Scottish Football’s new low.


I was listening to the radio last night to hear of Brendan Rogers cheering on Leicester City’s first win as their new manager.

What the Brendan Rogers that is manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world, Celtic FC?

The team that’s on the verge of a historic treble, treble under his management?

The club that is on the verge of a historic ten league titles in a row.

To go to a mid rank English team that spanned a Championship win a few years ago before returning to mediocrity?

Nah, can’t be him.  He was managing Celtic, one of the world’s biggest clubs two days ago in a 4 – 1 win over Motherwell.

And then I heard that Neil Lennon, whom I admire greatly as a manager but have severe concerns about his mental health, a problem that led to him being fired from his previous job for calling the club MD, my club,  a ******* ****, is taking over till the end of the season.

A man who incites massive sectarian hatred in Glasgow.

He’s taking over?

Nah, he said he couldn’t handle that sort off shit any more.

Must have been a dream.

If it was real the Celtic fans would all be going daft.

The Passion of Harry Bingo. (Further dispatches from unreported Scotland) by Peter Ross: Book Review.


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Had it not been for my good friend Tim Maguire I would never have stumbled across this wonderful anthology of odd little stories from the underworld of Scotland.  By underworld I don’t mean seedy, just slightly off the beaten track.

The titular hero is a fan of Partick Thistle. (Glasgow’s third football team – the one that people who don’t support football support – actually you might argue that it’s the one that people who DO support football support, because ‘The Jags” don’t come with the baggage of the Old Firm.)

Harry Bingo is 97 and has supported The Jags since 1945 – his passion.

The stories are written in a peculiar style, impossible to replicate, the best I can describe them tonally is a like like a reverential Scottish Louis Theroux.  I like Theroux, but some of his documentaries are seriously taking the piss out of his oddball cast of characters.  Peter Ross has similarly collected together people that at times could be mocked for their unorthodoxy, but while Ross writes with a twinkle in his eye that never turns into a sneer.

We meet a Sikh Pipe Band, The Burry Man, a man that protects the River Clyde dragging the bodies of the dead ashore, a wall of death rider, a bunch of bitchy (butchy) drag queens, The Naked Rambler, The Clavie King and we visit circuses, poultry shows, sex shops, car boot sales ,The Barrowlands Ballroom and the World Crazy Golf Championships.

Each short story, 5 to 10 pages long, sets up an indelible image, some familiar – most not – of characters that care deeply about something in their life – it may even be their job.

In places it is laugh out loud, but never mockingly, we laugh WITH these wonderful people.  The people that make up the rich tapestry that is Scotland’s culture.

They were all commissioned by Scotland’s leading newspapers, mainly Scotland on Sunday but also The Guardian, The Big Issue, The Times and The Herald.

They are little nuggets of Scottish gold.

Go read.  I have a signed copy!

 

A War of Two Halves by Paul Beeson and Tim Barrow, produced by This Is My Story and Nonsense Room: Theatre review


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I am celebrating the centenary of WWI’s Armistice Day with some ‘enthusiasm’.

Peter Jackson’s ‘They Shall Never Grow Old”  which premiered at The London Film Festival got the ball rolling to incredible effect a couple of weeks ago.  It is a must see.

And on Sunday I shall be attending a virtually sold out Far From Ypres at The Usher Hall in which my good pal Gary West will be taking to the stage as part of a celebrated ensemble.

Last night was the turn of theatre in a site-specific production held at Tynecastle Football Stadium.

As a lifelong Hibs fan attending a period drama that ‘celebrated’ Heart of Midlothian’s incredibly altruistic past had a degree of challenge.  It was clear that I was surrounded by a largely partizan audience.  But I’m bigger than that.  If these men could face ‘The Hun’ in the French trenches, I could pay my respect alongside my rivals.

And I’m very glad that I did.

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Paul Beeson and Tim Barrow’s play is a very fine thing indeed.  It was performed on the Fringe and has been timeously restaged in its original form for this monumental anniversary.

One of the potential problems this show faces is the way that some Hearts fans celebrate their team’s mass act of courage as a comparator.  No other team so unselfishly released their players from their contracts in such a way (13 players enlisted together to serve in McCrae’s Battalion, the 16th Royal Scots).

