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I'm Quirky: Just Weird Enough to be Intriguing, But Not Enough to Repel

By John MacCalman

IN THIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY, "JOHNNIE MAC", SHARES HIS FASCINATION FOR FLYING, HIS LOVE OF AIRLINE FOOD, HIS MANY TRIPS TO EXOTIC LOCATIONS, AND WHY KEEPING HIS FEET OFF THE GROUND IS WHAT  MAKES HIM TRULY HAPPY. 

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"In all my years in the business there has be no one as "Quirky" as Johnnie Mac! For anyone who has an interest in radio this is a must read."
Ross King MBE  Good Morning Britain/ITV Lorraine

JOHN MACCALMAN WAS  CONCEIVED ON A NIGHT SLEEPER TRAIN BETWEEN GLASGOW AND LONDON IN OCTOBER OF 1946. WELL, THAT'S WHAT ONE OF HIS SISTERS TOLD HIM AND WHILE SHE MAY HAVE BEEN KIDDING IT WOULD ACCOUNT FOR HIS LOVE OF TRAINS AND TRAVEL. BORN IN GLASGOW ON JULY 2, 1947 IN A BIG HOUSE WITH A LARGE GARDEN NEXT TO SCOTSTOUNHILL RAILWAY STATION, TRAINS WOULD BECOME AN INSPIRATION FOR HIS FIRST JOB.

SINCE THAT TIME JOHN HAS TRAVELLED THE WORLD OVER IN SEARCH OF THE ULTIMATE HIGH WITH MILLIONS OF MILES IN THE SKY. THIS WAS COUPLED WITH AN AMAZINGLY INTERESTING CAREER COVERING AWARD WINNING BROADCASTING IN THE PIONEERING DAYS OF RADIO CLYDE, THE  MUSIC  BUSINESS - PUBLISHING AND MANAGEMENT,  FESTIVAL ORGANISING, TRAVEL JOURNALISM, RUNNING A WEBSITE FOR A THAI ROCK BAND, AND WORLD WIDE TRAVEL CONSULTANCY WITH A PASSION FOR THE USA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND.

WITH A CHARMING, FRIENDLY YET "QUIRKY" SENSE OF HUMOUR, JOHN IS INTRUIGING TO ALL THOSE HE MEETS.

IN THIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY, "JOHNNIE MAC", SHARES HIS FASCINATION FOR FLYING, HIS LOVE OF AIRLINE FOOD, HIS MANY TRIPS TO EXOTIC LOCATIONS, AND WHY KEEPING HIS FEET OFF THE GROUND IS WHAT  MAKES HIM TRULY HAPPY. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John was born in a big house next to Scotstounhill railway station, Glasgow, Scotland on 2nd of July 1947. He attended Hillhead High School but was expelled in the 6th year for truancy, as he preferred to spend his time at Scottish TV studios watching the production of their live lunchtime show The One O'clock Gang.

His early railway influences resulted in an 8-year employment with British Rail (BR) after leaving school. BR put him through a 2-year course in Business Studies at the Central College of Commerce and Distribution in Glasgow as part of a Railway Studentship scheme.

His enthusiasm for broadcasting had met with a major obstacle in finding a career entry point due to lack of experience, so he, along with a couple of friends started Radio Phoenix broadcasting to Forresthall Geriatric Hospital in Glasgow on a weekly basis.

The Sound Broadcasting Act of 1972 presented the major opportunity for him with the commercial radio franchise for Glasgow being awarded to Radio Clyde. He was fortunate enough to join the pioneering team as a Production Assistant in November 1973.

During his 34 years at Radio Clyde he became Production Controller, produced many award winning programmes, created the Kelvingrove Free Music Festivals and organised live broadcasts from the USA. He acted as Travel Editor taking opportunity to experience many overseas destinations. His enthusiasm for aviation resulted in several documentaries on the subject including "Tales from Kai Tak" about Hong Kong's old airport.

Parallel to this he became interested in the local music scene and formed Publishing and Management Companies to develop local talent. He travelled frequently to the USA West Coast ending up with Million Mile status on Northwest Airlines

In 2007 he was made redundant by Bauer Media, the new owners of Radio Clyde, and took a year out to research a ten-part proposed TV series on aviation in Micronesia. This featured Air Mike – the Island Hopper at that time part of Continental Airlines.

In 2008 he joined Travel 2 as a Sales Consultant advising UK travel Agents on worldwide travel. As part of this job he travelled to Australia and New Zealand many times. In addition he had a love of casinos as well as flying. So frequent trips were made to Las Vegas, and Australian cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Perth and Cairns.

In November 2000 he took voluntary redundancy from Travel 2 and now works freelance consulting and writing.

 

CHAPTER INDEX

Chapter 1 – Expelled
Driving a steam train at the age of 8.
Bad boy activities.
Corporal punishment.
Expelled from school.

Chapter 2 - Pirate Radio
Failed audition for pirate radio station - Radio Scotland.
Billy Connolly encounter.
BBC script rejection from That Was the Week That Was.

Chapter 3 – 1965 to 1973 British Rail, Hospital Broadcasting and Israel
Religious bigotry in Glasgow.
Jewish girlfriend and trip to Israel.
If you can't get in to broadcasting then start your own radio station.

Chapter 4 - Radio Clyde December 1973 
Pioneering radio days.
Two months before the start of commercial radio in Scotland.

