Films of the Year 2018 (Iain)

Stornoway (where I grew up) had a small one-screen cinema. The first film I saw there was E.T.  I think I was 5 years old. I remember a man in a ticket booth took the money for the film from my Mum before handing me a small bit of paper that had “Admit one” written on it. 

I then gave that ticket to another man who ripped it in to two half’s. He kept one half. I then handed my remaining half to another man as I entered the screening room. All three transactions occurred in a single corridor that couldn’t have been more than 5 meters long.

I clearly remember this because even back then, with my limited knowledge of the world, I thought to myself – this is really inefficient. The first man could have done all three of these jobs. 

The cinema closed down shortly after this. Probably due to high staffing costs.

I don’t think this year has been a classic year for films. I can count on one hand the number of films I saw that were truly great so I wont list my top films of the year as there’s not enough. Instead I present my list of”things I noticed at the cinema that deserve a mention” I need to work on a better name for my list.

Best Stunt that deserves a mention

The Mission Impossible films aren’t films. They are potential crime scene recordings. Each one records an attempt on Tom Cruise’s life. From getting Tom to free-climb rock faces in MI2 to getting Tom to hang off aircraft in MI5 each film ups the ante in trying to kill off TC.

MI: Fallout wins this award for its closing action sequence – Tom Cruise hangs off an aircraft and then hangs off a rock face whilst a nuclear bomb threatens to go off. It’s a superbly filmed and choreographed sequence, which made me fear Tom would not make it out alive to be able to do MI7.

If the world was ever to end in a nuclear Armageddon, the only things that would survive are Cockroaches and Tom Cruise.

Scariest real life cinema Incident that deserves a mention

Whilst watching A Quiet Place I had to ask a woman to stop talking over the film. It’s afilm about people who get killed for making a noise. She could have get me  killed !!!!

The film that I think deserves a mention but lots of people hate

I loved the Han Solo Star Wars movie but afterwards the guy I saw it with said “I hated every f’ing second of it!” I think it’s fair to say reviews were mixed.

The film I think doesn’t deserve a mention but lots of people love

Black Panther has a 97% rating on rotten tomatoes. I must have seen a different film because the pantherI watched was boring! It should be called Bland Panther.

The cinema display that deserves a mention 

Spiderman and Ironman look ok but then someone at Cineworld must have said “We need a female Marvel character for our display but we don’t have an official Marvel model we can use. Lets make one! How can difficult can it be?”

Its very difficult. It looks like a the hulk in drag.

The film that most deserves a mention

There is only one film that came to mind when I thought about a film of the year. Its not the best made film of the year – in fact, it looks very cheap in places. Its not the best written film of the year – some of it makes no sense what so ever. Its not the best acted film of the year – the lead actor is notoriously hammy. Its not the best directed film of the year – its overlong with scenes that add nothing to the story BUT its the only film I saw this year which made me think “what the fuck did I just watch???” 

Its also the only film I saw that would only work when viewed at a cinema because it needs to overpower you with its visuals and sound. 

The film is Mandy. A film its best to know nothing about before viewing. Just be aware that its going to be a head fuck of sound, visuals and performance. I still have no idea after viewing it what it was I saw but I’m glad I did. 

Top Of The Pops 2018 (Iain)

When I was 18 I wanted to be in a rock and roll band There was only one problem – I couldn’t sing. I had this confirmed when I auditioned for the school choir. The choir master asked me to sing “Doe Ray Me Far Sew La TeaDoh!” I got as far as Ray before he said “NEXT!”

In fact there was two problems. I also can’t play a musical instrument. I bought a guitar when I was 18 years old. 23 years later I still have it. I’ve never changed the strings on it. It sounds the same now as it did back then – bloody awful!

Whenever I look at the guitar, I remember what the great philosopher Homer Simpson said “If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing”

I often wonder what would have happened if I had formed a band. What would the name be? It’s a tricky choice. The name would have to reflect both my personity and musical syle. I don’t think I’m shouty or angry enoughto carry off the name “Tropical Fuck Storm.”  or am I prog rock enough to call myself “King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard“ 

I could use my own name but someone has beaten me to it.

 All the band name’s I mentioned above are real names of bands! Surprisingly, Tropical Fuck Storm are not as punk and angry as the name suggests. 

