The Birthday Music Diaries – 10,4,16

Over the next Seven days with each wee post I am going to put in my Top Ninety Two songs – should’ve been Fifty but that was far too difficult and for some reason I can’t add the Eighteen more on to the playlist to make up the Hundred. So, Ninety Two it is, unless I think of another Eighteen songs – so ,here are the First Fifteen, in no particular order – Wedding Bell Blues, Alfie, Davy Jones, No matter what, What a fool believes, High Flying Bird, Castles in the Air, Begin the Beguine, Shelter from the Storm, Dirty Work, Bailero, Incident at Neshabur, Hello Stranger, Aquarius and Badge. See how many artists you can guess – Southern Man takes it to Sixteen. More when I get up in the morning.

The Offside Diaries – 9,4,16

I’ve just been watching the Fitba’ on the Telly – and I remembered a conversation I had with Callum a couple of weeks ago. We were discussing the Offside Law and how Shite it is. Callum said it was a throw back to it’s Victorian origins when everything had to have to have a Million Rules. We both decided, over an Assam or Two, that Fitba’ would be galvanised and enriched by the scrapping of this archaic and stifling rule. If you look back to the last Fitba’ season where a major change to the Offside rule was implemented, Ninety years ago, in the 1925/26 season, you’ll see that almost every team in the Six Leagues in Scotland and England scored a lot more goals than they did in the previous season. Huddersfield, Champions of England for the third time in a row, scored Twenty Three more goals – Bury, Fifth the previous season, scoring Fifty Four goals, got to Fourth place in 1926 and scored Eighty Five goals. Manchester City scored Eighty Nine goals and were relegated. In Scotland, Celtic were Champions, scoring Twenty One more goals than they did in their previous Fourth place finish. Also, in the 1925/26 Scottish League 2nd Division, Bathgate and Broxburn finished in the bottom Two places. The previous season, the pre offside change season, they were Sixteenth and Seventh, respectively. The new rule saw Bathgate score Two more goals but concede Thirty One more – Broxburn scored Fifty Five goals, Seven more than the previous season but conceded Seventy Six more goals, One Hundred and Twenty Six in total. I hated Offside – I was caught Offside more times than anybody else in the entire History of Fitba’ – probably in just One or Two matches. I couldn’t understand what it meant or what was it’s point – a totally ridiculous thing, F–k it.

The cancer Diaries -9,4,16

‘well, had a great wee day today with Linda, Nick, Andrew and Davy Broon today at the Black Bull – it’s my Birthday tomorrow and they were treating me to a nice meal. I love being around my family – Linda said today if She, Chris, Davy and I all had Two or Three kids roughly the same ages, what a hoot that would’ve been – a wee Broon and Maltman clan, Nieces and Nephews and Grand kids. I was always far too selfish to have kids – I’ve struggled in adulthood looking after myself and I certainly would have struggled at Parenthood. Badge, by Cream ,has just come on the Laptop while writing this and Santana’s ‘Incident at Neshabur’ is next. They are both on my ‘All Time Big Favourites’ playlist. Originally I had over A Hundred and Twenty songs [ almost Eight hours] and thought that I could whittle it down to Fifty. I got to Eighty Nine and I was toiling – I’ve decided to round it off to a Top Hundred and add Eleven songs. It was getting to be like the equivalent of being asked to choose between ‘The Sting’,’The Great Escape, ‘Young Frankenstein’ and ‘The Life of Brian’ – ‘F–k that. So, more tomorrow – thanks to the Hawick posse and Davy Broon for a great wee day.

