Will he stay or will he go?

Strange days. A Scottish Cup Final tomorrow, and if Inverness Caley win (sixth in the First Division) it will be a bigger upset than Berwick Rangers beating Glasgow Rangers. Jock Wallace was in goals that day. But it wasn’t for Glasgow Rangers, but the mighty Berwick. What I’m trying to say it Celtic, despite a couple of games, our second-string players—with the possible exception of Oh—proved not up to the job. But we will win at a canter tomorrow.  (Inverness Caley 35/1 to win at Hampden.)

Yet, the rumours that started last week have put a pall over Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic team, winning the treble, and five trophies out of six since his arrival. Generally, we’re not talking about how he overhauled the squad, helped shape an attacking team, and when it mattered beat Rangers in the process. He overhauled a 25 point deficit, in what seems those historical times, when Neil Lennon was Celtic manager, and Stevie G, was a Rangers’ icon. It was the only time I was thankful for Covid-18. All Rangers supporters, like the fat Humpty Dumpty in the English Parliament, Boris Johnson, became common criminals breaking the law when they celebrated in George Square.

A tifo of Jock Stein was a thing of beauty that covered Paradise last week as Celtic returned to form and thrashed Aberdeen, who didn’t get a shot on goal. Jock Stein gave us the Lisbon Lions, a team that lived within 12 miles of Glasgow. They humbled Europe’s elite. In a testimonial against Real Madrid, they couldn’t get the ball off Jimmy Johnstone. We beat England’s best, Leeds United in a European Cup tie with one of the biggest crowds recorded at the match (my da was there). It was obviously, an underestimate, because as we know, kids were handed over turnstiles. When I was growing up in the seventies, we had the Quality Street reserve team that included Dalglish, McGrain, and former manager, Davy Hay and helped give Celtic nine consecutive league titles. We will not see the likes of Jock, or nine flag flapping on a tin roof, again.

Postecoglou isn’t in that bracket. I know it feels as if I’m writing in his wake and passing. The irony is another treble winner at Celtic, Brendan Rodgers is rumoured to be returning. Rodgers as we know brought Moussa Dembele and gave us a decent enough team. Three treble trebles, the fourth completed by Lennon. But when Rodgers walked mid-season, citing several reasons that sounded as fabricated as Boris Johnston’s Brexit promise to give the NHS £160 million extra ever week, nobody was buying it. Judas.

Martin O’Neil won the treble in his first season. Henrik Larsson was still here. We’d Lubo. We’d a decent team. But the Northern Irishman made us better. He took us all the way to Seville in the sun. We all want to forget Helicopter Sunday. But he did a more than decent job.

Postecoglou is in O’Neil’s bracket. But O’Neil was a pragmatist. Let’s not forget the colossus, Bobo Balde (poached from Kilmarnock). Bobo, as we know, couldn’t hit the ball with anything below the waist. His size 16 boots were for flippering the ball forward or out of the park. But any forward’s chance of winning the balls in the air were easily swept aside. Scotland’s (English) forward Lyndon Dykes, for example, would have won nothing against Bobo. But Gordon Strachan didn’t fancy him.

And Postecoglou, is an idealist. He wouldn’t have someone that couldn’t carry of pass the ball from defence in his team. Yuki Kobayashi, for example, can carry and pass the ball, but can’t defend and is too easily bullied. This doesn’t matter because he’s backup. Postecoglou’s Plan B was more of Plan A. It worked well, but not in Europe.

We cling to the hope, with Champions’ League cash, we can invest in our squad and do better. But, like many, I think Postecoglou is gone.

My fear is Plan B will be John Kennedy. A continuation of the same, but different. What Postecoglou brought to the club was a list of Asian player that he knew would make Celtic better. He brought many of them to the club. I don’t think there’ll be a sudden exit, but perhaps a drift. But Kennedy has nothing he can offer in terms of Asian, North American or Australian markets. He’s no list of players. He’s a Neil Lennon in waiting.

If or when Postecoglou announces he’s leaving for Spurs, I wouldn’t brand him a Judas as I did Brendan Rodgers. I can’t really stretch to wishing him well. I’d be largely indifferent. The only team I support is Celtic. The only team that concerns me is Celtic. The only team I hate with a passion is Rangers. Managers come and go. It’s in my blood. Celtic today, tomorrow—always—oh, yeh, we’ve a cup final to look forward to.   