So in ourannual brak from sports blogs here’s my top 5 tunes of the year:

5. Neon Church by Tim Mcgraw

I like going musical exploring in Spotify – I choose a genre I don’t normally listen to and then try out various random songs and artists in it. I recently started listening to random Country & Western songs to see if were any I like. Whilst musical panning for gold I’ve had to listen to allot of nuggets of rock but this a great pop rock country song with a catchy chorus.

 4. Don’t Fuck With Joe by The Blackwater Fever

I discovered this song at the same time as I discover Tim. Its a bluesy/rock blast. When played on daytime radio the lyrcis are changed to Don’t Mess With The Crows. I also work with a man called Joe so it has some relvance.

3. Lovely Stornoway by Calum Kennedy

I’d never heard of this song until this year but as I’m from Stornoway it has to make my top 5. My only complaint about the song is the lyric

Make your way to Stornoway,
On the road to Orinsay,

Orinsay is not on the road to Stornoway!  Orinsay is an island! He should sing

Make your way to stornoway.

On the ferry to Orinsay. 

2. Eat Shiitake Mushrooms – Let’s Eat Grandma

The worst named band on the list but probably the most musically interesting is Lets Eat Grandma. They mix musical styles from all out pop to drone rock. The amazing things is they are Teenagers. At their age I was getting rejected from the school choir.

 1. Danny Nedelko by Idles

I don’t normally like punk rock. It can be a bit one dimensional but Idles delivered the most intelligent and prescient album of the year with songs dealing with toxic masculinity, immigration and the loss of a child. The description sounds somber but the tunes are surprisingly upbeat.

2019 – part 2 (Iain)

 A few blogs ago, I wrote about my plan for 2019:

The only race I’ve never done before is an Ultra marathon. I’ve always been scared of the distance and the loneliness of running that far. 

So, as its the only event I’m scared of and its the only running distance I’ve never done before then I know that’s what I have to do in 2019.

Now I just need to decide which one….

I can now exclusively reveal my choice of race isn’t just one ultra but two!

I did ask Runners World Magazine if they wanted the exclusive but after they said “Who are you? Why would we want that? How did you get this number?” I decided to reveal it here instead. 

My first ultra is the John Muir Way Ultra. A 50KM race in East Lothian. I chose it because it’s flat, I love visiting East Lothian and I get a funky looking t-shirt if I complete it. 

https://foxtrailscotland.co.uk/races/ultra/

My second ultra is the Devil O The Highlands race. A hillier longer race comprising 42 miles from Tyndrum to Fort William. I choose this because I wanted a distance that was scary (31 miles isn’t that different from a marathon but 42 is very different) I love this section of the West Highland Way, and, if I complete it, I get a funky looking t-shirt….there is a theme developing about how I choose events. 

 https://www.devilothehighlandsfootrace.co.uk/

The race also has one of the best disclaimers I’ve seen. 

The event strives to be as inclusive as possible and the organizers have a zero tolerance policy to any form of discrimination. We are not fond of Donald Trump.

I think that’s one person most people are happy to discriminate against!

Glasgow Mural Run (Iain)

The best graffiti I’ve ever seen was in London shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack. I noticed someone had sprayed a wall with the phrase “Osama Bin Laden has a small willy”


Which distils the complicated geopolitics of western and eastern religions down to a simple playground insult.


Bin Laden is not the only one whose nether regions have been mocked. Similarly, during World War Two, Hitler was ridiculed in an equally childish manner with a song claiming he only had one ball


Hitler has only got one ball
The other is in the Albert Hall
His mother, the dirty bugger
Cut it off when he was small


Glasgow has recently launched a Mural trail. Mural is a posh word for graffiti. The murals are helping to rejuvenate streets and revitalize buildings and vacant sites that look a bit tired, reincarnating them as beautiful pieces of public street art.


You can see some example here from Andrew’s post https://twinbikerun.com/2018/11/26/glasgow-mural-run-andrew/

The official route is a good 5K run but I wanted to do something a bit longer and visit some of the unofficial murals.