The cancer Diaries – 7,4,16

Well, that’s me started my life or death chemo – Dr McNeill said that I’ll get a CT scan after the Third treatment and a Kidney scan at the Festern General [not to be confused with George Armstrong Puster -who lost the Battle of the Little big plook ] and they should know if I’ll be fit enough for the stem cell treatment. If not, it’s Morphine till I die – I could think of worse ways to go. I must admit to being quite low sitting back there again in the cancer hoose, today. The first round was a wee adventure, to be honest, but this time is a bit different. It all starting up again not long after finishing the last chemo, obviously wasn’t ideal news, and being told that the next treatment is make or break – well, there are things to think about. I’m back tomorrow for another steroid injection and I have the Orthopaedic department to go to. Then, it will be the end of April or the beginning of May for the next chemo. I’ve to take Seventy steroids over the next Five days and Four new chemo tablets. By Monday I’ll have swallowed more tablets than Keith Moon and John Belushi, put together. ‘Endormie’ by Nolwenn Leroy has just come on my Laptop – it’s a beautiful song and one of my favourites – I can’t speak French – ‘much to my chagrin’- as Robert Stephens said in the ‘Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’ and as Bunty would say after Two Carsburgs. After Four cans it was a cosmopolitan mix of French, Forsythe saga, and good auld Anglo Saxon swearing. Anyway, it’s a nice song and I would say to anyone ‘Give it a listen’. I’ll sign off here for the moment.

Fifty years of Fitba’ – 6,4,16

I couldn’t say for sure what my earliest TV memory of the Fitba’ was. I have old Black and white recollections of Celtic playing Feyenoord in the 1970 European Cup final and of Davy and I quite liking West Germany in the ’70 World Cup, but not wanting them to play Brazil because we liked them more. My ‘First World cup’ was the 1974 tournament in West Germany. Scotland had qualified, were drawn against, Zaire, World champions, Brazil and Yugoslavia and we had a colour Telly. I remember watching Scotland play Zaire, the floodlights failing and auld Scud saying ‘We’re beat, noo – we’ll no’ be able to see them’. What got a laugh in 1974 would get you jail now. Anyway, Holland were the team that everyone was talking about. Even though Bayern Munich were newly crowned European champions, the previous Four winners had been from Holland, with Ajax winning Three in a row. I think that achievement puts them up there with the all time great football teams. Apart from One or Two signings it was more or less the same players who played in the Three in a row finals. Only Celtic, Atletico Madrid, and Bayern Munich beat Ajax during this Three year spell and only Atletico Madrid led Ajax going into a Second Leg [’71 ]. Celtic trailed 0-3 from the First Leg when they beat Ajax in ’71 and Bayern Munich were 0-4 behind from the First Leg when they met for the Second Leg in ’73.

The cancer Diaries – 6,4,16

I start the new chemo tomorrow – I could even know in a week or Two if it’s worth carrying on with it. The Doctor told me that if this latest round doesn’t respond there will be no Third round – and with it being an aggressive form of the cancer, they’ll know very soon into the chemo whether it’s working or not. I have the Orthopaedic people to see on Friday about the Fractures and I am in for a day for more chemo next week. I think the routine will be Three days of chemo in St Jocks, another Five days of the Lance Armstrong’s [steroids], more chemo for a day, then the Three week lay off and begin again. I’ll be Fifty Three on Sunday and I have to at least entertain the thought of me maybe not reaching Fifty Four. Linda, Nick and Andrew are coming up from Hawick on Saturday for a visit and to take me out for my Birthday, so, it should, as always, be special. I’ve got the sun shining in the window and ‘Woman in chains’ has just started on the Lap top – that’s ‘awright’. Anyway, it’s a bit of a waiting game for me over the next week or Two. No wacky Baccy in any shape or form and eat healthy food is the road I’m heading along.

