According to this morning's rags, Queen, a pop combo, have sold six million copies of their Greatest Hits album. Above all this is good news for badgers because Brian May, Queen's guitarist, spends lots of his dosh to stop them being culled.

As it transpires, I am one of the few folk in the land who does not possess said greatest hits. In fact, I'd rather listen to Thought For The Day than Bohemian Rhubarb. Many moons ago I caused an international incident when I asked the simple but naive question: "Who is Freddie Mercury?"

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Some tubes thought I was being merely controversial for the sake of it; others that I was utterly ignorant.

The latter were correct. I had managed somehow to get through life without tuning in to Queen, for which I cannot say I am sorry. I do like badgers, though.

SMOKING is to be banned in cars. Does this apply to all cars, irrespective of who is in them, or only to cars ferrying weans to and from trombone classes? Who knows?

Inevitably, the smokers say such a ban will be unenforceable, citing as evidence the difficulty in prosecuting people who are caught on the phone while driving. When I have the run of the country, smoking will be banned everywhere, not just in cars and public places, but in houses.

Moreover, I will order builders to incorporate in new-builds smoke alarms that are so sensitive they will emit an excruciating sound whenever anyone breathes out too deeply. I have in mind Freddie Mercury bawling out Bohemian Rhubarb.

DAVID Hare, a dramaturge, says that there is too much killing in TV series such as The Killing and The Bridge. Where in the name o' the wee fella has he been! I have been saying this until I'm blue in the face and in need of CPR.

In some series there are more victims than there are actors left standing. In that regard, they're like Hamlet, the first Scandic noir thriller. Mr Hare thinks the body count renders such dramas unbelievable but that's exactly what most them are, are they not? What's even more unbelievable, though, is that the detectives pursuing the killers are allowed to continue in their jobs even though they never solve the cases until half the population has been dismembered, set alight or buried alive. I'm assured by Police Scotland that this would never happen in the real world.

BY spooky coincidence I was reading through the back issues of Night And Day magazine - see what an exciting life I lead! - when I learned that Shirley Temple had "passed".

It was in Night And Day that Graham Greene wrote his famous review of the film Wee Willie Winkie, starring Ms Temple, who was eight at the time (1936). Resplendent in a short kilt, she was, remarked Mr Greene, "a complete totsy". He added: "Her admirers - middle-aged men and clergymen - respond to her dubious coquetry, to the sight of her well-shaped and desirable body, packed with enormous vitality, only because the safety curtain of story and dialogue drops between their intelligence and their desire."

Because of this and more, WH Smith refused to stock Night And Day and 20th Century Fox, who had released Wee Willie Winkie, sued the magazine, insisting that Mr Greene had accused it of "procuring" Miss Temple "for immoral purposes".

Eventually, Night And Day coughed up £3500 in damages and it closed shortly thereafter, the only magazine on these shores that has come close to eclipsing the New Yorker.

RESEARCHERS at Cardiff Yooni say that those of us who travel more than half an hour to work by bus are as miserable as sin. I wonder why.

I wonder, too, on what bus are these travellers. Take the 26, for instance, from Tranent to Chittagong.

When I leap aboard, the party is already swinging. Think of Cliff Pilchard and Summer Holiday, which is what I'm sure my fellow passengers are singing along to on their iPods.

Those not so engaged have the kind of daft grins on their faces that must be induced chemically. These dudes are never happier than when talking on the phone to a loved one.

"Naw," broadcast one fellow the other day, "Not Porty! I'm at Meadowbank. Meadowbank! Abbeyhill next. Whit am a daein? I'm on a bus! What di yi think am daein? Shut it! Shut it!!! I'm no daein that! Naw." And so on, ad infinitum.

IS that ringing I hear in my ears? Indeed it is. It's the new phone, which rings like the phones of yore, as if every call brings news of an emergency.

"Who goes there?" I growl, having long since given up any attempt at telephone etiquette after a deluge of cold callers insisting I need double glazing or a conservatory.

"It's Dave." The accent is posh; in the background there is the sound of water gurgling.

"Dave who?" I growl again.

"Dave Cameron, your first cousin once removed. Remember we met when we were wee."

"Once removed from what?" I ask.

"Never mind that," says Dave, "I just wanted to give you a call to make sure you're on message about this referendumthingy. Make sure, you know, that you're not going to do anything stupid."

"Like what?"

"Well, you know, vote for it, you know, independence."

"What's it to you?"

"I'm the Prime Minister. I don't want to go down in history as the chump on whose watch you Scots went and did your own thing."

His voice has gone up an octave or two, as if he's being tickled by Boris Johnson. Were I a medical man I'd say he was suffering from a severe case of hysteria.

As a human being, I am awash with sympathy. "Where are you?" I ask. "In a boat," says Dave, "in a high street somewhere in the south of England. We're thinking of twinning it with Venice."

"Call me again, dear chap," I say, "when you've cleared the water from your brain."