Batty about cricket

THE death of writer and TV presenter Clive James will sadden anyone who takes pleasure in wit and erudition packaged inside an Australian accent. Reader Stephen Murray saw Clive perform a one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe a few years back. A fantastic night’s entertainment, though not to everyone’s taste. Stephen was seated beside the fellow controlling the stage lights. As James never moved from the podium there were no lighting adjustments to worry about. So instead of listening to Clive, the lighting bloke studied the back page of that day's Herald (Kevin Ferrie on cricket) with scholarly absorption. Stephen was intrigued to find out how this man would dodge Clive’s witticisms after the interval. When everyone returned to their seats he retrieved his Herald and studied the same cricket article, with no less dedication than before.

Jittery Johnson

BORIS Johnson’s trepidation at facing the mighty Andrew Neil in a head-to-head interview reminds us of a story from this year’s bound volume of our finest 2019 yarns. (The Herald Diary: A Quacking Good Read by Ken Smith. Available at all good book stores. Perfect prezzy for Crimbo. Buy one for yourself. Buy two to prevent the first one getting lonely… etc.) Anyway, in the book Ken relates an anecdote told by David Cameron at a Westminster Correspondents’ Dinner: “I remember canvassing in a South Hampstead suburb with Boris during the London Mayoral election, and this very attractive middle-aged woman came to the door and said: ‘Boris! Lovely to see you! You are the father of one of my children!’ The blond hair stood on end. He said, ‘Oh, God, oh, cripes, oh. The media! What do you want? Is it money?’ She said: ‘No, you are the father of one of my children! I’m her maths teacher.”

Dubious about Dubai

AUTHOR John Niven isn’t a fan of Dubai. Having viewed a glamorous tourist video promoting the Middle Eastern state he snarls: “Save yourself the trouble of visiting Dubai by turning your central heating up to maximum, removing all your human rights and employing some slaves.”

Questionable questions

BBC Scotland news reporter Fiona Stalker gave a talk to a primary one class about her job. Afterwards she fielded some questions from the audience, which included: “Were there dinosaurs in 1965?” and “Will we be hit by a meteorite?” (Newsflash: We’re hearing reports, not yet confirmed, that Boris Johnson has turned down a request to be interviewed by these pint-size inquisitors, and will instead now agree to talk to Andrew Neil, hoping for an easier ride.)

Breaking news

GLASGOW comic John O’Brien replaced the breaks in his car, leading him to muse: “Apparently stopping is quite an important part of driving.” He adds: “You learn something new every day.”

Listless about lists

THERE’S only two things reader Raymond Fleming hates: 1) Unfinished lists. 2)

Read more: First arrivals at the Holy Loch base