A STATE visit to Glesca to inspect progress on the preparations for the Commonwealth Games. It is a beautiful day; blue sky, no clouds, searing temperatures (if you're a polar bear).

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The Athletes' Village is coming along swimmingly, with the apostrophes properly placed. Workmen are beavering away and there is a sense of urgency in the air. All appears well.

I spot a woman, burdened by carrier bags, and solicit her opinion on the transformation of the east end. She offers a scowl. "There's nae buses, nae shops." I raise an eyebrow. I can see nae buses and nae shops. I ask what she thinks of the village. "It's ower dark. I thought it would be a' light. It's horrible, it's horrible, it's horrible." She looks into the distance. "See," she says, "nae buses. A hunner and forty-three pounds, that's my council tax." "As much as that," says I. "Aye," says she. "Aw that and nae buses and nae shops."


SIXTEEN Sherpas are believed to have been killed by an avalanche on Mount Everest, the most abused mountain on the planet. Several of the Sherpas were helping prepare for American Joby Ogwyn's planned jump from the summit in a wingsuit, a stunt that was to be filmed for the Discovery Channel. One's blood boils at the thought.

Following the tragedy several hundred potential "conquerors" of Everest have agreed to forego climbing for a week as a mark of respect. Had they any real respect they would all have gone home.

Fat chance of that. For some bampots, climbing Everest is something they must do before they die. Many, however, die in the attempt, their corpses left where they fell.

Moreover, the two main routes to the top are disfigured by garbage dumped by climbers and - in the words of National Geographic - "pyramids of human excrement". What foul beings we are.

ACTORS appearing in a TV ­adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn have been accused of mumbling, leading viewers to switch off in droves.

This is by no means unusual. Were it not for the fact that the Home Secretary can hear a pin drop at 50 metres, most of what is said on the box would pass me by. It is like having one's own customised subtitle service.

British-made programmes are bad enough but nothing compared to American ones. Take The Wire, for instance. I doubt if I caught more that half of what was said in that. Ditto Treme. House Of Cards wasn't so bad and neither was Breaking Bad.

Lately, however, we have been glued to True Detective of which, were it not for the HS's antennae, I would not have had a clue what was going on. I've tried screaming "speak clearly" at the screen, to no avail.

I blame Marlon Brando, who made mumbling cool, particularly in Apocalypse Now and The ­Godfather, in which he spoke like a man whose cheeks were stuffed with cotton wool.

By the by, I note that Mr Brando hailed from Nebraska, my ­favourite state, where, now I come to think of it, everyone mumbles like nobody's business.


ACCORDING to a report from the Department of Culture, Meeja and Sport, visiting the library is worth the equivalent of a pay rise of £1,359 per annum.

Tell me about it, mate! As ­regular readers of this throbbing organ are well aware, I regard libraries as my second home.

Indeed, I am so frequent a user of them that I reckon I am due a pay rise of at least double the amount estimated by the DCMS which, for the mathematically challenged, works out at approximately £2,800.

Like all the best pay rises this one ought to be backdated. Shall we agree 10 years? If so, I look forward to £28,000 being deposited in my account pronto. Thanking you in anticipation…


A man in Kansas charged with ­ first-degree murder is afraid he won't get a fair trial because of the tattoo on his neck, which says MURDER in big letters.

I fear he may be right. ­Obviously, he could wear a polo neck but that might make him sweat, leading judge and jurors to surmise that there is something dodgy about him. He could also, of course, have the tattoo removed but that would be costly and would probably lead to unsightly scarring.

One alternative is to doctor the present tattoo. For instance, he could attempt to soften its impact by garlanding MURDER in roses and daisies, thus making an artistic statement.

My advice to him, however, is either to add an extra letter or take one away or amend one. Thus MURDER could read ­SMURDER or MUDDAH or PURDER or UDDER.

What effect this may have on the outcome of his trial is debatable. If all else fails he always has the option to plead insanity, which can be the only explanation for him getting the tattoo in the first place.


ANOTHER tale from the ­underworld. A prisoner in Ingerland has had 10 months added to his sentence after he escaped from jail and spent a few weeks on the run.

In mitigation, his lawyer said that the poor fellow - a convicted robber serving six-and-a-half years - was driven crazy by younger fellow inmates offering him drugs and playing excruciating rap music day and night.

One shares his chagrin. Often, as one travels hither and thither, one is subjected to rap "music" leaking from cheap headphones owned by glaikit souls who have no business being on public transport.

The temptation is to pull them out, which a dear friend once did, albeit in trepidation. That their wearer was a septuagenarian nun singing along to Gregorian chant may also have emboldened him.

I jest. I trust that the aforementioned prisoner has been moved to one of the prison's wings that are conducive to contemplation. ­Otherwise, he has every right to claim he is a victim of remorseless torture.

QUOTE of the Week: Ukip's Nigel Farrago explains why only his German wife can be his secretary: "I need somebody to help me work midnight, one o'clock, two o'clock in the morning, unsociable hours."