TO the still-smouldering Glasgow School of Art.

Many windows are blown out and the walls looked blackened, whether with age or because of the fire it's hard to tell.

A couple from Manchester join the vigil. Their son was one of the final-year students who lost his degree show work in the blaze; he must now wait to see what will happen. Will he have to recreate it? Or will the school's powers-that-be find another way to assess him/ "He had his heart set on a first," says his mother, her eyes misting.

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Facing us is the horrible new Reid Building which is everything the Mackintosh is not. The student's parents are as bemused as I am by it. "Maybe it's better on the inside than the out," says the father generously.

THANKS to the European elections we now have a Ukip bampot as an MEP. That's proportional representation for you. As readers of this throbbing organ are doubtless aware, the chief advocates of this system are the LibDumbs who, ironically, don't have an MEP in Scotia and have only one in increasingly far-right Ingerland. It's at times like these that good men must stand up and be counted. I have therefore decided to launch a new political party, to be called the Calvinist Brotherhood.

What will it stand for? In short, everything that Ukip doesn't. Also, it will advocate a Presbyterian work ethic with a Catholic love of bells and whistles. Dancing and carousing and sic like activities will be confined to one day a week. Citizens - henceforth to be known as brethren - will be allowed to decide for themselves on which day they would like to have fun.

Philosophically speaking, the Calvinist Brotherhood is of a mind not to fix anything that ain't broken. Moreover, it is determined to ensure that nothing can be thrown away until it is demonstrated that it is irreparably damaged. This includes items of clothing. The days of a disposable society are numbered. Our campaign slogan is: "Help Ma Boab!"

THE Home Secretary's response to the emergence of my new party is perhaps best described as muted. Being a feminist of a militant bent, she turned her nose up at the word "brotherhood".

"Is this to be a male-only bastion?" she growled. Of course, it is not. "How," I countered, "can we, the Brotherhood, expect to win elections if only half the population feel we speak for them?" "You could always remove the franchise from women," said the Home Secretary, "and go back to the dark ages when women were third-class citizens only allowed to speak when spoken to." In the interests of domestic harmony I held my wheesht.

I did consider renaming the party the Calvinist Personhood but that doesn't really set the heart singing, does it? However, I am nothing if not open to persuasion. For instance, I have told the Home Secretary I am willing to think again about a proposal, made by a party member in the Western Isles, whereby it would be de rigueur for women to wear pinnies, hairnets and Crocs in order to make them less alluring to frothing males. There are some roads down which even I will not go.

SO, faretheeweel Maya Angelou. My dear friend has died at the grand old age of 86. It goes without saying that she was larger than life, standing at well over six feet. Her personality was likewise statuesque. When she laughed, which she did easily and often, it was as a cannon booms. Her voice, moreover, was deeper than the Grand Canyon. In a world of shrinking violets she was a one-woman botanical garden.

It must be a quarter of a century and more since I first enticed her to Edinburgh where, accompanied by her great pal, super scholar Dolly McPherson, she gave a bravura performance at the Queen's Hall. She had one request: a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label.

A couple of years later she repeated the performance in Glasgow. Finding herself with an hour to spare before she went on stage, she asked if there was a bar nearby to which she could repair. There was and she did.

HALLELUJAH! Glasgow Film Theatre has decided to axe referendum-related adverts "with immediate effect". My spies in the stalls tell me that there was a near riot when a brace of ads for the No campaign was shown. Complaints followed.

Remarked Jaki McDougall, GFT's chief executive: "In the main they were from people who wanted to retreat from the real world." I share their chagrin. The last thing one wants when watching a movie is Alistair Dahling and chums popping up on screen telling us we're tripe.

MY dear amigo Mr Google has unveiled a "driverless" car. Quoth the company's co-founder, Sergey Brin: "The experience feels very different. You just sit there, no wheel, no pedals." The car, which has a top speed of 25mph, relies on sensors to stop it bashing into other cars. One will believe it when one sees it.

Having said which, as a non-driver I am intrigued. Had the Ford Google, for example, been available when I had my one and only driving lesson things might have turned out very differently. As it is, I am reliant on my chauffeuse and the No 26 bus to take me hither and thither, both of which continue to provide me with an abundance of copy.

It may be that in future the chauffeuse will become redundant, as will the driver of the 26. One can just about imagine the former but the latter? I can see the bus now as it emerges from Tranent, assailed on all sides by whooping, painted natives brandishing tomahawks. Normally, in order to escape them, the driver simply puts his foot on the pedal and whizzes past a couple of stops without pausing. Not so in future, unless the vehicle's sensors are so sensitive they will tell it to hurry up. Otherwise, it's doomed!