ANOTHER year, yet another Honours List, which symbolises all that is sick and debased in Grit Britain.
In my time I have been offered numerous honours, starting with a knighthood and proceeding via MBEs, CBEs and CODs all the way down to DVDs and WMDs. Invariably, I have told the flunkeys who dangled them in front of me where to stick them. These days, in a bid to "democratise" the system, gongs are given to dinner ladies and lollipop men. I have nothing against the latter but the former have much answer for. Since when did serving lumpy tatties to starving weans deserve a pat on the back?
Usually, though, most honours are handed out to public servants who spent 40 years sharpening pencils, and sundry brown-nosers for services to whatever they've been doing for a living, often risibly. Even David Hockney, who is best known for his love of fags, has now decided to accept one. For what? Services to catarrh?
Once, in this hallowed space, I gave knighthoods to a few of my dearest friends, all of whom were much more deserving than those usually given the royal seal of approval.
All the recipients were pathetically grateful. In the meantime, however, a few of them did something to displease me and I sent the bailiffs around to retrieve them. And much pleasure it gave me.
AMONG my many talents perhaps the one that stands above all others is my ability to make soup. Were ours a truly meritocratic society I'd probably be Master of the Queen's Soup Kitchen by now.
Anent – handy Scotch wurd – my soup-making, I suspect it goes back to my days as a stravaiger. When oft in vacant or in pensive mood, I would raise mine eyes to the hillocks and command my feet to take me there. At the end of a long tramp, my fellow stravaigers and I would empty our rucksacks and whatever was edible went into the soup pot. You may think that a couple of tins of peaches and lentil soup, a bar or two of Galaxy, a few packets of peanuts and Spangles would not make a tasty meal but – trust me – you would be wrong. Long before Heston Bloomingheck was born with a wooden spoon in his mouth, I was the epitome of epicurean innovation, as the author of the bestseller, Anything Goes: Top Grub For The Malnourished, "as heard on Radio Clyde".
Alas, I discovered today that not everything does go. Preparing to consume a plateful of soup, I detected a lack of salt. One teaspoonful made no difference. Nor did another. Or another. Except the soup, in which carrots featured strongly, got sweeter and sweeter until it tasted like toffee. Of course, you've guessed. I was adding sugar, not salt. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!
THE wind is in from Africa. Or so Joni Mitchell sang. Then again she probably wasn't based in Scotia. Who'd ever have thought they'd see a wheelie bin take to the air? And on the national news at that! Who needs flying saucers!
I myself saw a bra fly, presumably taking off from a washing line and not someone's back. That really would be a story worthy of Jackie Bird. It was pink, by the way, in case you're wondering if it was one of yours. I can direct anyone interested to the last hedge in which it was seen. For a finder's fee.
RUGBY players who watch erotic videos before playing (at rugby!) perform better, according to UK Sport, which feeds such guff to the UK Olympic squad.
Saliva samples taken from players after they had watched pole dancing showed higher than normal levels of testosterone, leading some clubs to introduce such "motivational videos" into their training schedule. One will be watching this year's Six Nations tournament with more than usual interest to see how this translates into tries.
WHO in their right mind, you may well ask, would get married in January? Step forth your diarist's daughter, who is marrying her fiance. Well, who else would she be marrying?
However, any paparazzi reading this should calm down. By the time you get there – the Botanics in Edinburgh – it will all be done and dusted. I am told by those involved in organising the event that compared with building the Karakoram Highway it was a logistical nightmare. I share the chagrin of each and every one of them. My contribution has been similar to that of the Western powers in Zimbabwe: hands-off.
When it comes to such occasions I tend to sympathise with my old chum, Joe Heller, who told his daughter, Erica, that should she ever consider getting married he'd prefer it if she eloped. This bemused Erica somewhat, not least because she was still playing with dolls at the time.
THE big day. There are three readings. They include poems and songs, chosen in lieu of hymns or other religious chanting. The bride-to-be chose as one of the poems Us Two by AA Milne, which goes: "Wherever I am, there's always Pooh/There's always Pooh and Me." Me in this case being Christopher Robin. But as the hours ticked by towards the kick-off, the bride-to-be began to have second thoughts, worrying that some of the guests might not appreciate that "Pooh" refers to Winnie the Pooh but some other kind of unmentionable Pooh. I reassured her that this is unlikely and that Us Two is much more profound and meaningful than anything to be found in the Good Book.
Another of the chosen readings is When I'm 64 by the Beatles which is to be read – or sung if he so desires – by a friend of the groom. This, too, has potential to cause anxiety. As I do not need to remind readers of this throbbing organ, it opens with the line "When I get older, losing my hair", which the groom's friend unfortunately already has. He, however, sees the funny side of it. I have the honour of giving the third reading. It's Burns' A Red Red Rose, about which there is no last-minute wobble.
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