Fit and fat

I stepped out of the shower the other morning, dried myself off, wrapped the towel round my waist and turned to face the sink. I reached up to retrieve my electric toothbrush from it’s charging point and caught my reflection in the mirror. I don’t really look at myself all that often, I’m not exactly my greatest fan in that respect; I’m all too aware and disapproving of my shape so I don’t tend to dwell on my appearance as all I ever really see is a fat man staring back at me. I know I’m not as fat as I think I am, but there’s one part of my body that I struggle with, all the more now that …

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Reading to escape

There were two routes I used to walk to my primary school, both of them down main roads that spanned the top half of the town. One took me down Townhead Road and offered the chance to nip in to a corner shop for some illicit sweeties, the other took me off Bonhill Road and into the lane that ran behind some off the houses, passing a piece of long (and still) neglected waste ground before arriving at the gates. It wasn’t a long walk, 10 mins if you were in a rush and hurried, not that I ever did. Depending on the time of year I’d change my route on the way home, but most days I simply retraced …

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45 miles

My first bike was a Boxer. It was royal blue, with chunky tyres and these days would probably be called a mountain bike (for kids, it was tiny). It was the smaller version of the Grifter, which itself was a BMX/off-road kinda thing with the most totally awesomest twist-handle gear shift just like an actual motorbike! My best mate’s big brother had a Grifter and ohhh how I would covet that bike. Not that I’d ever have touched it, he was a bit scary… I can’t remember learning to ride my bike beyond vague memories of my Dad running along behind me telling me to pedal faster, nor can I recall when the stabilisers first came off and I flew …

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Gigs for the soul

“Fry your onions in garlic!”, he shouted. It was another evening in the Barrowlands, the ageless dance hall turned gig venue. It was late December, 1991, and I was there to see the Silencers, ably supported by the wonderful Humpff Family (wonderful in both name and in their rock/ceilidh stylings). As we were waiting for the Silencers to come on stage, the audience was starting to gear up and the noise was steadily increasing as more and more people came in and jostled their way into the crowd. It’s the same at every gig. A guitar tech wanders on to the stage to plug in a guitar and is given a rousing cheer, every gap between playlisted ‘intermission’ songs is …

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An ode to the slow cooker

It looks like summer is fading away and, as we head into my favourite season, it’s time to look out the blankets and (far more importantly) my old friend the slow cooker. Ohhhh wonderous maker of stews and soups! I know you can do more – I have the books that tell me this – so I apologise that I don’t make better use of you but, let’s be honest, your convenience is your strength and I am little more than a chopper of foods, ready for your welcoming pot. I tend to stick to simple recipes, brown some meat here, chop some veg there, add some stock and herbs, and we are ready to rock. I’ve done pulled pork, …

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Six by Nico: The 70s

Another menu, another visit to Six by Nico. This time round a menu inspired by the joyous food of my childhood in the 70s. I was tempted to don my flares and cycle there on my Chopper, but I was wary of being in some freak headline accident, ‘Man gets flares trapped in Chopper chain, falls under lorry’. Still, it was good to revisit some of the beloved dishes of my childhood although I don’t recall ever having SPAM! SPAM & MASH – Potato Espuma, Smoked Ham Hough, Pickled Mustard Seed PRAWN COCKTAIL – Tiger Prawn, Baby Gem Ketchup, Tomato, Shellfish Marie Rose CHICKEN KIEV – Black Garlic Emulsion, Pea Pesto, Rainbow Radish SALMON TIKKA MASALA – Onion Bhaji, Caramelised …

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Turn off the TV

“I saw this advert in a window that said: ‘Television for sale, £1, volume stuck on full.’ I thought, ‘I can’t turn that down.’” Do you remember the TV series “Why Don’t You?”. It had a really catchy theme tune, the type that stuck in your brain for the rest of the week, I bet some of you can hear it right now? Sing along! “Why Don’t You, WHHHyyyy don’t you, Why. Don’t. You… just switch off your television set and go outside and do something less boring instead”. Ahhh the memories. It always struck me as odd though, that a TV show was suggesting I should turn off the TV. I know the late 80s were strange times for …

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Euro2018

When the Commonwealth Games finished, 4 years ago, I took with me many fun memories and a real sense of pride in my home city (I wrote about it too). So when the chance to volunteer to help out at another major sporting event being held in Glasgow, I leapt at the chance. I was offered a role as a T1 driver, which meant I spent the last couple of weeks driving various ‘Presidents of…’ and ‘Executive Directors for…’ around some of the venues being used to host the European Championship events in Glasgow. Whilst not on the same scale as the Commonwealth Games, given that this was the first year this new ‘Championship’ had taken place, I think we …

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The baseball

A few days ago a short video clip went viral, in the way short video clips do. It was taken during a baseball game and showed a foul ball (a hit that lands out of bounds) landing in the front few rows of the stand. A child scrabbles under his seat to get it but the ball rolls under his seat and a man sitting behind him reaches down and snatches it up, laughing, and then hands it to the woman sitting next to him. Watching it and you can’t help but be horrified, a grown man, snatching a ball away from a child and LAUGHING about it. Needless to say the backlash was swift and I re-tweeted it myself …

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Six by Nico: Mexico

Glasgow has quite a few good Mexican eateries (Topolabamba being a personal favourite) so I was intrigued to see how this wouldn’t just be a more refined version of the usual taco, burrito, and salsa we all know and love. Looking at the menu set my mind at ease a little, although my dislike of bell peppers (not chilli) already had me doubting the third course, ELOTE. CHICKEN THIGH TACO – Guacamole, Strawberry Salsa, Whipped Creme Fraiche NACHOS – Heritage Tomato, Housemade Queso Fresco, Avocado Gazpacho ELOTE – Sweetcorn Risotto, Green Chorizo, Pickled Red Peppers SEA BASS CHILPACHOLE MIXTO – Mussel Escabeche, Crab Mole, Sikil Pak, Orange PORK CHEEK BARBACOA – Refried Beans, Tomatillo, Rainbow Chard, Crackling CHOCOLATE TACO – …

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