Tuesday, 21 April 2015

My first book, KERBY

My first book, "KERBY: Funny tales from a 1990's Scottish childhood" is available now from Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/pfg3t7n and has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KERBYbook

If you're a fan of the blog, please check it out!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Excerpts from a 7 year old's diary

Whenever I'm at my mum's, I love raiding through old boxes of photographs, newspaper clippings and school report cards - which are peppered throughout my academic career with brilliant comments like 'still needs to concentrate more', 'easily distracted and willing to distract others' and 'Graeme would get on a lot better if he listened to instruction instead of doing his own thing'

My mammy, always one for sentimentality, has kept basically every useless piece of crap ever written about or by me, which means I often find little insights into my childhood. A few of my recent finds are collected below - if I come across any other nonsense the next time I'm wading through a dusty old box, I'll fire it up.

In Primary 7, we apparently had to write to the local bishop regarding our upcoming confirmation. Here's my correspondence with him:

My mum once started her own business, a family history research company. Whilst she worked on research for her first ever customer, I offered to get in touch with him:

Last but not least, excerpts from my Primary 4 diary, written at the age of 7:

5th September 1994
On Friday I went to the Viking Village but when I got there and it was closed. We had a look around and there was a stall where could win fish. I won a fish. It died on Saturday though. On Sunday my auntie, uncle and wee cousin and June and Eric came. There was a huge cookie for Eric.

‎19th September 1994
On Saturday I went to my Gran's for my Great Grampa's birthday party. My Uncle George came to the birthday party as well. He bought us presents as well. He gave me a computer game and Fiona Aladdin on video. My Uncle George is a great uncle. My cold is still bugging me.

‎21st September 1994
Yesterday we made up a new charity group. We named it CHA - Children Helping Animals. We voted for a committee - a president, a vice president, a secretary and a treasurer. At our first meeting our fundraisers decided on ten ways we could make money.

31st October 1994
On Thursday it will be my birthday. Thomas, Patrick, Louise, Amy, Adam, Gordon, Martyn, Mark, Fiona (and especially me) are coming to my party. And on Saturday I was playing in a football match. If we won we would get medals but we didn't win. In fact we lost 2-1. Patrick scored our goal. After the match my Dad dried my hands with a towel because it was raining and my hands were like blocks of ice. When I got home I had a nice hot bath. After that I went for Gordon. He invited me in to play his newest computer game sonic and knuckles. Half an hour later Fiona came over to tell me I had to go to the boring old shops in Irvine. We had to get a cooker ring. We took my Great Grampa with us. We met one of my neighbours. When we got back we watched The Generation Game. It was good.

‎7th November 1994
On Saturday my Mum asked me, Dad, and Fiona if we wanted to go to the fireworks display or stay and watch television. We all wanted to stay. We watched the Generation Game, Noel edmonds house party and family fortunes. On Sunday we went to the St. Enoch's Centre. I had £29.00 to spend. I bought a new computer game called Rocket knight adventures. When we got home we fed our dog and Fiona's fish then we went to the Ship Inn for our tea.

‎12th December 1994
On Sunday I went for Gordon but they were going to the glen's car park and they asked if I would like to go. I asked my mum if I would be aloud to go and Mum said "yes". After we had went invited me in to watch Turtles III. It was good fun.

‎19th December 1994
On Friday after the panto Mum thought we would be tired. So she went to the Azad video shop and hired Beethoven's 2nd. We took it back after the Christingle service on Sunday. But I saw a Power Rangers video. I've watched it already and it is very good.

9th January 1995
This year my new year resolutions will be. To play my computer for the limited time, tidy up my room and stop eating so many sweets.

6th February 1995
On Friday after school I started to write an 18 chapter story. Its a bit like fantastic mr fox but there's definately more chapters. It's called a fox's hole and its about a fox's family and a farmer's family who are both enemy's. The chapter I can't wait to do are called double trouble because the farmer's cousin comes and the other one is called the warehouse and weird things happen in that one.