And that’s only part of the story.

Hearts were top of the league, having won 19 of their 21 games, when the mass exodus occurred.  They continued to play for the team, but on the back of strenuous army basic training that included long forced marches.  Their form inevitably slumped dramatically, through sheer exhaustion, and what should have been one of the greatest celebrations in Hearts’ history was dashed.

But what Beeson and Barrow have created is brilliant in this respect.  That achievement is duly noted but not at the expense of the competition.  It is far from vainglorious and largely avoids comparative narrative (indeed the contribution from other clubs is articulated clearly); rather it takes you into the souls of these young lads who fought for King and Country, sacrificing glory on the battlefields of Tyncastle, Ibrox, Celtic Park and Easter Road.

It’s beautifully acted throughout (although sadly no programme was made available so I have no idea who the cast was).

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A central character, one of the players and the narrator, leads us through the build up to the mass enlistment, glorying in Hearts’ impressive form.  This takes place in the new main stand to the sound of radio commentaries of the matches, before we traverse the stadium.  One scene is in the Home Players dressing room, another in the bar, several in the stands themselves before culminating in an achingly beautiful finale underneath the Gorgie Road stand in a makeshift bunker.  The final moments play out by the poignant War Memorial.

I’m sure, for many, this is an intensely moving experience. I found it highly dramatic and sympathetically presented.

There is no tub-thumping in this play.  There is a great deal of humour and the sound design and violin accompaniment by the sole female cast member is excellent and highly redolent of the time.

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Hearts, Hearts, Glorious Hearts features subtly (#HHGH) and is appropriate, without dropping the show’s standards..

The performances are roundly laudable, especially the leads but the ensemble do their part with merit.

This is another must see reflection on the Great War.  It has wonderful provenance, it’s superbly written and directed in what is both a stirring but challenging location.

Highly recommended.  But you’ll have to move quick if you want a ticket.

PS. The Last Days of Making featuring the Tiger Lilies at Leith Theatre (from Saturday) also looks pretty special.

Charlie is my darling.


Can you even begin to imagine the excitement I felt when I popped into Whitespace today and was met with this canvas of our dearly beloved Charlie Robertson created by fellow advertising guru, none other than MT Rainey, herself.

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It’s one of the canvases I’ll be auctioning next Thursday at the NABS Art Auction (it has 76 compatriots, with plenty more in transit, many of which have outstanding artistic merit, but none of which quite hit the emotional trigger quite as effectively as this one does, created, as it was, less then ten days after Charlie’s untimely death.)

I’m hoping it will be something of a centrepiece of the auction and that it might attract some fairly hefty bidding.  Indeed I will specifically take bids on it if you email me direct at Markgorman@btopenworld.com.

I’ll let bidders know what the state of play is rather than playing this one out in public.

It’s called “Charlie is me Darlin'” and it’s beautifully printed direct onto the canvas.  The words that make up the image conjure up, for me, the eloquence with which Charlie thrilled and seduced the world of advertising for forty years.

I believe it deserves to be shown somewhere that Charlie’s many admirers might be able to see it for themselves and I hope it can play its part in a memorable night at Whitespace next Thursday 25th October, from 6pm.  There will be a bar and a lively evening of badinage and bidding.  Please let me know if you’d like to attend.

MT.  You’re amazing.  What a superb memory of Charlie’s life.

Slantie.

Howard’s End.


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Our extremely good friends, Will and Ann, have lived in Howard Place for many years and last Saturday they had a leaving do that got a little bit, well, refreshed.

Anyway, as I left I kissed goodbye to Howard Place.

GGTTH.

 

This. Is London. Greatness from Nike.


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London gets its own Nike ad.

We regionistas should hate it ‘cos it’s Lundin, innit.

But nah; it’s just great.  the fastest three minutes in advertising you will see in a long time.

What I particularly love about it is that it twists the ULTIMATE regional yarn – the Four Yorkshireman sketch from the 1970’s by Monty Python – and makes it relevant to both London and 2018.