The Double Fracture Diaries -4,4,16

There will be a meeting at St Johns Hospital of the NHS Howden front – and they’ll be saying – ‘apart from the cancer in September, which goes without saying- what’ve the NHS ever done for Scud Broon’ ? – Oh, he had the heart attack which almost killed him in October – ‘OK, but apart from the cancer and the heart attack, what have the NHS ever done for Scud Broon’? – oh, they discovered that some time in his past he had a stroke and they’re giving him medication to reduce the risk of that happening again – ‘fine, but apart from fighting his cancer, saving his life after a heart attack and helping him to prevent another stroke – what have the NHS ever done for Scud Broon’? Oh, they’ve also discovered that his Vascular system is buggered and that Three of the Four arteries that supply the Blood to his Brain are totally blocked and are beyond medical intervention, but are monitoring the situation on a regular basis. ‘OK, but apart from fighting his cancer, saving his life after a heart attack, monitoring his vascular system, trying to prevent him having another stroke, or heart attack, making sure the dilation of his right pupil stays at a ‘non worrying’ level – what have the NHS ever done for Scud Broon ‘Oh on Saturday night he was pissed and ended up getting a double fracture in his ankle and Fibula which will have him on crutches and a ‘Moon Boot’ for the next Six weeks – just Five days before he starts the new bout of chemo therapy which will, ultimately, kill him or cure him. At which point, the John Cleese character would tell, whoever said the last bit to F–k off. That’s what happened on Saturday night – a double fracture in my ankle and leg, caused by jumping off the top of a fence that would’ve been a leap in sobriety, but when half cut turned out to be a long drop. I’d had a great night at Davy and Julies with Ann and Gill and Maisie and Molly, the Dugs- great hospitality, to die for food and drink and when I got home I realised I’d lost my key. I thought, ‘Bastard’ , I’ll have to walk the Twenty minutes back to Pumphy to Davy and Julies to get my spare key. Ten minutes up the road I got a bit lost and ended up between Pumphy and Craishill, in the woods almost. That’s when I came to the fence and climbed it, jumped off and landed badly. Fracturing an ankle bone and my Fibula is a bad enough landing, but when I got to Davy and Julies I realised that I’d landed on Dug shite or Fox shite [might even have been human, I don’t know] but whatever kind, it was shite and it was on ma troosers and I was pissed off. From that point on, from where I was, it should have taken Ten minutes to get to Pumphy. Add being half cut, a double fracture and a return of the cancer into the mix and it turned into a Forty Five minute walk. What an ordeal that was. Blood samples and a heart scan Tomorrow, then chemo on Thursday. I cannot underestimate the importance of the next Month of chemo – it is literally life or death for me. I’m staring down at the abyss, but I’ve still got a rope round my waist and as long as it holds firm I’m dodgin’ away and laughin’.

The Jinky Diaries – 2,4,16

While looking through my Family History the other day I noticed that on my mothers side, her father Bill Jenkinson, who was known, for short, as Grandad Jenky, was a direct descendant of the famous Gambian slave, Kunta Jinke, whose father was Wullie Jenkinson, a sailor on the high seas who had a laison with a Gambian woman – the resulting offspring was the famous Kunta Jinke. He famously escaped from his slave ship bound for the West Indies and swam through miles of Shark infested waters back to the Gambia where he started up their First ever Bookies and Pie shop. This was in the early 19th Century at the same time as his father, Wullie, was making Leith his home port. My ‘Granda Jenky’ was a direct descendant of ‘Gambian Wullie’.

