The road to Glastonbury 2017

If you’re reading this then I’ll be well on my way from Glasgow, and in fact I’ll have been in Bristol since Monday evening, Easyjet permitting. I’m fully stocked up on my drugs too.

So let’s all enjoy Glastonbury in what promises to be a hot, dryish one and if you’re coming down don’t be a dick and leave a mess like last time.

So, of course expect a blow by blow account once I’m back in Glasgow and the festival is over until the next one in 2019, that’s right, 2018 is a fallow year so this is going to be a good one…

Glastonbury Man: BBC documentary from 2000

It’s that time of the year where many of us look to a field in Somerset as it is the time of year for the Glastonbury Festival. This year I’m returning after a brief intermission for nearly dying twice in 2016 and I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve written in detail about all the previous festivals I’ve attended (just search Glastonbury in the bar above) since 1992 but as we get ready for this year’s festival lets look back to the year 2000 where modem’s burred and chirruped as we went online, 911 was just a number, Scottish independence was an unrealistic dream, UKIP were a pathetic joke, and Tony Blair was still a cunt.

The 2000 festival is something of a landmark. It is the last pre ‘superfence’ festival and therefore the last festival that felt like the one I first attended in 1992 some eight years earlier. it was a festival that marked 30 years since the first one and in many ways closed the book on that era when the festival could still claim to be counter-cultural. It was also the third year of the BBC televising it and before the festival they produced an excellent wee documentary about Michael Eavis which is simply glorious.

Enjoy and I’ll see you all in a field in Somerset…

Radio silence is now over…

I am now firmly moved into my new place and thanks to BT’s glacial pace, finally back online. Normal service has been resumed just in time for me to vanish into a field for Glastonbury which will be the first Glastonbury I’ve been to in 25 years where I’ll be coming from Glasgow.

In my downtime I missed commentating on the election not to mention a few nice comic related stories but don’t worry, I’ll make up for that sooner than you think…

Initiating radio silence in 24 hours…

I will be leaving the gentrifying climes of Dennistoun in Glasgow for the gentrifying climes of Finnieston in Glasgow for my own place just behind the Mitchell Library.

I’m feeling fit enough to venture back into the world, and I’m eternally grateful to my friend Bridget for helping me through the last seven or so months. However time to move on and get back to life but not before heading back to Bristol for a quick trip on the way to Glastonbury Festival, enjoying that, having a fortnight off after and then starting a new job on the 10th July.

However because I’m moving and BT won’t be able to switch my broadband on til a week on Monday I’m internetless for a week. Good thing I’ve got one of the largest libraries in the UK on my doorstep isn’t it…

So, hopefully it won’t be complete radio silence for the next ten days or so but if it is wish me luck and I’ll be back around the 12th June.

The past joys of Cup Final Day

Today is cup final day in Scotland and England. These days it’s just a moderately sized game at the end of the season, but in times past when live football was as scarce as a Conservative politicians morals, cup final day was a day when as a boy you’d be glued to the television from early Saturday morning watching the build up. In the 80’s that meant David Coleman on the BBC…

Viewers in Scotland had their own programming which meant the parochial cheapness of BBC Scotland and STV, but live television gave us great moments like this fantastic Jock Wallace interview on STV.

Or Alex Ferguson having a pop at his Aberdeen team after winning the cup final in 1983.

How about Dickie Davies on ITV and his smooth lounge bar ethic?

Now, sadly, the game is another notch in TV companies schedules. Kick-off times are all over the place, fans are secondary to corporate fans and finals are dominated by the massive clubs like Chelsea or Celtic. Basically clubs used to finals and winning things. Shocks are a thing of rarity, but there’s the hope still at every single season that your team may well be standing there on the pitch at Hampden or Wembley holding the trophy.

So good luck to whatever team you support but I do miss the days when today was a day to savour rather than an afterthought.

The UK welfare state is broken

I recently had to attend an assessment by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in regards my Employment Support Allowance (ESA) which involved a lengthy two hour questioning and then physical examination. Sure, it was with a very decent, kind GP, but not my GP and not anyone who’s spoken to my consultants in Glasgow or back in Bristol however the entire process was designed to relegate people into units where your future ability to provide economic worth to the state is assessed.

Now I want to get back to work and thanks to a mix of improving health and the incompetency of Glasgow City Council that’s probably something that’s going to happen sooner than later. Last week though I saw people who could clearly and obviously barely walk and/or were in such clear pain/discomfort that dragging them through a Kafkaesque procedure only made any conditions they have worse. When you’re ill, seriously ill as opposed to ”oh, I’ve got a bad cold” ill, you’re going to suffer from anxiety.and stress about your own perhaps curtailed or painful existence so the last thing you need is some apathetic DWP employee looking at you as if you’re some sort of stain on their horizon.

The system is broken. Things are going to change in Scotland as the Scottish Government is banning the likes of ATOS and will be attempting to create a more humane system however that’s years away, and for the rest of the UK looking down the barrel of a ruthless Tory government things will only get worse. The system is needlessly cruel because a media reports on people ”scrounging” all the bloody time.

The picture being painted is one of masses of the sick and disabled playing at it to pull in massive riches (as if £146 a fortnight is riches) or defrauding the system but the system is impossible to fathom without having a computer to work out the calculations. And those that do manage to somehow game the system amount to a pitiful 1.8% in 2015. On average the fraud level is around 1% which means the screaming headlines of ”75%” is bullshit, but this constant level of lying has worked. The sick and disabled are seen as ‘faking’ or if you speak to some people you get the line ‘nah, not you, you’re one of the genuine ones” as if there’s massive hordes of people developing debilitating conditions in order to grab money.

I hope the new forthcoming Scottish system helps change things for the better, but it took years to harden things up and it’ll take years to get rid of what are now entrenched opinions. One thing is clear though; vote Tory in June’s general election and things won’t get any better.

Everyone is watching Eurovision

Virtually everyone I know is watching the Eurovision Song Contest. I’m not. Last time I watched it I ended up in hospital which wasn’t the fault of Eurovision itself, well, not solely. I’ve never had a strong love or hate relationship with Eurovision looking at it as something that exists in the same way lettuce and bunions do.

My social media timelines are a mass of horror and joy at horses on ladders and tediously dull Dutch entries (ooo errr missus) so I’ve decided to opt out, watch items I’m selling on Ebay and think of the best Eurovision entry that never was.Have a fun Eurovision everyone…