PROFESSOR Bill Sweeney’s mention of “the dark secrets of instrumental transposition” (Letters, July 13) reminded me of the advice given by Andre Previn during a master class for aspiring conductors, recorded by a reporter who was present.

“Don’t blunder into traps set at rehearsals. Suppose a guy in the orchestra says ‘This movement’s in F sharp and has been transposed into E in my copy. But I’m using my A clarinet because the B flat one’s at the repairer. Does this mean that my first note at letter C is D?’

“The correct response to this would be ‘I haven’t the faintest f****** idea what you’re talking about’”.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


AS someone who exists and operates on the outer fringes of this mad "Digital Tech" universe I note, and agree with, the thoughts expressed by RF Morrison (Letters, July 14).

Having been given a dental appointment in Edinburgh, not driving there myself, and no-one being available to take me, it will be my usual way of getting there, which is an eight-mile drive in my car to a handy bus stop, then an hour-long bus ride to the city and usually another bus to the dental practice. My old legs no longer want to do battle with the up-and-down streets of the city so I have managed to book a taxi, via my house phone, to take me from the bus stop to the dental practice. There was a slight pause at the other end when I said that I don't own a mobile phone or other device by which the taxi-driver could contact me if necessary, but I will be standing outside Harvey Nichols hopefully looking as if I am the fare the driver has come to collect.

At the other end, being nearly an hour too early for the dentist (due to the bus times) and not having my own car to sit in, in the car-park, I will just sit in the local bus shelter and read. Being advised to use an "app", whatever that is, or text (no mobile) to let them know that I am outside the door, it has been decided that I can use that ancient system of notifying someone that you are actually outside their door ... by knocking on said object.

As Mr Morrison says, "digital technology can be a good servant, but a bad master." Very true.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


I WALKED the Forth and Clyde Canal from Bowling to Twechar and then to Grangemouth over two days during its regeneration and the Maryhill part was an eye-opener, with a treasure trove of previously submerged settees, armchairs, discarded fridges, supermarket trolleys, a motorbike, and pièce de résistance, a Morris Traveller; although no stiffs wearing concrete boots ("Water of life: Regenerating Glasgow’s decaying canal has cut the death rate", The Herald, July 15 ).

The natives were friendly, with one youth greeting me as I crossed the road in Maryhill sporting my green Aussie hat, minus the corks, with “Haw Big Man. Gonnae gie’s yer bunnet? A’m gaun tae Corfu on Monday.”

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.


I HAD a smile at the thought of umpteen geezers of my age trying to get their barbers to cope with many weeks of growth at the pensioners' discounted rate.

It reminded me of the apocryphal tale I heard when I started my first job:

"Hiv you hid a haircut?"


"Yer no' allowed tae get a haircut in the work's time pal."

"It grows in the work's time."

"it disnae a' grow in the work's time."

"Ah didn't get it a' cut."

John Crawford, Lytham.