Every sport, every exercise, every trope explored with wit and excellent cultural mixing.

Everyone comes out of it well.

Except Peckham.

What’s wrong with Peckham?

A new word for the English language: Hibsed.


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Those of you who, like me, support Hibernian; Edinburgh’s most stylish football team and forefathers of the rather more successful Celtic FC, will be feeling that slightly sick feeling after once again victory was the more likely, more deserved and more bearable outcome on Sunday afternoon at ‘Scotland’s National Stadium.’

But we were Hisbsed.

We snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Consequently, a petition has been set up by a Mr Rudolph Skakel on Change.com begging the Oxford English Dictionary to add ‘Hibsed’ to their content.

It has a smell of schadenfreude about it.

For the uninitiated, to be Hibsed means ‘to be ahead in your pursuit of something, only to mess it up before you cross the finish line’.

And we’ve been Hibsed many times.  On Sunday particularly so, and Liam Fontaine, arguably the man of the match, must feel especially Hibsed as it was he who teed up the winning goal for a team that could best be described as diddy.

I mean, you could fit the population of Dingwall, from where they bide, into the back of a camper van and still have room for a couple of tents.

Many have argued that we shouldn’t be so down on ourselves because it was only the diddy cup we Hibsed.  But we Hibsed it in 2004 against the mighty Ferranti Thistle playing under the pseudonym of Livingston (a town so small it has an Edinburgh postcode).

We Hibsed it every time in living memory that we played in Europe and we’ve Hibsed it so many times against the other team in Edinburgh that I’ve simply lost count.

By Thursday morning there’s every chance we’ll have Hibsed it against that other Highland League powerhouse, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, in the big cup (that we put that other team from Edinburgh out of a few weeks ago), and we’ve already Hibsed it in the Scottish Championship having been in a great position to overtake long term leaders Rangers just after Christmas.

So, go on, Mr Skakel.  have you schadenfreudey moment.  the awful truth is, you’re right.

 

 

The mark of a true man.


Yesterday was yet another nightmare for Hibs fans.  Despite being the better team we inexplicably lost the with of our last ten cup finals.  The 12th of 15 in my life so far.

Arguably the man of the match Liam Fontaine had this to say after the game when he was involved in the losing goal.

It’s a sign of greatness in my eyes.

Articulate.  Emotional.  Great.

GGTTH.

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Sunshine on Leith


Advertising supremo, Iain McAteer, of The Union was climbing Arthur Seat on a chill but not Arctic New Year’s day.

The hike was an attempt to wash the bitter taste of the defeat (and too much red wine) of his beloved Chips’n’cheese-eating, potato picking, football team to the (ex) purveyors of the beautiful game, the mighty Hibernian FC from his mouth.

He turned to take in the glorious view and was rewarded with this stunning vision.

Easter Road

Scotland v Lithuania; the saga continues.


God, I’m really sick of this.

We are in the hole we are in for one reason.  Craig Levein’s tactics.

We could easily have beaten the Czech Republic home and away, after all since 2005 they have steadily slid down the rankings from 2nd to 42nd.  We’re 47th and incidentally sit 5 places behind Lithuania.

However, we played in the Czech Republic with no striker, gambling on a 0-0 scoreline that failed to materialise.

On Saturday, forget the refereeing shenanigans (the Czechs had a stone wall penalty denied too after all), let’s focus on how Scotland set up.  They were crap in the first half and sat back both at 1-0 and 2-1.  Every time we had to push forward we threatened, including in the 92nd minute.  But had we played the way we ought to the game would have been done and dusted.  So that would be 5 more points than we have and 4 less for the Czechs.  We’d pretty much have qualified by now.

One hard luck story (3 – 2 defeat to Spain) when the game was to all intents and purpose over (so the Spanish went to sleep) does not make us a great team and don’t forget we very nearly lost to Lichtenstein – a country with a population smaller than Falkirk and a football reputation worse that Fred West’s.

Levien contradicts himself more than the House of Commons.  He says he won’t play players that are out of form or not playing for their teams and then he does.

