Theory of relativity

TRAVELLING into Glasgow by bus a couple of weeks ago, reader Donald Grant happened to sit behind a couple of ladies of generous proportions. Amongst the subjects discussed by them was how certain items had decreased in size over the years. “Huv ye’ no’ noticed that even lavvy paper is much smaller?” said one lady. Came the swift response: “Is it no’ jist that your a*** is now a lot bigger?”

Max factor

LEGENDARY media supremo Colin McClatchie dealt with many larger-than-life characters working in the world of newspapers. None more so than Robert Maxwell, the notorious publisher whom Colin recalls in his entertaining new book A Musing, a colourful account of McClatchie’s illustrious career. Maxwell had his fair share of what Shakespeare scholars would label "fatal flaws", including a tendency to massacre the English language. One of our favourite Maxwell manglings, highlighted in Colin’s book, was the bizarre: “They locked the stable horse after the door was bolted.” Neigh way can that be right… Maxwell wasn’t the only mauler of the language, of course. We’re betting a few readers have also come across some fumbled and flipped-on-their-head phrases…

Banged-up baloney

THE panto season is over, although a Bishopbriggs reader gets in touch to admit he’s still in a Widow Twanky state of mind and wants to know whether fabled panto performer Johnny Mac acquired his curious catchphrase from a Barlinnie inmate pleased with his accommodation. "Ah'm enjoyin' ma cell" could be the origin of the immortal line: “Ah’m enjoyin' masel',” argues our reader.

Droopy drawers

ANOTHER fond recollection of the much-missed novelist Alasdair Gray. We’re told Gray was leaning against the Oran Mor bar one day, as was his habit, expounding wisely on various esoteric topics. If the conversation had been recorded for posterity, it may have sounded something like this: “Blah-blah… Platonic forms… blah-blah… Da Vinci’s use of the golden ratio… blah-blah… Shakespeare’s Dark Lady…” All very educational, entertaining and highbrow. Meanwhile, below the brow, a long way below, Alasdair’s trousers had come untethered and were abseiling downwards, eventually coming to rest round the great man’s ankles. During this graceful descent Alasdair kept up his intellectual musings, seemingly oblivious to any chill from below. Only when the conversation had come to a natural lull were the breeches hoiked back to their traditional resting place, somewhere in the vicinity of his waist.

Bard not barred

LONDON-based Scottish actress Louise Stewart has tonsillitis, putting her in a nit-picking sort of mood. “I won't tolerate anything but flattering, grovelling and overly sympathetic comments towards me,” she says, adding in a slightly more conciliatory fashion: “If you are a bard, I will also accept a song played by lute.”

Book bind

A FRIEND of reader Scott Blain told Scott he accidentally glued himself to the autobiography he’s writing. Scott didn’t believe him. The friend countered by saying: “Well, it’s my story. And I’m sticking to it.”

Read more: Women breaking new ground, 1942 and 1971