Tag Archives: The Sex Pistols

If Greenock Had Hosted The Olympics……….Olympics Variorum No.1

……….The Olympics has taken over a bit chez nous! We watch it on TV constantly at home, we listen to it on the radio when in the car and we are lucky enough to have tickets to go a couple of times! One effect of this is that I’m reading very little so I thought since the Olympics has taken over our lives I’d let it to the same to my blog – otherwise I’ll have sod all to write about really!

The beautiful Lomond Hills in the distance – the not quite so beautiful Greenock in the foreground

One of the things that strikes me about the Games is the sheer scale and breadth of it – and that’s where my home town, Greenock in Scotland, comes in. For those of you who don’t know it, Greenock is on the west coast of Scotland about 20 something miles from Glasgow – originally an industrial town which grew up and existed for many years to serve shipbuilding. There are some things which I think characterise Greenock. Our Scottish accent is on the harsh side which makes it unintelligible to many other Scots and the rest of the world has no chance! It rains a lot – Greenock is frequently on the lists of the wettest places in the UK every year! We have a reputation to be…..em……well…….short-arsed! The two-week holiday in July, when most Greenock businesses and people traditionally took their holidays used to be referred to by other Scots going on holiday at the same time as going away during the “midget fortnight!” The views FROM Greenock across to the Lomond Hills are beautiful and spectacular – the views from the Lomond Hills back to Greenock are, well, not that nice really! I’ve always thought Greenock is one of those places best seen from a distance (the further the better if you ask my family!) than up close!

I think of my home city as Glasgow of course and yet Greenock was where I was born and grew up. And I always felt that Greenock existed for Glaswegians to have somewhere to look down on!!! (that’s when you know you’re one one of the lowest rungs of the social ladder!). At the time when Glasgow was European City of Culture in the mid-1980’s, the Glasgow Herald ran a spoof series of stories entitled “Greenock – European Burgh Of Culture!” sending up the fact that Greenock could be pretty much the most uncouth, uncultured place on the planet really! I lived in Spain then and my cousin used to cut them out and send them to me – they were hilarious! And lastly, by way of setting these posts up, I have to explain the “Variorum” – this was part of a news phenomenon in Greenock – we had a small local newspaper 6 nights a week, the Greenock Telegraph, which was bought and read by about 90% of the population. In it, there was a piece called the Variorum, a collection of varied and random pieces of information which were masquerading as news – it was frequently bizarre, constantly surreal and always daft  – or as one Greenockian described it on an internet forum “the Variorum – what hilarious pish was put in there!”

Here are some samples of what passed for news in Greenock!

A man was seen walking his dog in Coronation Park. (!)

A bus conductress wasn’t pleased today when a man handed her a £5 note to pay a fare of only 50p. (!!)

Largs had one of its busiest Glasgow Fair Mondays in years, with the main streets congested with traffic. The sea front car park had a ‘full’ notice until well on in the evening. (!!!)

Customers in a large supermarket in town last night were taken by surprise when it was announced that large loaves of French crusty bread were being given away free. Apparently the store had made too many, and had decided to treat their customers to a gift. (I think this might be an error actually – more likely they were robbing the store and the Telegraph was trying to avoid casting the town in a bad light!)

So, inspired by the Greenock Telegraph Variorum, I’ve decided to make my Olympic posts over the next couple of weeks nothing more than random ramblings – which, when  think about it, isn’t any different from what I write on here the rest of the time!

Olympic Variorum 1 – Saturday July 28th

“She’s gorgeous Andy! She’s ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!”

The Opening Ceremony was fantastic. In places it was spectacular, in others very ecletic and funny and throughout it was always entertaining and showed Britain off in a great light – mind you we might have been only showing it to ourselves in a great light as god knows what the rest of the world made of it! Most blogs and comments and newspaper reviews seem to have the same positive view though. I’ve read the odd negative comment from eejits like that Tory MP/tosser (delete as applicable!), but most people seem to have loved it.

I partly loved it because it didn’t have the usual stuff about Britain – no Beefeaters, or Red Arrows, or a million minor Royals we’ve never heard of – and how can you not love a ceremony with The Arctic Monkeys live! However I’ve not read anybody yet who agrees with me on the best part – it wasn’t the James Bond thing, or the Rowan Atkinson thing,Gregory's Girl or Kenneth Branagh or fireworks or any other of that stuff. It was the part, during the sequence about the love story “Frankie and June Say Thanks Tim!” where they played part of the film- and soundtrack, of Gregory’s Girl – the most wonderful film ever! I can amuse and entertain my family by remembering virtually the whole script and saying it out loud before the line is delivered as we watch it! (note: “entertain” and “amuse” are my words to describe this talent – their words are I think “bore” and “embarrass”!)

So thank you Danny Boyle (and if there is any justice, soon to be Sir Daniel of Boyle)  and well done – and above all thank you Gregory!

Yesterday Butter! Today The Olympics! Tomorrow The World!