The Whale (2022) directed by Darren Aronofsky, based on a stage-play written by Samuel D. Hunter.


‘Like we discussed yesterday. I really want you to focus on topic sentences more.’

We hear Charlie’s voice (Brendan Fraser) but we don’t see him. He’s teaching English, creative writing to college students online. We can see their faces as they listen to his critique, but his claim that some computer glitch means that they can’t see him, we the viewers become aware is a lie, because Charlie is hideous in that most American way that most Western nations have imported. Bad guys are no longer Laurel and Hardy funny. He’s clinically obese and therefore morally suspect. What’s Charlie’s story?

Well, it’s in the title. He’s the whale, but also the hunters of the fabled beast in Moby Dick. The link is established in his less than meet-cute with the non-doubting Thomas (Ty Simpkins), a missionary with the New Life Church. He chaps the door aiming to save his soul. Charlie’s watching gay porn on his computer, while having a heart attack. Charlie doesn’t want to go to hospital. Instead he presses an essay into Thomas’s hand and urges him to read it to him, claiming it will make him better.

The essay is Chekov’s gun.  If it’s not fired in the first act, it will be in the final act. I never mastered Moby Dick, but this eight-year-old girl must have been a genius to get it down to the bones.

‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’

― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina  

 Charlie’s dying. He’s killing himself by overeating. We’re shown his deterioration by screen-shot, day by day. What he demands of his English students is honesty in their writing. In prose, the basic rule of show don’t tell is reversed for stage plays. We already know how gross he is, the onscreen view is to make him grosser. He’s not going anywhere fast. Not going anywhere. Everything has got to come to him in rooms he inhabits, including the backstory, metered out by each character. Tell don’t show.

Liz (Hong Chau) is Charlie’s portal to the outside world. She’s a medic and tells him his blood pressure it three times what it should be. He needs to go to hospital. This is an old fight. Charlie refuses. They’ve shared history. Her backstory of being gay and her brother killing himself because of some New Life Church bullshit means she’s switch on to undoubting Thomas’s pitch for Charlie’s soul.

In a moment of weakness, Charlie phones his daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink). He’s not seen her in eight years. She’s the smoking gun. She takes a picture of Charlie and posts on her Facebook type social media, showing how fat and repulsive he is and says he’ll be roasting in hell. Charlie promises her all his money, $120 000 if she’ll spend some time with him. He knows she’s failing school. He tells her he can help her there too. But she demands he just write some bullshit essays she was failed on. Charlie agrees.

That’s the first act. Everyone is in the room, except the Pizza guy, and Charlie’s long dead boyfriend and true love. He keeps their room locked and splendid. His own room filled with his failing body and squalor.

Ellie is the catalyst. She demands answer. Constantly angry. She drugs Charlie with her mum’s sedative’s Ambien. Her mum, Mary (Samantha Morton) finds out she’s visiting Charlie and admits she thinks ‘she’s evil’.  Charlie thinks she’s just a teenager, impenetrable and splendid. There’s no battle for her soul, but a grudging affection.

Mary admits to being a pessimist (tell don’t show) and Charlie was always the optimist. The problem is too many neat boxes and coincidences for real life to breathe through. Thomas’s revelation, for example, seemed squeezed into sequence and outlandish. Not as true to life as too large for life Charlie and the fizzing, but vulnerable Ellie.   

Celtic 5—0 Aberdeen

A Kyogo double in a five-minute spurt meant it was effectively game over by half-time. Oh grabbed a second-half double, in between a Carl Starfelt headed goal. Job done. Champions again.  

Celtic sparkled in the first-half. Back to our best. Postecoglou made changes to his starting eleven in recent weeks. We all saw what happened to Bain. Joe Hart hasn’t set a very high bar, but he’s no 1 by some distance. Bernabei has been found wanting.  I’m not sure he’s going to make it. Too frail, defensively. A bit like Koybashi. Iwata partnered Starfelt today. Curtis Main ragdolled him against St Mirren, but he’ll probably start in the cup final in that central-defensive position.

