DIARY readers with exceptional memories may recall that in the year of

1982 we devoted a few column inches to the activities of entrepreneur

Norval ''Norrie'' Sinclair whose MCS/Robertson and Scott advertising

agency empire went bust owing something above #2m.

As well as the usual mutterings of complaint from creditors, the

accountant put in as receiver also made some comment: to the extent of

asking where some of the money went because he couldn't find it in the


A lot of people from a wee newsagent in Drymen to big printing

companies all lost money and everyone agreed it was a thoroughly bad

business. The company crash, unusually, attracted the attention of the

Strathclyde police fraud squad. After many months of investigation Mr

Sinclair and his company secretary Mr Daniel Fulton were charged and

were to face trial on 14 charges of embezzlement and sundry other

infractions of company law.

The charges involved the shuffling to and fro (but significantly fro)

of sums of money from #90,000 down to #5595.

Meanwhile Mr Sinclair had moved on to to the retail trade, selling

clothes to the burghers of Milngavie.

So why is the Diary telling you all this history? Well, we have just

heard that the whole matter has finally reached a conclusion.

All those newsagents, printers, and other suppliers who lost out in

the great MCS will no doubt be relieved to know that Mr Sinclair has

been dealt with by the full majesty of the law.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court on February 20 this year, after postponement

and discussion, Norval William Sinclair copped a plea as the lawyers

say. He admitted two charges of embezzling #60,000 and #13,900 between

May and August 1982. The other charges were dropped.

Daniel Fulton pled not guilty to all charges and this was accepted by

the Crown.

Norval William Sinclair was fined #1000. A motion by the Crown that he

be deemed unfit to be a company director was denied by the bench.

When last we read of Mr Sinclair, in 1985, he had just launched a

consultancy to tell people how to get on in business.

Dressing down

THE Producers (Part 3): The Herald Diary has become an angel. That is

to say we have come to the aid of the play Burning Prayers at the

Scottish Student Drama Festival.

The object of our angelship, you might remember, was to allow the

talented young author and director Edward Blum and his colleagues in the

Fair Exchange Theatre Company to put on the play without selling a

kidney or two. Now that we have been busy raising the cash (one

co-producer at #100 still required by the way), we have also been

discovering the bitter gall downside of being a producer.

How about making Burning Prayers a musical, we asked young Blum? A

chorus line, perhaps, with can-can girls or, if you would like to be

more modern, leather mini-skirts.

No, said young Blum with a firm aspect, Burning Prayers is a starkly

realistic examination of totalitarianism as it divides communities and

individual families. It is the story of a resistance movement which

comes to grief.

''Resistance?'' we said to young Blum. ''Like 'Allo, 'Allo on the

telly? Couldn't we have the girls dressed as French maids or tarts or .

. .''

''No,'' said young Blum. ''Come along to the dress rehearsal and then

we will talk about chorus lines and production numbers.'' So we did and

there was no need for discussion. Burning Prayers is indeed a powerful

and serious play. Gripping, engrossing, thought-provoking. It even has

an actress in it called Eli Ossian which can't be a bad start for a

Scottish play. (There are still seats available for the performances at

the Tron Theatre on Friday and Saturday evenings. Extra attraction --

see The Producer sitting nervously in the audience.)

Anyway The Producer has left artistic considerations to young Blum and

the excellent cast and has got on with organising the after-the-show

party. Regardless of how the play goes, some sponsorship in the form of

bottles of wine for a party afterwards from Euroscot Wine Agencies of

Coldstream will ensure that there will be little pain once the curtain

goes down.

Expletive deleted

WE asked for nominations for the Oscar Wilde Award for wit and

subtlety in public debate.

The combatants in the following case are Lord Burton of Dochfour, a

scion of the brewery magnate family who is active in Highland politics

and life, and one Brian Wilson, Labour MP and columnist in the West

Highland Free Press.

Baron Dochfour had been in the headlines again because of allegedly

shouting at an employee of the Ness District Fishery Board of which he

is chairman.

Brian the Red took up the cudgels on behalf of the undertrodden mass

but allowed himself to become somewhat intemperate by referring to Baron

Dochfour in his West Highland organ as a ''shit.''

Sure enough, a douce Free Press reader wrote in to complain about this

foul language and Mr Wilson has been forced to apologise (to the reader,

if not Baron Dochfour).

Mr Wilson says that he will not use the offending word in future. But

he has coined a new word which is equal in meaning but not as offensive.

In future he will refer to his lordship as a ''dochfour.''

Close encounter

THE Post Office strikes again. In a thrusting, marketeering kind of

way Royal Mail Parcels International have been writing to potential

customers to sell their service.

Mr Kenneth Mackenzie of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, might just have been

impressed if they hadn't written to him at Stornoway, Renfrewshire, or

Stornoway, Strathclyde.

Now we know

THESE damned Herald Diary readers don't let us off with nothing when

it comes to accuracy and erudition. We wrote a straightforward little

piece about how the English had become confused about the good old Scots

word bampot.

Now here comes Mr J.C. Cairns of Cumnock to explain that a bampot is

in fact a section of thick bamboo filled with explosives and thrown at

the enemy. Thank you, Mr Cairns. It does sound like the kind of bampot

the English might understand.

THE Family in the Far East are obviously not concerned about going

public, if this sign, spotted in Hyatt Hilton in Macao, is anything to

go by.