He falls out with his players (shame our best striker is watching from home for no good reason) and he has the worst competitive record (including Bertie Vogts) over his opening 5 game tenure than any manager in the last 25 years; to Andy Roxburgh to be precise.

Yes, we have a bunch of talented players exposed to the Premiership, better than for a considerable time I’d say.

So why not believe in them and let them express themselves properly.

Me, I’m going to watch the Mercury Prize. (We’ve got a chance of winning that – Come on King Creosote!)

So. Tell me this. How come we can win the Homeless Word Cup twice in a decade but we can’t qualify for the professional competition, and when we do, reach the latter stages, ever?


Yesterday Scotland won the Homeless World Cup in Paris.

Again.

64 nations competed.

We beat Mexico 4 – 3 in the final and it was said that our team may not have been the most skilled in the tournament, but we were the most committed.

It’s not like we lead the world in Homelessness.

We beat a nation many multiple times our population.

I suspect it had something to do with money not being a factor or a motivation.

I suspect it brought out our national pride.

I suspect it was a level playing field regardless of national stature or population.

This is an awesome concept and a creation of Scotland (Mel Young conceived it).

The fact that the story made a pictureless 3 x 3 story at the bottom of page 3 in our national paper is a scandal.

Scotland.  Wise up.

I’m all agog at agogo signing


Having thought about Calderwood’s signing of 31 year old “Junior” Agogo (he’s not THAT Junior at 31) for the Hibees I am wondering if it is worth a trip to Easter Road; if only to hear the Einstien Agogo riff when he scores.

I don’t think anything has put as much of a smile on my face , as a Hibby, for many a month.  (Sorry; year.)

But you didn’t have to be an Einstien to work that out.

SFA logic?


“Lennon is currently serving a four game suspension imposed earlier in the season and will sit out the second of those games against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Wednesday night. It was widely believed that the fresh punishment would take effect when the current ban was completed but Celtic’s statement confirms that they do not believe that to be the case.

Taking into account the SFA’s rules and the date the most recent ban was imposed, Celtic are claiming that both suspensions will be served simultaneously from this point on, meaning their manager will be in the stands for four more matches including the Inverness game and not a further six as would be the case if suspensions were served consecutively.”

I am not jumping on the anti-Lennon bandwagon, I simply can’t be bothered and I do have sympathy for the way he is treated in his private life.  No, this is all about the SFA and their continuous bottling it.  If Lennon has erred his sentences should not be commuted, like the last one was or run simultaneously.  No wonder Celtic are not appealing.  If they did even a  commuted sentence would begin after the current one.

It’s a farce.

the arsenal got out of jail free.


Not a bad match, but not the best ever.

First half was better than the second.

The fact is that Arsenal were miles worse than Barcelona who totally overran them.

Sure Arsenal took their chances when Barcelona dropped their concentration for ten minutes or so. But there really is no comparison. Messi is just amazing.

However the comparison to the travails at Easter Road and pretty much anywhere else on Scotland’s embarrassing football soil was quite monstrous.

What is it about Colin Calderwood?


After defeat to Motherwell yesterday this very odd man said…

“There are aspects of the game I enjoyed. Problems are there to be solved so that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

On Tuesday night after Hibs went out to a team two leagues below the odd bod Calderwood commented…

“We had so many good opportunities, the goalkeeper’s had a number of good saves, we’ve had efforts cleared from the line and I think they defended their goal excellently.

He has so far won 2 out of 15 games.

Being, at best, an armchair fan I have not seen him in action but I am told he stands impassively, hands in pockets, barely involving himself in games and certainly not leaping about like the madman Yogi Hughes had become.

It all just seems like he’s going through the motions.

Remarkably he claims to be “really enjoying it” at Easter Road.

Inevitably, the fans’ ire tends to turn to the manager or the Chairman in these sorts of situation.  And Rod Petrie’s extended honeymoon is certainly looking to be over at this moment in time.

The sale of Stokes and Bamba appears to be hitting home now and our lack of action in the transfer market is becoming notable.  I’m a great admirer of what Petrie has acheived at Easter Road but it feels like he has made an extraordinarily bad appointment in Colin Calderwood and his earlier reputation for canniness is in danger of becoming one for penny pinching (for which I am told he has a strong internal reputation.)

