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String theory

RAINER Hersch, the comedian, broadcaster and classical musician, who brings his popular Johann Strauss gala concert back to Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh next month, likes to ask the questions no-one else asks.

"You know wherever you go in the world, in whatever city," goes one of his favourite lines, "there's always a group of musicians from Peru playing the bloody pan pipes. Has anybody out there been to Peru? In the pedestrian zones are there groups of musicians from Europe doing string quartets?"

Super superstitions

TOUCH wood, Glasgow journalist Deedee Cuddihy's latest book will be a resounding success.

Entitled Scottish Superstitions, it teems with superstitions volunteered by interviewees.

There are some oddities, like this one: "I remember as a wee girl watching an ambulance go by and the person I was with saying you had to hold onto your collar and keep holding it until you saw a dog."

Any other offbeat superstitions out there?

Festive gem

THE spirit of Christmas certainly hasn't been lost on one couple we know.

As the bloke posts on Facebook: "------ gave me her Christmas list. I said, 'Isn't my undying love and affection enough?' We laughed and laughed. I am now in H Samuel."

Scholarly proposition

INTELLECTUAL jokes, continued. This from Bill Lowry: a teacher is quizzing each of her children in turn with a suitable grammatical question.

She comes to wee Tommy, the classroom hooligan, and decides it wouldn't do to leave him out.

"Tommy," she says, "give me a sentence with two prepositions in it."

Tommy: "Who, me?"

Fuelling further reading

AND still the pilot anecdotes continue to land, one after the other.

Reader Bert Peattie and his wife once flew to the Canaries with the old Spanish airline Aviaco.

His wife, who hated take-offs and landings, was perturbed to hear the pilot announce the plane would be making an unscheduled refuelling stop at Bilbao.

On the return flight Bill asked the stewardess if the same thing would happen again. She wandered up to the cabin, and returned minutes later to tell Bill: "He doesn't know yet."

"I had a vision," says Bill, "of the pilot tapping the fuel gauge and asking his co-pilot, 'Do you think that's enough to get us to Edinburgh?'"

Commons cold

LAST word on George Osborne's showpiece Commons statement last week.

John Delaney tells us: "Over the weekend I was catching up with the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, delivered last Wednesday, on a day of thick frost and snow. I couldn't help wondering - why should we trust his predictions for the economy in the future, if he doesn't even know which season it is now?"

Artistic lair

AND finally … reader George Crawford sends us this, which we reprint without comment.

"On telling my wife of the article in Saturday's Herald Magazine about some young artists exhibiting in the old Greenock Sugar Sheds, Susan instantly responded with, 'Any of them Cubists?'

"See up with what I have to put?"

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