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The Falcon has his feathers ruffled

IT is suspected that the neo-Fascists in the European Parliament have declared war on Alex Falconer, MEP for Mid-Scotland and Fife.

The Falcon, as he is known in Euro-circles, is not a man to mess with unless you are brave or daft.

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He is more than 6ft and close to 18 stones. As a former shop steward at Rosyth, the Falcon is capable of dealing with those who ruffle his feathers.

He has not been forgiven by le Pen's men for his role in having their Edinburgh trip cancelled last month. On one occasion he nearly came to blows with some of them outside the chamber of the parliament in Strasbourg after he attacked them in debate. Wisely, they backed off when a rearrangement of their features appeared to be on the cards.

Was it coincidental or did their revenge come in Strasbourg this week when Mr Falconer found his hotel reservation had been mysteriously cancelled? In Strasbourg, where hotel beds during parliament week are scarce, this creates something of a problem.

The Falcon had to share a double bed with his chum Ken Stewart, Labour Euro-MP for Merseyside West. An interesting night for him since Mr Stewart, a former paratrooper, is built to Falconer proportions and is a member of the loud-snoring tendency.

And there was more hoax trouble for the Fife Fascist-buster. When eventually he did get his own hotel bed the next night he was rung up in the wee small hours by the receptionist to tell him that a lady of the night had turned up to meet him ''as arranged''.

Gaelic blockbusters

WE asked for suggestions as to what Gaelic blockbuster movies the Comataidh Telebhisein Gaidhlig might fund out of its #10m annual budget. The many entries for Back to the Teuchter were immediately binned since that pejorative word is banned from the Diary.

There were multiple nominations for High Dunoon, Murdo on the Orient Express, and Every Which Way But Lewis.

On the fundamentalist front we had Born Wee Free (Bob Johnston, Paisley) and Wee Free Amigos (Alison Gollings of the Ferry Inn, Renfrew who also wants to write the musical Give My Regards to Broadford), and Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath.

But today's prize of the unpeated Glengoyne malt goes to Ron Douglas of Hyndland, Glasgow, for a movie hit-list including Two Muileachs for Sister Sara, The Crinan Game, Nuns on the Rhum, and Blade Rona.

Librarians and sex

THE Diary must apologise for casting aspersions at librarians. In an item about a new range of raunchy fiction for women, we suggested it was faintly risible that the first erotic tome in the series should be penned by a lady who had spent her working life in the local library stamping books and telling weans to wheesht.

We now find that librarians are, almost without exception, fascinating people and dead sexy with it. Casanova was a librarian. So was Mao Tse-tung. For this information we are indebted to Alan Taylor, author of a whole book on this absorbing breed. It is called Long Overdue and will be published by Mainstream in November.

Included in Mr Taylor's cornucopia of tales from this not-so-dusty world is Anthony Burgess on how he was picked up in Manchester Public Library. It's amazing what goes on under the covers.

Tall in the saddle

WE are very nearly grateful to Stephen Cassie of Glasgow for a photie (which thankfully we do not have room to reproduce) from Chemist & Druggist magazine. It is of a team which took part in a Belfast-Dublin charity cycle race. Sponsored by Warner Lambert, manufacturers of a product called Anusol, they entered as Team Haemorrhoid.


THE Diary is always on the lookout for new culinary experiences. But sometimes we have them thrust upon us.

One such was the pizza we ordered in the bar of the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, a place renowned for a range of tasty international food.

We chose a seafood topping for our pizza. It arrived, a sea of molten cheese, onions, and peppers. And, presumably, some seafood lurking beneath the waves.

Our first fishing expedition brought to the surface a baby octopus. Not our favourite pizza topping and less so since it was not fresh but one of those pickled baby octopuses to be found in the big jars of seafood in Italian delis.

The next foray into the pizza produced another hot pickled baby octopus. The third attempt uncovered yet another hot pickled baby octopus.

At this point we abandoned eating the pizza and went on a fishing expedition in search of a mussel, a prawn, a daud of clam. Nae luck. But we did find a further seven baby octopuses, whose corpses we asked be given a decent burial.

So, what's got 80 tiny legs and fairly takes the edge off your appetite? Yes, a Tron Theatre octopizza.

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