Tuesday, June 28, 2005

F***ing Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Following on from the recent, sensational “midgegate” revelation in the run up to the G8 summit at Gleneagles, I loved this completely unrelated story in the Herald recently that began with the headline...

Tory manages to turn Holyrood f***ing blue
“The Tories proved their true blue credentials yesterday by becoming the first party to use the F-word on the floor of the Scottish Parliament. Ted Brocklebank, MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, used a debate on the G8 summit to quote Bob Geldof’s famous obscenity from the Live Aid concert of 1985.

Mr Brocklebank’s controversial remark came as he complained money raised by Live Aid to ease Ethiopia’s famine had in fact gone to feed the army of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam. He told MSPs: “When Bob demanded famously, ‘just give us your f***ing money’, and I quote him directly, he didn’t plan it to be handed over to a warlord.”

He was instantly rebuked by Murray Tosh (I swear I’m not making these names up!), the deputy presiding officer and a fellow Tory, for breaching the rule that MSPs must adopt a “courteous and respectful manner”.

A Holyrood spokesman confirmed other MSPs had been reprimanded for using the words “tits” and “ba’ hair” in previous debates, but Mr Brocklebank’s was the first grade A obscenity. Mr Brocklebank, 62, an ex-journalist and the former partner of TV broadcaster Selina Scott (lucky b*st*rd!) was jokily unrepentant.

The deputy presiding officer should get out more,” he said. “A few weeks ago, Geldof was doing f-ing this and f-ing that in front of kids, and now (Mr Tosh) feels that our members’ ears are too tender to hear the f-word spoken as a quote from a knight of the realm – I mean, come on. This parliament is a wee bit more grown up than that. During Geldof’s speech in the parliament chamber he described Aids as a ‘vicious little f****r’.”

I can’t decide what’s funniest about all this; the unlikely sounding names of all the protagonists, the existence of a grading system for obscenities or the fact that Geldof never actually said “just give us your f***ing money” in 1985.

And you thought a devolved Scottish parliament was a right f***ing waste of money.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Seven Days Was All He Wrote

What a slightly surreal week it’s been.

On Monday, my young nephew Joe went for an audition in London for the lead role in a new Harry Potter-type, Hollywood blockbuster. I’d tell you more but then I’d have to kill you… before he kills me for even mentioning it.

On Tuesday I got offered a new job by my old company which I readily accepted because I’m (not so) young and desperate for the money. I’d no sooner put the phone down when I got a call from the BBC asking if I’d like to audition for a television show!!

On Wednesday I got to play guitar and sing with the greatest rock ‘n roll band in the world, The Signals.

On Thursday I was having a lunch in a local café when the waitress mentioned that she thought she recognised my face. Scrambling for a pen to sign my first autograph as a newspaper columnist I was quickly cut down to size when she said, “Aw aye, you were sittin’ in front of me at the U2 gig the other night.”

On Friday I went to see classy American singer songwriter Maria McKee at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. As the name suggests, this is a small, dark and extremely sweaty venue which was full to its 200 capacity to enjoy an electrifying performance. Eat your heart out Bono.

On Saturday I became a bouncer for the night at the 14th birthday party of Mhairi Campbell, daughter to bass guitar legend Donald and his demure wife Michelle. You can readallaboutit, as we say in the newspaper game, in Tuesday’s Daily Record.

And today on Sunday, like God, I rested.

Ordinarily I would flesh out (or “pimp up” as the kids say nowadays) these stories with more detail and a smattering of untruths but to be honest I can’t be arsed because the weather is just so damn gorgeous here in Scotland at the moment. It seems criminal to spend any time at all indoors in front of a keyboard; time that’s far better spent wandering the golf courses of my great nation or slumped in the back garden giving my man breasts.. eh, I mean my pecs, a right good sun tan.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Love Is In The Air...

…EVERYWHERE I look around!!!

Summer’s here and the time is right, apparently, for copulating in the street.

Last night I went through to Glasgow to see U2 spread their universal message of peace, love, understanding and easy solutions for ending world poverty, through the medium of rock ‘n roll. The gig was good (not a patch on previous efforts) but entertaining nonetheless and Scotland provided a gorgeous evening for their show. Being the longest day of the year, there was still a vast amount of daylight around until about 20 minutes before the end of the concert, somewhat ruining the extravagant, multi-million dollar light show.