The visual spectacle of the Opening Ceremony was matched if not surpassed for me by the music. Donkey’s years ago I bought Never Mind The Bollocks and it changed the music I listened to overnight really! While I never abandoned my rock roots altogether nor fully embraced the punk style (I tried it for a short time but while I could do the hair and clothes, I hated the idea of piercings – I had a great idea once as a compromise – wearing clip-on earrings – it didn’t work!). But I loved punk music. I saw The Ramones more years ago than I care to admit – it was chaotic, shambolic and utterly wonderful! But even I never thought we’d see The Sex Pistols at The Olympics – and not once but twice. First God Save The Queen in a little film during the ceremony and then in the stadium itself the chimes of Pretty Vacant! I liked it. First John Lydon advertises butter, then they promote the Olympics. Who’d have thought a bunch of eejits who could barely play and who couldn’t really sing, but who had a nice line in “Fuck Off!” and who had more front than Blackpool would have come to this?!

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now!

QueenI’ve read much of what a “great sport” The Queen was in doing the little sketch with Daniel Craig for the Ceremony. I liked it and it was very funny – and somehow very British – but from then on during the ceremony, every time the cameras captured her she looked pretty pissed off to me. After a bit she began to irritate me if I’m honest. I know Morrisey’s not exactly an ardent royalist, but she and he should get together and swop notes about looking miserable in public.

I admit I’m not a fan of the Royal Family at the best of times – but at least Anne and Charles and Harry and William look as if they enjoy these things!

Maybe the expectant “Sir Daniel Of Boyle” shouldn’t hire that m0rning suit just yet!

“I Didn’t See The Flame Or Nuffink Your Honour, But JT Didn’t Start That Fire!”

Like many others, while watching the athletes file in for the Opening Ceremony I was surprised (and not pleasantly) to see the-see-no-evil, hear-no-evil guru Ashley Cole himself carrying in one of the flags! Personally I’d like to blame G4S – as I blame them for most things these days – but EVEN THEY don’t deserve to get the blame for Ashley Cole!

Still – be grateful for small mercies – at least we didn’t have to look at a bloody John Terry look-alike as well!

And Finally, If The Olympics Had Been Held In Greenock…..

……….There’s no way all 200 odd of those copper pans for the Olympic Flame would have been there by the end – someone would have nicked most of them and sold them to a scrap dealer while the ceremony was going on!

Songs that make your head go “mosh” at 50!

As I was reading other book blogs on the internet with BBC Radio 6 on in the background, my concentration couldn’t resist the chimes of The Ramones singing “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”  – my head immediately started to pulse back and forwards! I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager – and that’s a long, long, long time ago! I love the idea of songs which worm their way into your consciousness and even sub-conscious and stay embedded there – and then any time you hear them you have an almost Pavlovian reaction as soon as the first bars sound out!!!!

Personally I think you need hair for that metronomic pulsing of the head if you are to “mosh” properly – luckily I still have plenty though it’s predominantly grey and white these days! (There’s a different debate to be had perhaps about the dignity of a 50 year old man moshing – but I don’t care really!)

About 10 years ago I was at the V Festival when the much younger brother of a friend invited us to join them in the mosh pit, commenting that I had the perfect hair for it! It was a great moment – firstly acceptance of a sort by a younger generation for us more at the “dad rock” end of the age spectrum and secondly at last all this hippy like hair I’d carried around for 20 years or more was finally “perfect” for something – I accepted the offer and had a great time in the mosh pit for a set by Placebo – mind you at the end of it I realised that the thing that had come in most useful in moshing with these kids wasn’t my hair but how I’d learned to make effective use of my elbows in a defensive capacity from years of playing football! Even then I was black and blue next day – but happy! Anyway I digress – back to songs that make you want to go……mosh.

Several of mine are from my early days as a half-hearted punk (half – hearted in so far as while I loved the music and the clothes I still wanted to keep my long hair and my fear of needles meant the only earrings I ever had in were clip-ons!) So from back then, to this day, songs that still make my head and neck pulse instantly include “Pretty Vacant” and also “Anarchy In The UK” by the Sex Pistols, The Ramones doing “Blitzkrieg Bop” in addition to the aforementioned “Sheena is A Punk Rocker!”, and “Kick Out The Jams” by MC5. Today my tastes are a bit different – some might say they have become mellower – I like to think of them more as having grown-up! However there are still so many songs that instantly make my head rock – I can’t remember what most of them even are but there are some I am aware of. It always happens when I hear the Arctic Monkeys “Fake Tales of San Francisco”, “Hey Scenesters” by The Cribs, “Take Me Out!” by Franz Ferdinand and the wonderful “New York City Cops” by The Strokes!

One of the things which other men of my age may be aware of is the plethora of hair products out there for us men to hang onto our hair for as long as possible – I use some ridiculously named and ridiculously expensive serum and shampoo stuff  – and while there are lots of reasons for doing it (actually there may be only one reason – vanity – but I give it lots of different names!) – one of the reasons is definitely so I still have enough hair to get that instant surprise and pleasure and joy from suddenly realising that my head is off and moving to some song or other. Time for me to get a fix of The Strokes I think!