It wasn’t Doctor Who or the latest Scandinavian thriller - it was much scarier than that.
It was a programme on Radio 4, fronted by Professor Alison Wolf. A few dissenting comments aside, its premise was that the UK’s regional development policies were a total failure.
For example, take the extra rib a woman has compared to a man. How can we explain that? Some put it down to evolution but others say it confirms the biblical story that God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. What do you think? I’ll pause to let you consider the matter.
Scotland - at least on the basis of Nigel Farage’s recent reception in Edinburgh - is wide awake to the dangers of the beast. And what a beastly lot they are too.
That such a reactionary, xenophobic crew could achieve second place in a parliamentary by-election and almost a quarter of the vote in local elections nationally, shows just how far to the right English politics have moved over the last 30 years.
In my last blog, I explained how I had become an award-winning author. Now I’m a film star. Och, when you retire, the world’s your oyster, right enough!
The competition was organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in conjunction with the English-Speaking Union and the Scottish Poetry Library. The idea is to take one exhibit from the galleries’ collections and write a 1000-word piece inspired by it.
The work I chose was My Father, a 1966 portrait by the Scottish painter John Bellany. I wasn’t a winner or runner-up but I achieved a special merit which put me in the top 10 of the adult prose section. (Yes, yes, I know, my family has already stressed there were probably only 11 entrants.)