The Ideal Homes Exhibition Prince’s House

Spent three pleasant hours at the IHS at the SECC on Saturday. Bigger than I had expected. When we got there: five minutes before opening, the queues were stretched way back towards the Finnieston entrance. They had my favourite sausages from Debbie and Andrew. Four packs for £10. Curiously Diane does not think they are morning sausages because they have ‘too much flavour’. When I work that one out, I’ll get back to you.


I did leave in a perturbed and somewhat annoyed fashion. All down to the Prince of Wales. His ‘ideal house’ came fitted with all the technical improvements in windows, flooring, insulation, roofing that you could reasonably expect. All well and good but the structure would not have looked out of place in a Stefan Muthesius book on Victorian domestic dwellings. Some of the more astute readers will have noticed that it’s 110 years since Vicky crossed the Styx, yet here we are trying to build houses that would not have looked out of place in the new suburbs of nineteenth century southern England.


This makes me die. I am not a worshipper at the feet of Hitchcock and Johnson but I do feel for the modern architect with fresh ideas. Forget it whilst the dead hand of His Royal Chuckiness influences our urban planning. And don’t get me started on Poundbury. Ebenezer Howard, you should be alive at this hour – to take the blame or the victory wreath.



The European Cup Final 2011

What a very pleasant hour and and half that was! I have no particular dislike of United. I lived in Manny for eight years and saw them as often as I saw City, but then they were just a giant club with no success and incredibly loyal fans. I remember when I was Chairperson of the Greater Manchester branch of the Football Supporters’ Association. Tiny and barely noticeable by the big clubs. However, with a month or two of becoming the United manager, Freebie and Archie Knox turned up to talk to our little band of fans about what he was going to do. From that point on I have respected the man, leaving aside the fact that he has shown brilliance in very step of his managerial career.


Last night however, he had the straw but his bricks were markedly inferior to those from Catalonia. No dishonour in defeat. I would be surprised if any commentator suggests with the perfect vision of hindsight that tactical or personnel changes could have been made that would have delivered a different outcome.


The more salient point is to wonder if Barcelona are setting out a new way of playing, much in the way that Celtic did in 1967 and England did the year before. Of course the former was positive and the latter was negative, but the effects are unquestionable. We are all used to the stats that Barcelona produce in many games: possession above 60% passes above 500. Can others take on this method and have football continue its move towards greater artistry and less emphasis on the zonal graveyard? It should be an interesting decade.

Full Time Result: The Idiot Box 1 The Internet 7

Friday night and only intermittent broadband. The outside world has decided to shun me until Virgin hook me up again. The weekend will be a trial, notwithstanding using my iPhone to check my emails and see what’s going on with Kerrydale Street and the Huddleboard In only a few short years the internet has taken over my life and massively improved it. I have always distrusted the mass consumption of gelatinous lies provided by the idiot box in the corner of the living room. In the last ten years I have gone from avid if slightly distracting viewer, to barely a viewer at all. I will honour ‘The Mentalist’ with my presence tonight and the European Cup Final tomorrow, but that will be it. ‘The Mentalist’ is of sufficient quality that it seems the right thing to do to enjoy it in the sophisticated company of my Diane.

The ECF will be watched with the sound down. I too can shout ‘I’ve seen them given’, or ‘just two big men coming together’.  I am aware of the necessity for the ref to show common sense whilst not making life difficult for himself. In short I too can talk like someone who has had a lot of experience of football but as yet, is still patiently waiting for a shot of the family braincell. I shall save my excoriation of the printed media for a later blog.

The Mancave

My life has turned around since moving to Bankhead. Not just in terms of having a garden and trees to admire. I don’t even mind the magpies walking across my roof at 5 a.m. whilst clog dancing and turning their ghetto blasters up to 11.  Nope – I have achieved what all good men deserve: my own man cave. Originally intended for a Baby Austin sized car, I had it cleaned out and fitted up for work; with a lining and a lovely rug on the floor. My Dizey has the gift of fitting everything into impossible spaces, so I now have a wall of bookshelves, a two seat sofa and all the gubbins a boy could need. That this should be impossible has never stopped her. The removal business’ loss is my gain. At the south end is my Edwardian desk bought for £200 from eBay, on which sits the iMac, a second monitor and more external hard drives than there is space on the desk. The final touch is the banker’s lamp and the Celtic pics on what little wall space is left.

Pride of place goes to the reports on my book ‘Played in Glasgow’. No matter how much I tell myself that it’s what I think that counts, it’s still a boost to have someone else rate your work. This piece of egoism is closely followed by the now faded piece from the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger entitled ‘Mona Lisa auf Glasgow’. My tiny contribution to the English language: comparing the oldest football trophy in the world to the most famous painting. So this is where I sit and dream my dreams whilst working out another plan for taking my work to a wider audience. It’s a comfortable life.

The Rejected Writer

I have been reading about rejected authors this morning. It is hard to know whether or not this is a good idea for the aspiring author. On the one hand I can pretend I am suffering the same agonies as J K Rowling, Kipling and Orwell, on the other they jumped off my ship many years ago and went for an unlimited cruise on the SS Success. I would guess that they are in a tiny minority: that sub-group we might designate as the successful rejectee. I would dearly love to gain entrance to that private club situated behind the hidden door at the back of the Café Disappointed. One thing that pleased me was finding authors who had been rejected more than a hundred times. I was starting to fear the relatively low number that designated the rejections suffered by J K Rowling. I wondered how I would feel if I passed 18 (some sources say 20) rejections. Upon reaching that anti-goal I would have had to have officially disassociated myself from her benighted years. Now I can extend my period of hope and longing past the century of melancholy.

Still, I cannot but feel sympathy for the publishers trying vainly to make a decision on books of unknown merit beyond the fact that they are grammatically correct. If I were to be given ten manuscripts that were about to be published, I doubt if I would be able to rank them in order of the success they were going to have in the upcoming twelve months. Just pick me – one day. I don’t care which – but make it soon.