Great Dane

WHEN actors grow older they often decide to play King Lear. Ian McKellen has a braver plan. Aged eighty one, he’s readying himself to play Hamlet. The Doubting Dane is usually played by a sprightly young fella, though the Diary applauds McKellen’s choice. Perhaps he’ll now take up other youthful pursuits, like skateboarding and listening to Grime.

The ambitious thespian hopes to prove that old is just another word for classic. And classic means the best there is.

We agree. Which is why we now offer the following selection of tales from the Diary archives. Including the time a reader asked why can’t you buy inessential oils?

Chew on that

WE’VE always been fascinated by people who have the perfect name for the job they do. We recall the executive chef of The Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong who went by the name of Mr Munch.

Fighting talk

WORDS can be pesky wee things that tumble out our mouths in a way we didn’t quite intend. There was once an elderly lady who found herself at the supermarket checkout. While paying her bill of £4.18 she managed to find four one pound coins in her purse. She then asked the assistant to: “Wait a minute, hen, and I’ll gie ye some of this stramash out of my purse.”

Murray’s mirthful magic

AS our theme is classics that never go out of fashion, we decided it was time to quote another ageless quip from the great Chic Murray. He was once in a shop buying soap when he was asked: “Do you want it scented?”

“No thanks,” said Chic. “Wrap it up and I’ll take it with me.”

Cel-ticked off

THE Celtic squad is packed with all-conquering heroes. This was not always the case. In the early 1990s the team struggled on the pitch, yet fans managed to extract some black humour from the situation. In tones of bitter sarcasm, they often muttered that Winalot were thinking of sponsoring their team. Another option was Oxo, who it was claimed were planning on launching a special Celtic cube in green, white and gold foil.

It was to be called the Laughing Stock.

Team talk

WE recall with pride the occasion when certain young gents of Glasgow town decided to promote their good deeds. Spotted in the underpass at Finnieston, below the Clydeside Expressway, was a slogan sprayed in six-inch black letters: “Bored? Nothing worth watching on television? Then why not join your local street gang, Ibrox Young team.”

Mind your language

THE location for this tale is a primary school in Stonehaven, where the kids were rather well brought up. A wee girl said: “Miss, Ian just said the C word.”

Ian was hauled to his feet and, looking guilty, received a dressing down in front of the class. On its conclusion the teacher said: “Well, what have you got to say for yourself?”

Ian, almost in tears, whimpered: “Miss, I only said ‘Christmas’.”

(Un)constructive comment

THERE was once an exceedingly helpful and informative catalogue which advertised a rubber bathmat as: “Ideal for use in the bath.”