13th February 1995
On Sunday my Aunt Sadie and Uncle Onie came to see us. At dinner time my Uncle Onie made a one pound bet. The bet was that I couldn't eat 10 potatoes in two minutes but I did. And when my friend came I picked up that he didn't like school cause he was thinking what to call a film cause when he grows he wants to be involved in a film crew. Finally he said... the ultimate nightmare film... back to school.

23rd February 1995
On Tuesday Mrs McGough came round to discuss Children's Liturgy Group buisness. Martyn had come to cause there was nobody to look after him. He came round for 5 hours. We played the computer, we drew, we played hide the lion and we played football and tennis. Then I had my dinner then went over for Gordon.

13th March 1995
On Saturday my Uncle George came down. Fiona and I made up our own Radio station. We done it on Fionas Ghetto-blaster because you can record your voice on it if you have a spare tape and you are at least 50cm away from it. Out Radio Station is called GFTV news instead of GMTV and we have Mr Motormouth instead of Mr Motivator. Mr Motormouth is always bragging about his fishing trips. We pretended we were at Silverstone but we were really in my room and playing my Skielekstracks (and we were doing a bit of commentating) then we were at Rugby Park and the match was Kilmarnock vs Aberdeen but we were really in my bedroom playing Subuteo. The Final score was 5-5. After that we done an interview but it was only me putting on voices. We even recorded adverts off the tele.

‎20th March 1995
On Saturday I came out with rashe's all over my arms, back, chest and my legs were covered in rashe's. Fiona and I made up a puppet show with our puppets. All the money raised we are going to send to SCIAF. On Sunday Martyn and I went out on our bikes. Then we had a game of football against his big brother Mark. The teams were me and Martyn vs Mark. He was on his own cause he is 12 years old and me and Martyn are only 8. The final score was 18-13 to me and Martyn. It was a good game.

15th May 1995
On Friday my dad came home from work and said "My friend gave me a tape" his friend had said that it was suitable for us to watch. Later, I snaked into his room and to see what it was. it was The Mask. We watched it and thought it was good. We let Gran and Grampa have a lone of it.

Notes: This is just a selection of the more "interesting" entries, believe it or not. I skipped the ones about my infected elbow, the day my football coach Mr Finnegan told me I was "getting better", my Gran's new extension, and my new slippers. Anne Frank got nothin' on me. Also - I'd love to know what 'Hide the Lion' entailed, and apologies to Roald Dahl for clearly ripping him off.

Page 3 philosophies

So, yeah, it's been a while. Hi.

Thought I'd start back with a wee moan about how every day, the news and media seems to be getting more and more ridiculous, like 'The Day Today' come true. This was Sky News, recently:

A worrying sign of the times when the news makes me laugh! You can just picture Chris Morris now: "Those are the headlines. God, I wish they weren't."

The Sun, never famed for being the most impartial, level-headed or mature newspaper, has recently tried to add a subtle touch of class with a daily philosophical musing; apparently from the mouth of the day's Page 3 babe!


I'm sure that's exactly what Sam (25, Manchester) said, somewhere been stripping off and having her nipples tweaked.

This is now a daily feature, so even more so than before, The Sun is worth buying for Page 3 alone. After a quick swatch at the boobs on offer, it's guaranteed to give you a laugh.

This next one was from the Sunday Mail, the day after Kilmarnock had been horsed 3-6 by Inverness Caley Thistle. I was down in England and had (thankfully) missed the game, so wanted to catch up on what I'd missed.

Their Man of the Match choice was interesting to say the least:

A "Great bit of chat" this most certainly is not, but it gave us a good chuckle on the drive home.

This last one isn't an article, but an advert for one of the many PPI companies that hound our every waking moment, insisting that we've been mis-sold payment protection that we didn't want, need or even know about.

