THERE is a small war (not many dead, just a festival skirmish) going on in Edinburgh over the use of the word Assembly.
William Burdett-Coutts has lost the franchise to use the council-owned Assembly Rooms during the Fringe. Which is a definite nae-luck award since Burdett-Coutts (Bill for short) built up the venue over the past 30 years.
Tommy Sheppard, of The Stand comedy circuit fame, has been given a five-year contract through his company Salt and Sauce. Bill is now in new Fringe premises but feels he has ownership over the name Assembly. He recently queried the right of an Edinburgh pub to call itself the Assembly Bar. Bill says the least Mr Sheppard can do to avoid confusion is call his venue the Salt and Sauce Assembly Rooms.
That's the background, now for some developments I have just made up. Bill has asked the Kirk not to use the Assembly-word but to refer to their gathering later this month as the General AGM of the Church of Scotland. Lawyers in New York will serve a similar ultimatum regarding the General A******y of the United Nations. The devolved legislatures in Wales and Northern Ireland will be advised on suitable name changes.
Schools may not use a******y to describe that bit of the day before classes when all pupils get together for a word from the heidie. Factories must stick to the term production line. The polis will be asked not to charge anyone with riotous a******y.
Tommy Sheppard has meanwhile warned owners of a certain breed of German dog just to call their pets Alsatians. Chip shops in Edinburgh will be banned from using the copyright phrase Salt and Sauce to describe their condiments. Mr Sheppard's lawyers recommend the following form of words: "Colourless or white crystalline solids, chiefly sodium chloride, used extensively in ground or granulated form as a food seasoning and a mixture of spirit vinegar with a brown relish made from molasses, dates, tamarind and spices mais problablement pas de haute qualitée comme HP".
On advice from my lawyers, I have asked satnav manufacturers not to refer to their devices as Tom-Tom. An injunction will also order the popular music combos Sweet and New World or their inheritors to cease and desist performing the song Tom, Tom turnaround, don't ever let me down.
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