Ralston is a stopgap. As we seen today, and most weeks, Alistair Johnston is better. But he’s maybe picked up an injury, which will put him out of the final (I don’t know). Kyogo also had to be taken off at the start of the second-half after clashing with the keeper. We know he’s the best striker in the Scottish Premier league because he’s scored the most goals.

We want him to start in the cup final. A game many of us took for a formality (including me) until our recent blip. Oh, is probably, the only player whose stock has risen in those league games. None of the others deserve to start in the final.

Abada made a strong case for inclusion, with a first-half performance that was generally excellent, highlighted by a lung-bursting run from before the half-way line and taking about six Don’s defenders with him. He won his personal battle today, with ex-Celt Johnny Hayes.

Daizen Maeda missed the game (his red card offence) but it’s probable that the Japanese forward will start at Hampden. Most of the team we put out today that strolled to victory will start against Inverness next week. If Kyogo and Johnston remain fit, they’ll start the game. Maeda will come in for Abada.

We know Tottenham are in for Ange. Two league trophies on the bounce. A possible five trophies out of six. The Australian has done a remarkable job. Today is a day just to enjoy lifting another trophy. The one that really matters, both in terms of prestige, but also Champions League riches. Ange’s motto of we never stop has brought serial winners. Let’s hope Ange stops that bit longer. Ideally, for three-in-row, four-in-a-row. Perhaps five or six. But again, today is the day to put that aside. Champions 2022-23.

Damon Galgut (2021) The Promise.

The Promise won the 2021 Booker Prize. The premise is simple, but it got muddled up in my mind. Ma (Rachel Swart) has terminal cancer. She makes Pa (Herman Albertus Swart, known as Mannie) promise that he’ll leave the house and title deeds to the woman that has nursed her and helped bring up her children, Salome. But the hired help, or servant, is black. She lives with her son, Lukas, on what is termed The Lombard Place. A farm worker’s home outside Pretoria, in South Africa.

Amor, the youngest daughter, aged eleven, has to be brought from boarding school for the funeral by Tannie Marina. She heard her Ma asking her Pa, and making him promise, which he did. Amira, her eldest sister is already home. But her elder brother, Anton, has been called up for National Service. There’s always some kind of national emergency. He’s been given a few days’ leave to go home for his Ma’s funeral. She’d been making things difficult. Turning away from Dutch Reformed Christianity and insisting on being buried in the Jewish part of the graveyard. Anton seems to be in shock, and confusing his Ma’s death with the black woman he shot, who’d been throwing stones at a demonstration. Oom Ockie, Marina’s husband, makes things easy by reminding Pa that blacks can’t own property. It’s against the law, and morally suspect.

Pa’s funeral leads to a new reckoning under Nelson Mandela. Like the new South Africa, after the end of the apartheid, he’d been doing quite well for himself, and his family. But he’d put off settling the matter of giving Salome the title deeds to her property. Amor has been travelling in Europe. She’s no longer the chunky kid that Amira remembered. Her thinness and beauty have begun to slide. Of course, she’s not jealous. Amor had always been self-possessed, but now she was being ridiculous, insisting on giving property to the hired help.

Anton admits to doing things he’s not proud of. He had to borrow 2000 rand from an older woman than him he’d been living with. But now he’s home and a property owner, it’s the new start he’d been looking for. He goes looking for his old flame Desiree. Her dad had to appear before The Truth and Conciliation Commission. He used to be feared. Now he’s just pitied. Anton’s secret is he plans to be a novelist.

He makes a start, and for twenty years (like many of us) keeps up the pretence. A different kind of promise. Mandela, Mbeki, and Zuma. The countries falling apart. Little electricity and fear when they turn the taps no water will come out, but money leaking out in bribes. The Promise remains. Salome, ‘a basket of bones,’ has waited over 30 years. Amor remembers and will not let go. Read on.       

Hibs 4—2 Celtic

For the neutral, this was a great game. I’m not neutral, of course. I don’t think we need reminding we lost to Rangers, drew with St Mirren and lost tonight. Whisper it, we’ve already won the league. Media coverage makes it seem that the worst team in Champion League history had romped the league and cup and was on the brink of the treble. But I guess we’re back to something like normality now.