Now, as far as celebrity endorsement of a product like this is concerned, I'd think you would want someone famous for managing money - Martin Lewis, the 'money-saving expert' perhaps? Or someone who has done well for themselves - a Duncan Bannatyne, or one of the UK's other famous entrepreneurs?

This company decided the obvious choice was Catchphrase's Roy Walker.

It's good, but it's not right.

I hear Mr. Chips is a debt consolidation expert, mind.

Last but not least, I have to mention the most ridiculous headline of recent times, from that bastion of impartial, top-notch journalism, the Daily Mail. I don't have a screenshot, but I see they've ran with more or less the same headline on their website.

"It's OK to call Susan Boyle a mong"


"If you've got a history book at home, take it out, throw it in the bin..."

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Flying the festival flag

If some cock is going to wave their ridiculously oversized flag in my face meaning I can see nothing but half of one screen during Placebo, at least make it worthwhile I say.

You have a Jamaican flag. Well, that's great. You're from Jamaica, are you? Lovely. Sometimes I wish I was from Jamaica.

I like a good home-made flag too. A white sheet with permanent marker declaring one of your mates to be a knob. Oh, the banter.

However, there is very little need for a skull and cross bones flag at Glastonbury Festival. Far be it from me to tell you that you can't bring your pirate flag to an event, but if I could at least impose some criteria. Answer these questions:

Are you a pirate?

If you answered 'Yes' to both questions then by all means, wave your flag. Otherwise, stick it up your hole and let me watch The Chemical Brothers in peace.

I've noticed more and more people attending festivals who fought in the American civil war, too. At least, I can only assume as much, given the confererate flags I see waving:

I mean, seriously, why would anyone hold that aloft? How can it be worth the huge effort required to hold a heavy flag pole in the air to show off an American battle flag from the 1860s? Am I missing something?

The worst of all, however, was spotted during The Verve at T In The Park 2008. While others waved Saltires, Lion Rampants and other flags with pride, some bright spark decided it was worthwhile holding up a black flag with a middle finger on it.

A sidewards middle finger:

What makes this flag so infuriatingly awful is not the absolute uselessness in holding up a cartoon drawing of a middle finger in a field full of strangers, or the fact that loads of ticket-buying punters are having their view blocked in the process - it's the fact that the flag isn't even fit for its purpose. Did the manufacturer honestly not notice that they'd made it to completely the wrong dimensions?

Unless someone in the 80,000-strong Verve crowd has their head at a bizarre 90 degree angle, I doubt you'll offend anyone with that.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Catch It, Bin It, Kill It...

We, the people of this great country, are certainly thinking more about where and how we sneeze in the wake of swine flu.

Just this week I've had a child use me as, basically, a big tissue. Without so much as a second's thought, he sneezed all over me and then went back to what he was doing without missing a beat. But hey, at least the germs weren't on his hand.

Of course, nothing beats the woman in Marks & Spencers who I saw pick up a sexy pair of knickers, take a wee look at them, suddenly sneeze all over them and then surreptitiously put the offending underpants back on the rack and walk away.

Nothing beats that, UNLESS you include the Tesco employee I saw sneezing in the fruit aisle. Not into his hand, not to the first thing he could conceal it with... but directly over the box of fresh tomatoes.

So, a successful campaign all round.

Friday, 22 May 2009

In the middle of the night....

I apparently woke Jennifer up to ask her, with a great deal of confusion etched upon my face: "Will you have enough...fuel...to get to the planets and back?!"

Why can't I have normal dreams for once?

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

I can't even make cheese on toast...

I have a tendency to be a bit of a spazzy. Like the time, for instance, that I spent a whole night rushing around, getting bags packed and stuff prepared for T In The Park, flapping about until after 2am so I felt ready - then got up at the crack of dawn in the morning, showered, shaved, made sandwiches, sorted bags - all that to then be shattered with one phone call.