Lastly, of course, there’s the team itself; some say it is a shadow of its former self, one of the worst to have played for Hibs in many years (if not ever), but I saw Zemamma, Miller, Riordan, Wotherspoon, Murray, Stack and McBride (all in the squad yesterday) play Dundee Utd on 3rd October 2009 and destroy them before drawing 1 -1.

At that point the table looked like this…

A month later it looked even better…

And even by mid January Hibs (with this team) were in touch with the top, so my contention is not that it is the players themselves that are poor but the way in which they are applying themselves.

It feels to me that there is a cancer somewhere in Easter Road that is permeating the team and turning good players into bad.  Yogi lost them, and Calderwood has never had them bar one freak night against Rangers.

It needs sorted, and quick.

The Plain in Spain stays mainly in Rutherglen


Flamin' 'eck. We only lost 3 - 2. At home.

The headlines will proclaim Braveheart!

The truth is, in my view anyway,  Scotland huffed and puffed tonight.

Spain were not in top gear.  Need they be?  They were playing a team who had just lost to a team who had  just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

They gradually worked out a way to get through against the great blue wall.

Two up.

Job done.

Tools down.

And then; oops.

A wee Spanish banana.

Could the worst happen?

Could they really lose to a team who had just lost to a team who had  just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

Don’t be daft.

Supersub.

3 – 2.

Cue Lionheart.  Cue whatever.  It’s always like this.

Some good performances (Naismith, Fletcher, Bardsley) and a corker of a baddie.  Whittaker will want to erase tonight from his memory forever.  Run ragged, 100’s of mistakes, gave away the penalty just before halt time, got sent off.  Doh!)

This was not a new dawn for Scottish football.  It was just another close defeat to a huge team that nearly took their eye off the ball.  But it was at least exciting.

Last night I watched the death of Scottish football.


 

And this is before last night's results have been taken into account.

 

For a Jambo, Craig Levein is a nice bloke but that in no way exonerates him from open and outrightly hostile criticism in the wake of last night.  It was so embarrassing that I forsee no future at all for our ‘national game’.  We turned up to play a team ranked 37th in the world who had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania and we failed to play with a striker.  In other words the limits of Levein’s ambitions was a 0 – 0 draw. To a team who had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.  The formation was 4 6.  have you ever hard of that?  Apparently Spain play 4 6, but that’s 4 defenders and 6 strikers! And this was to a team who just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

If we had a chance I do not recall it, and yet after we went 1 0 down with 20 minutes to play he reverted to a 4 4 2 formation that, whilst unsuccessful, at least put the Czechs under some pressure which is hardly surprising because they are a team who had  just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

OK, Rangers have ground out two good results by playing ultra cautious tactics, but they played a striker at least.  The same striker that is in the form of his life and only came on as a sub to create the aforementioned formation to a team who had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.  Rangers’ tactical decisions are fair enough.  They were playing one of Europe’s finest – not  a team that had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.  (That said, the Turks they played had never made the Champion’s League before and had just been humped at home by Valencia – but it paid off).

Levein looked sheepish, but unapologetic, after the game.  I anticipate that the media will rightly go on a field day and, for once, I support them.

It’s very, very sad that our national game, one that only 30 years ago we were considered amongst the finest in the world at, has become a joke.  A laughing stock.

How anyone could forgive us taking 96 minutes to pip Leichtestein (a country with a population of 34,000) is beyond me.

This result and this formation in particular, sets out our position in stark relief.

Losers.

And unambitious ones at that.

God help us on Tuesday night.  Although.  Although.  Although. You can just see it can’t you.  A backs to the wall Braveheart performance.

(And an unlucky 1 – 0 defeat.)

Bertie's back!

Rooney, Ronaldo, Messi, Kaka; you boys took a hell of a beating


Stand up the new world superstars of football. Who’d have thought, at the start of this tournament, that it would be Ozel, Schweinsteiger and Schneider that we’d be hailing as the greats. And good on Klose too; edging in on that record. I really hope he gets it. (And let’s not forget Diego Forlan of course!)