Postecoglou gives guys that weren’t great in these other games another chance. They blew it.  Bain comes in for Joe Hart. The former England keeper has been poor lately. For evidence look at the opening goal at Ibrox, but he’s still our number 1. I’d like an upgrade in the summer, but it seems unlikely. Bain has the unwanted tag of a disaster waiting to happen. But the way he started the game, he looked cut out for the jersey. A safe pair of hands, he even came out for cross balls and caught them. His kicking was good.

In the first minute he denied Youan, with Oh, at the other end getting on the end of a Bernabei cross and just failing to score.

Leil Abada got a shot away from the edge of the box, with Marshall making a decent save. Bernabei again set up Oh. He was getting closer, but sent it over the bar. That was in the first ten minutes, before Celtic took control with around eighty percent possession. But   

Then Bain denied Nisbett. Sead Haksabanovic created a few chances, but got injured to be replaced by Maeda after around 25 minutes.

But the Japanese striker turned the game Hibs’ ways. His second yellow on card on Will Fish in the second half was followed a minute later by Jake Doyle-Hayes red card. It was rescinded after the referee consulted VAR. For the last 23 minutes Celtic were down to ten men. With around 12 minutes to go, Hibs equalised. Then we had the Bain howler. I guess they’re all connected in a haphazard way, where everything that could go wrong, did.

Celtic had taken the lead with a first-half penalty. Hatate scoring from the penalty spot after McGregor had been bundled off the ball.

Youhan’s 51st minute equaliser was a great strike from inside the box. Bernarbie had given the ball away on the left (again).

But the young Argentinian was involved in helping create both our goals. His pass to Oh, inside the box left the South Korean with lots to do. The striker had a good game, hitting the bar, before scoring Celtic’s second goal.

Bernarbei, and the left-hand side, has been targeted the by opposition and it showed.  Ralston’s header away, for example was volleyed by Youhan’s left foot, for Hib’s first goal. .

Kevin Nisbett made it 2—2 from the spot. Ralston judged to have been wrestling with Lewis Miller.

But with just over ten minutes remaining (and eleven minutes of added time) Youan scored his second and Hibs’ third goal of the night. He cut inside and shot from around 25 yards. An easy take for Bain, but he let it squirm out of his arms and over the line.

Former Celt, Ewan Henderson, set up the fourth, dinking a cross to the back post. Paul Hanlon easily got above Bernarbei. The ball comes off his head and beats Bain, which just about sums up the match.

Ralston is also a stand in, and it showed tonight. Kobayahsi, as we know, got brushed aside and bullied at Ibrox by Souttar. Here he got bullied by Kevin Nisbett, who is hardly heavy weight. He’s backup too, his passing was also erratic. We’ve tried Iwatta in central defence, but he got to easily held off and pushed aside by Main. Here Iwatta is pushed further forward into midfield into his more natural position, where he won Japanese player of the year before coming to us. He too misplaced passes and had a poor game. Ironically, McGregor in a more advanced position, gave the team more energy and guile than Matt O’Riley recently has. Our captain was up for it, while others were lacking. Bernabei can’t defend (as seen in almost every match) but offers a good attacking option. He’s young, but we need cover for Taylor and it’s not him.

Oh leads the line. I’ve got a feeling he’ll be a bumper, but is a work in progress.  Haksabanovic often looks better in the number-10 role. He’s talented, but still to make that jump into the team, and injury prone?

We started with another a reserve team. The result doesn’t matter greatly. These second-tier players had a point to prove. And apart from Oh, they didn’t make it. When we get presented with the trophy on Saturday, almost all of them will be back on the bench. Some of them may even be leaving. My guess is Kobayshi can’t cut it, I’m still unsure about Bernabei. I’m sure about Bain. We need a Hart replacement, but I don’t think we’ll get it. I’m sure Bain will do OK at one of the lesser teams. I wish him well.   

In Search of Bible John, Fred Dineage’s Murder Casebook, STV.


Between 22 February 1968 – 31 October 1969, three Glasgow women that attended the dancing at the Barrowland Ballroom never made it home. Patricia Docker, Jemima MacDonald and Helen Puttock were raped and murdered.

We’ve become attuned to the nuances of serial killers through thousands of stories, books programmes and podcasts. This is the shortened version, originally shown in September 2011. David Hayman (who incidentally comes from Bridgeton and played Jimmy Boyle in A Sense of Freedom) presents the show.