Anyway, when I woke at the crack of eleven this morning I was still high on the emotions of brotherly love and justice for all that going to see a bunch of billionaire Irish rock stars can evoke. Imagine my surprise then at the sight that greeted me when I shuffled out to the back garden (in my new slippers) to have my first cigarette of the day.

It seems that all the creatures in God’s… eh… I mean Bono’s kingdom are, as the great man would say, at “One” with the world. These two little snails (now known as Pamela and Tommy) were in the throws of what I can only describe as frantic lovemaking. With not a second to lose (in case they spotted me and made a dash for the undergrowth) I sprinted back inside the house and flew up the stairs (not easy in big slippers) to grab my camera and capture this sublime moment for the world. I say ‘moment’ but the five hour video version will appear shortly on snailporn.com

It is indeed a beautiful day.

Monday, June 20, 2005

A VERY Worthy Cause

Here’s a little story from the keyboard of my younger brother Stuart, internet supremo who is still available for all types of techy freelance work. These are all his own words (hence the absence of any of my trivial and annoying observations) so please take a moment to read and consider whether you’d like to get involved in any way. Take it away Stuart…

“I'm writing to spread the word about a charity I'm involved in running and to seek your sponsorship for a cycle ride I'm doing to raise some awareness and some funds for the charity.

So what's it all about?

A couple of years ago, a colleague and I did some work to establish a new online learning resource providing cancer nursing education. You can visit it online at


To begin with, this was a UK-based voluntary project comprising health professionals and e-learning experts (that's me and my pals) aiming to provide high quality online courses for health professionals and carers of people living with cancer throughout the world. The project was so successful that we subsequently set up a charitable limited company in order to develop it into something long term and sustainable. To date, over 5,600 health professionals from over 60 different countries have registered as learners with the site.

What would I like you to do?

Most importantly, I'd like you to help me spread the word about the work we are doing. If you know somebody that might be interested in this sort of project (as a learner or a donor or a carer) please let them know the website address. If you'd like me to send you some leaflets or promotional pens, drop me a line (through the website) and I'll send you a little parcel.

I'd also like to ask you to sponsor me. In a few weeks time, I'm doing a bike ride from the West coast of the UK, in Northern England, to the East. That's 146 miles in 2 days. The Americans and Aussies amongst you may find such distances paltry. The challenge is really in the terrain: it's bleak and it's hilly.

I've set up an online fundraising page where anyone with a credit or debit card can make a pledge or donation in sponsorship. The page can be found at:


I'd really appreciate it you would consider sponsoring me to do this trip. If you'd like to support me but prefer not to donate online, drop me a line and we'll consider more traditional means.

This sort of fundraising will not make or break us, although it will gain us good press in our local area (to add to the good press we already enjoy in professional journals in the UK, the US and Australia). We're confident that from a range of sources, and through providing a range of services, the charity will be self-sustaining into the long term in a couple of years, and that we'll be running it as our day jobs. That's the dream.

In the meantime, please take a minute to think about whether you can help spread the word and/or sponsor me for a small amount.”

Stuart, as I said on your fundraising page, I’ll be with you every pedal of the way… in spirit. If only it didn’t involve so much lycra and funny helmets…shit, I promised I wouldn’t be trivial or annoying. All the best with the bike ride and see you soon. We can do a full update here on your performance in a couple of weeks time.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Never Mind The Protestors...

…here come the midges!

I’m beginning to think that the long, drawn out countdown to next month’s G8 summit at Gleneagles is bringing out the more playful side of newspaper reporting. Today’s edition of the Sunday Herald reveals that police in Scotland are to be issued with specialist equipment to do battle with their most formidable foe: the humble midge.

Midge n.
1. A variety of gnatlike fly usually found roaming in packs (with hooded tops and baseball caps, no doubt) in ALL major Scottish holiday destinations. Feeds heartily on human flesh; the paler and pastier, the better.
2. A little person; often found in 80s electronic bands with questionable moustache and receding hairline.

As part of a package of “morale-boosting” measures which include gallons of bottled water and 350 tubes of suncream (huh?), 450 tubes of insect repellant have been ordered for the 10,000 or so police officers involved in the G8 security operation.

These things are important,” said the Chief Constable in charge. “We have a whole batch on order. Wherever they are staying or deployed from they will be given water, suncream, midge repellant – whatever they need.”

I’d imagine that shorter shifts, body armour and a decent amount of holiday leave would be very welcome also.