"Gav mate, I'm about to get on the bus. Where are we meeting up?"
"We're... not going until tomorrow."

Yep, I tried to go to T In The Park a day early.

There was also the time Jen trusted me to sort out seeing Miami Vice at the cinema. I checked Teletext and opted for the 21:30 showing, poo-pooing Jen's needless double-checking. Of course that was the right time, what did she take me for - some sort of imbecile?

A half-hour drive later we're at the cinema, she nips off to the toilet and I swagger up to blag a pair of tickets.
"Two for Miami Vice mate."
"That doesn't start until tomorrow."

Another half-hour drive later, we were home. To add insult to injury, we eventually saw the film and it was crap.

Oh, and who can forget the DVD I lost? I spent weeks badgering a girl I used to know to give me it back. She'd had it last, and I was really very shocked that she'd stoop so low as to deny having it. Message after message, "Check again", increasingly irate.

Of course, I never did apologise when I eventually spotted the offending DVD in my mate's house.

"Since when did you have Scarface?"
"Err, since a month ago when you loaned me it."

This is the same mate who I once arranged to meet for my birthday. Yay, another year of remembering to breathe! Saturday, 11:30, sorted. Getting a lift to the train station ends up being a last minute dash, I fall out with a few people en route, but all's well that ends well - I catch the train just as the doors are about to close.

My phone beeps. A text: Where u wanna meet?
-Outside central station
-Shit, I'm in Irvine. Are you going to Glasgow?

To this day, I'm still not sure how we managed to arrange meeting up without agreeing a county, far less a town, to meet. That takes a special sort of person.

The sort of person who'd watch a news story about a Japanese dolphin who had been fitted with a prosthetic fin; all the while expecting them to cut to an interview with the dolphin, before eventually realising they couldn't interview him as he's a bloody dolphin.

I can't be trusted for directions or any sort of important information, either.

"Graeme, the car park is empty and the entire venue is in darkness. Why is the car park empty and why is the entire venue in darkness, Graeme?"

"Shit...I've done it again..."

Deftones was not at the SECC, as I thought, but rather at the Glasgow Academy. We missed the start of their set, so writing a review proved more difficult than normal.

When I DO have important information to hand, I only lose it. One time I had a really important bit of paperwork that I badly needed for an interview - knowing how bad I am for losing things, I tried to hunt it out the day before. Not in drawers, shelves, cupboards, the bureau, old boxes. Half an hour had passed and no sign of it. I gave up and went back to my room - only to find it face up where I'd started, on my desk, in plain sight.

Perhaps the worst of all was the day I made plans to head to Glasgow, catch the Scotland game in the boozer, then head down to Download Festival with my pals. Taxi to the train station with two bags of heavy camping gear, lug it to the platform, wait for my train... only to hear "All trains from Dalry are cancelled."

I call the info line and I'm told the 1547 won't arrive - it'll be an hour and a half until the next train. Far too late for the Scotland game. Useless.

A frantic series of phone calls, desperately trying to arrange a lift to no avail - before an idea struck me from out of the blue. I phoned the info line again and asked if I was to head over to the other platform, head in the opposite direction to Kilwinning where trains to Glasgow were more regular, would I arrive any sooner? Yes, I'm told.

I lug my ridiculously heavy bags over to Platform 2, take a seat as the beads of sweat start rolling down my forehead, and watch as the 1547 train rolls in to the other platform, picks people up, and moves off.

Then there was the article about some strange breed of monkey-pig which I could not for the life of me wrap my head around. Pictures clearly showed a piglet... but other pictures in the same article looked like a monkey. What was this strange species? I sat examining the pictures for ages, pondering how any animal could age in such a bizarre fashion to first resemble a pig and then a monkey - then realised the article was about two seperate animals, one a pig and the other a monkey.

One time, I could NOT make cheese on toast. Never in the history of fine cuisine has any meal gone so awry.