The cancer Diaries – 2,4,16

Well, it had to be April Fools day that I’d be told some potentially devastating news. After my visit to St Jocks today I found out that I’d need more chemo therapy – this chemo therapy will be the gateway to the stem cell treatment, which, they hope, will finally cure the cancer. The only problem is if, like the last bout, I don’t respond in a positive manner, I won’t be able to have the stem cell treatment and that means Goodnight Vienna. It could be Six months,a Year, Five Years – who knows. It’s like, I’ve got a boat and I’ve got a paddle but it’s a case of are they strong enough to withstand the White water rapids that are staring me in the face. Or, I could say that it’s like Scotland being 3-2 up in the World Cup Final with Five minutes to go and they’ve used their Three subs and they’ve had their best Two players sent off and the team they’re playing are like Brazil from 1970, plus Maradonna, Zidane, George Best and Johan Cruyff – and they’ve just been awarded a free kick in a great position. You could argue, quite rightly, that Scotland would never be in the World Cup Final, let alone be 3-2 up against that team, but a Fitba’ lover would see the predicament I’m in. My heart is the problem – if it holds up to the chemo I’ll be able to get the ‘Boys from Brazil’ stem cell stuff. It’s all very touch and go and in the hands of the fates. Just my luck that I’ll be hairless for France – the holiday will be in the middle of my chemo but it won’t be affected by it. Being over Two Stones heavier than I was when I started the last bout of treatment can only be a good thing and I shouldn’t look as emaciated this time. It’s a very sobering thing, to be told if plan B doesn’t work, there’s no plan C. I thought today about how a week tomorrow could be my last Birthday, then I thought about before Davy and I popped up, Linda and Chris had lost Two wee brothers in a week – Bunty had a stillborn and less than a week later Andrew was killed while playing down at the Bing not long, I think, before his Eighth birthday – Linda and Chris would know for sure. It’s funny, but, I was a walk with Davy and Maisie and Molly the Dugs a couple of weeks ago down near the bit where Andrew was killed [ I played and ran about on the same part of the siding as the accident] and they’d literally opened the new road Five minutes before. It turns off to the left just before what used to be the Level Crossing – where the wee pug Train Engine used to cross over from the Pumphy works to the wee siding which ran part of the way alongside the sadly long gone ‘Hairy Tip’. The road builders who were there adding the last wee touches told us that they had come across huge Railway sleepers and bits of Railway while they were making that part of the road. I remember walking down that same way with Allan[ who used to be my uncle Allan until he said one day about Ten years ago ‘Colin, son, caw me Allan’ – and I did. From that day on whenever I mentioned ‘Allan’ people would say ‘Allan’ who ? – the same people, who for the previous Forty years knew who I was talking about when I said ‘Uncle Allan’ or ‘ma Uncle Allan’. Anyway, Allan [ma Uncle Allan] and I used to go an occasional walk down that way and anytime we approached what was the old Level crossing, he would point over to the side of what was left of the Bing and say ‘that’s where yer brother was killed’ and for the next few steps, until we passed the point, he would say nothing, then after a few seconds he would snap out of his wee state of mind and show me a Bees nest or where he saw a Fox last week. He always looked out for Skylarks – they were numerous in Pumphy at one time but he hadn’t seen any for years ‘it’s that bloody New Toons fawt’ he would say. Then , I thought, Andrew only had Seven Birthdays – I’ve had Fifty Two – I’ve been lucky in that respect. So, it’s chemo Three times a week, every Three weeks for a couple of Months at least and hoping for the best.

The Music Diaries -31,3,16

We’ve all got Laptops and Tablets and phones that play music – I love music and I love making up playlists on my Laptop – Hippie Favourites, Classical favourites, 60’s, Santana, opera, whatever. I’ve got my big ‘Fuck off Favourites’ list – 127 songs and 8 hours long that I play almost every day- I’m always adding to it and shuffling the order about. It’s more or less all the songs that I have never tired of listening to, whether I heard them for the first time last month or in the Sixties when I first became aware of the wonderful world of music – Georgy Girl, Downtown, It’s not unusual, Elusive Butterfly, Lazy Sunday Afternoon, Leavin’ on a Jet plane, Penny Lane, to mention just the tip of the tip of the Iceberg of the songs I was familiar with from an early age. Lilly the Pink, Where do you go to my lovely, -what a decade for music. Those were the catchy classics that were on the Radio all the time – I now love a lot of the music from the Sixties which was big at the time but I wasn’t big enough to understand or be aware of- Cream, The Who, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan. There are a few Sixties songs on my big playlist but only Four Santana songs, a bit surprising when you consider I have 22 of their CD’s and have seen them play Three times. I have a few songs or pieces of music on the playlist which would be on a separate ‘drifting off to death music’ playlist. ‘The Flower duet’, ‘Rave on John Donne’, Pie Jesu, ‘Send in the clowns’ [ the Barbra Big nose version], the ‘Buffalo Robe’, ‘The Girl with the Flaxen hair’, ‘Incident at Neshabur’. Neshabur was where Toussaint L’ouverture led his slave army to victory against the might of Napoleon over a month ago -the early 19th Century to be more precise- and if ye want more precise than that ye can eff off and Google it – ah’m Scud Broon fae Pumphy and no ‘Simon F in’ Schama. The final song on the playlist has and probably always will be ‘Albatross’ by Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac. I’d want that to be among the last songs I ever heard.