With two full weeks still to go before all the shenanigans get under way, expect more of these whimsical reports to appear in the press. It must be the frustration of waiting for it all to kick off that’s making us slightly delirious. Either that or the blistering heat of our Scottish summer. Thank God we’ve ordered suncream.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fly Like Gleneagles

In the run up to the G8 summit at Gleneagles in a few weeks time, one of my favourite related news stories appeared in The Independent last week. It was a serious piece (I think) outlining the scale of the security operation that will be put in place for the July summit but it ended with a slightly surreal (and typically British) consequence of the world turning it’s attention on Scotland.

There was no hint of this ending as the article commenced…

For several days before the VIPs arrival, a number of roads around the hotel and area will be closed to traffic and all but local residents who have been issued with a special pass to enable them to move more freely inside the exclusion zone.”

Exclusion zones – no problem for us Brits, eh Maggie?

A physical barrier of more than 10,000 panels stretching more than five miles is also being erected along the boundary of the hotel. Closed circuit television cameras are being installed along the six-feet high wire mesh fence, which is to be camouflaged on the inside so that delegates don't have to look at a ring of steel. Frequent patrols by police and private security personnel up to and during the summit will be reinforced by military back-up inside the cordon.”

How many security personnel you ask? Read on.

More than 10,000 police officers are expected to be on call during the summit and the days leading up to it when hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are expected to stage a series of protests in Edinburgh, at the nuclear submarine base at Faslane on the Clyde and around the summit venue. Security will be further tightened by up to 2,000 US Marines who will be flown in from an aircraft carrier to secure a 30-mile zone around Prestwick airport.”

And the explosive conclusion to the article…

The (demonstrators) march has unexpectedly upset Scotland's cricket team's plans for qualifying in the World Cup in 2007. The wicketkeeper, Colin Smith, is a policeman who will have to work.”

Now THAT’S an exclusive.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I Read The News Today Oh Boy

So I start my new job today. I’ve thought long and hard about whether to write about it or not but then I realised that blogging is nothing if not a medium for shameless self promotion so why the hell not.

As of today (drum roll please) I am one of the weekly columnists in Scotland’s best selling daily newspaper, the Daily Record. Which, if you think about it real hard (and I have), means that as I type this, almost half a million people around the UK are potentially trying to keep their breakfasts down as they open their daily paper and see my smug coupon beaming up at them on page 18. (Michael Jackson is on pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-10, and is even on pages 50-52 denying a rumoured transfer move to Rangers.)

The column is intended to be a lighthearted, observational piece about anything and everything as seen through my (increasingly bloodshot) 40+ year old eyes. It could be a two week or a two year gig, who knows, bought hopefully you’ll all buy the paper and then submit a letter to the editor demanding that he triple my salary immediately in case some other publication swoops in and snaps me up.

Right, gotta run. Only five days left before I have to submit next week’s “Shock, Sensation, Exclusive!”

“Neil Gets Up Before Noon, Shocker!”

“Neil Ate My Hamster! And Everything Else He Ever Sees!”

“Sensational! My Long Hot Baths With Soapy Neil!” claims shampoo bottle.

“My Hot Nights With Jordan!!!… and Dalglish and Strachan and Law…”

Sunday, June 12, 2005

All I Need Now Is A Pipe

You know you’re slipping inexorably towards the back end of a life full of uncontrollable drooling and incontinence pants when you find yourself writing “Buy New Slippers” on your weekly to-do list.

These prized possessions, which I think cost me £2 from the impulse buy bins at the checkouts at Ikea of all places, have long since parted company with the little silver stars that were once sewn poorly on the fronts. They’ve also long since parted company with their soles and most of the rest of the key stitching threads which pile up daily in the carpets around the house.

They’ve been good companions though, loyal through the heady, carefree days of wild abandon as well as the darker months when they didn’t smell so good. I’m loathed to throw them out and would post them on Ebay in an instant if I wasn’t so afraid that they might end up on the wrong feet. So I think I’ll put them in the freezer till world technology advances enough for me to breathe (not literally) new life into them again. Adieu for now old friends.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Tartan Shorts 10

Film Of The Week: “Sin City” - Stylish, graphic, cheesy, violent, funny and most importantly, completely different from anything else around. Go see it now but guys, make sure you get a seat with enough room to cross your legs at the more.. eh.. tender moments.