Firstly, the cheese refused to be cut into slices, crumbling at my very touch like the Berlin wall. I used three quarters of a block of cheese just to get this right, and was really quite annoyed by the time I'd finished. It was unbearably hot in the kitchen as the sun had been shining through the glass all day, and I was getting sweaty and bothered and annoyed...

"Fuck's sake!" was the cry as I had my first casualty, one of the four bits of toast doing a nosedive off the grill as I checked it, sending a stramash of cheese over the floor. I replaced it, and continued on my merry way.

"OCH, NO!" I shouted as all four bits slid off the grill tray and onto the bottom of the grill, messy cheese everywhere. I salvaged the pieces and got them back on the tray, increasingly frustrated now.

"BASTARD CUNT FUCK!" I shouted as the grill tray fell away from my hands, all four bits falling onto the floor, cheese-side down. My kitchen now looked like the aftermath of a very cheesy car crash, gooey bits strewn all over.

In fact, bits of sticky hot cheese were on my shoes, my jeans, even my socks. "AW FOR FUCK'S SAKE!", and at that a door got slammed.

Jen had rushed through to see if I'd hurt myself, and I was now seething... She seemed utterly baffled that anyone could be so wound up about cheese on toast.

"It's alright, we'll just make some more."

In awkwardly chopping tiny slices for my next effort - and polishing off the block of cheese in the process - I let the four new bits of toast burn. Like, frazzle.

Jennifer, with one long sad shake of the head that said "Why am I marrying you?", had now gone off the idea of cheese on toast.

I, in one last effort to make some lunch, put two final bits of cheese on toast under the grill. I forgot to toast one side of the bread before putting cheese on, resulting in a floppy, deformed mess of hot sticky cheese and soft bread.

I didn't eat it.

Despite growing up in Scotland, I only recently discovered the purpose of the Clyde Tunnel.

"It's scary to think you're underwater as you drive through this, eh?"

Looking back on what I'd thought the tunnel was before I knew it cut through the River Clyde, I never thought to question a big tunnel randomly and without purpose running through the city.

People still bring up the time I spat out some really horrible fish.

"This fish is revolting!"
"That's because we ordered chicken.
"Oh... Well in that case, as chicken goes, it's pretty tasty! Can I have some more?"

Someone once emailed to ask what the disabled facilities are like within the music festival I organise. as she'd recently had a roller skates accident and broken her arm, so wanted to stay out of the crowds.

I brought this up at our meeting with the venue manager. "What are the disabled facilities like?"

He explained that all three stages had space for people with disabilities and that they were all accessible by lifts.

"Ah, that's good," I said. "I was just wondering where disabled people would stand. Well, SIT! Wheelchairs... SIT! You know... What I mean is, this girl emailed me, her arm..."

Everyone must be wondering why anyone would want to marry me, and my father in law's no exception.

"John, you'll never guess what I saw earlier. A sports shop in Irvine that advertised 24HR delivery on their sign. How could anyone possibly need that service? Who gets a bicycle delivered at 4 in the morning? Hahahaha..."

"Erm, Graeme, does it not mean that they'll deliver within 24 hours of you ordering?"

"....That would make more sense, yes."

To make matters worse, me and my mate were bumbling about said sports shop the other week, as he was trying to find himself a long sleeved Scotland home top. Finding plenty of the short sleeved, but no long sleeved to be seen. I get fed up of him flicking through the rails, so take some initiative and storm off to approach someone authoratively...

"Excuse me mate, do you know if there's any long sleeved home tops?"
"No, I don't."
"Well could you find out?"

He looks up from what he's doing, realises he's going to have to elaborate to end my confusion and says: "I don't work here," before making his escape and getting as far away from me as possible.

Needless to say I turned round to be met by Thomas pishing himself laughing, holding a long sleeved Scotland top.

There are so many more stories like this... I'll be sure to share them for your amusement and my humilation in the fullness of time.