AS a fellow member of the human race may I express my sorrow at the charging of Andy Coulson, ex-editor of the Noos of the Screws, with perjury.
Mr Coulson, one notes, was formerly a showbiz reporter, as was Piers Morgan (about whom the less etcetera). As, indeed, was Richard Wallace, sacked a couple of days ago as editor of the Daily Mirror. There may be a moral in all of this but I very much doubt it.
ACCORDING to a poll, Trainspotting is the greatest British film to have appeared since Lizzie Tupperware got on the throne. One's immediate response is that it cannot have had much competition. I watch a lot of fillums and am struck by how few of them are worthy of my precious time.
I saw Trainspotting in Noo Yawk, at a cinema in Greenwich Village with my dear friend Alastair Reid, writer extraordinaire, who was eager for an update on what his kinsfolk were currently up to. It was an afternoon showing and there were punters in the stalls. At the sight of subtitles a few immediately upped and left. This, though, was nothing compared to the exodus after the scene in which two American tourists stumble into a bar and get a kicking by jolly local thugs.
Discussing this later, an American chum said it was nothing less than xenophobic. I begged to differ, arguing that the thugs would have behaved in the same, impartial manner to anyone they didn't recognise. Which seemed to mollify my chum who was pleased that his kinsfolk were not singled out for special treatment.
THE Westmeenster government has got a Cornish pasty on its chops after it made a U-turn over VAT on the much-maligned comestible. At least, that's what the pundits are saying. Various Dodos have done their best to explain what Ozzy the Chancellor's current position is on the pasty and other delicacies, such as mutton pies and sausage rolls. Key is how hot they are. To avoid payment of VAT they apparently must be sold at an "ambient" temperature which, in my – limited!!! – experience means they're a degree or two above cauld. If they're actually cauld, no VAT is payable, but if they're hotter than ambient then it is payable. All of which is as clear as mince.
But what happens when you buy a pie or a pastry and the serving wench offers to heat it up in the microwave for you, which usually results in the temporary loss of your mouth's inner lining? Do you pay extra for that? The nation needs to be told.
MY brother will be among those bereft at the news that the Alexander Brothers have decided to "hang up their accordions" (copyright The Herald) after 54 "noteworthy" (ditto) years. As a lad who was never afraid to be seen in public in a kilt, my brother, who is yet to be named, needed little encouragement to leap on stage and belt out Nobody's Child, which never failed to bring a tear to the eye, not always for the right reason. I myself was not such a big fan of the brothers Alexander, though I preferred them to other Alexanders, such as the Coalition's Danny and Noo Labour's Dougie.
I note that the duo's final tour was of South Lanarkshire where they were greeted with "sell-out crowds". One would expect nothing less. As with Jimmy Shand and Andy Stewart, their music was so infectious you had to have your toes nailed to the floor to stop them tapping. It is a talent with which many of today's "musicians" are not obviously blessed.
I bow to no-one in my admiration of Neil Young. In the pantheon of singer-songwriters, he ranks among the highest. Top, of course, is Dylan, who is peerless, followed by messrs Cohen, Waits and Simon. Then, at number five, comes Mr Young, in whose wake trail Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen, Willie Nelson and my dear amigo Steve Earle.
On occasion, however, Mr Young makes an album that tries even my loyalty. One such is his latest, which is called Americana, in which endeavour he had the assistance of Crazy Horse, the band which in the past has often accompanied him. Americana consists of the recreation to the point of obliteration of a number of well-known folk songs. The closing track, however, is a rendition of God Save The Queen, the like of which has never been heard since the last time the English rugby team sang it in the bath. To say that Mr Young murders it is to give serial killing a bad name. What, one wonders, possessed him? Can it be his homage to Lizzie in her Diamond Jubilee year?
Or perhaps it is his idea of joke. If so, he might like next to turn his attention to Oh Flue-er O' Scotia, which badly needs to be put out of its misery.
FIFI Hysterical, Meenister for Kultur, has "defended" arts funding in Heatherdom. May you never need her to "defend" you. To moaning luvvies she says look south, where cuts are deeper and more painful than they are in these parts. Wow! But what La Fifi fails to appreciate is that it is not the cuts in themselves that have irked many of those involved in what we must now call "the creative industries", but the high-handed and ignorant manner in which they are being pushed through.
Creative Teuchter, the unfit-for-purpose bureaucracy that is effecting them, has decided that henceforth many arts organisations will not receive an annual grant but must apply on a project-by-project basis. One would love to see how CT and its arrogant, unaccountable apparatchiks would survive if they were dependant for funding on such hare-brained thinking. If it were, we'd have been shot of the lot a long time ago.
2012 – the Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics, Chelsea win the Champions League – my idea of an annus horribilis.
One wonders if Her Maj enjoyed Trainspotting as much as the proles
Who knew the great Neil Young was such as fan of Lizzie Windsor?
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