WHILE political parties across Europe concern themselves unnecessarily with the Greek crisis and the dangers facing the eurozone, the Scottish Greens have spotted the bigger issue – the reliability of Scotland's buses – and launched a stinging attack on the Government's Transport Minister.
Or as stinging an attack as you can launch with a weapon that turns up five minutes early or 10 minutes late.
In answer to a parliamentary question tabled by Green MSP Patrick Harvie, Scotland's bus tsar Keith Brown admitted that data on bus punctuality was not routinely collected. I know, it's hard to believe isn't it?
I do hope Mr Harvie keeps up the pressure because there are one or two other bus-related questions I would like to see aired at Holyrood. Like: why aren't there more of those bendy ones they have on the Continent, and who picks up all the Metros at the end of the day?
Peace of a kind seems to be breaking out today ahead of Saturday's Scottish Cup Final, which pits Edinburgh rivals Hearts and Hibs against each other for the first time since 1896 and which has been dubbed the "salt'n'sauce final" in honour of the capital's reputation as a culinary hot spot.
Speaking to the BBC, actor and noted Hearts fan Ken Stott says that as a boy he used to watch Hibs if Hearts were playing away, and admits: "I have a real fondness for Hibernian - If there are two teams I want to do well, it's Hearts and Hibs, in that order."
Author Irvine Welsh, meanwhile, reveals that he grew up in a Hearts-supporting household. "I've got a lot of family members and friends who follow Hearts, so I don't have that vitriolic hatred that some have."
As it is with chips, so it is with footballing rivalry, it seems: Edinburgh leaves the vinegar to Glasgow.
A NEW pound store opens for business today in the unloved parade of shops behind my house. It occupies premises recently vacated by Clinton Cards and stands next to the empty unit where Woolies once sold pick'n'mix to old ladies. There's no-one from River City or last year's series of The Apprentice on hand to cut a ribbon because there is no ribbon to cut. But the manager has seen fit to dress in a pink shirt which exactly matches the lurid-coloured sweeties on sale by the cash desk. He gives me a warm welcome when I finally make it through the door, a moment which comes when I spot the "Push" sign and stop pulling. You can probably guess I was never in Clinton Cards much, at least not so much that I can remember which way the door opens.
Ahead of today's grand unveiling I heard grumblings from those who think a store like this one would drag down the neighbourhood. Clearly these people haven't clocked the bookies, tanning salons, charity shops and Cash 4 Clothes outlets which make up the rest of the area's commercial offerings. Organic cafes are thin on the ground in my manor.
Anyway, I don't see what all the fuss is about. Pound shops are terrific when you have kids' party bags to fill, and if those people who moan about the dearth of traditional shops like ironmongers would deign to cross the threshold they'd find many of the same things on sale. Sure, it's not the famous hardware shop Grays of George Street – the latest Edinburgh retail institution to fall – but sticky fly paper's the same wherever you buy it. And yes, my pound store does sell the stuff – ribbed condoms, too, if you want them, which I'm pretty sure Grays of George Street never stocked.
As a boy in the 1970s my bedroom was decorated with posters of Charlie's Angels and pictures of footballers ripped from the pages of Shoot, a weekly magazine dedicated to the beautiful game. The only painting in our house was done at the business end of a stepladder with a roller and a tin of Dulux gloss.
Life was very different for Lord Anthony Crichton-Stuart, younger brother of motor-racing peer Johnny Dumfries, the seventh Marquess of Bute. He grew up in palatial Mount Stuart, where the wall decoration was a little classier and a lot less ephemeral.
Walking me round the National Galleries of Scotland's Masterpieces From Mount Stuart exhibition today, he gestures to an Old Master painting by Jacob Jordaens. Executed in the 1630s, it shows a young girl thought to be the artist's daughter, Anna Catharina. "That hung in my bedroom," he says matter-of-factly.
Growing up surrounded by priceless works of art was "wonderful", he adds, though he admits he took it a little for granted until he started studying the paintings. "Then it became a wonderful obsession because I had a sort of mini-museum in my own house and I was able to research things. I would look up everything I could about the paintings, just going through books and finding as much as I could. And there was a lot to find."
Indeed. And as proof that exposure to great art at a young age never did anyone any harm, Lord Anthony grew up to become an art historian and now runs his own art-dealing business in New York. I can't say that childhood exposure to Charlie's Angels and a series of bubble-permed 1970s footballers has served me so well.
In what's billed as a world first, Hugo Boss streams its Beijing catwalk show live on the internet today and in glorious 3D to boot. So instead of having to elbow Alexa Chung and Anna Wintour out of the way in the scramble for front-row seats, dedicated fashionistas can sit in London, Paris or New York and watch the whole thing unfold on their Swarovski-encrusted iPads. To put it in terms even the dumbest of them can understand, Absence is the New Presence.
The 3D is even more glorious if you're lucky enough to have bagged a pair of Hugo Boss 3D glasses. My HB3D bins seem to have got lost in the post, but happily the label has included a YouTube tutorial on how to make your own pair. This involves popping the lenses out of what looks suspiciously like a pair of very expensive Ray-Ban Wayfarers and replacing them with new ones. No cereal packets or toilet rolls are required, but you do need a sheet of plastic and felt-tip pens in blue and red.
Who said fashion has no sense of humour?
I debate the merits of making a pair of 3D spectacles with lenses in green and maroon in order to better enjoy the Scottish Cup Final. Given the fear of defeat, I plump for a pair with rose-tinted lenses instead -
Hibernian fans such as Irvine Welsh know only love in the Hearts
'These are all very well but which one is Farrah Fawcett?
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