You can find a GPX of my route here  https://strathcloud.sharefile.eu/d-s662eebc93b242119


I won’t list any of the murals because I think the joy of them is the surprise you get when you see them for the first time. Much like that joy I got the day I discovered Bin Laden and his small winky. Which is a phrase I never thought I’d use in a public forum!

Norseman video (Iain)

The official Norseman 2018 video has been released. The first Norseman video I saw was the 2013 film

I didn’t know a thing about the race or triathlons but I was transfixed by people jumping off a ferry. It looked amazing. I looked at what the race involved and wondered why anyone would want to jump off a ferry into a fjord.

5 years later I was lucky enough to do it. This is the video

Hopefully it will inspire someone else to dream of jumping off a ferry.

Nominated_TRA_Badge_2019-01_940_940_s_c1

In other news – this site has been nominated for a prize. Yes – really and its not a prize for terrible punctuation and grammer which has come as a shock to Andrew who claims he has to correct all of my blog posts after I’ve written them!

If you want to give us a vote then you can do so here:

https://therunningawards.com/vote/205/233#vote

Cocaine For The Nose (Andrew)

Sinex nasal spray is cocaine for the nose. Which means it’s just like cocaine in that it goes up your nose but, unlike cocaine, it’s good for you!

Not that I’ve ever had cocaine. But I watched Scarface and I know how it works. First, you get a pound of cocaine then you sniff it up your nose before gunning down a Mexican cartel and half the Miami police force.

Now, you can call me a square, but I don’t want to gun down no cartels, thank you very much. So, I’ve never touched the cocaine! Or the heroin! That’s worse – no sooner have you had some then you have to live in Edinburgh!

But Sinex. That’s cocaine for athletes (unless you’re British tennis player, Dan Evans, then cocaine is cocaine for athletes). One minute you’ve got a bit of cold. Maybe a blocked nose. Next thing you know, two squirts of Sinex up each nostril and you’re ready to take on the world.

I say two squirts but, I am legally required to say that you should only use one squirt. I use two because I have a big nose and have more snot to clear. Ordinary folk are medically recommended to only have one squirt.

Don’t abuse the Sinex, kids!

It’s great stuff and one I’ve had to use all last week after developing a bit of a cold on Tuesday. I say a bit of a cold but what I actually mean is… I WAS DYING!!!!!

And then it cleared up after a couple of days, so, false alarm, but you can’t be too careful when it comes to your health. And the NHS is free. So always go and see your doctor, even if you’ve recovered because, who knows, it might come back?!

(Don’t abuse the NHS, kids, unless you’re Jeremy Hunt then, stop abusing the NHS, Mr Hunt even though you’re now Foreign Secretary!)

Anyways, I had a cold this week. It was serious. I had a sniffle. And a cough. St Peter was ready to welcome me to Heaven but, don’t worry, I’m okay now.

And it was all thanks to Sinex. God bless, Sinex!

The Patron Saint Of Uselessness (Andrew)

Every Jean Claude Van Damme film explains why he has a funny accent. He’s French. He’s Belgium. He was raised in the bayou by wolves. It’s the same for Ryan Gosling – except in every film they explain why he can’t act. Let’s look at the evidence…

  • Bladerunner 2049. He can’t act ’cause he’s a robot.
  • La La Land. He can’t act ’cause he’s too obsessed by jazz.
  • The Place Beyond The Pines. He can’t act ’cause he’s dead.
  • Crazy Stupid Love. He can’t act ’cause he’s busy working on his abs.
  • Drive. He can’t act ’cause he’s got a cool jacket.
  • Half Nelson. He can’t act ’cause he’s on crack.
  • The Notebook. He can’t act ’cause you can’t tell the difference between Ryan Gosling and the timber he uses to build a dream house!

In short, unless you’re looking to remake Lord of the Rings and need someone to play a tree, Ryan Gosling can’t act.

But that doesn’t stop him from trying. And that perseverance is something we can all admire as we can’t run, swim or ride a bike we keep trying anyway.

So, God bless you, Ryan Gosling, you’re an inspiration to the hopeless everywhere!

Top Tips For Norseman Support Teams (Andrew)

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the union of swim, bike and run…”

With these words the race director opened the Norseman briefing the day before the race. However, he missed one important element. Triathlon is not just the union of swimming, cycling and running, it’s also the union of athlete and supporter. The race is unsupported by the organisers so every athlete needs their own team on course to feed them, clothe them, pick up their swimsuit and bike after them and generally support them throughout.

