AW naw!

On comes Radio 4’s Today programme and whose dulcet tones do I hear piping up but those of Timothy “Unlucky” Luckhurst, erstwhile editor of the Hootsmon, who in days of yore used to appear regularly in this throbbing space.

Mr Unlucky’s many admirers have long been worried about his sanity and have searched in vain to find it. Of late, he has been in Ingerland, teaching media studies. You may find this worrying; I cannot possibly comment.

Formerly the bassist with Tony Tiger And The Frosties, the high point of his career, Mr Unlucky always seems to crop up when the guid folk of Thistledom take matters into their own hands. One recalls, for instance, his apoplexy at the mere mention of “devolution”. Then, as now, he raised all manner of silly scares, which doubtless helped those in favour of a McParliament to vote: “Yeah!”

Mr Unlucky believes that come independence his wife and two of his weans will not be welcome in Peebles or Paisley or Plockton. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only person who may not be welcome is ...


We are happy to make clear that Professor Timothy Luckhurst was a supporter of devolution when it was introduced by referendum in 1997; we are also happy to clarify that he is a professor of journalism and not a teacher of media studies.

GREAT! Princes Street, formerly the grandest boulevard in Eastern Scotia, is to be closed for much of the next 12 months in order to relay tram tracks, prompting much moaning among Morningsiders who may have to find alternative routes to Jenners.

I, meanwhile, am confused. Did someone not say recently that the tram line would end at Haymarket? If so, why bother mucking around further with Princes Street? No doubt someone knows the answer.

However, I am pleased to see that Princes Street Gardens have been returfed. After the Christmas market departed, all that remained was a quagmire, which was the sight that greeted tourists and, more importantly, me, on emerging from Waverley Station. This was nothing less than an insult to my hyper-sensitive eyes. The city’s panjandrums had better not let it happen again. Or else.

WHOOP-di-do! The Apprentice is back. Shir Alan Sugar, a little knight, is offering the contestants £250,000 by way of a sweetener -- geddit! -- to go into partnership with him. Weirdly, lots of young persons appear to think this is a good thing.

Last night’s task was to spend £250 and see how much profit could be made from it. Both the men (Team Logic) and the women (Team Venture) opted to invest in fruit and veg. The men decided they would buy oranges, which they intended to make into juice. Off they traipsed to Covent Garden market where one of the smart chappies held up an orange and asked: “Is this an orange?”

What was left after spending £210 on oranges was to go on veg for soup. “Does anyone know how to make soup?” asked the team leader, a witless accountant. No-one did. Ach weel.

Also on the box is a programme called Made In Chelsea, which was not, as I first thought, about boots but about stupid rich people, one of whom thought Charles Dickens was the author of the Winnie the Pooh. You may be relieved to learn she is not in gainful employment.

TO Holyrood and the swearing in of the class of 2011. My dear chum Magnus Links-Sausage, North British editor of a Murdoch rag, is still in a state of shock, unable, it seems, to comprehend why everyone on this peedie part of the planet does not think like him and vote accordingly. Time was, he chunters, when “a gathering of Naionalists [sic] was incomplete without a rash of kilts, a moth-eaten sporran or two and even a shepherd’s crook”.

Anti-Gnats, it seems, are obsessed with kilts. And sporrans. Has Mr Links-Sausage, one wonders, who I am reliably informed wears Agent Provocateur undies beneath his two-piece, ever seen a moth eat a sporran?

For its part, the Daily Quail, which thinks a change of socks is a radical policy, sent John MacLeod-Cuckooland, the Jean Paul Gaultier of Shawbost, to report on proceedings. In all the merry years I have known Mr MacLeod-Cuckooland I have never thought of him as a fashionista. How wrong I was.

Proudly wearing his man at C&A bunnet, he has the cheek to bash MSPs for their sartorial inadequacies. One Dave Stewart, for example, gets it in the neck for having his trousers “pool about his ankles”. Another, Elaine Murray, apparently looks like “Little Red Riding Hood’s aunt on a trip to Balamory”. In fact, as every reader of such tales knows, Little Red Riding Hood did not have an aunt. She did have a grannie, though.

Mr MacLeod-Cuckooland, however, was impressed by my dear friend Fifi Hysterical’s attire, describing her as “Rubinesque in artful cerise”. I fear she has an admirer. But he’s easily spotted. He’s the wee baldy bloke in a Sunday suit with froth about his mouth.


ANENT -- jolly guid Scotch wurd -- the Neil Lennon stushie and sectarianism, I intend to keep shtoom. Other than to say that it’s important, in the face of mass hysteria, to retain one’s sense of humour.

I am reminded of my dear friend Wull Smith frae Tranent who might just be the finest allotment holder in the Lothians. In his heyday on the buses, Mr Smith, a Celtic supporter, would attempt to establish order among those queuing to embark by requesting that anyone not a Catholic should stand aside and allow the faithful to board first. I’m told that it worked a treat.

RUBBISH! That, alas, is what is engulfing Naples. More than 4000 tonnes of the stuff is lying uncollected on the streets and much, much more is awaiting incineration. Our old amigo, Silvio Bonkersconi, promised to do something about it months ago but was diverted on bunga-bunga business. Now the Italian army has been ordered into action, which is rarely a good sign.

At the root of the trouble is said to be the Camorra who, like Tony Soprano, are very big in waste management, and I don’t just mean metaphorically. When I was there last winter I told those and such as those, albeit quietly, if not silently, to clear up the rubbish. Nothing happened.

What I will say, however, is that even when skirting stinking chicken carcasses and the like Neapolitans do it as if they were on a catwalk.

Sweetener: Sir Alan Sugar offered £250k to go into partnership

It’s rubbish yes, but how you deal with it will determine how you look