Posh passions

THE Downton Abbey virus has reached Glasgow, with toodle-pip pleasure seekers in our midst. Michael Doyle overheard a conversation between two teenage lads on Buchanan Street. The first fellow, head drooped in dismay, sighed: “My friends are playing polo tomorrow.” The other boy, suitably aghast, gave his buddy a commiserating pat on the shoulder, before whispering: “I feel your pain, mate.”

Fearty fun

FEAR of clowns abounds, and no wonder. Last week the second instalment of It was released, a movie about a magical, mass-murdering clown. Next month, Joaquin Phoenix stars in Joker, which shines a light on the origins of Batman’s clown-faced nemesis. Diary readers of a scholarly disposition are no doubt aware that an abnormal fear of clowns is called coulrophobia. Which is fine. But shouldn’t there also be psychological terminology to describe previously undiagnosed ailments? For example, phoeniphobia could be the irrational fear that one is about to mispronounce Joaquin Phoenix’s name in a public place. (A common ailment.) Any other exotic phobias with which readers have suffered in silence? Dr Diary is in surgery and happy to see patients, no matter how potty their predicament…

Classical cock-up

ALEX Woodcock-Clarke, from Brora, quips on social media: “I am generally well educated. My one weak spot is Greek mythology, which is, if you will, my Achilles elbow.”

Shop talk

AN economically-minded Bishopbriggs reader gets in touch to elucidate on the correct terminology to use when describing the demise of the high street. City centres are being abandoned as people flock to shopping malls overloaded with chain stores, he explains, “making customers the missing links”. Having witnessed, on numerous occasions, the breakdown of civilization as the New Year sales get underway, the Diary can confirm that, when it comes to shopping, there are, indeed, plenty of missing links around.


OUR quest to find the superstar with the most tenuous link to Scotland continues. Mavis Peterson, from Barmulloch, notes that John Cleese’s alter ego, Basil Fawlty, was based on hotelier Donald Sinclair, a Glaswegian who ran the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay. “Cleese said he was rude to guests, and that’s where he got the idea,” explains Mavis. “So Basil’s at least half-Scottish. He should have been given the surname MacFawlty.”

Cap that

TO end with some whimsy: John Robertson, from Bearsden, ponders whether the gangsters in a certain BBC crime drama ever get a dose of the sniffles. “I suppose that would make them the Feeling-a-bit Peaky Blinders,” concludes John.

Read more: 1938-1964: Count Basie, Ivor Novello, Dusty Springfield at the Central