TO Lennoxlove, a stately pile in loamy East Lothian, which used to be home to the Dooks of Hamilton but is now the venue for a book festival.
Such is the way of the world.
Among those in attendance were Bill Paterson, whose velvety voice could sell cat food to a pit bull, my old amigo John Byrne, a man of few words but many gorgeous paintings, Sally Magnusson, newsreader extraordinaire, who was promoting a urinary tract titled Life Of Pee, and Monsignor Tom Devine – aka the history man’s history man – who is actually from Hamilton but is yet to be made a dook.
I had the pleasure of introducing the Monsignor, who arrived for his sojourn having left his overnight bag containing the usual gubbins behind.
Not wishing to appear luggage-less he carried into his palatial digs another bag which he keeps in the boot of his Jag, containing the tools to change wheels and replace engines.
This, he prayed, would fool anyone who might otherwise have deemed him an absent-minded professor. Unlikely.
NEXT year’s diary is filling up nicely. I refer, of course, to the Olympics, which are coming to the Honest Toun of Musselburgh for the first time.
Or at least the torch is. On June 14, at an hour yet to be specified, the Olympic torch will be carried down our high street, doubtless to the orgasmic delight of myriad onlookers who’ve never seen a torch before.
A straw poll of the regulars in Staggs, which is to Musselburgh what the Garrick is to London, suggests it will take more than an eternal flame to drag them away from their pints of foaming Skullbasher.
One fellow, who in the past three decades is believed never to have ventured to the other side of the River Esk despite there being a perfectly good bridge which could take him there, reportedly said that given the choice between the Musselburgh Sevens and Usain Bolt he’d take the former any day. Ach weel.
I note, too, that on leaving the Honest Toun, the torch will somehow bypass Tranent which, if I were a Tranentonian, I would take as a slight. Rest assured, there will be repercussions.
NANCY Dell’Olio, Sven-Goran Viking’s former squeeze, says she will be sad to see Sleazio Bonkersconi go but not all that surprised.
In a previous existence Ms Dell’Olio, who recently impersonated a bag of coal being dragged across a yard on Strictly Come Prancing, worked for Signor Sleazio.
Back in the day – the 1990s – he was, she insists, “absolutely charming and very charismatic – but a bit too much of a chauvinist for my taste”. Read into that what you can be bothered.
Meanwhile, Signor Sleazio has resigned after clinging to power like carbonara to pasta. Without knowing him personally I’d say he is potty. If you doubt it, name another premier who says things like: “When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30% of women said ‘Yes’ while the other 70% replied, ‘What, again?’”
I am reminded of the Emperor Caligula, who instead of appointing beautiful, brainless women to positions of power, appointed his horse.
Women, horses ... in Sleazio’s Italia the difference is indistinguishable.
IF there is a better word than “meteoric” to describe the career of Strewth Davidson, the new leader of the McDodos, it is not in my ken.
Ms Strewth, a kick boxer, has managed to do in a hurry what it takes countless others a lifetime not to achieve. Five minutes ago she was employed by BBC Teuchter, doing what only the bean counters at Pacific Quay know.
Four minutes ago she heard Posh Dave chunter about the Big Society and decided to join the Dodos.
Three minutes ago she was working for Annabel Goldilocks, then Chief Girl Guide. Apparently, Ms Strewth is a dab hand at barbecuing sausages and tying knots.
Two minutes ago she stood for election to the peedie parliament and got in via the list in Glasgow after the frontrunner suffered a rare case of human spontaneous combustion.
One minute ago she became McDodo supremo, ousting numpties who couldn’t run a baked tattie shop. Now she’s presiding over a party which doesn’t know whether to twist or stick. It’ll probably end up doing both.
I give her until Christmas.
ARMISTICE Day. I bought for 50p a poppy which did not adhere to synthetic materials. You may say I am a cheapskate and I cannot deny it.
Be that as it may, at the going down of the sun I shall remember them. Of late, I have been reading my dear friend Isabel Murray’s newish book, Scottish Novels Of The Second World War.
In my estimation quite possibly the best of them is Eric Linklater’s Private Angelo which is set in Italy. Interestingly, its eponymous “hero” is a coward, an Italian who lacks il dono di coraggio, the gift of courage. I recommend it to my dear chum Sleazio. Like all the best war novels, Private Angelo is essentially comic and easy on the courage.
One is thinking, for example, of Catch-22, The Good Soldier Svejk, Evelyn Waugh’s Sword Of Honour trilogy and George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman series.
Having said which, there are, now one comes to think of it, plenty of novels that glory in war, including Uncle Ernest’s For Whom The Bell Tolls, Mailer’s The Naked And The Dead, Tolstoy’s potboiler War And Peace, and – to descend a league or 10 – Alistair MacLean’s HMS Ulysses and The Guns Of Navarone.
All of which leads me to conclude that nothing of great meaning can be taken from the above.
ANENT – choice Scotch wurd – Oban’s fireworks display, which was over almost as soon as it began. The company that cocked it up says it will provide another one for free.
Perhaps it might ask Mario Balotelli – the Manchester City player who nearly set his house on fire when he staged a fireworks display in his loo – to light the first fuse. On second thoughts ...
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