Brush off

IT'S 25 years this week since the tragic death of Labour leader John Smith. We remember the late Neil MacCormick telling the story of how John, when a Glasgow University student, and slightly tipsy after a university union debate, found a broom in Park Circus and began to sweep the street. A policeman asked his name. "John Smith," the delinquent replied. The policeman said, "I am Police Constable William Shakespeare. Shall we begin again?"

In a flap

NOW who is willing to admit that they can agree with former Strictly Come Dancing contestant the Rev Richard Coles who colourfully declared yesterday: "How I know I’m fat: when I’m shaking, vigorously, an upturned Nando’s Hot Sauce bottle my jowls flap like the sails of a caravelle rounding the Cape of Good Hope in a storm"?

Car trouble

MARRIED life, continued. An exasperated wife emails The Diary: "It takes my husband longer to choose a rental car online than it did for us to choose the names for our sons."

Coining it in

THE last Old Firm game of the season on Sunday and Derek Miller in Torrance took a friend from Newcastle to the game and tells us: "We went to the George Square taxi rank and I said, 'Can you take us to Ibrox please?' Noting my red, white and blue checked shirt, the driver let the sleeve of his green polo shirt ride up to reveal a Celtic FC tattoo. 'Dae ah huv tae?' was his reply. The banter continued unabated and when we arrived I said, 'Never let it be said that a Rangers man wouldn’t tip a Celtic taxi driver'. Our new best mate put the coins into a wee green bag and said, 'Aw ma tips get donated to a local Catholic Boys Club. Thanks furr yer contribution'. My Geordie friend seemed to enjoy his Old Firm baptism."

Round in circles

A CHIC Murray debate! Our mention of the Glasgow Subway reminds readers of the late great Chic arriving at Hillhead station to ask if the next train had a buffet car. When told no, he merely replied he would just wait for the next one then. Entertainer Andy Cameron gets in touch to claim that Chic, when told there were no buffet cars, replied: "Christ! I’ll be starving by the time I get to Merkland Street." We suspect that both versions are correct as we are sure Chic used that line more than once.

Close shave

AT his Valedictory Dinner in Glasgow's Merchants Hall last week, the retiring Lord Dean of Guild, Ian Dickson, recalled attending a civic dinner to mark the 150th anniversary of Queen’s Park Football Club where Sir Alex Ferguson was guest of honour. Said Ian: "Sir Alex went to chat with the Queen’s Park first team, and on returning, he expressed himself content with the way the players presented. ‘No tattoos. No beards', he said, with a penetrating look at my own beard. Not exactly the hairdryer treatment, but an uncomfortable moment for me nonetheless."

Making waves

REALLY sad news that the paddle steamer Waverley is unable to sail this year as it needs new boilers. We recall author Meg Henderson being on Arran when the Waverley docked and a tipsy passenger asked where the bookies were. Said Meg: "We explained that there was no bookies. He looked shocked. 'So wherra boozer?' We said the pubs would be shut at that moment. He shook his head. 'Wherra chip shoap?' We said there was no chippie. The day tripper yelled, 'That boat's brung me tae Hell!' and he staggered back up the gangway."

Read more: 1959: The Old Firm game marred by gales and ‘skin-flaying’ sleet