Germany have been awesome and deserve to win the tournament although I backed Holland at the start, so obviously I want them to do it, but on merit so far it’s Germany by a distance.

one week to go


Cannae wait till the World Cup, although I shall be playing in the second round of the Dundas Singles on opening night.  Nevertheless my Fantasy team is submitted and I can reveal it here to you dear reader…

sexy huh?

My thinking is as follows…

Bamba plays for Hibees, so is first pick.

Coupla Brazilians, cos they’re gonna win.

Messi, cos he’s the best player in the world.

Coupla Dutch, cos they’ll go far.

Coupla Spaniards, cos ditto.

Token Englishman so I can’t be accussed of being a Jock biased bastard.

The Pig guy from Germany, cos he has the best name in Footie.

There you go.  That’s how to get £20k richer.

Keane and Camarra put the Zip back into Celtic


Try dropping the second E mate.

Only kidding.

Door open for Hibs to finally breach the evil sisters.  Please don’t drop the ball now boys.

No. This is not an optical illusion. A game in hand and only two points adrift of a Champion’s league spot more than half way through the season.

Oh yes, and Hearts were dumped out of the diddy cup too.

Oh yes, and Chelsea dropped two points against Hull.

Oh yes, and Celtic didn’t take Stokesy.

Sweeeet.

I’m off to bed.

Celtic 1 -2 Hibs


Hibs go to Parkhead.

We get a caning.

Celtic have 95% possesion. (Or so you’d believe listening to the commentary; when in actual fact they have 52%)

They have 16 corners.

We have 2.

They have endless chances.  We have next to none (or so you’d believe listening to the commentary; when in actual fact they have only a few more than us. Well, 9.)

They go one up in 4 minutes then miss and miss and miss.

We break away and score.

We break away and score (again)

In the 92nd minute.

We win.

(The Jambos get murdered 3 – 0 at home.)

Thank you for that.

2009. That was my year that was.


And so the noughties come to a close…

2009 was a funny old year in many ways.

Work wise I’ve never been busier and gained some fascinating new clients along the way not least STV, Ampersand, Corporation Pop and LA Media.  But for some it has been a hell of a struggle and I hope things improve in 2010.  My own prospects for 2010 look a bit less silly than 2009.  Might even get some golf in.  Only played three medals in 2009 but following my FIRST EVER golf lesson in November I went on to finish second.  Yes, you heard that right, second in a winter medal and now sit proudly in 5th place overall in the winter league order of merit.  Just shows you that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

It was a mare of a year music wise.  I’ve already posted my tracks of the year elsewhere but I really struggled to pull together my top ten albums, so much so that I had to go into rereleases to make up the ten. Nevertheless, those that made it are great records in this or any year, there just weren’t many of them.

These are they;

The Phantom Band.  Checkmate Savage.

The year started brightly with this oddball Krautrock-influenced Rock and Roll album from what sounds like a bunch of stoners from Glasgow.  It’s great.  And I notice that this video from the album is directed by Martin Wedderburn (who I’ve worked with on commercials and Bronagh Keegan!  Who used to work for me at 1576.  Not to mention Ray Allan as a Barman and some Tetrahedron masks.)

Melody Gardot.  My One and Only Thrill.

Her first album showed promise, but her second is solid gold jazz and my personal achievement of the year was plucking up the courage to sing My One And Only Thrill from the record at the FAT concert on December 19th.

Doves.  Kingdom of Rust.

This year’s Elbow?  I suppose so, but this is to underestimate the quality of this beautiful, haunting and melodic rock record with real soul.

EG.  Adventure Man.

Why does this man (Eg White – silly name I know) not have a higher profile?  He writes many of Britain’s best pop songs (Chasing Pavements, Warwick Avenue, songs for Pink, James Morrison, Take That, Beverley Knight, Kylie Minogue, Will Young etc) .  He’s current songwriter of the year and nobody has heard of him. This is only his third album in two decades and it is astounding.  Pure wondrous pop.  Check him out please.

Bill Callahan. Sometimes I wish we were an eagle.