And, after 18 hours, here’s what I learned:

  1. Accommodation – It’s an early start. Athletes must be on the ferry by 4am. If you don’t want to be getting up the day before then finding accommodation near the start in Eidfjord is vital. Top tip though – if you do find accommodation make sure it has curtains. Mine didn’t and I now know how hard it is to get to sleep in a country where the sun rises in April and sunset is October. Groan. So, so tired…
  2. Nutrition – the athlete will get hungry and will start to demand every food type they can think of in order to escape the monotony of their twentieth energy gel. “Bring me a steak sandwich!”, “I want a black forest gateaux!”, “Where’s my swan!”. A good alternative to energy gels is a small bit of grated cheese. The flavour will reset their tastebuds and provide a contrast to the rest of what they eat. Top tip though – don’t store the grated cheese in a plastic bag in the car. It will soon become a big ball o’melted cheese.
  3. Timing – there is no need to rush out of Eidfjord when athletes leave the first transition. Unless they’re eventual Norseman winner Allan Hovda, it’ll take your athlete at least an hour to clear the first climb and for them to reach the start of the route where support is allowed. Have a nap! Have some breakfast! Let the traffic clear! Then follow them up the mountain!
  4. Decoration – Personalise your car with the athlete’s face. Allan Hovda did but we didn’t but then have you seen Iain’s face?!?!?
  5. Amusement – If/when it’s sunny, taunt the athlete with a Magnum. They won’t appreciate it and that’s what will make it funny.ptr
  6. Stocking up – there’s not many places to stock up with food and drink between Eidfjord and Zomebie Hill. It’s important you make the most of each stop by learning Norwegian. That might sound like a big effort just to buy extra supplies in the local Spar but, trust us, when you buy sparking water and not still water because you can’t read the label and the athlete is expecting Norway’s answer to Evian, you’ll thank us for this tip.
  7. Fellowship – Remember to cheer the other athletes until… you realise it’s the same ones passing every time on the run route. Then remember you have something to check in the car so you don’t need to shout “Good luck!” for the tenth time that hour.
  8. Fellowship – Remember to give the other athletes names too. Shout out in particular to Nic Cage, who was the spitting image of Nic Cage, the Walking Dead, who we were sure died on the bike but was still shuffling along the run route bent over and doubled up, and Stephen, who’s actual name was Thomas and who was always just behind Iain, but we got his name wrong once and it then just stuck. Go Stephen!
  9. Photography – Take lots of pictures. Particularly of the athlete changing and looking hot, sweaty, beat or depressed. When they complete the race and two years later they are still going on about it, you’ll have the perfect blackmail material to keep them quiet.
  10. Photography 2 – Top tip, don’t use a zoom lens near transition 1. You never know what you will see through it as everyone seems to ignore the “Keep Yer Pants On, Dear God, Man!” policy.
  11. Clothing – only someone wearing the official supporters t-shirt can enter transition. At the briefing they said their would be two t-shirts for each team however the race pack only contained one. We never found out which was correct. One t-shirt or two. But, check your pack when you pick it up and check with the volunteers that you have the right number.
  12. Timing – there are some sections of the bike route which are very fast and cyclists are almost going as fast as the cars. Or at least that’s our excuse for when Iain arrived at the second transistion 30 seconds before we did.
  13. Rjuken – don’t try and check in to your hotel while the athlete climbs Zombie Hill it takes much longer than you think to drive through town and back up the hill. Though it was good to see the room had curtains…
  14. Rjuken 2 – … and only half a double bed…
  15. IMG_20180804_223426.jpg
  16. Rjuken 3 – … and the toilet had a lock on the outside of the door. Why? Who’s going to lock you in??!??
  17. Rjuken 4 – Basically, don’t stay at the Ryuken GuestHus…
  18. Enjoy it – the day flys by. You get a front row seat of 250 inspiring people who battle on no matter how hard it gets and you get to see lots of brilliant bits of Norway.
  19. Crisps – also you can eat crisps in your car all day. Mmmmm, crisps!ptfbty