Dame Judy Dench has laudably spoken out against poor levels of care in old folks' homes.

However reader Bruce Skivington takes issue with Dame Judy's assertion that "you just cannot put people into a circle of chairs and have them watching television all day – it's inhumane".

"Has she never been a student?" asks Bruce.

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A real live wire

APOLLO Memories, the history of Glasgow's legendary music venue, has been updated and re-released by author Martin Kielty. In it he tells the story of Genesis playing the Apollo in 1973, when frontman Peter Gabriel went on stage to tell the rowdy crowd that they couldn't play that night as due to an electrical fault the stage was live.

The audience was not happy. When Gabriel asked: "You wouldn't want us to be electrocuted, would you?", 4000 Glaswegians shouted back: "Yes!"

Wake-up call

MUSIC lovers prone to dozing off should perhaps avoid the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and its guest cellist Steven Isserlis at the City Halls tonight. At a concerto performance in Prague, Isserlis became understandably annoyed at one punter in the front row whose narcolepsy resulted in loud snoring. At the end of the concerto, the usually very placid cellist bowed and threw the bouquet of flowers presented to him into the sleeper's lap. The fellow woke briefly, smiled and promptly went back to sleep. He departed after the concert, looking very happy with his flowers.

Growing up quickly

A READER tells us he overheard a woman discussing her young daughter with a friend. "She's very advanced for a three-year-old," the mother announced. " She's already as stroppy as a teenager."


OUR mention of First Minister Alex Salmond being compared to a chubby cartoon character in an Italian newspaper reminds Rogano chef Andy Cumming of when Alex was opening the Scottish Catering exhibition at Glasgow's SECC. Says Andy: "As he was entering the hall there were some shouts and good-natured heckling. Someone shouted, 'What's your favourite curry Alex?' One of the First Minister's henchmen quickly replied, 'A large one'."

Dishonourable action

"WILL the removal of Sir Fred's knighthood become known as sircumcision?" a reader asks.

And Bill Clark in Motherwell ponders: "So Fred Goodwin has gone from sleepless nights during the banking crisis to knightless sleeps."

Cut and dried case

OUR tales of justice in the more minor courts of Scotland remind Bill Lucas: "A tinker who made regular appearances at the Burgh Police Court in Stornoway was fined £3 by John (the Barber) Macleod, one of the police judges. Afterwards the clerk remonstrated that the same tinker had been fined £3 for a breach at the last sitting, and that this time it should at least have been a fiver.

"But John told him, 'You see every time he gets fined he comes down to the shop to sub the money from me and I knew I had only £3 in the till.'"