TV Sit Com Of The Decade: “Scrubs” – This is consistently the funniest, laugh-out-loud television programme on television bar none. Every one of the characters is perfectly observed and like M*A*S*H* (when it was aired in the UK) the absence of any canned laughter makes it all the more brilliant. Which reminds me, I really must get round to seeing “Garden State”… or ask my pal Andy to burn me an illegal copy. Allegedly.

Album Of The Week: This is a tough one because I really like “JackInABox” the third album from Turin Brakes. It’s full of breezy, effortless, summer pop songs compiled with jangly guitars and memorable harmonies. But I’m going to be predictable and choose “X&Y” by Coldplay. Much anticipated and hyped, it exceeded my already high expectations. There’s not a duff song on the record and its soaring anthems are likely to see them knock U2 from the biggest band in the world pedestal by the end of the year.

Book Of The Week: “Sam” – The autobiography of European Ryder Cup winning captain Sam Torrance is a funny and at times, emotional trawl through his 30+ year career as a professional golfer. And did I mention he captained a winning European Ryder Cup side?

Internet Bargain Of The Week: You’ve only got until Monday morning to make a difference and get your hands on a rare treat so click here on these green words that are underlined to ensure you don’t miss out.

Quote Of The Week: I was reading a review of a new book full of memorable quotations and this Tony Blair gem just leapt off the page. “A day like today is not a day for sound bites. But I feel the hand of history on our shoulder."

Birthday Of The Week: My daddy is seventy years young today and is off to Pitlochry for a romantic weekend to celebrate with my mummy. Here he is last year (standing on the right) at the magnificent Kingsbarns Golf Course playing a celebrity match with Shrek and Woody from “Cheers”.

And Not To Be Outdone...

...my sister-in-law Dawn also has a birthday today. Here she is (on the left) doing her thang in her funky disco gear last Christmas with my future sister-in-law Kathryn. It’s okay girls, no need to thank me.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

It's Official, I Am Abi Titmuss!

It all started innocently enough. A little home experiment with technology that was never meant to get a public airing and before you know it there’s a scandal, a court case and an endless line of topless, but highly paid, modeling gigs.

If anyone out there doesn’t know who Abi Titmuss is (and I can’t believe I just wrote that) here is the short, and probably factually innaccurate, version of her story.

Girl becomes nurse. Nurse becomes girlfriend of Scottish TV presenter. Scottish TV presenter implicated in alleged rape of Swedish TV presenter. Nurse girlfriend vows to remain loyal to Scottish TV presenter during police investigation. Scottish TV presenter cleared of all allegations. Nurse girlfriend dumps Scottish TV presenter after home sex video released on internet. Former nurse becomes “glamour” model and appears constantly on every cover of every UK magazine. Former nurse currently starring on television with other "celebrities" in ITV reality show “Celebrity Love Island”.

Despite being honest enough to say she’s trying to make as much as she can during the short time that the media spotlight is likely to shine upon her, Abi has had some ruthless and spiteful kickings at the hands of the more morally outraged press in the past couple of years. Personally, I think she’s about attractive as my breakfast breaded goods but more power to her if people want to buy the magazines, read the exclusives and watch the television output.

The fascination with celebrity culture now seems to permeate all corners of our society and has even reached the blogging community. The other day I was casting an eye over the “Blogs Of Note”, a list of blog sites that Blogger regularly highlight as worthy of a browse. To be recognised in this way certainly seems to get a lot of people looking at your site as evidenced by the number of comments readers leave on the postings. See the excellent, but sadly deceased “The Darth Side” as an example.

I noticed a new “blog of note” called “Blogebrity” which I think is part of some project to see just how quickly a new blog/internet initiative can grow and expand. In truth, my clued up brother Stuart - available for all types of freelance internet work - gave me a more technical explanation of this phenomenon but all I heard was “blah blah blog blah blah project blah blah world domination”.

Blogebrity has lists of bloggers categorised as either A-list, B-list or C-list and they invite anyone out there to get in touch if they want to be added to a list. I haven’t yet seen an explanation of the criteria used to be included on a list but undaunted, I turned off my Abi sex video long enough to fire up my e-mail and drop them a brief note, the exact transcript of which is replicated below.

“I'd like to be on one of your lists please. Don't mind if it's a grocery list or a hit list, I'm easily pleased. Keep up the good work. Regards, Neil.”

Two days later, the exact content of their even briefer reply read “Congrats, you've made the "B" list.”