He runs through the where and when of the victims. There’s some hokum acting and the staged victims are shown lying down on the job. Recreations are the poor man’s show and tell. Then the killings stopped. We know that doesn’t happen in real serial-killer life.

Hayman leads the viewers through a number of options. There was more than one killer. The killer left Glasgow, perhaps he was a soldier or a prisoner? Both options were explored. Hayman settles for the latter.

They hang their hat on serial killer Peter Tobin. Hayman recounts how Tobin told a detective he’d killed 48 women. Then cackled, prove it?

We now know that Tobin was a serial killer, but it was unlikely he was Bible John. We also know that forensic psychologist, David Wilson, came to the conclusion he was the serial killer, Bible John. But Tobin’s DNA cleared him of at least one of the killings. And he was away on honeymoon to Brighton when another was committed. So ceteris paribus, Tobin was not Bible John. The search goes on in a podcast near you, BBC Sounds.    

Thirteen Lives (2022) Amazon, screenplay by William Nicholson, and directed by Ron Howard.


Like me, you may vaguely remember this, 23rd June 2018. 12 boys from Thailand (and their soccer coach) = 13, trapped in an underground cave (Tham Luang) and being rescued. We know there is a happy ending. It provokes one of those questions. Why watch the movie when we know what happens? But then again, we know what happens in  What A Wonderful Life, but we watch it every Christmas.

Grenfell Towers epitomises the worst of Britain and its class system. It shows the repeated failures of authorities and professionals to behave morally and do their job properly. Thirteen Lives, like the rescue of George Linnane from a cave system in the Brecon Beacons epitomises the best of British. It’s a triumph of amateurism that should shame those in authority, but we all know how that works, or doesn’t.

Here we have the Thai Navy Seals on standby, sent into the rescue the kids, but they’re not up to the job. Richard Stanton (Viggo Mortensen) as the grumpy, but brilliant caver tells them flatly, ‘You trained in open water.’

The team he put together were all cavers and divers. They’d done the hours, underground, in the dark, feeling their way forward. John Volanthen (Colin Farrell) is ying to Stanton’s yang. Richard Harris (Joel Edgerton) as the Australian anaesthetist plays a crucial role in the rescue. But let’s not underplay the role that others played in the operation. This was a working community, planning and playing together for the common good. Communism, but you might have a different tag.

Stanton and Volanthen, initially, have no part in the international rescue operation. The professionals get on with it, only they don’t. When they’re finally given permission to dive, they wonder how many of the kid’s bodies they’ll manage to bring out of the cave system.

When they locate them and find out they’re alive, they face a different dilemma. They can’t bring them out, because no matter how they do it, the children will panic underwater, endangering themselves, and the diver trying to save them. They’ll probably both drown. Stanton makes it clear he didn’t come to be a hero. He came to do a job and if he can’t get in and out, he’s off.

The scheme they design is brilliant, but untried. They wonder how many of the kids, if any, they’ll be able to bring out alive. The children, who include three immigrants (yes immigrants in Thailand too, we like to drown them here) are on death row with the cave flooding and running out of oxygen. It’s the ticking clock and a lose-lose scenario. Brilliantly done, in real life and in the film that followed: What a Wonderful Cave Rescue. They should show it every Christmas.  

Agnes Owens (2009) The Complete Novellas.

I hadn’t heard of the not too lauded Scottish novelist Agnes Ownes, from Balloch. She was born in 1926, and most of her longer, short stories—novellas—were published in the 1980s. Five of them have been brought together. Like Birds in the Wilderness, A Working Mother, For the Love of Willie, Bad Attitudes and Jen’s Party.

What they have in common is stories mirror a working-class view of the world. Dialect isn’t dialect. Just the way people speak.

In Like Birds in the Wilderness, for example, a twenty-six-year-old brickie arrives in the big city in Glasgow looking for work.

‘A dour-faced youth answered the door. I explained the buroo had sent me.

‘Broo?’ he questioned.

‘Labour exchange then. They said ye took in lodgers.’

He jerked his head backwards to convey I should follow him down the lobby into a big kitchen that smelled of onions.’

Ownes tells the story from the male protagonist’s point of view. A Working Mother tells its own story from a woman’s point of view, as do the other stories. Owen worked as a typist and had seven children. So in these and other stories such as Bad Attitudes and, the shortest of the collection, Jen’s Party, it could be described as writer writes what you know, which is drink and violence and sex and not much love. But who knows? A wee twist at the end, adds bite.