He was in Smog.  He WAS Smog.  (So what.  Nobody knows Smog either. Ed.)  This album came from nowhere from my point of view so thanks to Ian Dommett for introducing it to me.  It’s a wee bit like Lambchop from a vocal perspective but the music is way, way different.  Trust me on this one.

The XX.  The XX.

A quite extraordinary debut.  Sounding like a cross between Young Marble Giants and The Cocteau twins, but nothing like either, this was surely the debut of the year.  Electrifying and beautiful.  Self produced too.  Not bad for a bunch of teenagers. Interesting to see what happens next time round.  This video has already had 1.7m hits on youtube so clearly they are hitting a few people’s buttons.

Andrew Bird.  Noble Beast.

A multi instrumentalist from the states.  This is his 5th album and I’d missed them all before.  I will be catching up next year.

The Mummers. Tale to tell.

I saw March of The Dawn on Jools and was immediately blown away (that’s also where I discovered the XX).  The rest of the album hangs together well but this is the stand out track for sure.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  It’s Blitz.

Truth to tell I’ve not played this album that much, but it’s a great slice of arthouse rock and roll.  The critics loved it.  It only got into my top ten by the skin of its teeth though.

Kraftwerk.  Radioactivity, Computer Love and Trans Europe Express.

The re-release of Kraftwerk’s entire back catalogue fully remastered was the music event of the year.  This band’s influence never wanes.  But it’s clear they had a golden period with the three albums above taking my personal plaudits.  All of them pure 5 star and all quite different.  I think Radioactivity is my favourite.

Although all of the following met with critical acclaim I’m cool on them; Noah and The Whale, Paulo Nuttini (Although this would probably win the family’s album of the year overall on default – Ria and Jeana loved it and Tom and I were OK with it), Pete Doherty, (back to being a wanker again I see – is that ‘cos nobody bought his so so album) even Graham Coxon’s latest wasn’t that brilliant.

Martha Wainwright’s Edith Piaf record is good but not great, the God Help the Girl album was not good at all (I think Stuart Murdoch is missing the influence of his muse).

Time may show that I have overlooked the Animal Collective’s interesting album but I’m not so sure – a bit like TV on the Radio, the critics love it bus is it actually any good.

My blog has hit 296,000 views in the year which is 40,000 down on 2008 and perhaps reflects fewer posts (only 385 in total).  Or maybe it’s just shit now.  Still I think it’s a respectable total and thanks for your comments but I’d still like more contributions telling me when I’m being a tosser.  Especially you Iain as you regularly tell me offline.

The Hibees came back with a vengeance under the coaching of Yogi Hughes but the defeat to Rangers last week suggests a glass ceiling has been well and truly hit.  But there is some hope AGAIN for the cup.

Our clubs in Europe were pitiful and my lowlight in that respect was Falkirk (population 34,000) going out to a team from the mighty Lichtenstein – population 35,000 – that’s the country, not the town the team comes from.  Liechtenstein is so small it doesn’t even have a league.

Theatre played a big part in my year.  Apart from as an audience member.

I enjoyed Confined Human Condition by Cryptic and The Last Witch during the festival (although it was a bit overrated).  My role as a director of The Lyceum developed and I thought the production of Memoirs of a Justified Sinner was the highlight of the year.  Truly awesome.  But nothing was to match the impact of Ragtime during the festival in which Ria joined the ranks brilliantly and Ya Beauty which was an experience I will never forget.  My dad would have had “the tingles” for months.

Amy did brilliantly at school and finally nailed her English which gives her a great bunch of results to pursue her further education later this year.  In the meantime she’s doing great working full time at Dakota and having passed her driving test has her own transport (a rather beaten up Fiat Punto but it works, mostly).  Sadly Stuart moved away to Port Knockie so we ain’t seen so much of him.

Tom’s golf continued to improve and his handicap went from 15 to 11. He won two medals and The Greenkeepers Trophy and competed regularly for the team which is an achievement as it’s probably Ratho’s best ever junior team.   We went to watch but that ended in tears. A lot of the older guys leave for next year so interesting times. He also got into the Dunfermline Masters for the second year running.