Now I have little or no concept of what this will mean but I suppose it’s nice to have your name on a list other than one entitled “Expendable Employees” or “Top 5 Boyfriends – What Was I Thinking?” However if someone tells me I now have to expose my large white baps on the front cover of next week’s “Heat” magazine then that’s a whole different ball game… so to speak.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Make A Difference Today - Update 1

Since I launched a personal crusade on Friday to do my bit to end world poverty, the response has been overwhelming. Frenzied bidding by avid cookie collectors and general do-gooders is now taking place elsewhere on the internet and the good news is that you still have seven full days remaining to get involved. To do so, just click here on these blue words that are underlined and away you go. As St. Bob would say, “Don’t go the feckin pub tonight. Give me the feckin money. People are dying NOW!”

In related news, there’s a very good chance that I’m going to be up at Gleneagles during the last week in June, one week before the G8 summit begins. Full reports of the security checks, troop movements and suspension of civil liberties to follow in due course.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

How Cute Is This?

After a weekend of heavy drinking, there's nothing better than spending a Sunday padding around the house in your night attire, trying to remember where you left the last semblance of your dignity and trawling through old photographs.

Here's a picture taken last Christmas of my youngest nephew Fraser who is now walking, talking and pleading with his parents that he be allowed to march with Bob Geldof in Edinburgh in July in an effort to end world poverty. He IS his father's son.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Is It Just Me...

Maybe I’m still drunk from last night but I can’t look at my breakfast breaded goods without laughing uncontrollably.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Make A Difference Today

“EUREKA!” screamed some old Greek dude once upon a time, leaping from his bath in the process because the water was scalding hot. He’d just chanced upon the earth shattering theory that running some cold water in the bath first would temper the hot stuff and reduce steam on the mirrors in the process. Outstanding.

Stumbling across genius can be like that sometimes. An answer to a problem seems so simple and obvious that you end up feeling like a bit of a dick for not thinking of it earlier. In reviewing some of my writing this week (not that I was meticulously searching for spelling, grammar, punctuation or formatting errors on an hourly basis or anything) I realised that two separate and, on the surface, unconnected posts could seamlessly come together and take the first small step to solving some of the world’s ills.

The best thing about this revelation is that you, the reader, can get involved, make a difference, take a stand, light a flaming torch and, quite literally, throw in your two penneth worth.

All you have to do is click on the words below that make up the phrase “these are the words I was talking about” which are in a slightly different colour and underlined. (This is some fancy internet link thing that I just worked out how to do yesterday. “Eureka,” I yelped when I tried it for the first time.) You will then be transported to another part of the internet galaxy and will be off and running on your whirlwind adventure.

Ready to make a difference? Packed a spare pair of underwear? Cancelled the milk and papers? Then grab your mouse, hover the cursor to about here and click on these are the words I was talking about. May the force etc…

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Making Poverty History

“Eat up your vegetables and gravy,” my mother used to say. “Don’t you know there are children starving in Africa?”

“Fine by me, they’re welcome to this crap,” I used to think quietly to myself. “Get me a jiffy bag and I’ll pay the postage myself.”

But hey, all of that was such a long time ago, almost a week in fact, and I’ve matured a lot since then. So much so that sharp eyed readers will have noticed the “Make Poverty History” (MPH) banner that now appears in the top right hand corner of this web page. It is not, as the name might suggest if you emphasise the middle word, a Guinness world record attempt to find the poorest person/community/country ever, but rather a campaign to eradicate poverty in the world; making it history if you will, forever in the past.

Now I’ve never been particularly active (either politically or indeed physically) but it seems to me that getting rid of poverty, wherever that may exist, is an idea with merit. I know for a fact that there is a surplus of essential, life maintaining resources in the western world because one time in Las Vegas, I was unable to finish the main course of red meat that was placed in front of me, such was the size of the starter that preceded it. For those that know me I realise this must come as shocking news but alas it’s a true story.

In the coming weeks, Scotland is going to be front and centre in the eyes of the world and will be the main focus of the MPH campaign as the leaders of the eight richest nations in the world gather together at gorgeous Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire for a little soirée they like to call the G8 summit. It used to be called the G7 summit but in recent years the original seven (Yul Bryner, Steve McQueen etc.) have had to grant full membership to Russia since they finally got rid of all that Communist nonsense and we realised they have a hell of a lot of oil. Incidentally, does the ‘G’ stand for ‘gas’?