For the Love of Willie was my favourite. Simplified plot. I’m not sure why we need a Foreword, but here it is.

‘Two patients sit on the veranda of a cottage hospital run by a local authority for females with mental problems, some of them long-term and incurable. Peggy, stoutly built, middle-aged, and with a hard set to her jaw…

…the companion, elderly and frail, but known as the duchess because of her imperious manner.’

Peggy is writing a novel longhand on scraps of paper. I think we’ve all done that, but they’ve not locked me up yet. Hospitals are run by matrons and nurses who don’t mind using a bit of casual violence to keep the patients in line. I thought, yeh, that’s exactly how it was. Peggy escapes into her writing.

She tells the duchess (and us the reader) the story of how she came to be a long-term patient. It’s in the title. Willie was a shopkeeper she worked for. Firstly, as a fifteen-year old, delivering papers. Willie was thirty-three, an old married man. He made concessions to her gender, although it wasn’t called that then. She was just a good looking wee lassie that didn’t have to pick up the bundled papers from the railway station, like the boys did. It was during the second world war. Corner shops guaranteed an income. But it was owned by his wife. And she has arthritis, and liked a little drink. All of the stories in this collection involve women and men that like to drink, which, of course, was true. Only perhaps Ireland had more boozers per head of population, but it was a close call. Willie’s wife had an excuse. The little bottle of sherry helped with the pain.

Peggy didn’t think Willie was that wee or that married. Willie had a bit of a track record with young girls, but Peggy didn’t believe that either. She thought he might even be handsome, in a James Cagney sort of way.

The story flips back and forth between the cottage hospital and how Willie snared the then sixteen-year-old girl into make believing herself they had something that had never happened before. The ending is a topper. But on carrying on the story from the end of the war to Peggy being discharged to a high rise flat in the early seventies makes logical sense, but perhaps we don’t need to know that? Peggy, in writing a novel, wondered who would bother reading it. Finish with a bang, earlier. Her first novella was published when she was 58. There’s hope for rest of us old yins.

Read on.   

Celtic 2—2 St Mirren

Callum McGregor scored with nine minutes of the 90 minutes to go. That ensured St Mirren didn’t do the double over us. After the defeat against Rangers at Ibrox, Postecoglou went with a more recognisable ‘A’ team. Kyogo was back. Hatate found him in the box, and he did what he’s done all season. His strike from just inside the box left Trevor Carson with little chance. That made it 1—1.

It’s ironic that the best striker on the park was Curtis Main. He bullied the Celtic defence as Rangers did last week. His first goal set the tone. The kind of goal I remember well from amateur football. Carson’s kick out straight down the park. Ralston got himself into a fangle. Iwata didn’t deal with it. Main slotted home with his right foot. Joe Hart should have done better, but the ball went under him. A recurrent theme.

Yuki Kobayashi and Alexandro Bernabei were brushed aside and defenceless at Ibrox. Taylor stepped in and played his normal game. Timoki Iwata’s physique suggested that wouldn’t happen today. Big Shuggy, Jóhannes Eðvaldsson started in midfield and was pushed into central defence in the seventies. Roy Aitken followed a similar path. But just as Kobayshi proved lightweight at Ibrox, Iwata proved similarly today.  

Richard Taylor missed a good chance from a St Mirren corner, before Curtis Main made it 2—1 before half time, from a long throw and head tennis in which the Celtic defence lost every set play.

Celtic started the second half with an increased tempo, but it was Main again who, surrounded by three defenders, nodded a chance wide. Two minutes later, getting himself on the end of another cross. He could easily have had a hat trick. His best chance was when Iwata got to the ball, but Main brushed him aside and got his shot away hitting the post.

Celtic’s substitutes gave added impetus. We also hit the post and had several near misses, before McGregor’s equaliser. But it was a damp squib. Those that have stepped in have been found lacking. We’ve certainly lost our edge, losing early goals, conceding from corners, throw-ins and free kicks. We’re a small team. We know we’re vulnerable here. Our lack is showing again. These matches don’t mean anything much. But as the cup final comes closer the inevitability of a Scottish Cup win and the treble, no longer seems so inevitable if we can no longer do the basics.