When in Rome…

AN eye-popping new book about the Roman Emperors has been published, and it makes TV show Succession seem as wholesome as an episode of Teletubbies.

Palatine: An Alternative History Of The Caesars by Peter Stothard is jam-packed with inebriation, devious plots, excessive feasting, and just a smidgen of murder and decapitation.

No wonder the Romans never bothered inventing video games – real life was entertaining enough.

The reprobates and revellers of the Roman Empire are now at peace. Or in pieces, if their enemies managed to sneak up on them while they were gobbling yet another light snack. (A favourite dish was honey-smeared nightingale, stuffed with prunes, garnished with rose petals, and served in a sauce of grape juice. No Cheesy Wotsits for the swanky Emperors.) But the giddy, greedy, glory days of Rome live on, in a manner of speaking. For as these classic tales from our archives prove, the Diary is also an empire of outré antics. Though thankfully without quite so many murders and decapitations…

Spare part

A KELVINSIDE reader told us that when he flipped open his wallet in a west end café, his bright blue and red donor card was very prominent, and the chatty waitress asked if he was an organ donor.

He was puzzled by the fact that after he said yes, she asked: “Did it hurt?”

Pithy pub patter

A CHAP in a hostelry was explaining that when he was stopped for speeding he told the traffic cop that he was simply trying to keep up with the traffic.

“There is no traffic,” the officer told him.

“That’s how far behind I am,” the chap argued.

Clocking off

A LONDON correspondent phoned to tell us: “There was some confusion in Tottenham on Saturday night about the clocks going back. Some folk were asking if the flat screen TVs had to be returned as well.”

Art of persuasion

A FORMER shop steward in the yards told us how union recruitment was carried out: “I’d approach each new recruit on their first day and ask if they were in the union. If they said ‘no,’ I just telt them, ‘Well, ye ur noo!’”

Price is right?

AN Edinburgh reader was in a supermarket in one of the more challenging areas of the city when she heard someone ask their partner: “Shall we get these Monster Munch?”

The partner said: “Are they buy one get one free?”

“Nah,” was the reply. “Half price.”

“Let’s not bother,” said the companion, and they walked on.

Dan or Jan?

A RENFREWSHIRE secondary teacher told us: “One of our janitors was a very small, jolly and rather rotund man. He was known to the senior pupils as ‘Jannie DeVito’.”