Chapter 5 - Pan Am Flights to Trinidad December 1975 
First Class travel reward for radio work.
High powered executives steal the cutlery.
First and only attempt at a drug deal.
How radio in Trinidad was crudely relayed the BBC World Service

Chapter 6 - SuperScoreboard Secrets
How a radio guru creatively produced an image of predictive powers at football matches

Chapter 7 - Into the Music Business
My dislike of The Waltons on TV launches my ventures into the music business.
Setting up two publishing and management companies - Jammy Music and Scotia Nostra. Devious publicity stunt banning a singer from getting married.
Unexpected success from two customs officers.

Chapter 8 - Kelvingrove Festivals
Establishment of free open-air rock festivals in Glasgow for bands with original music.

Chapter 9 - Braniff Flights 1980 with Andy Collier 
Amazing adventures on a trip round the USA on an airline with the big orange bird.
Andy is a journalist who moved to Glasgow from England whom I helped with contacts.
He asked me to go with him on a freebie set of flights to the USA.

Chapter 10 - More Braniff Flights May 1981
Milking the First Class Airpass with Braniff.
Music Producer Clark Sorley from Kilmarnock on a whirlwind trip around the USA.
It was not surprising that the airline went bust shortly after this.

Chapter 11 - Jammy Music Production Library
Making music for TV, Radio and Movies at just the right length.
The True Love Orchestra - Wedding Song for Sarah Ferguson and HRH Prince Andrew. Producing records with Craig Ferguson in the guise of Bing Hitler, and noted actors Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson in their comedy act Victor and Barry.
Movie music success in the USA.

Chapter 12 - The Dolphins
Dangerous fireworks at a midnight open-air concert.
Loyalty to individuals on management contracts when they go solo.

Chapter 13 - USA Trips in search of fame 
Attempts to get record deals.
Los Angeles attorney hired.
Madam Wong's West is not a brothel!
Foggy Bottom is not something you get from a strong curry!

Chapter 14 - Music Scene at Radio Clyde
Creating Stick it in Your Ear!
Hoovered at the Albany Hotel at 3am - T shirts.
Supercharge song story She Moved the Dishes First.
Programme series "Hear Me Talking" - without the interviewer.
Award winning production The Big Day.

Chapter 15 - Million Miles on Northwest
How to win as a frequent flyer.
Thanks to Saddam Hussein for my Million Mile status.
Sick Northwest aircraft gives me First Class Singapore Airlines experience.
Finding the way to San Jose.
Etiquette in Thailand.

Chapter 16 - Doing the Continental
How to emerge from bankruptcy in the USA. 
Hawaiian Goddess Madame Pele.
Doing the tango in Buenos Aires

Chapter 17 - Climax in Pattaya
The Thai word "porn" is not what you may think.
The horizontal leisure centre.
Website for the Climax Rock Band.


Chapter 18 - Claymores in Europe
Why American Football has more hanging about than in a clothing warehouse.

Chapter 19 - Crazy Radio Clyde Career

How TV shutdown at 1030 pm made Radio Clyde an outstanding success.
The Great Crossini escapologist on the radio.
Princess Margaret meets the Wombles and Uncle Bulgaria is arrested.
Winning a Rover Sterling car.
Tales from Kai Tak.
Mallan in Manhattan.
The Assistant DA from Orange County, California becomes Radio Clyde presenter.

Chapter 20 - Air Mike The Island Hopper
America won Guam from Spain on a misunderstanding.
The Romeo and Juliet story of the Lovers Leap.
The significance of the Love Stick on Chuuk.
Stone Money and bare breasts on Yap. 
The lifeline air service of Micronesia.

Chapter 21 - Circus Circus Las Vegas
The Ringmaster's club had me hooked. 
Do they send the elephant instead of the limousine?
Hieroglyphs surprisingly accurate.
How to make money from a casino - own it!
The Mormons and the Mafia Mob.

Chapter 22 - On the Fly
Murphy's Laws of Hub Operation.
Suitable for upgrade or friend of the gate agent?
Hooters Air go bust!

Chapter 23 - 21st Century Travel
Lounging around the world Polaris style.
Australian snake in the mouth.
A pokie is not a sexual act.
Enlightenment through beer.
Over the North Pole in search of the sanity clause.
The Lucky Shag may surprise you.
I fall for a camel called Darcy. 
Grilled by the Feds in Las Vegas.

Chapter 24 - 2020
Angel Number 2020.
Quarantined in Australia.
Escape home.

From Comment
2021-05-27 Graham .... A not to be missed book. Something for everybody! Crammed full of stories, anecdotes... on John's very full life.SO far. His early life at British Rail, and his amazing career in the broadcasting business.Which spanned over 40 years? Leading to global travels, and his many adventures a long the way.
From L.A./Vegas to Hawaii.Argentina to Dubai.Thailand to Australia. The man has been there, done 'it'...and seen it all! And it's all now laid down in print .Like I said, get it while you can.Those limited edition books don't last forever.Check out all the 'out of print' books on Amazon you wished you had bought when they first came out, and you didn't! Trust me, you don't want to add this one to that list.Get yours today...while you still can!
2021-04-24 Pamela .... What an amazing read, couldnt put it down. Sounds like John has had a very interesting life.
2021-04-17 Ronnie .... An amusing and comprehensive glimpse of what we’re missing thanks to travel ban.
John covers an awful lot of ground via his air miles giving fascinating facts and tips covering every aspect of his modern travel.
It’s not all about his airborne escapades and exotic stopovers as he gives us an insight to local radio at its best with laughter, boobs and fun folk.
It’s a well mixed volume of tales leaving you wanting more as you’re taken on this solo flight with Captain John.

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