Anyway, the magnificent eight (doesn’t have quite the same ring does it) will be gathering on July 6th for three days (dinner, bed and breakfast included but not liqueurs) to discuss important and pressing matters of state; economics, trade, war, peace, poverty, which of the three magnificent Gleneagles golf courses to play etc.

Saint Bob Geldof, a leading light in the MPH campaign, has got in on the act and organised a series of Live 8 concerts around the world as well as urging billions of people to descend on Edinburgh, link arms and show the G8 leaders just how pissed off we all are at the whole poverty issue thingy. It’s clear though that he hasn’t been to our capital in a while because his call to arms, “Stop the traffic and show the world” is a little naive; the traffic hasn’t moved in Edinburgh since 1992.

So the MPH campaign is a very worthy cause and the addition of this website banner is my contribution in fighting the good fight. I would have purchased one of their little white wristbands but my wrists are currently fully occupied with yellow and pink bands for cancer awareness as well as a myriad of other coloured ones for various whale-saving, rainforest-preserving, bomb-banning and Mandella-freeing crusades.

Oh, and if you’re one of the billions descending on Edinburgh and you need a place to pitch your tent, my garden is available for rent at £50 a night. We’ll soon make my poverty history too.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Wednesday Rant 1 - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

It had to happen eventually. Although I swore I’d try never to lapse into British stereotypical behaviour I cannot resist today. So with apologies for language…

…it’s f#cking June 1st, for f#cks sake, and it’s been fu#cking pissing it down since four f#cking thirty this morning when it gets light here in Scotland (I’m loathed to say the sun comes up) and the f#cking birds start their f#cking annoying little songs in the manner of those f#cking crazy f#cking frog ringtone commercials on television. AND it’s f#cking cold to boot.

Aaahhh, that’s better.

As the kids would no doubt say, the weather is ‘total pure mental man’ at the moment. I was playing golf on Monday in beautiful Perthshire and the sun was beating down when I drove off the first tee (with my driver NOT in a buggy). As I approached the fourth green, the first drops of what I thought was rain started to fall and two minutes later the green was completely covered in a blanket of white hailstones. (Stupidly, I continued to play and ended up three putting from twelve feet but that’s a whole other story.)

I’m telling you, it was like a scene from “The Day After Tomorrow” and someday soon we’ll all be treking to Africa to find habitable places to reside… which is kind of ironic given the whole Live 8/Bob Geldof/Africa’s up shit creek vibe that’s currently going on; more of which tomorrow.

Anyway, the weather is not actually what I wanted to rant about. What I really wanted to get off my chest (like a useless lung, ironically enough) was a rant about smoking and smokers; specifically ex-smokers who try and find someone else to blame for any health problems they incur.

Yesterday in Edinburgh at the end of a twelve year “landmark” case, a judge ruled against the widow of a 60-a-day deceased smoker who was trying to sue Imperial Tobacco. Before he died in 1993 Alfred McTear claimed that

1. When he started smoking in 1964 there were no health warnings on cigarettes.
2. Smoking was portrayed as glamorous in advertisements.
3. By the time health warnings were introduced in 1971 it was too late because he was addicted.

Incredibly, in some archive film shot not long before he died Mr McTear claimed that “the tobacco companies have effectively murdered me.”

Give me a f#cking break. Even if you believe that the big evil tobacco companies are upping the nicotine levels to make cigarettes more addictive they are not, repeat NOT, trawling the streets in their thousands forcing cigarettes into the mouths of men, women and children.

And how the hell do you smoke 60 cigarettes a day? I have WAY too much time on my hands at the moment, not confined by the walls of a non-smoking workplace, and I would seriously struggle to smoke more than a pack of 20 a day. I’m not proud of the fact but it’s MY choice to be a smoker and I won’t blame another living entity, human or corporate, if I get sick.

One of my favourite little quotes that I used to use in a training course a few years back read something like

“You Are Where You Are Today Because Of The Choices You Make”.

I totally believe that statement and will argue the toss with anyone who wishes to debate it… which is really saying something for me because generally I’ll avoid an argument at all costs but don’t get me started on the lack of accountability in modern society… you wouldn’t like me when I get started on the lack of accountability in modern society... I tend to turn a hulking green colour, lose the ability to speak English and my clothes rip and fall off independently… all except my trousers which, curiously, only seem to shorten despite the fact that my waist almost doubles in size.

Which reminds me, I wonder if I should sue McDonald’s for being too fat? Just kidding, I meant Pizza Hut.