He and Ria both have their Standard Grades this year and both got credits (in Tom’s case on appeal) in their English this year.

That particular subject has caused some grief as it is clear that Tom and Ria take rather different views on the importance of studying.  But I’ll not go into that here.

Ria substituted gymnastics for drama and I think she enjoys it much more as she has made a great new bunch of pals at FCT and is in her second show this Easter (Just So based on The Rudyard Kipling stories.  Watch this space.).  Ria is working like a trooper and had brilliant results in her prelims.  And she’s got a fella!  He’s not had the Gorman grilling yet.  But there is time for that.

Jeana’s work at Suntrap has blossomed (pun intended) and she loves it.  She managed two open days this year to great success.  Aided and abetted by her blog which you can find here .  It has steadily grown and is now pulling in 10,000 views a month.  She provided Tom and I with our comedy moment of the year when she slipped in Alvor during the summer holidays and cut her knee.  The slip was a true Laurel and Hardy moment as she careered down a cobbled street on her knees.  Tom and I wet ourselves but that was THE WRONG THING TO DO,  and we were punished accordingly.  Needless to say Ria was a tower of strength to Jeana in this moment of humiliation.  Tom and I still laugh about it.

We apologise.  Sorry Jeana.

However Alvor did give us our funniest collective moment of the year as you will see from this video which we shot in the town square in Alvor.  It was the local orchestra playing and this wee bloke at the back had only one job which he executed with lack of enthusiasm but not a great deal of ability as will be revealed.  We enjoyed it immensely as you will hear.

I also discovered the old 1576 promo videos that we created many years ago.  Not a good idea.

In books only one really stands out in a disappointing year.  I just didn’t have time.  This is astounding.

But I enjoyed this too…

And my movie of the year? I got to see a lot of great movies this year and the ones that really stood out were; the Hurt Locker, Harry Brown, The White Ribbon, Sherlock Holmes, Looking For Eric and Drag Me to Hell but the best for me was a TV documentary/movie of epic proportions made by the History Channel.

TV show of the year? No Question.  True Blood.

Digital gizmo of the year?  Again. no question.  Spotify.  But Facebook make a major ressurgence.  So much so that Jeana complained at one point that I was neglecting the blog.  Yeah, right enough.  Only 380 posts!.  Twitter continues to not flick my switch but I persevere.

My man of 2008, was Yogi Hughes.

Idiot of the Year?  Kenny Macaskill for doing a Tony Bliar [sic] on us about Magrahi.

Best party was the Yah Beauty wrap, followed closely by the Ragtime wrap.

Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman. 20th year running.

Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me. Still.

And so to 2010.

My hopes?

Hibees win the Scottish Cup.  (You say that every year.  Ed.)

Tom gets down to a 7 handicap.

I win something, anything, at Dundas Park

Amy gets into Uni.

I am healthy throughout.

Both Cath and Jean stay healthy too.

Tom and Ria do well in their exams.

The credit crunch doesn’t get worse again.

John Hughes


And so, we approach Christmas.

Hibs sit within touching distance of the top of the league.  Of course all will be nought should tRangers take the spoils on the 27th – but the fact remains that John Hughes has made a transformation at Easter Road.  The big difference is not losing to the likes of Hamilton (apart from Hamilton) having raised our game the week before against the Old Firm and Hearts (we lost to Celtic and only drew with Rangers and Hearts).

Hibs aren’t even playing that well.  But what we are witnessing is a remarkable manager in his element.

Why is he remarkable?  Because he has done what others couldn’t; strung results together, brought the changing room together, got great performances out of mercurial talent (Zemmama specifically) and made good signings (Stack, Millar and Stokes).

He has a good team, which is astonishing in itself given the transfer activity at the slope, but needs must and Petrie has done a great job in steadying the ship and now, hopefully, the club will continue to invest sensibly on the pitch (see Stokes for evidence).

I am, once again, proud to be a Hibby (I always was actually) and look forward to the second part of the season with anticipation.

OK, the league and cup double may only be a dream, but it is NOT an impossibility.

Thank you John Hughes.  You are a magician and everyone who follows Hibs owes you a great deal.