf in the first match of the series.

I’m glad to say that I do still officially rock.

Hey Greg Norman, don’t think you’ve got a monopoly on kicking the juniors’ asses.

on the beach

One of the highlights of our holiday was a lunchtime stop at Weston Super Mare just South of Bristol where we dropped in en-route to Devon. It’s an absolute microcosm of seaside Britishness as this picture demonstrates.

I’d love to tell you what we christened the place but I’m afraid it might not go down too well in this public forum. You’ll have to ask me personally.

Click on the picture and it’ll take you to my Flickr site with more Weston Super Mare monumentalness. (With the emphasis on ‘mentalness’.)


My poor son, Tom, has missed a little in life.

For instance, when he asked me tonight…”What time is it?” and I answered “Three hairs past a freckle!”  he simply didn’t understand what I was talking about.

Everyone knows though that ‘three hairs past a freckle’ is 10.15 and that two moles past a pimple is 10.30.

For the record, three hairs past a pimple is 1.45 and a freckle past a pimple is 5.30.

11 plooks is, obviously, noon and, 6 boils, is midnight.

2 freckles past a rash is 2.30 and an ingrown toenail before a 5 o’clock shadow is six o’clock.


Young people nowadays.

renaming my blog

My French pal Helene tells me that Gibberish is a better word if pronounced gibbergibberish.

They’re totally nuts the French.

Apparently it’s all William Shatner’s fault.

They say Leonard Nimmoy was nice to his girlfriend, but William Shatner.

I wonder if she’s peckpeckish when she’s hungry.

Or is it supercalafragalisticexpialiexpialidocious?

Apparently one day we’re getting the Franglish dictionary by Helene Aubrit.

It’s gonna be called the Frangfranglish Dictionary.

Tommy boy’s golf

The wee shite wonder won another medal today and knocked another two strokes off his handicap.  He is now off 17, and I am off 18.  So, despite the best medal round of my life yesterday I am now officially playing second fiddle in the Gorman household.  It had to come.

He still struggles to beat me though.

glasgow east, by-election


Labour call an unnecessarily quick by-election for one of the safest seats in the UK.


They can’t find a candidate.

They don’t have a leader.  In Scotland.

They don’t have a leader.  Overall.  Well, not really.


Doesn’t look good, does it?

Even Annabel Goldie was smiling…

Golf greatness



Perfect golf weather.

Actually it was 9 degrees today and pissing with rain. Tom was engaged at Ratho in the semi-final of the Ratho Juniors handicap matchplay.  He beat his opponent 6 and 4.  Which is something of a massacre.

Me?  I was at Dundas in a medal and after 14 holes was 5 under, knowing that the leader had shot 6 under, in the far better morning weather.  Then I shot an 8 at the par 4 15th and a 5 at the par 3 16th to go back to 1 under.

I parred my way in after that.

I could have been a contender, but believe it or not my net 69 was my best EVER medal score.

I’m massively disappointed at my inability to close out, but on the other hand, to play your best ever round after 35 years of trying is reason for celebration.


Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx obviously has a bit of an Iain M Banks thing going on. When she writes about Wyoming she’s just minimalist old Annie Proulx but when she steps into the wastelands of Newfoundland she sticks an E on her monicker. Maybe it’s because Wyoming is such a barren dry, dusty ole state that she feels an E on the front end of her name would be excessive, wasteful or even just darn affected.

She’s a writer I have mixed feelings about. This is the fourth book of hers that I’ve read and I honestly can’t think of a writer who has given me such a mix of enjoyment. (OK, maybe John Irving who has written some of my favourites as well as some right old shit; like Son of the Circus for example.)

(E) Annie Proulx is very unpredictable. The Shipping News is a giant of a novel (and a very good film too incidentally). It really is one of the great American novels and rightly won The Pulitzer Prize in my opinion. Its follow up, The Accordian Crimes however is a tedious tale of an accordian stuffed full of money passing through several generations and continents and is populated with characters that I did not care for at all.

Her first book of Wyoming based short stories, Close Range was a curate’s egg of a book with the stand out by a Wyoming mile being Brokeback Mountain which is an astounding story and a very disappointing movie – hugely overrated. Close Range is principally about cowboys and didn’t really connect with me.

I don’t think on the basis of Close Range that I’d have read Bad Dirt except that my sister Emily lent me a copy and I felt a little obliged to pick it up. My, am I glad that I did.

It’s a much funnier, kookier even, collection of short stories about the people that live in Wyoming, ranchers and trailer trash predominantly and each one more eccentric than the other. It’s not about cowboys.

The stories are written in the third person, but the speech is mainly in the vernacular, a device used to astounding effect by Cormac McCarthy in No Country… (there I go again, I can’t help coming back to that book).

Suffice it to say it’s a marvellous read. Quick and to the point with perfect character development over and over again. The pick of the bunch, for me, was the Wamsutter Wolf which is a great insight into bad folk and how to deal with them. And for sheer laugh out loudness, which I did, The Summer of Hot Tubs is the one.

Highly recommended.


Twenty teams took part in the music quiz that I organised last night, ably supported by Jeana and Amy, and we  raised nearly £4,000 for NABS (The National Advertising Benevolent Society).

It was won by Multiply who just pipped my mates Jim Downie, Ian Dommett and Will Atkinson in the final round with the latter trio having made a major strategic error by playing their Joker (double points) in an early round where there were fewer points at stake.  Had they waited, like most did, for the Intros round that closed the event they’d have won by 2 points.


The Power 100

Apparently I am among the 100 most powerful people in Scottish media and marketing!  I find that rather amusing.  If you don’t believe me follow this link.  Better still, cast a vote for me and I might not end up as the 100th most powerful person in Scottish Marketing, which would be decidedly disappointing having made the cut, so to speak – like Scotland reaching the final stages of a major football competition.  Remember them?

You will note of course, if you read the small print on the poll, that I was in fact one of the judges.  You can be assured that I left the room when my name came up for voting.

(Actually I didn’t, so had to put up with a sustained barrage of slagging and many, many reasons for my non-inclusion before the cheques I had posted to the other judges kicked in and did their job.)

What is also rather amusing is that the most powerful man in marketing, Alex Salmond, was not eligible for inclusion, which thankfully left a wee space for me to squeeze in in 100th place.

Ach, life’s a bitch, then you die.