Time lording it

IF you've learned to drive a magic police box backwards and forwards through time, operate a sonic screwdriver and swear in Gallifreyan – yes, it's a real language – then you'd think uncovering the identity of the next Doctor Who would be a cinch.

But the way David Tennant tells it, he didn't know much earlier than the rest of us – and this despite having starred in STV hit Broadchurch alongside Jodie Whittaker, the actor who did eventually land the role. For those who have actually been living on Gallifrey for the last couple of decades, Tennant played the part of the Doctor for five years between 2005 and 2010.

“I think I knew about a week before everyone else,” he tells me ahead of the European premiere of his new film, romantic comedy You, Me And Him, in which he plays a bearded hipster involved with two lesbians. “Considering how well I knew everyone involved in the decision, I feel like I should have known months before.”

Me too, David. Me too. I mean the whole world knew a week before the grand unveiling, or at least that part of the world which reads the tabloids and keeps a weather eye on the bookies' odds.

Wait though, there's more. “I suppose I still feel some vague ownership over that world and feel like I should be involved in all of the decision making,” he adds, sadly. “Which of course I'm not”.

You, Me And Him screens at the Glasgow Film Festival next Sunday, by the way. There are no Daleks to make you run terrified for the safety of the sofa, but keep an eye out for Tennant's man-bun. It'll do the job just as well.

Currency affairs

I CONFESS the publication Popular Mechanics isn't high on my list of toilet reading, so I was surprised when an article in it caught my eye. Surprised but happy, because it takes an issue all workers are concerned with at one time or another, namely the petty misuse of company property, and knocks it into a different league entirely.

Now for most people, misuse of company property means using the photocopier to make images of our cheeks or taking a just-in-case approach to the stationary cupboard, eg I'll take this box of Sharpies home just in case I run out. And it rarely goes much beyond that.

But in Russia it does. Popular Mechanics reported last week that scientists working at a top secret nuclear warhead facility in Sarov in the west of the country had been arrested for – get this – using one of the facility's supercomputers to try to mine Bitcoin. I'll spare you the details because I don't understand them. But suffice to say if you have a computer that processes things bigly, to use a Trumpism, you can make free money. Bigly.

Funnily enough, this has caught on in Iceland as well, where the amount of energy used to mine crypto-currencies is now greater than the domestic energy used by the country's 340,000 inhabitants. And it's cold in Iceland, and dark, so they use a lot of energy heating their homes and passing the time until summer by streaming YouTube videos about sheep farming and volcanoes.

Mind you, you don't necessarily need a supercomputer to mine crypto-currencies. Anything with any computing power at all could presumably do it, and as everything is internet enabled these days that means my cat can do it. It has a chip in its neck – might as well make use of it.

Tatler on tonic

ONE publication that is high on my list of toilet reading is posh people's magazine Tatler which, thanks to my iPad and the heaven-on-earth that is Edinburgh City Libraries' digital lending thingamajig, I can peruse on an issue-by-issue basis without ever leaving my dingy suburban semi. Or the toilet, for that matter.

I'm not sure Tatler is meant to be funny, but I do find it chuckle-worthy. An example that tickled me last week is from the magazine's 2018 State Schools Guide, published in the February edition. One of the few Scottish establishments to feature is North Berwick High School, located in the picturesque seaside town which well-heeled Edinburghers used to retire to but which they now can't afford because, as one school mum “raves” to the magazine, it has become “the Surrey of Scotland”. Now that fairly sends a shiver down my spine, but our anonymous North Berwick mum clearly means it as a recommendation. And so does the magazine.

So it seems to me that Tatler doesn't quite get Scotland, or at least it chooses not to. Here's its advice, equally well-meaning I'm sure, to Tatler-reading English students heading to Edinburgh University to study – oh, let's pluck a subject out of thin air – art history and charity fashion show organising. “Be English,” is lesson number one. “Native Scots are entitled to free tuition, so Scottish unis will welcome you and your £9,000pa with open arms.” Lesson number two is don't live in Beaverbank because nobody will ever find you (it's a reference to a student accommodation complex deemed too far from the yahoo ghettoes of the New Town and Marchmont to be worth bothering out). Lesson number three is a peach: avoid Buckfast, a “caffeinated, fortified wine that is totally horrible but very Scottish (although it's actually from Devon)”.

Can't wait for the next edition.

Flag-rant abuse?

YOU may remember last week's run-through of some of the more outlandish nicknames used by the snowboarders taking part in the Winter Olympics. Top of the list was Shaun White, aka The Flying Tomato, described by your diarist as the Cristiano Ronaldo of the sport. The comparison was not misplaced: last week White won his third Olympic gold, though in picking up his medal he managed to throw a little Joey Barton into the mix too. So what was it that landed him in the doo-doo? Letting the Stars and Stripes touch the ground, would you believe, an infringement of something called the United States Flag Code, which is actually covered by federal law. No, White won't soon be setting up a snowboarding run in a state correctional facility but yes he has incurred the Twitter displeasure of some of his fellow Americans – especially the sort who voted for Donald Trump, a man who some suspect does not know all the words to the national anthem. But I'm sure the irony of that is lost on everyone.